Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dwelling in the House of the Lord

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the day of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" - Psalm 23.

I love how they make my words seem like mere child's play. God will forever be the master poet, and I humbly and gladly fall into His ever encompassing shadow.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Staff Paper

I love listening to music, I love piano, violin, and cello to be exact and I love anything that is supposed to be classical but is put into main stream music. I love listening to the sweet melodies, followed by the dark and foreboding ones. My heart feels as if it comes alive when I hear the sound of music and I have become thoroughly addicted to it. It's presence peeks out when studying, showering, walking, and strangely in unison with my Chemistry class in lab and recitation.

So many unspoken languages seep through when someone composes a piece. All feelings of loneliness, anger, melancholy, despair, joy, love, exuberance, and passion, saturate the sheet music speaking another language that only the heart and imagination can fully comprehend. It seems that we know when it is being spoken, but so often we have no idea what this language is saying. Our heart flutters, our minds soar and we draw deep into ourselves.

Well, for me music is the tangible example of my relationship with God. My life is one giant piece of staff paper. There have been so many times when my past has spoken of dark, dreary, and despairing times and during those sections I can hear the bass, short and spastic, breaking into the deep abodes of my anguish. I can hear the pounding of the piano keys as I yelled, threw things, and sobbed in the bed sheets grabbing onto to anything with such vehemence that my knuckles grew pale white. There have been times in my past that sing of joy, such joy that it cannot be bottled no matter how many containers the world provides. In those areas, the staff paper informs the flutes to tweet and twirl their notes in the air in a secret dance, the violins to burst into long, sweet strokes of young girls running through fields and the bells and xylophones to sound out the laughter of family and friends. And I know that when I meet my husband, our song will be a beautiful sync between the firm and authoritative voice of a tenor sax and the encouraging, heart-lightening love of a piccolo. We'll make a beautiful duo with our voices, even better that Joshua Radin in his many duets (if that's even possible), and it will be composed by God, the One saying "these two will work beautifully, this will make gorgeous sound, play for me".

Yet, when my life is average I cannot find the inspiring music that I express with my ups and downs. When my life is simply going through the motions and I have no passion my musical song stops. The drums quit pounding, the guitars break rhythm, and the saxophones screech. When my life isn't full throttle for God (encompassing risk, hurt, inexplicable joy, and laughter) then it becomes a dull, bland, uneventful, and uninteresting waste. My music stops and in those moments so does my living.

God is the composer of our songs, but if we don't let Him compose chaos occurs, the violins play one beat, the cellos another, the bass something despairing, the violas something chirpy and there is discord, not melody. When we don't let Him compose and lead the entire song, the music stops and noise ensues. God will direct our song for us, He will fill the staff paper with endless notes, ones that make us come alive, that speak to the very fibers of our being, that coax out the best of us, but we cannot become complacent, refusing to play, and we cannot try to take control, claiming to know more about the way the song should sound.

I am so excited to hear the final piece of my song when I stand before Him.  To cry in His lap during the dark parts and to dance with Him in the melodious, sweet sections. I'm excited to hear the songs of my brothers and sisters and I can only hope that when we get to the end our songs will be long and full of life as He has called us to live.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Striving for Security

Have you ever sat down and suddenly felt a bombardment of everything? All of a sudden, everything you've been doing wrong crowds your mind and you can't escape it. The replays that you have of past days are not of memories of laughs, but instead of stupid things you've said, dumb things you've done, people you've hurt, and areas where you could've improved. And you say to yourself in that moment that you're going to become a better person. You're going to do your best to not say stupid things, do dumb stuff, hurt anyone else, or fail. You say to yourself that it's healthy that you want to improve, to make yourself a better person...always striving, never resting. Have you ever felt like such a failure that nothing anyone says or does will change that idea, that lie that is SO implanted in your head?

Cause that's me right now, as I type this I hold back tears (mainly because I'm in a public place and well that would be awkward). It's taking all that I am to say to myself it's a lie: a lie that I can make myself perfect, that I can walk my Christian life on my own. It's taking all that I am to accept that i'm not a failure in God's eyes, that i'm not a screw up to Him. It's taking all that I am to accept that no matter how much I work I will never be what I want to be, that no matter how many promises I make to myself I will break them and fall again. That no matter how many resolutions to lose weight, study harder, become funnier, or build stronger walls, I make, I will always fall short of them. I have to struggle so much to understand that God wants me to come to Him broken so that HE can be the one to fill me. He doesn't want me to try to fill myself, fix myself, or better myself, because He knows how imperfect I am and how incapable I am of doing that. I cannot make myself whole. I cannot make myself feel secure by working harder. I cannot earn salvation by striving to be perfect.

"Father, take away the lies that grab onto us with such a firm grip that we feel it will kill us to pry it off. Give us strength to accept our weakness and our imperfection. Hold our hands as we accept our smallness and our failure. And let us see the grace You extend to us; let us feel the Love that You give us and the protection You offer us. Don't let us walk this alone. In Your Name. Amen. "

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baptismal Weddings

Going to a baptismal service today, I became aware that that is the way God intended a wedding to be. They are both a public display of our commitment. One to the Lord and the other to our future husband or wife who is to point us towards to the Lord. Baptism is our indication that we accept Him as our eternal Lover, our eternal Protector, and our eternal Comforter. And weddings say the same.

I watched a beautiful girl about the age of 8 wrapped in white and absolutely stunning in her admission to forever follow the Lord, step into the water as her father leaned over her, on his knees, whispering to her that He was baptizing her in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. I watched as her father gave her away to the Lord as he put her under the water and brought her back up, allowing God to kiss his beautiful daughter with renewing life. I watched as the tough men, the ones who don't usually express emotion step into the water and come up weeping in their joy. Baptisms, like weddings, are a place where emotions run high and all parties involved usually need to break out more then one box of tissues.

My friend, Brittany Donoho, wiped her eyes at the end of the service and said to me, "I'm a sucker and cry every time at these baptisms" which flashed me back to the memory of sitting next to my best friend, Maddy Rhodes, as she wiped her eyes at the end of a wedding and said, "I cry at every wedding".  It's that commitment to someone for your entire life that makes the tears flow and who better to marry than the one Lover you know will never leave you and will never forsake you? And who will be a better comforter, a more consistent challenger, and will love you with a more perfect love better than God?

I say to that beautiful girl of 8, good choice my dear, you will be forever cherished because you chose the right man to say yes to. And now I encourage others to do the same. What a beautiful moment it is when you finally choose to marry the Savior and Ruler of All, He is always asking for your hand.