The poems in I AM With You fall into the category of Christian self-help and inspiration. They are divided into three sections: “God Speaking,” “Me Speaking to God,” and “Me Speaking to Others.”
In the first section, author Karen J. Chisholm renders 17 persona poems in which the voice of God instructs human beings on living a godly life. These poems rely on exposition rather than imagery and are often redundant in their message, epitomized by a stanza such as: “When you don’t know what to do next, pray./ When you don’t have clear direction, stay./ When you know you have My answer, obey./ It really is that simple.”
In the second section, readers encounter the same messages reiterated from a human point of view. These 15 poems are similarly expository, lacking specific, sensory details; for instance: “Lord, I love You, want to know You./ Want to worship You more and more./ I long to please You, yet I falter./ Imperfect offering. I need restored.”
The final section is comprised of eight more expository poems, all testifying to the speaker’s love of God. One representative example begins: “The peace of God transcends the mind./ It comes by giving in,/ Releasing all you’ve left behind,/ And trusting it to Him.”
These poems rely on familiar spiritual platitudes and Biblical imperatives. In addition to being put off by their redundancy of topic, many readers will find unsettling the romantic language frequently employed to describe the speaker’s relationship with her Savior (for example: “There is no one I desire/ Just the way that I want you”; or “I am filling you with Me.”
I AM With You may hold interest for readers seeking support in their devotion to God. However, the collection, with its lack of imagery and detail, is unlikely to appeal to serious readers of contemporary poetry.
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