When My Priorities Changed

by | Mar 30, 2012 | Five Minute Friday


It’s not about the writing anymore. The communion, it took first place. The head hanging low, eyes closed in the early morning hours and the way you meet me here in the wrestling.

How you make sense of the thoughts that twist and turn like the wisteria covering that old tree in the church cemetery.  The place we meandered with the camera this week to capture the beauty of death covered up in new life dripping from branches.

This writing journey it’s become like that. I die to security and a paycheck to pursue passion; you resurrect something in me I didn’t even know was there. Illuminate life in every crack, hole, particle, and speck like a baby seeing for the first time.  

And the way you sit with me in stillness, in the creak of the walls, the tick of the clock, sprinklers spitting on my window. I didn’t expect writing to be like this. This place of holy communion and the gift you unwrap every day in the voices of community.

I didn’t know that a blog could be an altar where we kneel together, bend our hearts, and bleed words that transform lives.

I didn’t expect to dream about the voices I have only heard in words on a screen; to awaken in the dark hours to pray for someone I have never hugged or looked in the eyes.

I didn’t expect that you would answer my prayers for friendship this way.

I didn’t expect to think more than once about the woman who waits patient to adopt the child she longs for in Africa, or to stand courageous on behalf of the woman who fears to go there, or to hurt for the woman who suffers the weight of the not knowing, the grief of loss.

I didn’t expect my arms to be open like this. To wonder what it would be like to sit with her over tea, to laugh silly into the dark hours, to hug her little girl with the courageous eyes.

Oh, how I love to write but when I sit down to compose words like beads on a string, I find the true gift in the communion of the saints. And I want to thank you with everything that is in me, for helping me to find the fullness of joy in accepting what I don’t deserve, expect or earn. For helping me to see what gift really is.

Joining the beautiful community at Lisa-Jo’s place for Five Minute Friday, writing from the one word prompt: Gift. Come on over and join the fun!

Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. ~ Patricia

    Shelly, this is beautiful. You’ve expressed what I know that many of us have experienced. When I began blogging – back in the summer of 2005, I was actually naive enough to think that I was the only one who could see my blog. How could I have ever known these many years later that some of my dearest friends would be found in this place in space. xo

    • Redemption's Beauty

      My you are a novice at this Patricia. I am just beginning, not even one year yet, but I have learned so much. And this gift of community and communion just makes me want to continue.

  2. kd sullivan

    I didn’t expect these things either…I am surprised by joy! It’s funny how sometimes we start blogging to allow our voice to be heard so that others can be changed. But instead, we end up hearing other voices and we are changed.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Kim, I so agree with you. I suppose its kind of like participating in a missions trip. We think we have so much to give and end up getting blessed beyond our wildest imagination.

  3. mjbonner1021

    So beautifully written! Before I posted what I wrote, I briefly considered the gifts of blogging and meeting bloggers. It is much more than I could have imagined. Thank you for sharing.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So excited that I get to post comments on your blog now. I have tried numerous times and I think perhaps you changed something. So nice to have you visit. I thought of numerous things to write about on that word gift but this one just took a life of its own!

  4. r.elliott

    Hey shelly…we are almost neighbors again…funny my daughter is your neighbor today:)
    “And I want to thank you with everything that is in me, for helping me to find the fullness of joy in accepting what I don’t deserve, expect or earn.” this blog is just beautiful…and this line is what is in my heart too…blessings and have a great weekend:)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Ro, didn’t know your daughter blogs too. I visited her today. How blessed you are my friend. Some mama prayers are answered in that post I think!

  5. thewoodsonway

    beautifully written:)

  6. Nancy Franson (@nancyfranson)

    Oh! I can almost smell the wisteria! And, yes, the people I’ve met out here in blog world–I call them my imaginary friends. But each is such a gift. And as real as can be.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      We are profuse in blooms everywhere here. Saw you post about the sunburn and now cold temps. UGH! I’m not sure I will ever get over my amazement at the way relationships form here on this blog. Boggles the mind really.

  7. Tanya Marlow

    Blogging as community and communion – I love it. Beautifully written- I enjoyed stopping by.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Tanya, so glad you stopped by and thanks for following me on twitter. Your tweet made me aware that my address for Twitter isn’t on my blog so I added it today. That was a blessing.

  8. simplystriving

    I didn’t expect it, either. Any of it. What a gift! All of it!
    So blessed by you and the words you share with me in humbled communion.
    Thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Which makes it even more special doesn’t it? The fact that we didn’t even expect all this!

  9. Dawn@Dawnings

    Your words are beautiful. God often surprises me not with what I asked for but exactly what I needed. He’s a good God like that, giving good gifts. I think I read that somewhere once…:)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I said that same exact thing to Deidra today. Why am I always amazed that He blesses me with what I didn’t know how to pray for – what I didn’t even know I needed for that matter. He is so good.

  10. jody lee collins

    Shelly–you captured this perfectly. All the same things I’ve been thinking. this is the best. When I leave my keyboard most mornings I am singing….

