In my mind, the last 8 weeks have felt a bit like instruments in an orchestra that all had something to play. However, every instrument was playing all at once. A grouping, that is designed to create something beautiful sounds anything but. It sounds disjointed, dissonant, and deafening. Its been a rough few weeks; no, months. Not just in the obvious, but hidden amongst the lives of others. I have had thoughts, I just couldn't make all the noise stop long enough to say anything.
I have experienced so many emotions, so many words flying around inside my mind and heart, the persistent pecking of noise, that it has actually left me awake at night and some days unable to think clearly or function. Now. I am positive much of this has been exacerbated by the fact that I am pregnant with our second child. Nothing like throwing up at the smell of... well... anything to really keep your spirits up. I wasn't sleeping. I was scared to eat. What I was eating wasn't staying with me. But still all the words and sounds came. The struggle raged on.
My birthday is the day after New Year's, so while the first week of January is always an interesting time of introspection for all people, its always been even more so for me. Another year of my life has come and gone, and another is in front of me. This year, I had the pleasure of getting to spend my birthday and the following days at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. After weeks and week of unrelenting internal struggle, the days after Christmas started to feel... different. The noise wasn't gone, but it had at least dulled to a low roar. Then, on January 2nd, I walked into the Georgia Dome, and some of the first words that were flashed in front my eyes were this:
Suddenly, it seemed like a great conductor walked in to the hall of my mind and first of all put an end to the noise, but also, with one raise of His arm, brought all the instruments together and led them to what they were created to be; a symphony. A symphony of clear thought, true emotions, and compelled conversation.
Not only did I hear that with the tender ears surrounded by 55,000 young people yelling out their desire for the Light of Life, I heard it with a heart that had been watching and longing for the morning. (Psalm 130:6)
The next three days went on like that. Message after message, song after song, I heard the same theme being echoed over and over again:
Hope still exists. It can be hard to find, it often has to be fought for, but it is worth the fight. We are surrounded by hard things, from the smallest scale to the global sphere, BUT this is not how the story ends, friends.
It is OK to be sad. It is OK to have questions. It is GOOD to look around you and evaluate the brokenness of your circumstances or that which affects your community. It is good to weigh what is passing before your eyes and find that something is off. Because it is. This world is broken. This world is hurting. We are broken. We are hurting. But that's not all there is to it. There's more.
We are called by name by the God of the universe. He knows you. He loves you. He wants you just as you are. Just as I am. There is life to be found outside of the darkness that seems to overwhelm; abundant life. (John 10:10) Its not a life that promises things will always be OK, the world is broken, but it does promise we will NEVER be alone in it. (Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Matthew 28:20) Its a life that promises that there is a love for you that is so vast that it cannot even be measured. (Ephesians 3:18).
Friends, its time to come out of hiding. Its time to take that first shaking step out into the Light. There is nothing for you in the dark but fear, anger and a fire of bitterness that will only keep you warm for so long. I know it seems scarier outside, but I promise, out here, there is so much more to see than we can ever even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Hope is here. There is a part for you in it. It doesn't have to be earth-shattering action to matter to someone, its the heart behind it.
We are all struggling against the urge to hide, to drown in the hard around us, and let our confusion and clamor rule us, but let's stand firm together, friends. One step at a time.
*Update as of January 9th, 2017-- Here are some resources I'd love to share with y'all. First, links to the various talks from the Passion Conference that just rocked my soul.
"I Ran Out of that Grave" - Kristian Stanfill (the song I mention earlier in my blog)
"From the Darkness (How Great is Your Love)"- Passion Worship Band(my second favorite song =))
"Worthy"- Bellarive (my tie for second favorite. AND the favorite for my dear friend that came to Passion with me, I had to include it =))
Additionally, I've started my first Spotify Playlist of the year. I'm calling it Awake. That's the best word I can think of through all of this. In addition to recapping these amazing worship songs and sessions via you tube, I am determined to wall paper my mind with Truth by being in God's word, which for me, includes filling our home, my car, my mind with Truth in song. I hope it encourages you right where you are. xo