The book pens a journey with Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a framework for pondering life lessons, or songs, of grace-filled "yes" to God.

This blog continues to explore the implications of these songs in daily life. Here you will find ten additional reflections on each of Mary's "songs." May they continue to encourage your heart. ~Carla

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Grassroots Gifts

The story of writing and publishing “Songs of Assent” tells a bit like a mystery.  The development of each of the chapters (and their illustrations) mirrors the actual “song” they sing.  The “weightless fullness” of Simplicity was written last and once.  The picture of Simplicity that also adorns the cover was drawn in an afternoon—long before I had any idea of what to do with her. When the chapter with finished, the picture was already there.

Buoyancy, that “moment-by-moment adjustment of a fragile vessel renewed and propelled by God’s abounding grace,” was a voyage on the high seas.  I couldn’t find the “word” to describe Mary’s response to Jesus at the wedding in Cana. For a couple of months I struggled to find the way forward. Humility?  No, she was a handmaiden of wisdom.  Hospitality?  It wasn’t deep enough for the themes resting right under my consciousness. 

But when I finally found “buoyancy” (or, perhaps more truthfully, it found me) I was at last enabled to embark on that leg of the journey.  I wrote the chapter from my laptop propped up in bed, for I was ill most of last fall, with nautical books of all kinds strewn around the room. 

Buoyancy’s illustration was just as much of an adventure. “Pam, I want the perspective from the deck of the ship, with rising waves and a storm in the distance.  And I’d like another boat within sight.” Ah, Carla, you don’t want much.  And upon seeing her hard work, I instantly said, “Oh, no, I guess the other boat really doesn’t fit.”  At that moment I was grateful that my illustrator lived in Minneapolis and I was safely sheltered in Chicago.  I am grateful to report that we (and our collaboration) survived.

Yet the sustained challenge in this venture has been to move forward in publishing in a manner that is as organic as the chapter on Receptivity proclaims the real work of the Kingdom to be.  Seeds are planted in the soil of our souls and take root far under the ground. In time they bear fruit that can be shared with others.  Nothing forced, nothing manufactured. Just seeds planted in their time.  There’s an actual phrase for approaching the dissemination of a book in this manner: it’s called “grassroots.”

So here we are, coming up to the first Christmas after releasing this book.  This is the season where many Christians turn a brief eye toward Mary.  Yet her “habitual availability” to God not only collaborated with the Holy Spirit to give us Jesus, but her responses to the Lord’s ongoing bidding in her life renders rich lessons for own responses as we carry the Spirit of her Son in our hearts and into our communities. 

And so we at WaterManuscripts—that would be Wyatt and me—want to extend a gift to you: personalized ease in offering this book to others this Advent and Christmas season.  If you have found these meditations on the implications of Mary’s life helpful, we would delight in facilitating the grassroots extension of that gift to others by offering free shipping on autographed copies wherever you would like us to send them within the United States.

This organic offer comes with this prayer: Lord Jesus, may your Holy Spirit wing this book to the hands of those who need to hold it, the hearts of those ready to see.  And would that same Spirit prepare our hearts to receive you anew, oh wondrous gift of God. 

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