Monday, June 4, 2012

Something beautiful...

As I was working out on the elliptical trying to shed these pesky last ten pounds, wrestling with my self doubt and pondering my self worth, I was listening to some songs I had just bought on iTunes. One of the songs is one that was popular a couple of years ago and one I actually hadn't listened to in a while. As I was listening to this song at the end of my grueling workout, I realized something. I just want something beautiful to touch me.

I used to be in the ocean but for some reason I have crawled back up onto the shore. I am standing ankle deep in God knowing I should be out further with His love and grace and acceptance crashing over me. How did I end up back on the shore? When did I start believing I was better off in the hot sun and uncomfortable sand than  in the arms of the One who loves me than I will ever know? I know where I need to be but I allow my human reasoning take over and my fear of drowning keeps me on the shore.

I live in a beautiful area and am still amazed a year later how beautiful it is but the beauty which surrounds me every day is rotting garbage compared to the beauty of my Savior who bled and died for me, who reaches out for me daily, who holds my tears, my fears, my wants, my desires. I have become blind to Him even as He reveals Himself to me daily. Why do I do this to myself?

I want something beautiful to touch me. I want to experience beauty beyond belief. My heart cries out to be consumed. When gold is taken from the ground, it is full of impurities and the only way to remove them is to put the gold through the fire. Only then can it be made into something beautiful. I want to be back in that space. I want to be something beautiful again. Beauty is something I have always struggled with. As I got off the elliptical, trembling with exertion and emotion, I was reminded that in God's eyes I am beautiful. It doesn't matter what the world thinks. It doesn't matter that I am not tall or have cottage cheese thighs or crooked teeth. It doesn't matter that I don't have a flat stomach.

As I type this blog with shaky hands and teary eyes, my heart echoes the words of this song. "This is my desire: Consume me like a fire because I just want something beautiful to touch me. I know that I am in reach because I am down on my knees waiting for something beautiful." I need something beautiful. Do you? Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Somebody feels like a monster...

I have been debating for a whole month about this song, so much so that I have now missed the month of March and it is now April. When I first got the impression to do this song, I was really surprised. I thought, "No way! I am sure some of my readers will not like this song." It's very different from the other songs I have done this year. The other songs I have written about have been applicable to me at this time in my life. This song would have applied to me when I was younger, but I have moved on and grown past this song. I have tried picking other songs only to sit down at my computer and go completely blank...absolutely nothing...nada. Then this song would find its way back to me. So I am going to go for it and do this song. Someone somewhere must need to hear what I have to say about this song.

"So what is the song?" you ask. The song is Monster by Skillet. I am a big fan of Skillet. They have some amazing rock ballads and crazy sick instrumentals. When I was younger, I felt like every song they sang was written about me. Now that I am older, I listen to them with the nostalgia of someone whose youth is gone but is not yet old. This particular song came to me in this latter part of my life. At one time in my life, I would have cried with teenage angst and beat my chest saying, "Somebody finally understands!" Ok, maybe I wouldn't have been that dramatic but I would have definitely related to this song.

Now I don't want you to think that I hesitated about this song because it is a rock song. I love rock. Many has been the time when I have cranked up Skillet's Comatose album and rocked out till my ears were ringing. My hesitation about this song is that it no longer applies to me.When I started this year with the resolution to write about music, I assumed all the songs would be relevant to MY life and where I am now. How selfish of me. I have a gift for writing and what good is a gift if it is used only for myself? So I write this blog to you, the person who feels like a monster, who feels there is no escape, who feels like a stranger in your own skin. I have a message for you. You are NOT a monster; you are human.

Anyone who has ever been a teenager, and I think we can safely assume that applies to everyone over the age of 19, has had to deal with the torment, the agony and the delight of emotions. Human bodies go through this radical change and it can be difficult. It seems like overnight your body is no longer the same. You go from being unbelievably happy to miserably depressed at the drop of a hat and for no reason. This can be a confusing time.

