love: small and glad, day 7

This sixth-floor waiting room has wide windows, overlooking the city, which from up here has more trees than buildings, by far. In the far distance, a buzzard wheels and rides an updraft, and in the foreground, there’s a butterfly riding another updraft, up at what seems to me a dizzy distance for a butterfly, that fragile patron of herbaceous borders and flowering shrubs.


I walked yesterday morning with my camera — because my camera makes me go more slowly and look at the light on things more than I would walking empty-handed — and going slowly I saw how the world was just drenched in glory, and I was glad.

On the other side of the world, children are growing up in war zones and a hospital was destroyed by what ought to have been friendly fire. Nearer home, people grieve school shootings, and babies are parted out for profit, and sin so blinds that the glory becomes invisible.

And I can see where the questions come from: what kind of a love is it, that paints the leaves on a billion trees, gifts the butterfly and buzzard equal buoyancy, and lets bombs burn sick people in their beds, lets babies be torn limb from limb?

What kind of a love is this?

What kind of a love lets guilty ones walk through glory-drenched October mornings? What kind of a love gives His perfect Son for the profit of ungrateful murderers? What kind of a love offers thieves the inheritance of a King?

This is the Love who wore our sins and drenched the ground with His own innocent blood and exalted Himself to redeem our ruins. This is the Love who will be the death of Death itself, who will banish mourning and crying and pain.

He crowns small ones with steadfast love and mercy and fills us with gladness in His presence.

This is the Love.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

possible: small and glad, day 6

“I dwell in Possibility — / A fairer House than Prose,” quoth Emily Dickinson.

I always stop and look at that juxtaposition: possibility vs. prose. Not poetry vs. prose, nor yet again possibility vs. certainty — negative or positive certainty.

I suspect Dickinson wanted me to look at it. To think that somehow she means poetry and possibility are the same — that in poetry, things are possible which in prose are not. Possibility has more windows and superior doors, she goes on to say, and I wonder about this.


Poetry is tight, limiting in some ways. And yet it escapes the usual rules of punctuation and syntax and even parallelism. In poetry, you may behave as though “possibility” and “prose” are two of the same sort of thing — which they aren’t — and moreover behave as though the things which both of them are are houses in which one may dwell. In prose, such behavior is nonsensical. And if we’re picking which house to inhabit, possibility or prose, I’m going to pick possibility every time.

Moreover, I think that’s where I do live.

I live in the King’s not-of-this-world kingdom. The kingdom into which entrance is as simple as fitting an ordinary camel through an ordinary needle’s eye.

“Who then can be saved?” the astonished disciples asked. But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:24-26)

In prose terms — dealing with facts and human reality as we know it — no one gets in. But by the grace of God, all things are possible, and through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19).

But Dickinson is wrong about possibility in this one thing: she said “doors,” but there’s only one door here, Jesus Christ, who says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and find pasture” — pasture in possibility! — and who also says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 10:9, 14:6).

Nonetheless, this one Door is superior. Christ is the door who came to seek and save us — not a door waiting to be found (Luke 19:10). He is the door who comes knocking — inviting us into fellowship with Him (Rev. 3:20).

Come, camel, in through this needle’s eye, and find pasture. In the Father’s fair house, be small and glad with me.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

home: small and glad, day 5

“These coppers, big and little, these brooms and clouts and brushes, were tools; and with one made, not shoes or cabinet-work, but life itself. One made a climate within a climate; one made the days, — the complexion, the special flavour, the special happiness of each day as it passed; one made life.” –Willa Cather, Shadows on the Rock

homeOne of the things I’ve had the privilege of doing lately is building, incrementally, onto my future nest. It’s mostly little things, mostly gifts, and it’s it treat to see a home emerging, bit by bit. It’s the thing I’ve been yearning to do ever since I realized growing up was inevitable — and even before then, when I painstakingly arranged houses for my small dolls, with tiny copper pans in the kitchen, and cozy beds in the loft . . . .