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Me too Jody. Although some days I am crying too. Good tears.

  11. beingmade

    Ohh… I hope writing will become more and more THAT for me. I love the unexpected gifts that come out of the things that God places in our hands and in our hearts.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Amen, it will I am sure. So nice to meet you today.

  12. Diana Trautwein

    Yes! Exactly. This gift of communion, of community is such a deep and rich surprise, isn’t it? Thanks for these good words – and these glorious photos, Shelly! Have a truly blessed weekend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It is the gift I didn’t know I needed until it presented itself day after day. So thankful He is the giver of all good things. You too Diana, have a good one.

  13. Laura

    Your gratitude is deep and contagious. I love that you recognize the gift and that you give back with prayers and encouragement for others. Thank you so much. You bless me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Laura, you too, you bless me in a big way. Just by being here and engaging in the conversation. It really does make a difference.

  14. tara pohlkotte

    and you know what? I love linking our beads together. weaving strands to make life drip full and heavy with jewels. hope you have a fantastic weekend! xoxo

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh me too Tara, love making those necklaces with you!

  15. Jess

    What a gift you have for those words! And what a gift blogging is.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Jess, it was really nice to find your place today too.

  16. Shari @ Leaving A Legacy

    This was so beautiful! You have a way with words. It is so true. The gift of communion with others bloggers is so precious. Thanks for reminding us. Many blessings! (I loved the pictures of the headstones and the flowers. When I look at the headstones, it makes me wonder who they were and what type of lives they had.)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I have the same thoughts about those headstones Shari. I walk around and make up stories in my mind. But actually, that is an historical cemetary with lots of real-life stories to tell. Some to the members of our church have centuries of family members buried there. The urns and captials on columns are just awesome!

  17. C.Allyn

    Ah Shelly,
    I smiled when I read the word patient.
    These days I find that people have not been asking so much about the adoption. Not sure if it was because I had nothing new to say other than, “we are in a holding pattern” or they were scared to see some emotion.
    They would say next, “oh, you are so patient” But no one really knew about the frustrated tears or the sleepless times of early morning hour prayer/talks with God.
    I wrote about this once and referred to it as a “learning place”. Something we all meet at one point or another in our life.
    I told our study group that I am looking forward to a time when I can look back, much like yourself and say, ahhhh that’s what God was trying to teach me.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Most of the time we are too consumed with our own lives to think about the lives of others. I am sure your silence in the waiting is a sign of that. It is why we need to share the cry of our heart out loud sometimes, to open the door to the communion of the saints. And you will see that day come Celeste, look back and see clearly in hindsight.

  18. charinabrooks

    You and your words are truly a gift Shelley…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Humble thanks for your kind words here Charina.

  19. Dea

    Those graves stand as memorials to who have gone before us. Many of those who have gone before imprinted this world with their stories of faith. We may not fully understand how their stories impact our lives, how their faith made a path for us in this place and time in eternity. We don’t have understand, but no doubt they have.

    And now you ( and me)— we imprint some of what God gives us by sharing our stories in our generation in this incredible media. We are paving paths for those who come after us. We don’t do it alone (although as Jennifer Lee wrote about @http://gettingdownwithjesus.com/the-prison-of-lonely/), we can slip into loneliness at times.

    As I have said before in a blog I wrote about community, ” I want you (the bloggers I read most often) to know that even though I still question my place at the table, I love the places you have set. They bless me and I am thankful that the people of God have found a voice in this place. But not just a voice, many voices that together share his light in such varied and beautiful ways.”

    Your place is the table is lovely. Thanks for pulling out the chair for me. Inviting me into the communion. To me it is a sweet blessing.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      There is a place at the table ready for you any time Dea. I read Jennifer’s blog on loneliness and it did resonate. Such truth there. Thanks for contributing to the conversation around the table. It’s always a pleasure to have you here.

  20. Jennifer Johnson Camp

    Dear Shelly, I am continually humbled by this community that is completely real, completely beautiful. Yes, just words poured out — but not just words, hearts being connected, as we trust Him with the words He gives us, and trust in the beauty of His gathering us all up together. Your post here, your words here, are just beautiful. Thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Jennifer, it is a humbling and holy place to be. Never expected that and what a gift! Its been a pleasure getting to know you through the words He gives.

  21. Lyla Lindquist

    Shelly, the community — the communion — surprises me daily. I practice a lazy introversion that daily bumps up against the reality of the true relationship that can take place here.

    I had the privilege this week to meet up again in the flesh with a few. It is a rare, strengthening gift.

    (These images, by the way? They make me sit down. Breath-taking but -giving all at the same time.)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I know you had a meet-up, one that made me jealous. I hope to meet some of you lovelies in real life some day. Sounds like a fun road trip you took. Those photos were taken in the historical graveyard on our church property. There is so much beautiful life in that place of death. I felt something on the inside resurrect as I walked around with my camera.

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