Let me sink..

 

“You call me out upon the waters,
The great unknown, where feet may fail.
And there I find You in the mystery.
In oceans deep, my faith will stand.

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise.
My soul will rest in Your embrace,
For I am Yours, and You are mine.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters.
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me.
You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise.
My soul will rest in Your embrace,
For I am Yours, and You are mine.

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves.
My soul will rest in Your embrace.
I am Yours, and You are mine.”

I have a fear of drowning.
Not just in the literal sense. It goes deeper than that.
At the heart of it, I guess you could say that I have a fear of losing control.
If you’re drowning, you have no control. You lose yourself as you slip away, whether you want to or not. Not being able to breathe, and therefore not being able to keep your body from shutting down.
So, in life, I have a fear of not being in control. I don’t like to do new things that I have never experienced before, because I am afraid of the unknown.
Naturally, when things get overwhelming, and it feels harder to maintain my grasp on a situation, this fear doesn’t  bode well for me. I, like many people, have to work every day to let go of my fear. I have to die to myself, so that I can live for Christ. So that I can go where He calls me, and do as He asks.
And He never asks me to go somewhere and do something that I am not capable of. I just have to trust Him to equip me. Because He will. Always. To venture into the unknown. To walk on water. To float. To swim. To thrive.
Or even to sink.
“Your grace abounds in deepest waters…Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.”
Yes, He might ask me to let go of my fear, to let go of my control that I desperately grasp with my feeble strength. And that means that I may sink. But the reality is, if that is what He wants me to do, I have to be willing.
Because, without the confining borders that I place around my trust, if I truly let it expand, and I place my fears in His hands, then I can let myself sink, knowing that He can save me.
And He will.
If that is what He wants.
Because sometimes, if that is what it takes to learn and grow, you have to sink in the deepest, darkest waters, in order to see the light of His grace.

“If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.”

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Recovery

I read this quote today and it really caught my attention:
“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.”
How true that is! We might feel a little worse for wear, but at the end of it all, when you look at yourself, you are still standing. You didn’t break. You weren’t crushed. Tomorrow is another day, and admittedly we don’t know what it will bring, but today you’re still breathing.
We are clay in the potter’s hands, not only able to be molded and formed, but also able to be fixed.

Power of prayer

You know, whenever I hear of some tragedy in someone’s life (or experience one in my own),whether big or small, I just have a moment where I think to myself, How on earth does someone get through something like this without God? I mean,I know that in my own life, whenever I encounter struggles, I always feel like I can make it through as long as I have Him.And I have personally experienced the peace and comfort that can surround you in your time of need when you know that you have others who care about you and are praying for you.
It can truly make such a difference, which is why I count it as such a blessing in my own spiritual life to be able to impact someone else’s through the power of prayer–especially someone I personally know and care about.

“The Lord has heard my plea;the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9

“Rejoice in hope,be patient in tribulation,be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters they shall not reach him. You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance.Selah. I will instruct you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:6-8

Getting my bearings..

You know, sometimes when there are a lot of changes going on in your life, it can be easy to get so caught up in the chaos that you not only forget to take the time to rest, but it can also be easy to feel a little dejected. Even if the sudden whirlwind of activity is for the best and you know that good things are coming from it, sometimes it just makes us feel like we’re a little lost.

I myself have been going through a ton of changes all at once. I packed up and moved, got a brand new job and started working practically as soon as I got off of my plane. I’ve been so busy, and while I know in my heart and my mind that the work that I’m doing and the changes that are happening to my life are good things, I’ve been getting so wrapped up in the change itself that I’ve had all sorts of things running through my mind lately, like…

I don’t know how I got here.
Did I decide to come to this place for the right reasons?
Why am I here?
Where do I go from here?
What is the plan for me?
What if I’ve had it all wrong up til now?
Am I truly happy here? And if I am feeling discontented, why is that?

