“God, I’m in the place again/I’m trying so hard not to fall/But everything keeps coming down with the rain.”–Everyday Sunday
I’ve always appreciated melancholy songs. There’s something about the toned down, raw nature of a rock band that grips my heart and makes me pay attention, like KISS’s “Beth” or Five Iron Frenzy’s “Every New Day.” (Yes, I just mentioned KISS and Five Iron Frenzy in the same sentence. Incidentally, “Beth” is the only KISS song I know.)
Since lyrics and song melodies move me, it’s understandable why I’ve danced my way into the genre of singer/songwriter in my old(er) age (though I still enjoy Southern rock, like Credence Clearwater Revival and more recently, NeedToBreathe.) Lately, it seems, I find comfort in the likes of Bebo Norman (surprise, surpise!), JJ Heller, Audrey Assad, Josh Wilson, and Andrew Peterson.
See, I haven’t had an easy go of things lately. In mid-May, I broke my left foot. Yes, friends, another broken foot. As you may recall, I broke my right foot about 15 months ago…and the healing process for the right foot has been excruciatingly slow. After a couple tests, my foot doctor discovered my Vitamin D level to be pitifully low and started me on a regimen 50,000 units of Vitamin D weekly. That’s the boring medical part.
This happened a week after I made some changes in my life, after all night prayer sessions, talks with my pastor, and weeping before the Lord, I felt Him saying to me, as He said to Elijah as he ran for his life from evil Queen Jezebel, “The journey has been too much for you. Rest now, My child, I will take care of the details.” Two weeks after resigning as lead of a ministry and falling into a more manageable role on the leadership team, I broke my foot simply by getting up from (or rather down) from one of our counter height dining room chairs.
This started a longer-than-I-anticipated journey of rest–no driving, walking around with a rollator (rolling walker), going down the stairs with a cane, needing assistance with normal tasks like showering, shopping, and getting here and there. Oh, and of course, resting with my legs elevated to improve healing time. Alone all day in my apartment. It sounds perfectly lovely to harried people who could use a day off, but it’s house arrest for a social, relational woman like me.
So I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to God and listening to music. At first, I was struck with severe anxiety, which I believe was my anxiety disorder as well as a spiritual attack from the enemy. I cried–wailed actually–and copied psalm after psalm from the Bible into my journal. My fervency for God was strong and trust was a moment by moment walk. While I don’t miss the panic attacks and tears, I wish I could maintain the level of urgency for God and His Holy Word when I’m not in the throes of fear.
I don’t always listen to music. I like silence, too. I can hear the birds singing merrily, the engine of the mail truck, laughter and screams from neighborhood children, the clink of my dog’s tags as she roams about the apartment, and my cockatiel’s own chirps. So many ordinary sounds that make up the backdrop of this orchestra called life…and most of the time, I barely notice.
And I’m reading. As much as I love to read, I don’t always make time for it. Besides my Bible study reading (The Story and Crazy Love) and my daily devotional, Jesus Calling, I’m juggling three books right now–One Thousand Gifts, The Parable of Joy, and The Covenant Child. My attention span seems to have increased as a result of my sitting in this stillness.
My writing life has been rich, though much of it has come alive in my journal–private conversations between God and me. While this isn’t a measurable source of earthly wealth, it is the most important writing that I can do. I call it “holy writing.” If my purpose here on earth is to bring glory and honor to God, then my writing–for Him and Him alone–can have no higher calling. Face down before the Throne of God, I write and write, like some ancient, inspired scribe. Perhaps I will pick out thoughts to blog about here. Or maybe write that book I’m always thinking about.
Don’t get me wrong. I would never have chosen this path, but I am learning to be thankful for it. I am grateful for the friends God has given to support me in this time. It’s funny how my One Word for 2013 is LOVED and He is showing me how LOVED I really am! (Even when I start to believe the lie that no one cares, including God.) Who would have thought the path to knowing I am LOVED would come with so much pain and brokenness–the actual physical breaking of another bone? It seems all paths are littered with sorrow and suffering. Is it any wonder that these are little Much Afraid’s guides to the high places in Hind’s Feet on High Places? (I plan to re-read the book as soon as I finish The Covenant Child.)
I am loved. It rings loudly and clearly throughout my days, and it is revealed through so many ways and so many people.
If I hadn’t broken my left foot, my small group leader wouldn’t have moved our Bible study into her living room so I could attend showing me that I am LOVED. (Thanks, Amanda!)
Nor would I have received a ride to the Bible study I lead from one of the attendees. (Thanks, Patty!)
I would never have trusted God to help me make it up to the choir loft for praise team or give me strength to sing when my jaw ached with TMJD pain. (Thanks to the Praise Team for their encouragement!)
I have moments of despair, when I feel God’s touch or receive a phone call or text or Facebook message. These are precious things I gather into my heart. Someone is praying or God is teaching me to trust Him more and more. I hate the aloneness, and I love the intimacy with God.
If this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. Perhaps I’d write something else, or maybe nothing at all. I know not the path I would’ve taken and it hardly matters because this is where I am. Everything around me is speaking to me–the book One Thousands Gifts, reading the book of Ruth this morning (I was struck that Naomi was so very bitter and yet so very blessed through Ruth in the end. In the middle, it seemed she would never have joy again), and in watching The Fellowship of the Ring last week. (Frodo never CHOSE for the ring to come into his possession, yet it did. Yet he carried the burden anyway. He chose to do the right thing in the midst of his circumstances.)
It’s a conscious choice, this choosing to be thankful and grateful in the midst of this disappointment. Perhaps it’s a divine appointment to receive greater joy. That’s an encouraging thought, isn’t it?
Tell me, how has God taught you to be faithful or thankful in the midst of something hard or disappointing? What have you been reading lately? Do you miss the fervency of intimacy with God when you aren’t going through trials?