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Excerpt from The Book of Common Courage

Published on:
January 30, 2023
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1 min.
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Religion said sanctification
meant making myself small.

The church handed me scissors
and commanded, Get to work.
Cut away all the parts of you
that are "flesh."

I became
more scissors
than a self.

I swallowed
a story of war
as grace.

I made
my mind a general,
barking orders
to march hard.

I declared
corporeal war
for spiritual gain.

Truth against tissue.
Faith against fear.
Holiness against the heart.

I named
my skin an enemy
to subjugate, my feelings
foes to fight, and my desires
rivals to oppose.

I marched
                      I collapsed.

What good
is a Christian soldier
marching as to war
with the cross of Jesus
crushing them into the floor?

My body was never
territory to colonize.

But down on the ground,
in the dirt and the grime,
I could see past the lies
to a riven side.

Holes in hands
spoke peace to mine.

The scissors were never
spiritual. The war was never
divine. The truth was that
this body was already a place
with holiness inside.

Sanctification is like stitching
the sinew to the soul.
And grace is but a thread
sewing mind and body

The body is not a barrier
between the Bible and belief.
It is the tissue where tenderness
can speak the truth in relief:

your body
is already
the beloved
dwelling place
of God.

K.J. Ramsey
K.J. Ramsey is a trauma-informed licensed professional counselor and author whose work offers space to see every part of our souls and stories as sacred. She is the author of This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers and The Lord Is My Courage : Stepping Through the Shadows of Fear Toward the Voice of Love. Her new book, The Book of Common Courage : Prayers and Poems to Find Strength in Small Moments, is on sale now. She holds degrees from Covenant College and Denver Seminary and lives near Denver, Colorado with her husband and two cuddly dogs. Connect with her online at kjramsey.com and across social media @kjramseywrites.

Taken from The Book of Common Courage: Prayers and Poems to Find Strength in Small Moments by K.J. Ramsey. Copyright © 2023 Katie Jo Ramsey. Used by permission of Zondervan. harpercollinschristian.com.   https://a.co/d/iCyJCOZ.

Photo by K.J. Ramsey.

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