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Jennifer Zolper

(Grand Prize Winner 2006 Utmost Christian Poetry Contest — $1,000)

I am a graphic artist, a painter, and a poet. I have been published in The Penwood Review; Living By Faith, an anthology; and the Utmost Christian Writers' Gallery, where I am honored to share space with some of the best poets you can find anywhere. I live in a small house on a short street in the flat central valley of California, with my son, my computer, and a few tubes of paint.

A Letter To the Girl I Was

What you need to know is this:
Faith is not an elegant affair.
Not fingered like a string of pearls, or
Slipped into like silk.

If I told you it was not a walk,
But a falling, over and over (and over)
And a needing to call for help
Would you believe it?

Oh, it is true, God will give comfort.
Look it up in second Corinthians.
He comforts his children in all their troubles
And will comfort you in your time, too.

But (silly girl) do not pray for faith,
For life is uncertain in any case
And folly is often mistaken for courage
By the innocent. Take my word for it.

Pray for this, since you won't be dissuaded:
That the stones in the pit of your stomach
And the lumps in your throat
Will be strung with his comfort like pearls.

Pray for this, when the time comes:
That your fractured, frozen heart
Will be cloaked with discernment
And bundled in comfort as you heal.

And thank him as I do, when you've come to this place.
For this crude string of stones, this heavy old blanket,
And the faith that has come from calling out
Over and over
(and over)
They are the answers
To all your innocent prayers.

Copyright ©2006 by Jennifer Zolper