Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Music, Poetry, Sacred Space, Surrender

My Everything

EVERYTHING

Find me here, and speak to me
I want to feel you, I need to hear you
You are the light that’s leading me to the place
Where I find peace again

You are the strength that keeps me walking
You are the hope that keeps me trusting
You are the life to my soul
You are my purpose
You’re everything

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms and you give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won’t let me fall
You steal my heart and you take my breath away
Would you take me in, take me deeper now

And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Cause you’re all I want, you’re all I need
You’re everything, everything
Everything, everything

And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Kate Holms/Sarah Blackwood

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Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Sacred Space, Surrender

Father In Heaven

This week my kind boss MADE me take a week of work off (?!) to “find joy and rest”. I, at first, didn’t want to; I’m fine–I mean, have I been exuding that much tension that I would need an entire week to “rest”? I didn’t think so; but, truth is, I am not  okay. I am so worn; so tired. I am running on empty with 1000 more miles to go. My eighteen year old sister (aka, my lifelong partner in crime and laughter) died in a crash this past December. I am sure that this sort of grief is hardly masked to the outside. Though I fought it, I am grateful he saw me, and my heavy heart, going out of his way to give me what he felt I needed. Such a kind man.

I had great expectations for this week of rest. Solitude and serenity…that was my mental picture. I hoped that I would come back to work “fixed”, ready to take on the struggles that come with my job working with and mentoring the children that live in my impoverished (in almost every way) neighborhood. I also hoped that I would “meet Jesus” somewhere within the time I had to “step back”. I really need to hear from Him. Just thinking about it fills me with longing. One word would ease everything. I was ready to hear him, and willing to surrender. Sadly, this week didn’t turn out as I expected. Though I was able to go to the beach, journal, visit my little brothers and sisters–still with my parents–I didn’t get a “word” from my Jesus. Frustration and disappointment ensued. Was I not “resting” well enough? What was He waiting for me to “do”?

Tonight, after training Jiu Jitsu, I was driving home, fully occupied with my jams/music. I had iTunes on shuffle, and a song by Jon Foreman (that I habitually listen to) came on. The song was almost over, coming to the refrain modeled after Matthew 6:9-14. I’d heard it so many times that I wasn’t attuned to it, until I heard the kindest tone written into the words of Jesus’ prayer to His Father, and His exhortation beforehand.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.”

For me, this has always been an obscure little prayer, and Jesus’ tone has always sounded stern here; showing us how to pray “the right way”. But, with His kind eyes, I felt the words with more weight than usual. This is what I heard:

“Anna, beloved, you don’t have to get my attention with the right words, the right state of mind, or the impressive things you do for Me. Do not be like those that do not see My love for them, and feel the stress to obtain My attention, for your Father sees you, and knows your heart’s desire before you are even attuned to it. With this knowledge, pray like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, for my heart overflows with how you love me. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven–for in heaven, there is perfect communion, and this is what we long for. Give us what we need today to keep pressing towards the prize ahead, and forgive us for disbelieving you, turning after other “gods”, just as we also have forgiven those who have hurt us while doing just that. And lead us not into temptation to seek another’s face rather than Yours, but deliver us from the lie that You aren’t enough.”

This Prayer for me has become the kindest, most thoughtful prayer, though so simple. Jesus knows what we need, and that’s why He demonstrated such a prayer. We are a people groaning for the fullness of redemption, and He gives so much space to weep with Him, laugh with Him…until the end where we see redemption with our eyes–and faith will be replaced with loving Him face to face.

Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Music, Poetry, Sacred Space, Surrender

Lament

You seem so far from us,
We cannot hear Your voice;
You led our hearts to trust,
That you would be our guide.

Why have You hid from us?
We cannot see Your face;
You said You’d be enough,
But faith is at a strain.

Where would our hearts go if we turned from You?
Would we run into the dark?
Yet, in the darkness it is light to You,
Even there we’re in Your arms.

“Father, how long?” we cry,
Will You be deaf to us?
We wait on lonely nights,
For You to be our light.

Where would our hearts go if we turned from You?
Would we run into the dark?
Yet, in the darkness it is light to You,
Even there we’re in Your arms.

