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.

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.

Who are you?

Who let you decide when enough was enough?

Who are you to say I don’t have a say anymore?

I stare at the void knowing you’re okay but I am here and everything feels irrelevant.

Tomorrow isn’t a promise….only grace

Hold on tight. The winds shift but the anchor proves true.

Therein is hope.

Therein is peace.

So we fight a day longer

Bring the thunder, I know the Son!

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.

Exhaustion

Few times, in my life, have I ever felt this exhausted.

Blow me down like the air pumped into a balloon and I will pop

Mull me over with words and I will implode to nothing

Sink me in the earth with a step and I will cave to dust

Sleep is underrated to the, truly, tired!

The promise of heaven on a pillow where nothing comes in but surrender.

These are the nights that test the soul.

And I stand waking with the promise of dreams while the world slumbers.

Life is messy

Sleep is treasure and my pillow is screaming lullabies that should be quiet

In the place of the mind where the quiet goes to die, I wait

Until tomorrow when the siren blazes another day has come.

Until then, don’t speak or I may blow away.

When steal hearts rust, the breeze is threatening.

Goodnight world. I’ll see you on the other side.

Alone

Alone is an underrated word

Do we know what it means?

Have we felt its sting to the fullest?

Have we walked in the dark groping for candles or matches or a cell-phone glare?

Have you lived if?

I have

Or maybe I haven’t

In its depths, there is always a glimmer

In its talons, a minute scrape of resistance

The physical gives way to the spiritual and light lives

Darkness runs from a spark

Lord, tonight, be that spark

Strength perfect in weakness

Hope in the failing and the chaos.

That’s who You are!

Breathe when the lungs have stopped

Pump when the heart has stopped beating

Be near when everything feels distant.

That’s who You are

And I trust you!

On Reminiscing

Some nights revolve around the past…

It’s not that it started out that way but it ends in reminiscence of days gone by and memories you treasure.

Is it good or bad?

I don’t know the answer.

Enlighten me, people of Earth.

When reminiscence leads to wonder about what could have been it can lead down a rabbit trail of “bad”.

You know, a rabbit trail, when the bunnies roam in random directions and you chase them to find the meaning?!?

Or maybe it can lead to the realization of what was and is…

Sometimes I don’t know if I’m qualified to proffer an opinion.

But tonight, in the noise of my mind and the chaos of surrounding serenades, I’m happy to revel in what was and what could be.

Maybe I’ve missed the mark of greatness. Maybe time is not my biggest fan. Maybe I’ve suffered beyond the point where suffering should stop. But hope…

Hope lives in the dream!

Hope is in tomorrow!

Yesterday can remind me of what, not only was, but can be.

Isn’t that worth the struggle?

The “fight” can be in the hands of the unseen. The “fight” can be in the next breath.

Dare me to dream!

I will wake and go for broke.

It’s who I am and I’m not changing now. I’m not about to give up or give in.

Will me this moment to conquer the world.

I’ll see you on the other side!