Time in a Bottle

If we can’t find time and bottle it neatly, can we walk into tomorrow knowing it mattered?

If today is a blip, is tomorrow a wonder?

What if the world stops now?

Am I enough?

I am who He says I am.

Maybe if we lived each day with intention…

Maybe that’s a pipe dream.

What is a “pipe dream”

Legit, what is the entomology of that phrase.

I’m too lazy to look tonight. And I just used “Legit” as an actual word.

Maybe tomorrow…

Says the girl at the end of the world looking out into the void.

Jesus, help me focus on today!

Listening Ears, Big Mouth

James 1:19-20

I have a hearing loss. I like to blame it on being a musician and years of in-ear monitors blasting a “click” (metronome) in my ears at volumes far louder than recommended because that sounds cooler than “I have a hearing loss”. The reality is, my dad had a significant hearing loss, my mother has hearing loss, my brother has hearing loss, and my daughter was born with a moderate hearing loss, so odds are, it runs in the family. Either way, listening with understanding can be difficult for me at times.

My husband often gets frustrated with me as I respond with confusion and “huh” more often than either of us would like. Or I think he’s saying something that isn’t even close to what he’s actually saying and react in a manner totally inappropriate to the reality before me. My kids have to repeat themselves time and time again which most likely drives them crazy. I long for the day when I can afford hearing aids so I don’t frustrate those closest to me so frequently. But for now…

I pray that my ears work a little better than my mouth. I hope to be the kind of person who really listens to what others are saying to me (even when I can’t hear them fully). I may not always understand their perspective and I may often disagree but that doesn’t negate the responsibility to listen. When we find ourselves so enamored with our own opinions that ours is the only viewpoint we can see, we might be guilty of this.

There is such a thing as fundamental truth. I do not subscribe to the notion that all things are relative and your truth is different than mine. Some things are black and white without a grey area to smudge and blur the dividing lines. Don’t misunderstand me.

Yet, how can we espouse the truth we hold so dear, and positively influence the life of another person, if we can’t take the time to sit in community with them and hear what they are saying? I think we will find that often times, the things we are getting so angry and upset about “the other side” saying, aren’t really what they are saying at all. We are so quick to polarize. We are so quick to speak before we hear.

I get myself in trouble all the time when I hear (or think I hear) someone say something to me but in my impairment, I think they are saying something completely bizarre and I couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s become a comedy of sorts with my kids because I will quote back to them what I heard which will be something completely off the wall like, “a band of monkeys invaded Pearl Harbor”, and they’ll laugh and tell me they actually said, “there are ants in the tree in the backyard”. Feel free to donate to that hearing aid fund :).

I think we all do that in life all the time. Maybe not literally like I do, but when we jump to conclusions about another person’s intentions, life experiences, perspectives. When we forget that, “Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one].” I Corinthians 13:7 AMP. Slow down and listen! And if you don’t understand, ask questions, and LISTEN to the answer. You might be surprised that your enemy isn’t really an enemy and even if they are, they might be won over with a small amount of kindness.

Our anger will never produce the righteousness of God. Our kindness and patience might shine the light of his glory and truth to generations. We will never win an argument we are fighting against ourselves, but we can learn to listen and speak out of the abundance of a life turned towards Jesus and the goodness of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, that may mean speaking a word of correction and a good dose of disagreement, but that doesn’t mean an angry tirade against the masses. Slow down!

I may not have physical hearing aids yet and my kids will still laugh at me when I think they are saying they want to “dance with piglets” instead of “have some Cheez-its”. But I hope my spiritual hearing aids are tuned to hear everything through the redemptive love of Jesus Christ and a desire to see him shine! Those are the messages I want my big mouth to shout to the ends of the earth.

The embrace of more than time

When time stops do you feel it?

Is there a moment when everything is okay and the world is right and stands the test of time?

Or do we wait, with hunger, for another moment?

Maybe that’s the beauty.

Maybe the hunger fuels the fire for tomorrow.

I don’t know. I’m just you, reaching into the void, waiting for the voice of God to smile on my weakness.

Maybe clay cries out to potter longing for completion.

But the journey is worth the wait. So I’ll stand in the light, knowing the dawn is brighter.

And I wait because you’ve always met me there.

Nothing becomes something beautiful in your embrace. Sometimes it just takes a minute for me to catch up.

Dreamer…sleeping or awake?

I was once a dreamer of big dreams.

I still am

I once sat imagining all I could be.

I still do…sometimes.

And in the midst of who I was and who I am, I find this amazing dichotomy.

I’m not less than I was when the world was rose-colored.

I’ve faced giants no one saw coming.

But I’m here…

And I’m breathing.

I fight against non-existent clocks and existential realities until I’m numb and clocking in and clocking out.

But I am more.

I know it. Maybe you don’t.

Who plants the sun in its station?

Who holds the earth in orbit?

Who called me “more” when I was dust?

You are my audience and I clamor for applause while all you wanted was willingness.

So here I am.

Breath and bones in twilight.

Take my everything and make it meaningful.

Me and whatever that means

Me..:a construct for the ages

An anomaly for the masses

Another constructed being in the realm of space and time to be constructed from dust

But I believe in design so your construct is nothing. So am I meaningless?

I’ve said “construct” too much

If I do not reach do my hands hold meaning?

If I don’t ache am I still bleeding?

If I don’t yield am I an endless void?

If I’m not here does the world notice?

I am space constructed from endless light.

