The Ministry of Poetry

“Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:29

A couple of weeks ago, we hiked Choquequirao.  It was difficult.  My muscles ached.  It was a long way up and down and up and down on uneven rocky trails. I was in need of encouragement.  Before we began the hike, God had been instructing me quietly in

Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—

He who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel

will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—

he will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.

As Annie pointed out when I tried to quote these verses to her and Sarah, God did let our foot slip.  True.  But He was watching all our comings and goings.  At one point, Will was walking alongside me, while I s-l-o-w-l-y made my way up the hill, having GI troubles and feeling dreadful, when we got word on the walkie-talkie that Sarah was feeling discouraged and tired up ahead.  Will left me to go help Sarah and Peter, and I felt like God told me that He was my helper, that He would get me up the hill.  I rested and prayed and then I got a miraculous second wind. He gave me fresh breezes, shade, and energy.  I felt His accompaniment in tangible way.

The following week, we were driving through desert landscapes on the way to Lima, and I was looking out the window, wondering what the future holds for our family.  Where would we be?  What new challenges would we face?  What would schooling be like for our kids? We were listening to John Mark McMillan (“Future/Past”):

And You,

You are my first

You are my last

You are my future and my past

My future is a PERSON, not a set of circumstances.  That brought a wave of peace, cool peace.

A couple of days ago, Will linked to an article by David Brooks about Christian college education.  Then he posted a section about love.  I have been meditating on allowing God to unite Will and I into a single tree, letting go of my identity to become part of a greater whole.

This morning, I was cooking and listening to Josh Garrels’s “At the Table” and I got teary singing along:

Come on home, home to me

And I will hold you in my arms

and joyful be.

There will always, always be

a place for you at my table

Return to me

The purposes of this blog post are multiple: to thank and praise God for speaking to us.  He does not leave us in silence. I hope you will be inspired to speak or write words of life.  I want to be able to quote poetry, but song lyrics are as close as I get right now, so I celebrate the poetry of songwriters. Finally, I desire to give personal testimony to the power of specific words and to pass them along, lest you too should need the encouragement. 

Best New Music; We Want Recommendations

Albums I have been enjoying recently include Martin Sexton’s “Mixtape of the Open Road”, “Lost in the Dream” by The War on Drugs, John Mark McMillan’s “Borderland”, and very recently “Home” by Josh Garrels. I have also recently begun enjoying Sara Groves (I know I am late to the party), and we logged a lot of old Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith on our trip to the south of Peru.

Do you have any recommendations? I think I am more interested in good Christian music in general. I want my thoughts turned toward God as much as possible. Our friend Finley wrote a post on her blog a while back about how you can teach your mind to think correctly. The post is called Hope For Our Characters and it is on their blog. So what are you listening to and what is making you consider your life in the light of God’s truth?

Martin Sexton

John Mark McMillan

The War on Drugs

Josh Garrels

The Soundtrack of our Lives

It has been interesting to me how important music has become to our family since we moved to Curahuasi. We have always enjoyed music, like almost everyone I am sure. However when we came here, with all the strangeness and culture shock, we found a new importance for music in how we managed our emotions through the transition. You might think as a missionary family that Christian music would be encouraging to us, and it is. Through some Facebook recommendations we have come to really enjoy Rend Collective Experiment, Ghost Ship, and Josh Garrels. Martin Smith and Delirious?, Michael W. Smith, and others are again on our frequent playlist. However, what has been a bit of a surprise to me is how we have all enjoyed old pop music and classic rock and roll, and how these older songs have brought comfort to our family. I think for me it reminds me of the peace of childhood and in some way makes me feel peaceful now. I had a really great childhood. Thanks Mom and Dad. Our kids have quickly memorized most of Michael Jackson’s best known songs. Peter is especially into Coldplay and U2. David prefers Sting and The Police. We all enjoy a little Elvis and The Beatles. The girls enjoy Phil Collins, especially Sussudio. And the songs of the movie “Frozen” are constantly sung, word for word, by our kids. Its comfort music, a little like comfort food. It makes the soul feel full and well cared for.

As we are all U2 fans in our house, we are looking forward to the new album coming out soon. In the anticipation of the new album I was pleased to find this link to their recent performance on The Tonight Show. I only watched a bit, because the internet cannot stream it fast enough, but I saw enough to enjoy the visuals and to look forward to what I hope is a good album. If you have recommendations of new albums or artists, let us know. We will check them out and make them part of the background music of our lives.