multiply

Far and away my favorite new needtobreathe song is called “Multiplied.”
Just…goodness, these lyrics:

“Your love is
like radiant diamonds
bursting inside us
we cannot contain.

Your love will
surely come find us
like blazing wild fires
singing Your name.

God of mercy
sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering
stretch across the skies
And these Hallelujahs be multiplied.”

(repeated and stuff)

Your love will surely come find us.
I need to remember that. God finds us.

As much as I run away from love, it seems to find me over and over again. I try to make people stop loving me, and they start pursuing me. I try to convince people I’m unlovable, and they decide to marry me. I try to deny that God loves me, and he bursts my tear ducts with everything he shows me as soon as I talk to him.

A handful of days ago, I was lying defeated, splayed, crying with eyes and voice. And now I can look at that day and see that self-pity was dripping in tears on my cheeks. I’ve been the denier of my own worth. I’ve had a wrong view of myself and a warped heart for others.

Crying because I was blind to God.
Crying out because I don’t understand anything.
Crying because it’s too hard to have a soft heart. It really is mush under all that armadillo skin.

And then people come before my face, and I remember that I’m not alone. There is a Spirit in them that knows the Spirit in me. And there is God’s pursuit of me that becomes so obvious when I’m on the other side of the tunnel.

I had a wonderful day today, but not because there was nothing to be stressed about. Not because I did everything (or even anything) perfectly. Not because I remembered to think of God in every moment or because I accomplished everything on my list.

– Because I had breakfast with a best friend that I don’t get enough time with these days. And we talked about the “future,” and we both have things upcoming this year, and we don’t know what to do with changes before they’ve happened, and we both want to love life, and we both don’t quite know how to do joy right now.

– Because this morning our class met in a cemetery. At first, it seemed like a hassle – picking up a friend after her class to go there and remembering to leave in time to get back for our next classes within one hour. (I questioned this professor’s decision.) But then I got there, and I remembered that I love cemeteries – their peace and the fact of death that simply must exist everywhere, without being threatening. It’s a very calming and lovely place to me. I just don’t go to the cemetery on my own very often.

– Because I listened to music walking around campus today, which I never do…I needed a little extra oomph. I needed some encouraging words. The Oh Hellos deliver every time. A few tears eeked out on the way to the car. Yeah, I was the girl walking and crying and smiling across campus because I was reminded that “oh there is no power on Earth or below / That could ever break our hearts or shake our souls / And when you lay me down, you’ll only bury bones / ‘Cause oh, my heart and soul are going home.”

Can I just take all the snippets of every song, every Bible verse, every book page that God has put in front of my face today, and put them here? maybe?

These are some more of the Oh Hellos’ words…

“Hard is the heart that feels no fear
Without the bad, the good disappears…

Many are the days I’ve wanted to cease
Lay myself down and find some relief
Heavy is the head that gets no sleep
We carry our lives around in our memories

Take away this apathy
And bury it before it buries me.”

 

– Because I spent time in prayer.

– Because people support me and call to ask how things are going and encourage.

– Because I did yoga with the deck door open.

– Because some homework was completed before supper.

– Because I had nAcHoS for supper.

– Because as I sat on the porch eating my nAcHoS, I realized that my favorite time of day might be evening. Twilight, sunset, and the lingering light. It’s a short part of every day, but because of that it carries a very specific feeling. The day is ending, but sleep is still far off. It is time to rest, or to play. It’s peaceful in its own way. It’s a moment to look around in the slowness of when-is-the-sun-actually-going-to-set?

– Because at points throughout the day I read chapter 8 of One Thousand Gifts, and I thought about my trust issues with God. I thought about sermons that hit me hard, that broke into the truth of my apathy and lukewarmness. My lack of complete trust that allows perfect love and trust.

If I could, I’d quote the entire chapter. But here are some important lines…

“Maybe disguising my deep fears as stress seems braver somehow.”

“Stress isn’t only a joy stealer. The way we respond to it can be sin. I stand in the laundry room looking out at the barn, knowing that stress stands in direct opposition to what He directly, tenderly commands: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me…I know an untroubled heart relaxes, trusts, leans assured into His ever-dependable arms. Trust, it’s the antithesis of stress.”

“Isn’t joy worth the effort of trust?”

“If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief…Perhaps the opposite of faith is not doubt. Perhaps the opposite of faith is fear. To lack faith perhaps isn’t as much an intellectual disbelief in the existence of God as fear and distrust that there is a good God.”