This song, I believe, portrays what one of these emotions can feel like to a teenager. Anger. This song is a very angry song. Jon Cooper portrays this emotion as a beast that rages within the body wanting out, but he knows he can't let it out because it will destroy him. And he is probably right. Anger can cause all kinds of damage if not dealt with properly.

But anger is a natural part of being human. Everyone gets angry. How you deal with it can affect how it makes you feel. I used to kick things, slam doors and scream at the top of my lungs. All I got was sore toes, broken doors and a raw throat. When I learned to express that anger through other means, I no longer felt like it had control of me. I learned to write my anger out or pray it out or I would put on a Skillet album and rock it out. There are certain times in life when it feels all-consuming. I know there were times in my life when I felt like a monster was inside of me. I write this as someone who has been broken, been defeated, felt worthless. It gets better. Take it from someone who never thought it could.

So to whoever this blog is meant for, and I hope you find it, know that there is no monster inside of you. Know that it will get better. Know you are not the only human being on earth to feel like this. Know that God sees your hurt and your torment and His heart breaks for you. Know that God is bigger than anything you will ever go through. Know that you can make it to the other side in one piece and be made whole. I did. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The warrior becomes a lover...

Last month, I became a warrior. This month, I want to be a lover...a lover to God. My theme song for this month is Always Forever by Phil Wickham. This song expresses the passion and adoration Christians should have toward God, myself included. I know there are many times in my life when I have not devoted all of my love and attention toward God. The video below comes from uhnuh on YouTube.

We are raised in a world where love is portrayed as this magical and wondrous event that sustains us for the rest of our lives. We are taught that love is all you need. Girls should be treated as queens; boys should be adored by doe-eyed beauties. In fact, there is a blurb at the beginning of the video above where the creator states she is waiting for her soulmate and he will find her when fate says it is right. But none of this is what love is really about. The truth is we can never be fully and completely loved by another human being. We are fallible, selfish creatures. Don't misunderstand me, we are capable of love, of lasting love, of deep love but we are incapable of perfect love. And our love can end.

Although he never says it, I believe this song is a love letter from a human to God. We are to be lovers to God. He is to be the most important person in our lives. The first thing we think about in the morning and last thing we think of before we sleep. One of the reasons I love Phil Wickham's music is because of his lyrics. They are beautiful, soulful and touch something deep inside of me. The words of this song are words my heart has cried out in a moment of spiritual fervor for my Saviour. "You are my day. You are my night. / You are my love and all of my life / You are the love I need / You are the air I breathe / You are my love, my life always forever!" Can't you see the masses with their arms raised, filled with the Holy Spirit as they proclaim their adoration for God!!!

But what happens when they go home? What happens when reality reasserts itself and they are reminded of the stresses and worries and sadness of living in this decaying world? Where does all that adoration go when they are away from other Christians? Ahh, here is where our love is really tested. There have been times in my life when I have been so full of love for my God that nothing can take the smile from my face. There have also been times in my life when I have forsaken my God and questioned His love for me. What happened to "always forever"?

So this month, I am going to reflect on being a lover to God. Why do I not say a lover of God? Because there is a difference. To be a lover OF someone requires no action. To be a lover TO someone requires work. I will work this month at loving God. I want to reach a point where I no longer have to work at it and my love is just natural, a part of me. I know He loves me. He loves me more than words can express. I will never be able to understand how much He loves me nor will I ever be able to love Him as much He loves me but I will definitely try. So this warrior is setting aside her armor, for now, in order to show her Liege the depth of her love. Always. Forever.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My warrior's heart...

I don’t feel much like a warrior, yet. In fact, I have felt rather inadequate in many areas of my life lately. My warrior’s heart is weak and discouraged. Part of me wonders how that happened and part of me is not really that surprised. Being a human being, I am naturally weak. I need to plug back into my power source: God. Through Him alone can I acquire and maintain a true warrior’s heart. As I strive to become a warrior for God, He is the one who will bolster me and give me the vigor and courage I will need to be a warrior for Him.

