“And then an old woman I knew as Aunt Cordie gathered me up without asking and sat down in the rocking chair and held me and let me cry. She had on a coarse black sweater over a black dress that reached to her shoetops and a black hat with little white and blue flowers on it there in the dead of winter. I can remember how she seemed to be trying to enclose me entirely in her arms. ‘God love his heart!’ she said. ‘Othy, we’re going to take him home.'”
Thus begins a new chapter in the life of little Jonah Crow, or Jayber as we will later know him.  Today is the start of the fall book study with my friend Michele Morin! Join me for lively discussion over at her site:
 where we are reading Wendell Berry’s book, Jayber Crow. The rich character descriptions in this fictional memoir-type story drew me in from page one.  But even as the small town setting reminded me of my own little village in Wisconsin, it was the memory of how someone stepped in to hold a little grieving boy that touched my heart so deeply this week. Little Jayber had suddenly lost both of his parents, and when he wasn’t even sure how to process his grieving, along came an older aunt who stepped in and swooped him up.  

Aren’t we all needing to be picked up and gathered close during the hard times of our lives?

On days when the foundation beneath my own feet feels like a swinging bridge, I find myself grasping for good words–hopeful words that speak a lifeline to a stronger way of living. This past weekend I joined in for a simple journaling and crafting time on Instagram at #septgluebookparty17 (thank you for your inspiration Gayl Wright.) It’s a way to make a collage, by following a simple prompt to look for pictures and words from magazines or artwork that can fit together to express the thought.  When the first prompt was “favorite fall colors,” I happily picked colors and images and words that leaped off the page for me.  When I was finished with my own page, though, I was surprised at the message before me:

Could this be a word
of hope
pointing to a
coming to my life?

Eagerly I began the new week, and wearily I collapsed
yet again.  When I read the words of little
Jayber Crow, I heard my own 
calling me to climb into His lap.

He was indeed speaking 
but not in the way 
I had first envisioned.

My weary frame revolted

And squirmed at the thought of

Required rest again

Why now? I cried when

I thought Revival was the word.


Revive these legs! I envisioned

Strength required when I looked

Ahead to fuller days

Why not? I cried when

I thought Revival was the word.


Revive these arms! I hungered

Work to be restored as

Plans could be fulfilled

Why not? I cried when

I thought Revival was the word.


Revive this frame! I sought

Fresh energy covering for

Tasks laid long aside

Why not? I cried when

I thought Revival was the word.


Revive this heart! He gave

New Love for God alone in

Father’s heart to mine

Why here? I cried when

He spoke Revival over me.


Yes here, Yes now,

Taste and See

Rest in this Love

Let ME hold you

And speak Revival over you.

 “His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Revival? Oh, yes, He is reviving my heart. 
He delights to bring new hope
of His unfailing love.
If you are interested in finding a copy of the book, and reading along for the discussion, you can find a copy of the book here:
I am linking this week with these great bloggers:


26 thoughts on “Revival

  1. Yes, we all need to know that there is Someone both bigger and stronger to whom we can run and be safe. I love that you emphasized that scene with dear Aunt Cordie. And after her death, poor Jayber is left without moorings once again. Thanks for going the extra mile and writing a poem to share along with your collage. So much goodness here!


  2. super post, bettie. yes, God wants my heart revived more than my body – and I can argue with Him along with the best or worst. i'm sure He delights in your poetry more than my clamoring… I absolutely love that Psalm – indeed, why trust in a paltry horse? why, indeed. be encouraged you are where He wants you to be. His.


  3. Bettie you have a tender heart. I love what you drew from reading Jayber! I cannot fathom living with RA. I'm rebelling at just a single joint out of whack this week. I give it two days of rest and fully expect it to be as good as new. (It's not). And it's my writing finger (Right index)! Surely God knows I need it… But He bids me trust and reminds me that He does not call me to do anything in life He will not enable. And if I can't do all the things I please, well, perhaps they aren't what He had in mind for me. Interesting this coming as a sort of answer to my pleas for Him to show me His ways and lead me in the right paths. There's some sorting going on of necessity! What do people do without a Good Shepherd? Thanks for sharing your testimony of God's care. My memory verse of late: “Good and upright is the Lord therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” God bless. –Linda S


  4. Yes, I was so sad when little Jayber was left alone again! But what precious foundations were planted in him through the loving he experienced. I am so thankful for the firm arms that never let go of us, even through the storms! Thank you for your kind words, Michele! Blessings to you!


  5. Dear Sue,
    You bring such a smile to me tonight: paltry horse indeed! I am so grateful that He doesn't let my arguing stop Him from working in my life, aren't you? Thank you for your encouragement, you are a blessing to me! May you be blessed also!


  6. Dear Linda,
    What a beautiful verse to memorize and cling to. He has definitely spoken to me about that word “humble” and let me begin to see that HE will humble us, but He will never humiliate. And, isn't that a comfort? Truly our Good Shepherd brings us and leads us down that right path! I am sorry that you are dealing with a joint problem with your writing finger. Those pains are hard wherever they come in! I will keep you in my prayers, to be able to find His healing and His strength in your days. I am glad we are together in this journey with Jayber! 🙂 –Blessings to you!


