Reformed Young Poet: Delighting Grace Interviews Leah Paula Villanueva

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It pays to “Like” Facebook’s page suggestions on your newsfeed. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t stumble to a page that show case some good poetry. And not just poetry but solid, biblical poems. Delighting Grace reach out to the page owner and poet Leah Paula Villanueva to talk about poetry, inspirations and her poems.
Delighting Grace: Hello Leah! So tell us what poem had an impact to your life?
Leah Paula: Hi Delighting Grace and to its readers. This is the poem that has made an impact in my life:
I asked the Lord that I might grow 
In faith and love and ev’ry grace, 
Might more of His salvation know, 
And seek more earnestly His face. 
‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray, 
And He, I trust, has answered prayer, 
But it has been in such a way 
As almost drove me to despair. 
I hoped that in some favored hour 
At once He’d answer my request 
And, by His love’s constraining pow’r, 
Subdue my sins and give me rest. 
Instead of this, He made me feel 
The hidden evils of my heart 
And let the angry pow’rs of hell 
Assault my soul in ev’ry part. 
Yea, more with His own hand He seemed 
Intent to aggravate my woe, 
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, 
Humbled my heart and laid me low. 
“Lord, why is this,” I trembling cried; 
“Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?” 
“’Tis in this way,” the Lord replied, 
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.” 
“These inward trials I employ 
From self and pride to set thee free 
And break thy schemes of earthly joy 
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.” 
JOHN NEWTON
Delighting Grace: Wow, that is one great poem from John Newton. So when did you start writing poetry?
Leah Paula: I started writing poetry way back in college.
Delighting Grace: Do you have a poet hero someone who you look up to?
Leah Paula: I don’t have a poet hero but I have friends — classmates in college — whom I look up to for their writings inspire me to write.
Delighting Grace: What was the first poem you wrote?
Leah Paula: The first poem I wrote is about Indepence Day, a Tagalog poem.
Delighting Grace: When did you decided to put up a FB page for your works? By the way, I really like your poems.
Leah Paula: Thank you. It was when a Facebook friend asked me if I have a Youtube channel for my sign language covers. I told him that I have but the videos just got deleted right after because of the coppyrights so he suggested that I should atleast have a page so that it will be easier for friends to look for it. I listened to his advise so on that day I created a Facebook Page for my sign language covers and also a page for my poems at the same time so that all the poems that have been stocked in my phone will be saved because I was actually planning to compile it on something and delete every poem in my phone to save memory.
Delighting Grace: How do you get inspirations or poem prompt specially in writing love poem? Do you have certain habits or rituals when you start writing a new poem?
Leah Paula: I get inspiritations in writing love poems by reading other people’s works or by re-reading the previous works I’ve already written. Or sometimes it just depends on my feelings. If I feel hurt or in love, or if I feel the hurt and pain that people experience, it triggers me to put everything into words. And I don’t really have any habit or ritual every time I write a new poem. But there are times that when I learn a new vocabulary that just sounds good to me, I feel like I need to include it in my poem just because it’s very pleasing to my ears.
Delighting Grace: How about in writing poems that has a biblical message? Is the writing different with other poems you have done?
Leah Paula: When it comes to writing theological poems, I can say that I do it ultimately to help me in my sanctification.  I have learned from John Piper that one of the ways to meditate on God’s Word is to write a poem so I try my best to practice it. I have poems that is rich in doctrine, and there are others that is purely emotional prayer.
The difference with other poems is because it actually takes a lot of effort and energy to write a theological poem since I really make sure I only write what is biblical and I also desire that through my writings, people will be blessed.
Delighting Grace: Among the poems you have wrote so far, which one is your favorite and why?
Leah Paula: My favorite poem I have written is I Am Adam because every time I read it, I just feel in awe of Jesus’ person and work as our Federal head. He is the second Adam who came to rescue us from ourselves
Delighting Grace: Do you agree with the notion that if you want a heart felt love poem, you need first to have an experience or had a relationship to write one?
Leah Paula: Not really. I’m not 100% sure, but I’ve experienced writing a heartfelt poem when one of my bestfriends in college got cheated on. I felt like I was the one who’s in pain and who got betrayed that’s why I was able to write a poem. But I think that I was also able to write that because somehow thru my friend’s pain, I felt that all the pain I’ve experienced became a reopened wound.
Delighting Grace: What do you think can poem convey that other forms of writing say essay or prose can’t do?
Leah Paula: All writings convey a message to the readership or to the audience. The only difference is just the method on how we want our message to be expressed. But the good thing about poetry is that it is more entertaining to read. The metaphors and other figures of speech present in the poem make us think critically about the message and by understanding the meaning gives us pure delight.
Delighting Grace: For readers who want to try poetry what piece of advice can you give them?
Leah Paula: Writing is never easy specially poetry but by practicing everyday will help us improve. No matter how fast or slow our progress is, what matters most is the improvement we make. Besides we cannot fill a glass with water without having all the droplets combined.
Delighting Grace: I also want the readers to know that aside from poetry, you have this sign language video thing. Can you tell us about it?
Leah Paula: Yes. Senyas is the page intended to promote sign language to our hearing community and for them to be aware that deaf people exist and that they need to be understood and prioritized, too. It’s also my goal to help the deaf community understand the songs we sing so that they’ll be able to enjoy it as well. Please “Like” or “Share” if you enjoyed the videos.
Delighting Grace: Thank you, Leah. Please invite our readers to check you and your poems.
Leah Paula: Hi friends! Please do follow my FB page and I hope you’re blessed thru my poems and please react or write a comment for me to know your feedbacks. Thank you!
Delighting Grace: Thank you again Leah. Guys check her out OK. Till next time!
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