Poems in Altarwork

In case you missed them, I’ve got two new poems up on Altarwork:

Before I Boarded the  Train 
This poem is about Corrie Ten Boom and part of my Church Ladies series of poems. I found her irresistible to write about–such bravery and faith. I think I could write more on her at some point.

Revival Widow
This poem is about Ruth Bell Graham, and I hesitated to write and publish this one. First because of Billy Graham’s recent passing and second because I don’t think I absolutely paint him in a 100% positive light. She was nicknamed by the press as the “Revival Widow” because of how often she was left alone with the children while Billy was off doing revivals. Ruth was a child of missionaries and hoped to become a missionary herself–instead she became Bill’s wife. She knew what she was giving up but part of me wonders if she ever regretted it.

In this poem I also deal with my own thoughts on ministry life–as a Type 5 on the Enneagram, time is very important to me (as it should be to anyone, right???), so giving up my time with my husband so he can go do ministry–that is HARD for me, if I’m completely honest. Do I think it is worth it? Not always. Sometimes. Maybe. I don’t have a clear answer. I personally would not have been ok with my husband being gone to the extent that Graham was gone.

At the same time, my husband LOVES ministry. Leading the congregation in worship makes him come alive. Unlike Ruth, I don’t have a clear call to ministry that I give up to support my husband instead–I feel that my main call to ministry is just supporting my husband’s ministry. It’s the best use of my gifts and where I feel best suited. But still, ministry is rough on a family. And my husband has so many dang morals. When he first graduated from seminary, I pushed him to do like all the other seminary grads do and just take a church that pays and has reasonable theology, but he never felt comfortable working for a church like climbing the corporate ladder (you know, first you start off as a youth pastor, then a college pastor, then you finally make it to CEO: head pastor!). Barf. I hate that system too, but I was a little more willing to “sell out” at that point in my life (I come from a shady family). He’d rather work a crappy low-paying secular job than a cushy church job for a church with values he doesn’t believe in. This used to infuriate me as a newlywed, but I admire it so much now. He’s a 9 on the enneagram but when I first read about it, I thought for sure he was the “good person” (a 1, I think?) because he really is. And I certainly am Not. So I’m doubly thankful for Grace and for God paring me with someone a lot more noble than myself.

So I’ve said about 75% more than I intended to about this poem and life in general. All that to say, I hope people don’t find that one poem too wildly offensive.

1 thought on “Poems in Altarwork”

  1. Oh Heavens,
    I just wanted to tell you that there is no rush should you decide to respond back. I apologize if I seemed desperate, I wasn’t, just resolved. I always second guess myself in situations like these, another poor character trait in social assimilation I’m afraid. Forgive me if I’ve offended you or caused you any stress. Twas not my intention. Now, I’d appreciate it if you’d find in in your kind heart to delete this comment after reading it. Thank you, and I’ll not impose on you again.



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