  7. Bettie, I really love this! I was going to join in with the book reading because I actually have that book along with some of his poetry books. Alas, I forgot. I'm going to try to catch up this week so I can participate.

    I really love your collage!!! So glad you were able to join in. I completely forgot about the gluebook party. 😦 I have an excuse, though. All but one of my kids and their families were visiting to say goodbye to my son who is now on the last leg of the journey to Japan.

    I'm so glad to have read this tonight. Sometimes God works differently than we think, doesn't He? I love the way you shared how He is reviving your heart.

    Many blessings to you, my sweet sister/poet/artistic friend! Love and hugs! xo


  8. Dear Gayl,
    Oh, I hope you can join in for the book discussion, especially since you already have a copy of the book!I so appreciate your artistic view of things, my friend! Your art collages have always inspired me to look at simple things with a deeper eye for beauty. And, yes, that is so like our God, Who does work differently than we think! May you and your family be blessed by His beauty this week. And I will keep your son in my prayers! Love and hugs to you my sister/poet/artistic friend! xoxo


  9. Thank you Hulda! Oh, I hope you can join in for the book discussion! Michele is such a great teacher/leader and brings her great insights for wonderful conversations. Blessings to you!


  10. It sounds like a beautiful book to be studying, Bettie. I love the collage work you have produced and the word it implanted on your heart. How frequently we seem to (or expect (or long for?) a “suddenly” from God when we feel weak, and oh how often He replies with yet another sweet invitation to accept His rest! Like most of the work God does in us, He starts with the heart, aims for the centre of our very being, the seat of our all too frail human emotions and the resting place for His loving Spirit. Revival there will grow and spread more than you know, my friend. Keep trusting, as He works so wonderfully in you through your weakness. Fruit is already apparent in all you write. Blessed to stop by and actually leave a comment this time! Love and hugs to you. xoxo


  11. Hi Bettie,
    I've heard so much about Wendell Berry but have never read anything by him so I'm glad to hear you are also recommending these books! Your words are lovely and your thoughts even more so as you apply God's healing words to your heart and mind and soul. Praying for you, as always! xoxo


  12. I love the image of our Life-Giver inviting us to climb into His lap, Bettie. “Let ME hold you and speak revival over you.” Oh, how we need that, don't we? It's so amazing that “He delights to bring new hope
    of His unfailing love.” Thank you for this encouragement! Have a reviving weekend! Hugs!


  13. Dear Joy,
    Yes, I am so blessed to hear your voice this time too! These resting breaks where He calls us, really can become “sweet invitations” when we trust His Spirit in our hearts. I'm so thankful that I was able to join in with the collage crafting time–He did touch the very centre of my being with those words He drew forth. May He continue to bless your resting and revival as well, my friend! Hugs & Love to you! xoxo


  14. Dear Valerie,
    I so appreciate your prayers–and I am praying for you in the path of Irma this weekend! I hope you are stocked up with some good books if the power goes out. I think you would like to read about Jayber Crow, especially with Michele's great discussions. God always has more for us, doesn't He? Blessings to you, my friend! xoxo


  15. Dear Trudy,
    Yes, isn't that such a comforting thought, to be in the lap of our Lord? I pray that He is bringing revival and new hope to you also, my friend! I am so grateful that you found encouragement here, even in the midst of such storms all around us. Many blessings and hugs to you too!


  16. Dear friend! This made me think of the Casting Crowns song, “Just Be Held”. I love thinking about Jesus holding us through the troubled times and restoring our strength and reviving our spirit. Sometimes, it can truly feel like He has forsaken us completely, but we know that is never the case. He is always working and ever interceding…that song is still in my mind! God bless you and hold you close to His heart!!


  17. Dear Cheryl,
    Oh, yes, I love that song, “Just Be Held,” also! And thank you for reminding me again of that precious song, “He's Always Interceding.” Isn't it so true that as we join in, praying for others, He is right there, interceding for us? What a blessing and encouragement your prayers are, my friend. Love and Blessings to you also! xoxo


  18. Oh, I think you would really enjoy reading along with Michele's study! And, yes, He surely blesses us with Grace just when we need it, in so many different ways. Always so glad to have you visit here! Blessings to you!


  19. So soft! Oh my goodness I don't know hwy I forget poetry feels so good to my bones and spirit. I need to read and write it more often! Thanks for sharing about this too. I am sharing on my Twitter (I don't try to do them all anymore). Love you!!


  20. Dear Meg, I am so thankful that the Lord touched you through these words today. Whenever I get wrapped up in other kinds of reading and forget poetry, I feel the same way that you described: how could I have forgotten? Like music, poetry stirs our hearts I think. Thank you for your encouraging words here, my friend! You are a blessing! Love & Hugs! xoxo


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