“This living a lifestyle of intentional gratitude became an unintentional test in the trustworthiness of God – and in counting blessings I stumbled upon the way out of fear.”

“When bridges seem to give way, we fall into Christ’s safe arms, true bridge, and not into hopelessness. It is safe to trust!”

 

1 John 4:18

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (ESV)

“There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].” (Amplified Bible)

 

If “without the bad the good disappears,” then my recent mind makes lots of sense. I’ve been overwhelmed by fear of the future, fear even of the now, of tomorrow, of people, of everything pretty much…
Fear, but I numb it. Fear, but I won’t feel it. Pain demands to be felt, maybe, but fear you can suppress. It just comes out in clenched muscles and tight jaw during sleep. It produces restlessness in conversations. Nothing ever feels quite right or finished.
That denies trust and prevents gratitude, and fear perpetuates itself. I numb it, but it continues to flourish out of sight. At the same time, I cut off the flow of cheerfulness, of any chance at joy. Joy is tricky for me.

I’m beginning to ramble, so I’ll wrap up.

I’m going to be mindful of TRUSTing, by remembering God’s faithfulness to his people, and his faithfulness to me, and giving constant thanks for the ways he continues to bless me all the time. I’m going to fail sometimes, but I’m going to think about this quite a lot more.
I’ve been feeling stagnant, and I’ve been praying for growth, for some work in this heart that feels like it needs to be weeded out. God always answers. Sometimes I realize it a little late, but I always remember that he loves me.

I can run from it, and deny it, and fear to trust in it, but I’ve learned where that leads too many times. I must let the blood flow to my soul again and wake it up. Stop numbing and ignoring and letting it cool to room temperature. Begin caring and wondering and being honest even in places of distrust and fear – because that’s the only way to feel.

“Be persuaded, timid soul, that he has loved you too much to cease loving you.”
– François Fénelon

 

I wrote all that yesterday. And this morning, I was feeling the weight of school again – of everything I still have to get done. But I got to class and realized the assignment I had forgotten about wasn’t actually due today. And I got work and an exam back from a professor I get negative vibes from, with an A and an A+ and “Outstanding work!” written at the bottom. It was just a little thing, but it was an A in the sea of mediocre grades I’ve managed to get this semester. It was a reminder not to believe in worst-case-scenarios.

I was in the bathroom of a bulidng in the Haymarket the other day, and etched into the toilet paper holder was the statement: “Most of the things you worry about never actually happen.”
Touché, bathroom etcher.

It’s time now. To multiply the hallelujahs in my heart and grow them into real trust.

 

Picture time (:

Couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s the little things, am I right?

Took a minute to take some Easter selfies.

spring

I live in tasks and events by default. One thing to the next, and get it done. Eyes focused just a few feet ahead and right here on the list.

Opened the front door this morning, for a moment. And then a few more moments. I slowed for a second. Why do the Spring and the outdoors compel me to slow down and love everything?
Blessed by the birds and the chilly breeze that blew over my toes and the sky that has been blue more often. There are moments of real life that I’m missing when my focus is too small. Or too broad, so broad that I overlook the moments in front of me.

I’m either too much in my own head or too far into the future, and I can’t get the pace quite right.

I feel like I’m coming out of the winter shlump. It’s wonderful.

Every moment I can be outside, I will be. There is nothing that cheers me more quickly than stepping out the door into fresh air and sun and breezes and the noises and smells.

This is all very repetitive, but seriously, God’s creation is beautiful and wonderful and magical.

We have a broken relationship with creation.

I’ve heard that statement several times, but I have never really known how to understand it. Sure, all of our relationships are broken – with God, with people, with ourselves, with creation. But what does it mean to have a broken relationship with creation?
Does it have to do with the fact that I am greatly affected by winter – chilled in the soul and dried up in the heart? That I become a different person when the green life dies and the clouds cover the light?

Maybe that’s part of it. And that actually gives me some hope. Some way to understand why the changing of the seasons directly correlates with my inner seasons – why happiness is everywhere in the summer, a peaceful contemplation begins in autumn, melancholy sets in deep during winter, and spring is beautiful hope. And maybe I can start to look at winter as part of the story, rather than a dreadful place, overcome by sorrow.

 

All that to say, Happy Spring, everyone! 

I hope new life finds you here.

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