I have been reading a lot. And listening to an overwhelming amount of music – both wonderful goals I’ve reached since graduation a year ago. A YEAR AGO. I graduated a year ago? ha, who am I?
We slept in today, which was awesome. Slept in until 9:30. It was glorious. Didn’t have my coffee until 1:00, so you know I’m restin’. One goal I’ve failed abysmally is the writing goal – the scariest, most important, most make-or-brake-my-identity (I know not really because I’m a child of God, but it’s where I seek my identity most often). This post is something I wrote a couple weeks ago, about the music that has been flowing through my veins lately. As I listen to Alt-J because you can’t help but feel legit while you do.
I’ve been reading so much about God’s faithfulness to his people, and reminding myself of the importance of memory. Remembering this great story and the blessings of God along the way. He provides and he follows through on his promises. I can trust him to be there. I can even trust him to care and to uphold me. I don’t have to carry 90% of our relationship. He carries it, actually. He can be trusted, and I need to remember the proof of that in my life. Or else nothing will change.
I got really happy when everything about gratitude clicked for me (at the same time that everything in my life aligned to allow gratitude to blossom pretty effortlessly). And I realized that you have to do the work to produce contentment – the work of humility and gratefulness – joy doesn’t just happen. Peace doesn’t come from trying to be peaceful and quiet and calm. It comes through Jesus, repentance, forgiveness, the realization of grace.
Jesus humbled himself to the point of death on a cross.
“Not too proud to wear our skin, to know this weary world we’re in – humble, humble, Jesus. Not too proud to bear our sin, to feel this brokenness we’re in – humble, humble, Jesus. Not too proud to dwell with us, to live in us, to die for us – humble, humble, Jesus. We bow our knees; we must decrease; you must increase; we lift you high…”
That’s from Audrey Assad’s song “Humble,” which has been playing a lot lately. Remember who Jesus was on earth – who he still is for us. I don’t know why I love this next one so much…I just keep going back to it. I think the images and the feel of it – it connects, especially these words:
“And through it all, I stood and stumbled, waded through my thoughts and heart / Yeah through it all, I fooled and fumbled, lost to the poet’s frown. I fought the wolves of patience just to let it lie down / See these waters they’ll pull you up, Oh if you’re bolder than the darkness / My, my, let these songs be an instrument to cut, Oh spaces ’tween the happiness and the hardness / / Strong hands to hold good friends that I never lost / / What we found down these roads that wander as lost as the heart, is a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start…”
(“These Waters” / Ben Howard)
There is a chance to breathe again if the waters pull me up and I’m bolder than the darkness and the poet’s frown turns into a believer’s joyful grin. There is that to get over – and to accept – that standing-stumbling, fooling-fumbling stuff. There is happiness and hardness, but I get stuck in between.
“I’m too proud to ask, too broke to eat, too weak to bow, too strong to bleed…
Can you sing over me…words of comfort?
Can you satisfy me…sweet honey?
Can you break through me…strong hands?
Can you undo me…enough to heal me?
You take the weight…from my shoulders
My hands were clenched…now they’re open
I’ll take your goodness…poured from the sky
Food from the ravens…water from the dry…well”
(“Too Proud” / Enter the Worship Circle)
This is just how I am – too proud. The opposite of everything in that Audrey Assad song. I want words of comfort, satisfaction in God. I want him to break through my heart and undo me enough to heal me – I just wonder if he even can – if there’s not too much rubble and scab there to be fixed – but he has the almighty balm. I always forget. My hands were/are clinched – I clench my teeth and my face and my shoulders. Take the weight – palms up – I am the dry well really…
That has been the most astounding part of the internship. How dry I always feel, and how good things still happen and I feel like God still uses my presence sometimes. But I’m literally the least of these – the broken vessel – the bruised reed. I’m so out of it when it comes to my spirituality. And you would think that this job would require more than that – and it does, and I do fine, but I feel like a fake.
I have felt so unsure – abandoned – unacknowledged – forgotten – depressed – anxious. I prayed so much for growth – for hard humility and to be taken away from my comfort zone. Why don’t I remember those prayers right away when these things start to happen? I know that God will give us trials and strengthen our faith – if we trust him, if I’m one that perseveres.
“’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 mayest seek thy all in me.’”
– I Asked the Lord – John Newton (Laura Taylor, Emily Deloach)
I just feel that so big – this entire hymn. The Lord answers those prayers for faith and trust and growth and grace and humility by making us humble ourselves and by trials – mainly inward, especially for me. He does make us humble, and we’re then faced with the question of whether we really want what we asked for – if we wanted it in the first place. And the answer is yes, but only when I consciously notice – on the regular, I don’t want that. I’m too proud.
I’ll leave off with the lyrics of the first song from Josh Garrels’ new album that struck me, and after that, the video of the one that I’m crying about right now because it’s painfully beautiful, and I can’t stop listening to it…
“Lift up your shoulders child – breathe in – Carry the weight of love you’ve been given.
Storm is passing by – light breaks in, as you learn to sing.
Every color can be unwound, woven into a wave of beautiful sound.
Open the heavenlies and shake the ground, and change the world.
So let all the creatures sing praises over everything – colors are meant to bring glory to the light.
Voices might fade away and begin – become a tapestry we all are in.
No one will ever be forgotten – there’s a place for us.
So let all the creatures sing praises over everything – colors are meant to bring glory to the light – glory to the throne.
This is our story, this is our song – we’re telling it slowly all life long –
of a Savior and what He’s done. It’s a mystery…”
(Colors / Josh Garrels)