I think it is pretty normal to be feeling things like thist in the midst of all of the things that have been going on. But to keep struggling means that I’m not centered, and that’s not good. It’s just a matter of finding your balance again.
I just recently heard a song for the first time a couple of days ago, and it really spoke to me (don’t you just love it when music does that?). It was just one of those instances when a meaningful song was telling me all of the things that I needed to hear–that I am right where I need to be and that I have a job here that needs to be done, so I need to appreciate that I am a part of a plan, and it is all under control.
Maybe you need to hear those same things today…

“Long before you drew your first breath, a dream was coming true.
God wanted to give a gift to the world, so He wrapped it up in you.
Every step that you’ve taken, every move that you make,
Is part of His plan.
You were meant to be touching the lives that you touch,
And meant to be here, making this world mean so much
More than it would be without you in it.
You were meant to be bringing the gifts that you bring,
And singing the songs you’ve been given to sing.
You are perfectly, wonderfully, beautifully meant to be.
You were meant to be.
Long before you took your first fall,
You stumbled to the ground,
God started telling the story of you to the angels around.
Every failure and victory, everything in between,
It’s all in His hand.
You were meant to be touching the lives that you touch.
And meant to be here, making this world so much more
Than it would be without you in it.
You were meant to be bringing the gifts that you bring,
And singing the songs you’ve been given to sing.
You are perfectly, wonderfully, beautifully meant to be.
You were meant to be.
For every breath that you’re taking,
And every move that you make,
It’s a meaningful life you’ve been given.
Live it well.
You were meant to be touching the lives that you touch.
And meant to be here, making this world so much more
Than it would be without you in it.
You were meant to be bringing the gifts that you bring,
And singing the songs you’ve been given to sing.
You are perfectly, wonderfully, beautifully meant to be.
You are meant to be.”
-Steven Curtis Chapman

 

Just me, my thoughts, and some water…

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“The lakes are something which you are unprepared for;they lie up so high, exposed to the light, and the forest is diminished to a fine fringe on their edges, with here and there a blue mountain, like amethyst jewels set around some jewel of the first water,–so anterior, so superior, to all the changes that are to take place on their shores, even now civil and refined, and fair as they can ever be.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Healing

I am still sad that I could not participate in the final farewells of my friend Carol, but everything I have heard from all of my friends who were able to attend makes it difficult to feel quite so sad. It makes her loss somewhat easier.

There were hundreds, literally hundreds, of people who showed up to celebrate her radiant life yesterday. The sanctuary was full, the overflow rooms were filled, and people were lining up down the street. She was so much more loved than I think she ever realized. And it has been strikingly evident that, while her family is naturally hurting, they are also at peace. Everyone has said that it really was an uplifting and joyful celebration of her life, and that makes me happy.

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I feel so privileged to have known Carol for so many years and to have gone to school with her every day.

Her death has hit me so hard. It is just such a shocking thing when one of your contemporary friends passes away so young. But her life was full, and most of all it was exemplary. She experienced so much, which is a blessing, but she also has taught so many people so much, both while she was living and through her death.

I know that rings true for myself. When she was alive she taught me to always have a smile on my face and to be kind to others. Through her death she has taught me to appreciate every moment of my life, and to examine my faith in a way that I don’t think I ever have before.

I don’t think we should be sad over her death for the rest of our lives–she wouldn’t want that. But I don’t ever want to forget the impact that her life and passing have had on me.

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“God has blessed me more than I could ever ask for. Perfect husband, amazing family, spot for me in heaven. How do we overlook Him so easily?”
-Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary

“Having a bad day? Hold your hand over your heart…feel that? That beating? It’s called purpose! You’re here for a reason, so make the most out of it.”
-Carol Michelle Hensley Singletary

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“I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.”
-Sylvia Plath

Be calm in the midst of the storm.

“The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning.
It’s time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.
You’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger.
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind.
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing,
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul.
I’ll worship Your holy name.
And on that day, when my strength is failing,
The end draws near, and my time has come,
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending,
Ten thousand years and then forevermore.
Bless the Lord, O, my soul,
O, my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
O, my soul,
I’ll worship Your holy name.”

-Matt Redman

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Today is a hard and very difficult day for me, and tomorrow will be as well.
A Celebration of Life service is being held for my beautiful friend Carol today, and tomorrow morning she is being laid to rest.
These would be emotional days regardless, but they break my heart even more since I an across the country and am unable to attend and say my last goodbyes in person with all of our mutual friends.

Yet I am continually reminded to hold onto hope, and to keep my eyes on the Lord, who is a God of peace, whilst facing this storm in my life, because without Him I will sink.
I don’t know what tomorrow or the future holds. All I know right now is the pain in my heart, but I hope that this song rings true for me and all the others I know who are grieving right now:

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.”

Be thankful to God for your life, because it is not a right, but a privilege and a gift. We are not guaranteed any time on this earth but this immediate moment.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Romans 15:13