Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Only Hope



How many times I have sat down to write in the past several days and weeks and just....STOP.

I can't even.

My can't even...can't even.

I am not dry. I am simply...overwhelmed. By. My. Own. Thoughts.

Allow me a digression.

I have lost my favorite turquoise earrings. This isn't the first time I have lost them...I lost one in my original set causing me to order a completely new set giving me three....just in case this happened again. And it did. Only this time, I have lost a whole set, leaving me with one, and the company no longer sells them...and I have looked EVERYWHERE....and so I was sitting here tonight accepting defeat.

They are GONE.

Suddenly I started laughing....God sometimes does some purging for us. :) ;)

Why would God want to purge a pair of earrings for me? Well....I can think of a few lessons in there for me...

....like the fact that I have hit a purging wall...AGAIN...and need the motivation once again that this is all just STUFF...including some of my favorite things...which are still just STUFF.

....like the fact that how much time have I spent in the last several days looking for a pair of earrings? Earrings. #forthelove  So...may I once again reference the last point...just STUFF.

....like the fact that I bought those earrings from a chain...and although beautiful....I now have access to beautiful artisans whom if I provided a photo would make me an even more beautiful and unique pair...with their hands...and I would be giving my money to someone who is providing creativity and jobs for people.

...did I mention they are earrings.

Ugh.

*Deep Sigh*

I heard this song at Catalyst last week called Only Hope. Jon Foreman actually performed it live...him (on guitar) and a cellist, and although I had heard it before (and it was on my iPhone (music)), it was as if I was hearing it for the very first time. It makes me wonder....but first let me share the words...

Only Hope by Jon Foreman
 
There's a song that's inside of my soul
It's the one that I've tried to write over and over again
I'm awake in the infinite cold
But You sing to me over and over and over again
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You're my only hope
Sing to me of the song of the stars
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again
And I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You're my only hope
I give You my destiny, I'm giving You all of me
I want Your symphony singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs I'm giving it back
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours, I pray to be only Yours
I know now You're my only hope
 
Here is also a LINK to a video of Only Hope performed by Jon Foreman (disclaimer...not the one from Catalyst last week).

I wish I had a nickel for the number of times since January 2012 that I have crawled in bed and lifted my hands to the heavens and prayed to God with all that I have...to just take it all. Every single last bit of it. Most of those times, I was referring to my heart, lets be clear. So...I am slightly amused at how I sit here nearly four years later, and after lots of ups and downs, spiritual battles, personal battles, professional battles...I find myself just literally giving it (as in the physical) all away because suddenly even the things that were priceless to me just a few years ago have zero meaning or value to me. Let me tell you that there are no words to explain that feeling. None.

My friend Sherri sent me a text this morning with a photo and a note...."read the whole section on Matthew..."....and the photo she sent me is below...


..."but for Matthew there was no turning back."

I told Sherri last week at Catalyst that there were parts of this three year purge that felt like I was closing a door on ever going back to a job, career, town, position, house, building, lifestyle, relationships, etc. So of course she reads this last night and sends it to me....because WOW.

I don't think my story or journey this past 3-4 years is for everybody. Why? Because most people out there are not as stubborn as me...listen better...don't need Thor's hammer to come down on their head....but I digress...

I do think there is a lot to learn from our personal journeys...and from other's. I know that I have gained a lot of strength learning from others this past several years. It has been a refuge in the storm to know that I am not alone in the questions, the wilderness, the season of searching for...more. That said, for as much as I have shared my journey this past several years, there are parts of my story that I have not written...well, written...here. I am not sure if that is going to change or not, but I am thrilled that for the first time in my 44 years, I am not scared to share my story...the good and the bad....to feel my heart lighten at the thought is nearly miraculous, but you would have to be in my skin to fully understand that. I get it.

I have placed my hope, and often my only hope, in everything and in everyone...including myself...for the majority of my life. It is breathtaking to feel that truly changing...not simply the words of a woman searching, but the words of a woman found. A woman who knows to whom she belongs...and that everything outside of that single fact is well...just details.

A woman found.

*Tears*

In Matthew 9, the Pharisees question Jesus on why he eats with "tax collectors and sinners" to which he replies, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

..."but go and learn what this means"....

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice."

I feel like I have been on the journey to learn what it means...mercy vs. sacrifice....and not all days, and maybe not tomorrow...but tonight, I feel closer to understanding....and the truth is that mercy starts with the person in the mirror...and whatever sacrifices I now find myself making do not feel like sacrifices AT ALL as they are made from a heart that longs for a relationship with Jesus that makes him my one and only hope. That feels fundamentally different than any relationship he and I have had previously....and feels like HEALTH personified as I trust in a God that loves me unconditionally above everything and everyone else in my life.

There are some shifts coming....I can feel it.

There are purging moments ahead of me that are going to break my heart. There are choices to be made. Conversations to be had with old friends. Corners to be turned. Yokes to be dropped from my shoulders. I have such peace about it though...and my eyes are full of tears...but not of sadness, of joy. Pure unadulterated joy.

I have these littles watching me (though they are hardly littles anymore), and I stood at Catalyst last week with my arms wide open (literally) and after God, I thought of them...what have I taught them, what am I teaching them, what are the lessons....and more than anything else, above lessons on loving, forgiveness, entrepreneurship, photography, Haiti, football, Monopoly, etc., I pray that I am teaching them that you can fall down, crawl through the wilderness....on your hands and knees...be forgiven, and learn to walk again...with God....side-by-side....again. Again. Knowing too that he never left their side. Ever. I pray that they learn to give mercy freely as they need/will need mercy. I pray that they will learn that sacrifice can come from a willing heart that is head over heels in love with Jesus. I pray that they learn that whatever plans this world has for them, God's plans are better...more better (inside joke).

God, thank you. You have loved me SO well. "...at the top of my lungs I am giving it back..."

"Follow me, he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him." No questions. No discussion.

Lord, I pray for obedience in my heart like Matthew.

You are my only hope.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)