Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hope

Here's the thing about hope: it's a bear. No matter how much you try to grab it by the throat, it just seems to rear its ugly head given the first opportunity. It's relentless. It's tirelessly optimistic. And if your hope is not in the One who is endlessly perfect, it will break your heart.

Fortunately for me, my hope is in Him. And things just keep coming up roses. Even if I don't always get what I want.

:)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Taking things...

Well, my fingers are about to fall off of my hand because, until a couple of weeks ago, I haven't played the guitar in AGES, and now I am leading worship every Saturday morning for the upcoming Chrysalis, for which I agreed to be head worship-- the weekend will be fantastic fantastic, but I am honestly looking forward to sleeping in the very first Saturday after that weekend-- the meetings started the first weekend after school started and I feel exhausted!! But the truth is only that I'd like to sleep in-- being with these women (and a couple of men) of God is so sweet, and listening to their talks is so encouraging. Anyway, I think that I will be able to pull off an F, which is a very big deal.

See, about 15 years ago, my best friend taught me that I could play virtually any song at all using only four chords: G, D, C, and E-- oh, and it was good to know A, too, but you could manage if you needed to without it. She was absolutely correct about that. I mean, you're definitely limited, but it's doable.

But there's this one song... "All who are thirsty/All who are weak/Come to the fountain/Dip your heart in the stream of life/Let the pain and the sorrow/Be washed away/In the waves of His mercy/As deep cries out to deep/We sing come Lord Jesus, come..." Beautiful. My heart just sings these words. Come Lord Jesus, come. That He responds to our thirst-- that He calls to the thirsty places in us, that He calls to the deepest hearts of who we are... And you just can't play this gorgeous song without F. I've been playing it tonight and am doing alright, but I'm really having to concentrate, which isn't always easy when you're worshipping, too.

So I'm playing it and I'm aware that I could fall apart completely while actually leading it tomorrow, and I wonder why that is. How can I just dissolve myself completely into Him and be able to just lead tomorrow? I guess just do that: dissolve myself into Him. But my fingers get all tight and I bear down too hard on the strings and hurt myself almost every time...how to "lose" myself like when I sing? I don't know the answer to it.

I had a friend in YWAM, Jonathan, who talked about how he taught himself to play guitar-- other than the fact that the guy is just a straight-up genius. He said that he got good and depressed and would sit in his room for hours and hours listening to the radio and playing what he heard them doing. When he told me, I think that he thought that this was helpful information. Um, no. I still can't play. And I've been depressed plenty.

Anyway, I'm going to just go for it. And I'm going to stop complaining about getting up early or having no Labor Day weekend because of the flight. It's an honor to be able to do it, but not just to be allowed, but to be ABLE.

I've realized that lately I've been taking some things for granted and I want to stop. In the last couple of days, I have listened to friends who are longing for a career they can love-- and I have one. Others are longing deeply for a husband...and I have one. There are those who wish they could return to school-- I did. Some who miss their parents-- and I still have mine. So many things to be grateful for-- who knows where to begin counting the multitude of blessings??

Anyway, there is no monumental occasion (like Lent or New Year) to mark this new thing I want to do, but I'm doing it today. August 15. The Year of Appreciating Things has begun.

I will start with my bed and go to it now.

:)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

worry

"And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his [Or height] life's span?" luke 12: 25

I just pressed "redial" for the 10th time in the last hour.

I've been trying to get in touch with Don all day-- he and a friend of his are kayaking somewhere today and I expected him back hours ago. But I'm kicking myself because I don't know exactly where they are kayaking and I guess I just sort of assumed they'd be back by 3 or 4. I mean, he left before I left for a team meeting this morning, around 8 a.m. He was sort of trying to tell me that he might be allllll day, I think, so I shouldn't worry, but of course I am. Did I worry like this before he fell off the scaffold?

I seem to always forget that the Lord has guarded us every day of our lives. I forget that God loves my husband more than I love him. I forget that I am married to a man who served in the Navy for 4 years and hikes and fixes things and is not stupid. I forget that he always forgets to power up his cell phone, so not answering it means that 1) the phone is dead, 2) the phone is safely in his truck so it won't drop in the river, or 3) in the river.

Still no answer.

I just saw that there are severe storm warnings and as I mentioned, I don't know where he is exactly. Normally we have all of each other's information, but I was rushing out the door and nervous about leading worship for the first time in a while and was completely distracted. I'm not even sure what he was wearing. Why didn't I pay closer attention?

So I place him in the Lord's hands again and always. He is just precious to me, and it's not precious like "preshuss" -- I waited so long for him. I waited and waited, and there he was, the most amazing friend I ever had, the most wonderful husband-- perfect for me. A perfect fit intellectually, spiritually, personally...everything. He is not replaceable.

Worry gnaws away at your gut like a rat and there seems to be no salve, no balm for it until it is relieved. Sometimes I struggle with it so intensely, it feels like being stuck in a labyrinth-- no out, no way through, just longing for relief. Have you been there? Where imagination begins to take over?

Imagination, vain imaginings, kicks in and I picture his beloved body crushed at the foot of a scaffold, chipped and bruised. I relive something I never saw-- his feet sliding down a brick wall, his body hanging in the air, no one around-- no one saw him fall but Jesus. Even he doesn't remember. I imagine how close he came to leaving me and I begin to panic again... and I dial his number again and forbid myself from looking at the weather report again.

That worry...it does not produce one valuable thing. I don't clean when I am worried. I don't read. I don't do anything productive. I seize up, feel paralyzed, feel sick and stunned with it. And I despise it.

So I pray again for his safety, for his phone call, for his life-- and I remember that worrying does not add one moment to any of our lives and I think that it must take away from mine. I want to become more like Jesus, looking up to my Father in heaven and trusting Him to be perfectly wise and strong and able to care for my husband. I want to be full of faith like that.

But I am grateful that, until I have grasped that kind of faith-- until I have been delivered of this spirit of fear-- His grace is able to cover both of us. All of us.