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Losing Poetry: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/22/2020 6:00:00 AM by: Becky Cerling Powers

Thumbs in the thumbs’ place,

Fingers all together,

This is the song we sing in mitten weather

Whether they are made of wool or finest leather,

Thumbs in the thumbs’ place,

Fingers all together!”

 My mother used to chant this rhyme as she tugged our mittens on in the winter. And to this day, I can’t help a child put mittens on without hearing in my mind the cheerful cadence of those words.

The gift of poetry

As a child, I loved poetry – the rollicking rhythms, the delight of rhyme, the rightness of a few choice words, the surprise of unexpected imagery. I memorized poetry, recited it, and in grade school discovered I had a gift for writing it. Poetry was joy to me. As a teen it was a much-needed emotional outlet, as well. I could write about what was bothering me, express my griefs or my sense of humor. When I began college, I was still scribbling away.

 After I graduated from the university, my life became more complicated. I married Dennis, moved to Germany where my husband was stationed, traveled in Europe, gave birth to a son, moved to New Jersey for my husband’s graduate school, lived in the Kenyan desert with Dennis and the baby while Dennis did fieldwork for his Ph.D. dissertation, returned to the U.S. and gave birth to a daughter…My life was full.

 Poetry lost

And I suddenly I realized I wanted to express what I was feeling in words through poetry again. Yet it dawned on me that all these marvelous experiences –falling in love, marrying, going through culture shock, going through marriage shock, giving birth, parenting – all the emotional tides of my new life had produced no poetry.

 How odd.

 So I tried writing poetry.

 Nothing. The gift seemed gone. I couldn’t figure it out. So finally, I asked God why I could no longer write poetry.

 Remembering why

And then a memory surfaced: a brief moment I had entirely forgotten. One night while I was in college, shortly before I met Dennis, I felt the Lord asking me to give Him my poetry, to direct it as He chose. I said no. Now the truth was, my scheming heart didn’t really expect God to take no for an answer. I expected Him to keep on bringing up the subject until I finally relented. But meantime, during the Jacob-like struggle, I could keep the gift to myself, for my own purposes.

 But God didn’t ask again. And somehow the gift disappeared.

 I began crying out to the Lord about it. I repented. I asked forgiveness.

 Poetry returned

And the gift of writing poetry came back…but not for publication. The gift came back as a way to work through and understand important ideas, as a way to put scripture to music, and also as a way to write songs. I had tried songwriting in my college days but couldn’t do it. Now I could, and my prayer life entered a new realm writing scripture-based prayers and songs. Today I often sing my prayers…a special gift in the hurly burly of life, a way to pray without ceasing, singing prayers for people as I work…

Was God being spiteful?

Some could say, I suppose, that God was mean. He asked for something, and when I wouldn’t give it, He took the thing in spite and went off in a huff.

That was not my experience. Through all those years of no longer writing poetry, I experienced God’s love in constant ways. He communicated with me, gave me insights, comforted me, taught me, encouraged me…I learned to recognize His voice, His presence. I grew so much. He never turned His back on me. He never excluded me. He never withheld affection in any way.

So what happened?

God’s respect for my choices

First off, I didn’t take either God or my own adult responsibilities seriously. God gave me free will – the ability to choose yes or no – and when I refused His request, He treated me as an adult. It’s disrespectful to make decisions for an adult. So when He asked permission to get more involved in one part of my life, He respected my choice. I said no, and He accepted that.

Second, I didn’t think through Who God is.

Reality check: how God creates

The Apostle John began his gospel with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:1-5).

So God created the cosmos, the universe, the earth and all their wonders by speaking them into existence. God created the cosmos by His Word. When He created humankind in His image, He created us with the ability to speak, write, use body language: to communicate. When God asked me to take my poetry into a new direction, and I said no, I was telling the Word…the Source of All Communication… not to interfere with the poetry part of my life.

 So He didn’t.

 And then I was surprised that I couldn’t write poetry??!!???

The Beatitudes

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." 

The poor in spirit are those who recognize who God really is -- the Creator of all we have that is good. If we give anything to Him, it can only be because He gave it to us first. 

Today’s prayer

I acknowledge, Lord, that my understanding is in the dark. I do not take You seriously. I do not stop to think carefully Who You are, what You have done for me, or how I need to respond in an appropriate way. Help me. Wake me up, give light to my darkness, help me to think clearly and act sensibly. Amen.

© Becky Cerling Powers 2019

For the next few months I will be posting stories that help us understand the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mountain. For more faith-based family stories to share with friends and older children, check out Laura’s Children: the hidden story of a Chinese orphanage and My Roots Go Back to Loving and other stories from Year of the Family in the Bookstore.