But this is my Father’s heart,
His plans for me are good;
This is my Father’s heart,
His plans for me are good.

Where would our hearts go if we turned from You?
Would we run into the dark?
Yet, in the darkness it is light to You,
Even there we’re in Your arms.

Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Sacred Space, Surrender

Heart•Hurt•Hope

Heart: desperately desiring intimacy and connection, beating for love and the desire to be loved.

Hurt: a wounded heart, punctured in a vulnerable area–the desire to be loved. The realization of the pure desire for love being crushed into a thousand pieces. A distrusting heart.

Hope: a heart that has been crushed being loved and drawn back together. Being purely loved–a love undefiled and unchanging, changing what seemed unchangeable. Hope is faith in action; the knowledge/belief that Jesus loves you without end.

The hearts of the world have been wounded, their own desires for love mocking them as they become divided inside. Jesus sees and feels–even understands–the pain of the hearts of the world. By stepping into our realm of death, He was born a helpless infant–to mend the hearts of the world.

Contentment, Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Poetry, Sacred Space, Surrender, Theology

Contentment

Your kindness threads into my story’s fabric of despair;
I weep, You whisper—I know that you are there.

Though the dark of night—it drowns my soul—Your flame, it never leaves;
I’m blind, but You know this—Your teaching me to see.

Grace upon grace is lavished and wasted,
Spilling over until I have tasted,
Your love, Your deep, deep love—and it’s enough.

 

Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Sacred Space, Surrender

Becoming Whole

It’s been a crazy year–or couple of years. Through my ups and downs, my elation and my melancholy, I feel as if to be a different person. Or, a new version of myself. Remember when you were little, and you looked in the mirror to find that you looked different than you did the morning before? Yep, kinda like that. It feels like a habitual shedding of the person that I constantly have to get to know all over again. What I’m actually finding is that, through all the morphing into new stages of life and self, I am only seeing what was there all along, only covered by layers of “protection”. Protection for and from a broken heart.

When you look at a seed, do you see a well-watered, thriving shrub, plant, or tree? Hardly. You wouldn’t directly think of the lush greenery that hides inside the seeds protective casing. Before that seed can grow into a beautiful tree, it’s protective cover must die.

Before there can be resurrection, there has to be death first. I have found that I must die to my efforts of trying to be God, and surrender my “seed covering” up to Him. And slowly and gently, Jesus peels the layers of my heart’s protective covering away, so my vulnerability, hurt, sin, and self-rejected parts are exposed. I become a little girl again, weak, helpless, and wholly dependent on my Father. I realize that I am poor, in need of much care–like an infant. This is where the true healing begins. I am exposed. I no longer hold and hide away the things that bring me great shame, but, like vomit, they spill out into the light. But I find that in the light, there is kindness. I meet the gentle gaze of my Father, and I am undone. I feel His patience, and it steadies my anxious heart–a heart that is being healed, a heart that is being made whole.

Contentment, Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Music, Poetry, Sacred Space, Surrender

All I Know

Broken, this shell that’s quickly passing–back to where it came;
Empty, this heart, it seems it’s fasting-from love instead of pain.

All I know is that I know what You’ve done for me,
All I know is that I know I’m here on my knees,
And You stay with me, You stay with me.

Hiding, the things I think will shame me–being someone I can’t be;
Running, far from where I started-but it’s running after me.

All I know is that I know what You’ve done for me,
All I know is that I know I’m here on my knees,
And You wait for me, You wait for me.

You know me, this frail, unsteady flower–like a fallen leaf;
You show me, every moment, every hour–how You’re loving me.

All I know is that I know what You’ve done for me,
All I know is that I know I’m here on my knees,
And You’re shaping me, You’re shaping me.

Christian Living, Contentment, Gentle death, Sacred Space, Surrender

Blessed Are The Poor

When one comes to the realization that they are poor, it is then that they are truly ready to receive all that they need.

When we realize that our “defenses” and false identities no longer work, then we are forced to see our poverty. If we become a barren wasteland, if we accept our poverty, then we gratefully receive the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3