I am more than yesterday and today and tonight.

I’m not void in the darkness

I’m just the kind of light that can start a spark.

Believe in me and let’s begin tomorrow.

Two cents for the hurting and blubbering worship leaders

I’ve done a lot of research lately. Call it the consequences of a lifelong nerd falling down a rabbit hole. Alice would be proud!

An almost lifelong friend recently “deconstructed” from the Christian faith. I have a lifetime invested in this faith, part of which, I walked along side this friend…closely. So I wondered…

What causes someone to give up a lifetime for a new lifetime? Is there anything that would possibly convince me to walk away? What reasons, what heartache, what analytical study, what abuse, would separate life from life and truth from truth?

For me, the answer is nothing. I’ve firmly established my convictions and beliefs and cannot be persuaded of anything contrary. But I get it. I really do.

I despise spiritual abuse! It is abhorrent! And I believe a Jesus would be in the midst of it with chords turning tables and agreeing with me. There is no excuse. I despise the notion that anything, power, ministry, or money, could be more important than the rights of a victim! There is no excuse.

But this does not disqualify the gospel. And there are far too many thoughts swirling in my brain tonight to make this fully cohesive.

For tonight, I will say that I’ve seen multiple posts surrounding the idea of Christian worship that are grating at me. I’ve been leading worship over half of my life so this inherently bothers me.

They say that worship music is manipulation preying on the emotional response of the congregant. That the music is derived in such a way as to inherently initiate an emotive response and is, therefore, manipulative by nature.

I take issue with this on multiple levels but tonight let me give you an experiential example.

Yes, music is moving. Music speaks to the soul. No one can deny this. Why it is supposedly wrong to incorporate this with our faith traditions is lost on me. Even in scripture, Saul calls for a musician to soothe him. The musicians went into battle before the army. There is precedented truth to the power of music to inspire and transform. Why is that wrong?

The criticism is that worship music inherently coerces an emotional response and we, worship leaders, manipulate with chords and progressions designed to elicit said response from the hearer.

I couldn’t help but think of a moment in our worship services this past Sunday when we sang the song, “Hymn of Heaven”. The lyric to the second verse says, “And every prayer we prayed in desperation. The songs of faith we sang through doubt and fear. In the end, we’ll see that it was worth it. When He returns to wipe away our tears”

For reference, I was on stage performing this song. So don’t think for a moment I wasn’t involved? But, in the moment, I wasn’t feeling the emotional resonance of chord structure and performance. I was caught up in the lyrics, the truth of my life this year and the prayers “I’ve prayed in desperation”, and the “songs of faith I’ve sang through doubt and fears.” And the beauty of what God has done in my life recently.

I lead/backup vocal worship almost every week of my life for the last 30 years and this few months, I found myself reaching for life at the wellspring of hope because life isn’t easy. You don’t know my journey, but if you did…

We aren’t immune to suffering.we aren’t promised tulips and roses.

Sometimes we get prayers of desperation. Sometimes, there isn’t sense to be made of the chaos. And my full story is a song for another blog post…

But as I sang this song from the stage on Sunday (along with others equally as beautiful and impactful), tears filled my eyes and I had to be “that girl” on the church’s livestream pulling myself together while my tears fell.

Because if it weren’t for the gospel…

If it weren’t for truth…

If it weren’t worth it…

I wouldn’t be here.

Someday I will share the whole story. Someday, I will explain but for now…I hear the naysayers calling “manipulation” and I praise God above that He is REAL!!! He is TRUTH! And He is enough for me.

I’m truly sorry for the voices lost to spiritual abuse. My heart breaks for you more than I can express but I please don’t judge God on the horrible injustices of people who call themselves his. Find Him. Reconstruct to the true and loving God who is so infinitely valuable and faithful!

Two cents for the hurting…how can I help? I’m listening.

Who can imagine

I sit at the table of a hundred imaginings

Holding my breath for the light

And the darkness can feel suffocating at times

But the light encompasses

And I wait for the music to rescue so I can sing along

But tonight, melody is fleeting

But God…

Superlative and encompassing

Beautiful and victorious in the midst of me.

Hope can be found in breathes…in moments when I inhale and exhale song and melody and the brooding chaos of the ache.

Tonight, the song can capture the waking wonder and I can imagine tomorrow

And maybe that’s enough

I’ll keep you posted.

So turns the world…until it stops.

I stare at you in dim rooms lit by tv light drowning out the noise

I almost wish for the noise to stop…almost…but maybe grappling with reality is lesser to ignorance.

I’m a coward.

I stare at light

I drown in darkness

And I pretend to know the difference

Only grace.

God save me from this man I am

God save me from who I could become

God save me!

I revel at light when I’m trapped in shadow.

I revel at grace when the “too much” is….too much.

But I am enough because you called me and said I am. I cannot understand but I’m cool with that.

Ghost Writing

I’m just a ghost figure in the corner watching my life walk by in shadow while I keep breathing.

Control is an illusion for the “other ones” on the outside calling the shots.

Faith is a bridge I’m building

Tomorrow is a dream worth living

So I breathe

So I call tomorrow a promise

Knowing is luxury

Trusting is strength

I’ll let go and watch my wax wings melt and maybe pull off a miracle before the fire and sea consume me.

Better yet, I’ll watch God work the miracle for me

Until fruition, I am free. Until tomorrow, there is now.

Watch as I split the sky and bring thunder!

Watch as His glory unfolds.