After some reflection, I have realized that in order to be a warrior, there must be an enemy. What good is a warrior who has no one to stand against? If there are no opportunities to use the skills they possess as a warrior, what good are those skills? Sparring can only go so far. Without something to defend against, a warrior becomes complacent and feeble.

I am now facing my enemy, but who is this nemesis? I would argue there are two. The first, and the most difficult to overcome, is myself. I am my own worst enemy. I can tear myself down faster than any silver-tongued imp. I doubt myself; I contradict myself; I wound myself. This is one of the main reasons why dying to self is so important. My “self” is dangerous, even fatal.

Another enemy who is more obvious, at least to my friends who believe in him, is Satan. God tells us Satan is our enemy. He hates it when we rise up and take a stand for God. He hates it when we don’t fall for his tricks. He hates it when the weapons he has fashioned against us fail. He hates us. Period. Writing about this enemy is actually strengthening my resolve to maintain my warrior status. My warrior’s heart has begun to burn again!

It should also be said that one must be careful what they say. I proclaimed I wanted to become a warrior for God and the enemy didn't wait for me to go through basic training or put on armor. Say what you mean and mean what you say. There may be consequences. The enemy made a preemptive strike and I almost let him win. Almost. Now I see clearly and he no longer as the element of surprise. Now that I have a clearer sense of the battle before me, I am ready. I'm a warrior!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I'm a warrior!!! At least, I hope to be...

I have decided I will pick a theme song each month this year, then reflect on the song and (hopefully) post my thoughts throughout the month. My method for choosing these songs will be a little unconventional. As I listen to my iPod at the gym or while I am cleaning, I will wait for a song to speak to me. Some of them may be serious; some may be silly while others may make you think.

The song I have chosen for January is “Until My Heart Caves In” by Audio Adrenaline. Here is a video with the lyrics uploaded to YouTube by go1chris. The creator of this video adds a little message at the end about how men need to be worshipers, warriors and leaders and I believe the same can be said for women as well:

This song struck a chord with me the first time I heard it. The first proclamation of “I’m a warrior” speaks to something within my soul. I want my relationship with God to be like the person in this song. I want to be a warrior for God. I want to be able to say to Him, “I would die for you.” I want my heart to be a warrior’s heart and I want it to burn for God. I want to sing His name until my heart caves in. But what does all that mean?

First of all, what exactly does it mean to be a warrior? defines it as “a person engaged or experienced in warfare or a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.” For my purposes, I am going to go with the second definition. I want to be someone who has shown, and is still showing, great vigor, courage and aggressiveness when it comes to my relationship with God.

I am not at this point but I hope to be by the end of this year. I want to strengthen the most important relationship in my life. By doing so, I will strengthen other areas of my life such as my relationship with my husband. He uses the illustration of a triangle. He and I are at the bottom of the triangle on opposite corners and God is at the apex of the triangle. The closer he and I move toward God, the closer we move towards each other.

Another line from this song I like is “My love is fierce.” Love is not usually thought of as something fierce, especially by women. We tend to think of it in soft, gentle ways that make us feel warm and tingly all over, but love can also be fierce. Love can make someone be so devoted that nothing can come between them and the object of their love. They would do anything to protect him or her from harm or injury, even to the point of their own demise. Examples of fierce love come in the forms of stories we've all seen such as a mother who wrapped herself around her baby in order to protect him from the cold when their car stalled on a remote road in the dead of winter. I want my love for God to be like this. I want to be so in love with Him and so devoted to Him that nothing can come between us. I want to be able to stand up and say, “He is my God!!!” He doesn’t need me to defend Him, but He loves it when I do.

There are many more things I could say about this song but I will save them for later posts. I pray you will be touched just as much as I am by this song and that my ramblings will have meaning for you. God has laid a great desire on my heart to write and so, for now, this is my outlet. Thanks for reading.