Reclaiming Her Holiness:
A Poetic Reflection on Psalm 139
by Daryl H Denelle, Yale Divinity School M.Div. ‘22
God of Flesh and God of Wounds,
You are familiar with all of her ways,
You say You know her completely.
“Lord, how do You still find me holy?” she says,
Especially in her brokenness lately.
So, how do You find any holiness in this one?
What blessings do You discern?
Haven’t You searched her up and down,
And found her wanting and needing to learn?
Her hips are disjointed in both sockets –
like broken tree branches hanging limp,
her back has twisted into the shape of a sickle,
Like a lily, her left ankle has begun to club in,
and her stomach protrudes
due to low muscle tone.
If You’ve known her since she was in her mother’s womb,
then why have You not yet laid Your hand upon her?
Can’t You knit together in wonder and in love -
a body that is more holy, more free,
and more easy to love?
What is holy about her mess,
Could it be that she is still sacred -
even in her distress?
Because in the middle of the nights,
a voice sometimes whispers,
she was made to prophesy for others’ rights.
Please know, Holy Love,
that she is unable to comprehend
her own holiness and beauty.
Maybe she needs a reminder
of Who is truly above.
You promise to know the words on her tongue
before she even speaks them,
yet she cannot seem to take
a deep enough breath into her lung.
She feels that the words she says
So how can she honor all the knowledge,
all the love,
and all the hope that she fosters?
She does not know where she’s going yet,
she does not feel truly holy yet.
But Beloved, You promise to know
when we sit down and when we rise;
so please, I beg, be with her.
Because she is worthy of more love,
she is worthy of more help,
and she is worthy of being called holy.
God of Creation,
humans have called her body a mistake,
a simple waste of space.
But she is learning not to trust
that old truth,
because You do not make outtakes,
You simply remake
a new take on holiness.
So let her reclaim her identity for herself,
because then she is like fire,
only growing hotter and brighter
in her desire.