Now at last, I’ll soon be beginning upon the real thing, making life in four little rooms with crooked floors, a pecan tree outside the front window, and lavender tiles on the kitchen backsplash.

A glorious gift to this small one. She is glad.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

embrace: small and glad, day 4

embrace“Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you; embrace me, my irreplaceable you . . . “

My mom always loved the Gershwins, but we didn’t listen to their music really when I was growing up . . . there were just the songs I tried to sight-read from a Reader’s Digest songbook, and “Rhapsody in Blue” which she’d always wanted to choreograph a dance to — though she hasn’t been a “dancer” since her teens, mama loves to dance.

In college, though, friend L., also a dancer, also loved Gershwin. Though she never shared a dorm room with me, she was perpetually in my roommate’s and my room, doing homework and talking to all hours, and sometimes we’d go to bed before she left.

It’s one of those nights I remember, me up in my top bunk, the lights out, and her down at the desk using the computer — “I just have to listen to one more song.” And the song was Gershwins’ “The Man I Love:” “Someday he’ll come along, the man I love . . . .”

A few years later I had dinner at her apartment — one of many times — and on her piano was a book of piano solo Gershwin songs, and I sat down and played them, starting with “Embraceable You.”

So that now, when the word “embrace” makes me start singing, I’m back at her piano, with the scent of a savory pasta sauce wafting in from the kitchen and people talking and everything cozy and friend-like — much like it was a week ago, when I traveled to another state and got to visit in her house with other friends.

And remembering makes me glad and grateful.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

Capture: small and glad, day 3

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Sometimes it comes with connotations of war — capture the stronghold — or of love — capture your heart. Other times it’s just the effort to take a photograph or put something into words. Always, though, it comes laden with this idea of keeping, possessing. Violent or gentle, the effort to capture is an effort of ownership.

I like to own things.

The thing about life in Wonderland is that it is less about what you can capture and more about the things by which you are captured.

The way to be small and glad in Wonderland is to be captured by a vision greater than oneself, rather than trying to capture reality to match one’s private vision.

I can get so frustrated when my circumstances don’t match what I imagined for myself. But when I am captured by a vision of God’s glory expanding with His kingdom, then I am able to see that He’s allowing me to be a part of a better, larger story than any I could have imagined.

When I am captured by that vision, I no longer feel so small and afraid; I still feel small, but so glad.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: family (small and glad, day 2)

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“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

Stop and see. Not just called His children, but in fact His children. Such we are, by the blood of His Son, shed for us, and not by any merits of our own.

Feel small, knowing this, but oh yes, feel glad.

©2015 Stacy Nott

calling: small and glad, day 1

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It is just over ten months since I got the text message: “Can I call you in a few minutes?”

Y’all, you only ask if you can call if the call is important — if you have Something to Say. Otherwise, you just call, and if you don’t reach the person, you leave a voicemail or send a text or try again later.

And when a guy sends a girl this text? A guy she hadn’t suspected was interested? Well, her stomach flip-flops, she feels hot and clammy, and she feels like the world has begun to rotate at double its usual speed as she texts back that he can call.

And then she spends minutes telling herself that he probably has something perfectly commonplace to say, after all; but she doesn’t really believe that. And when he calls, her disbelief is confirmed.

Long ago, in the pages of the Victorian books in which I came of age, young gentlemen went “calling” on young ladies as a form of courtship. Our modern day “calling” on the phone may also initiate a courtship.

And I had been wondering if singleness were my calling, if God were calling me to rejoice in His sufficiency even as He denied my dearest dreams. (And He does call to that, in other ways, and He will be my sufficiency, always.) But this phone call — was it the first intimation of a different calling entirely?

I accepted the invitation with fear and trembling, and watched, small and glad, as my corner of Wonderland began to transform.

©2015 by Stacy Nott