Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Lamp and the Light of Decision-Making

by Danetta Kellar

This post originally appeared on Riches out of Darkness in 2015.

We were prepared for the darkness.

When darkness fell our first night in the remote bush country of Kenya, we were prepared. 

The lanterns were full of kerosene, and flashlights of various sizes were fresh with new American batteries. Candles lay all in a row on the table, beside them a box of matches sealed nice and dry in a tightly closed jar. We were ready for the inky blackness.

Snug in our little mud house, we felt safe from the darkness as long as there was a source of light. That is, unless we had to venture outside for any reason. With the descending dusk also fell a helpless feeling of entrapment.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Christmas Stump

by Danetta Kellar

The olive tree had been planted over one hundred years before as a tiny sapling.

Its tender root had held all the hope and promise of harvest and provision for the years to come. Now, it stood strong and tall, growing at an angle, grabbing for the blue patch of sky above the old stone walls that enclosed my small North African garden. It had held true to its potential, annually bearing kilos and kilos of bright green olives. 

Harvest time was a community affair. We threw open the garden gates and invited our friends as we picked the olives, sliced, salted, and brined them for their long hibernation toward tenderness. 

Only one thing bothered me about the olive tree. Apparently, it had emerged from the earth in two strong branches. One rose to the sky, bearing the fruit we enjoyed. The other had been chopped off long ago by the previous owners, leaving a rough and splintery stump. My children often stood on the stump as they climbed the tree. They also fell on it, tripped over it, and skinned knees and chins. It was a nuisance, an unnecessary eyesore. I wanted it gone, but there was no way to remove it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Truth About the Naughty List

by Danetta Kellar

The rain was falling like disappointment on my windshield as I wished for Christmas snow. Lights twinkled through the wet darkness, stubbornly declaring hope in the downpour. 

I was daydreaming about wrapping gifts when my daughter, cozied up in the back seat of the car, began to wail.

“What is the matter?” I exclaimed, trying to keep my hands on the wheel.

I could not understand a word through her sobs and heaves.

Worried she was having some sort of sudden health emergency, I pulled over and climbed in the back with her. Her little face crumpled up as she finally calmed down enough to explain to me what was causing all this ruckus. 

“I am naughty! I am on the naughty list! And now I won’t get any presents this Christmas!” 

The sobs resumed, her little shoulders quaking.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

When Grief is Your Holiday Guest

This post first appeared on The Write Conversation. Visit The Write Conversation by Edie Melson for inspiring and helpful articles by clicking here.  

by Danetta Kellar @DanettaKellar

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Everyone said to make a different plan for the holiday. 

To go somewhere new, to occupy my mind with a new tradition. So I could forget about the one who was absent from our table this year. The passing of my father-in-law, he who was a father to me, was fresh and recent. The holidays loomed like dread.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Asking for Prayer is not the Same as Whining

by Danetta Kellar

I guess I am writing today’s article to myself. 

For years, I have been a praying, interceding friend to others. 

I believe deeply and profoundly in the power of prayer. I have seen its transforming strength turn the tide in what appeared to be certain destruction and despair. I have watched its tendrils of hope climb to heaven and bear the fruit of joy and peace. I have heard the thunderous crashing of walls as they have plummeted to the ground under the force of the prayers of warring saints. I have felt the hair on my neck stand up straight as the enemy fled at the name of Jesus Christ. I believe in prayer.

But beneath it all, in the secret small room of my heart where I listen to the whispers of Condemnation, there has always been a voice telling me that when I need prayer, to ask is to complain. To whine. To show weakness and neediness.