Previous Posts

Enemies No More, Part 1: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Double Minded Doggie: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/22/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Father's Blessing: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dad's Green Packard: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Hill of Woman's Fidelity: a faith based Beatitudes story from the Story Powerline
10/1/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

In Praise of Naps: from the Parent Powerline
9/28/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Music Enriches the Family
9/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Pre-School at Home During Covid-19: tips from the Parent Powerline
8/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Parenting in the Mess: Tips from the Parent Powerline
8/16/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Way We Homeschooled, Part 1 Balance: from the Parent Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandpa Thure Cerling, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/4/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Temptation: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/23/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

A Simple Way to Help Kids with School: from the Parent Powerline
7/21/2020 9:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Honest Abe Lincoln: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
7/14/2020 11:00:00 PM  by: Randy Limbird

The Most Conscientious Hunter I Ever Met: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/24/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

Washing Feet: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/17/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers and Lee Merrill Byrd

No Parking: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/10/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/3/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Ruby Bridges, part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
6/2/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Raising Fluent Readers: tips from the Parent Powerline
5/29/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Unwanted Baby: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/26/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Eileen as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Family Funnies: Tips from the Parent Powerline
5/22/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Joey's Letters: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/21/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Alzheimer Valley: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/13/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

New Bride Confusion: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
5/12/2020 4:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Amaris Luz, Light from Darkness: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/28/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Lee Merrill Byrd

Losing Poetry: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Let Kids Cure Their Own Boredom: Tips from the Parent Powerline
4/15/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Naaman, Rich in Money and Presumption: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/14/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs and Becky Cerling Powers

David, Bathsheba & Psalm 51: a faith based story story from the Story Powerline
4/9/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Hundred Chart: math lesson tips from the Parent Powerline
4/8/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Beer Would Call Me: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/7/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Beatriz Balcort as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Turned Around: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
4/2/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Brian Bolton with Becky Cerling Powers

Toddlers Helping During COVID-19 and Beyond: tips from the Parent Powerline
4/1/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Elijah & the Captain of 50 Men: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/31/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

Fear in Residence: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/24/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Household Management During COVID-19 Time: tips from the Parent Powerline
3/23/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Dreaming of Anita Jo: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/12/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

No Complaint Dinners: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/10/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

DIY Plumbing: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

A Brother's Love: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
3/3/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part three: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/27/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part two: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/26/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

My Two Dads, part one: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/25/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Janimarie Rowe as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma's Apron: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/20/2020 12:45:00 PM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Colors of the Beetle: a retold faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/13/2020 12:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Cantaloupe Crop Disaster: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
2/5/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Glen Hinshaw

The Grumble Family: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/28/2020 7:00:00 AM  by: Anonymous

Afraid to Sleep at Night (Psalm 91): a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/22/2020 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Camel Got His Hump: a retold faith based story
1/13/2020 10:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Growing Up With Polio: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/9/2020 10:01:00 PM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

All Things Bright and Beautiful: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/7/2020 6:20:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers, poem by Cecil Frances Alexander

One Dollar for a Donut: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
1/1/2020 6:00:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Star of Wonder
12/26/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

The Shepherds
12/24/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Mary and the Angel
12/18/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Zechariah
12/17/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Slow Down for Christmas: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/13/2019 10:35:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Christmas Cookies: a a faith based story from the Story Powerline
12/10/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Laura Jane Cerling

First Thanksgiving, Part 2: Beginning in Weakness (a faith based story)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 3: Gifts & Gratitude (a faith based story from the Story Powerline)
11/28/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

First Thanksgiving, Part 1: Enduring the Sea Voyage (a faith based story)
11/27/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Rami Scully

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 3: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/22/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 2: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/19/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Néaouguen Nodjimbadem

Rescuing my Family in Wartime, Part 1: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/12/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Nodji (Néaouguen Nodjimbadem) as told to Becky Cerling Powers

Preventing Parent Burnout: from the Parent Powerline
11/4/2019 5:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Grandma Time: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
11/1/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Jennifer Cummings

Safe Amid Snakes and Semi-Trucks: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/30/2019 3:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

The Love & Diaper (Nappy) Connection
10/25/2019 6:30:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Avon Perfume Surprise: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/22/2019 7:00:00 AM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Saving Butterscotch: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/16/2019 6:00:00 AM  by: Karen M. Pickett Ward

The Patient in Room 116: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/8/2019 9:10:00 AM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

Belshazzar: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
10/2/2019 6:45:00 AM  by: Retold by Paula Kortkamp Combs

Reading to Babies
9/30/2019 2:37:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

My Mysterious Relative & the Missing Paycheck: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/26/2019 3:17:00 PM  by: Becky Cerling Powers

Keeping in Touch with Cousins: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
9/24/2019 3:20:00 PM  by: Paula Kortkamp Combs

How the Ostrich Got His Long Neck: a faith based retold story from the Story Powerline
9/9/2019 3:49:00 PM  by: Retold by Becky Cerling Powers

When Life Goes Up in Smoke: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/20/2019 3:28:00 PM  by: Glen A. Hinshaw

Focusing on the good stuff: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
8/20/2019 3:24:00 PM  by: Joe Herman