10 Surprising Songs for When You Need to Rest in God

 

{Join me for a Lectio Divina from this next Sunday’s lectionary below and listen to this great hope that we have from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Subscribe on the right to receive a weekly lectio divina in your inbox and join the SLOW Word Movement.}

 

I woke up on Sunday morning with what Brene Brown calls a vulnerability hangover.

 

Saturday I led a workshop at our Diocesan Synod on overcoming anxiety by learning to rest in God’s love. My talk was not some nice info I spliced together from a pile of books I’ve read all neatly objective. What I presented was my own story filled with the debilitating paralysis from anxiety and how God is healing my brain through his love. It was a complete joy to share and the fact that many experienced God’s love in a fresh way, I felt like Mary witnessing Easter. But when I woke up on Sunday morning my legs were slow and my brain was slower. I sat in the bath filled with Epsom salts and put my finger on it. It felt like the outskirts of depression.

 

When I was in the parish, every Sunday night this hangover drove me to escape into the Help Wanted Ads looking for those ever cliche greener pastures.

 

This time, however, I was expecting it.  Vulnerability hangovers are a part of the risk of using our deepest wounds to offer others the greatest healing. The day after big movements of ministry, I always have two thoughts: first, maybe I overshared and they’re going to think I’m an idiot, and second, perhaps it will all come to nothing. Even worse: Why did I offer anyways? Sounds like a toxic cocktail of my greatest fear and Satan’s greatest lie, right? But I’ve heard it all before.

 

That cocktail no longer has the power it once had.

 

Why?

First, I’ve received such powerful healing that sharing is integral to my gratitude. I can’t stop. I’m the woman at the well running towards the townspeople, “Let me take you to a Man…”

I’ve finally separated my deepest lie, “I will always be rejected,” from physical exhaustion. It’s no longer intertwined. Now, I know to rest, eat healthy food, exercise, and keep clear of the toxic whirl.

Second, I again recognize that it’s not about me. That truth is a deep sigh of relief.  I’m not the center of the world. I’m not the center of God’s world. I’m just a pointer to Jesus.

Third, He’s in charge of outcomes, I can only be responsible for offering.

 

But when I’m deep in the exhaustion of a vulnerability hangover and crawling back into life I often use music. I’m too tired for journaling. I’m too tired to pray. I can only pray through liturgy or music.

 

This is what the movement of my music listening prayer sounds like. It’s a sampling of my favorites from bluegrass to pop, from the profound to the quirky. I hope you’ll find a deep breath right here:

 

When I have a ministry hangover I often start here acknowledging the exhaustion:

 

 

 

 

Songs for resting in God’s love:

 

 

We’ve got all of these Scripture Lullaby albums. The kids often go to sleep to them. Loveliness. You can buy them here:

 

This next song is for celebrating our smallness and worshipping. I bought this album before one of our trips to Mount Desert Island, Maine and every time I hear the words, it’s forever linked to the winding drive up to Cadillac mountain, the bald rock hills on one side, the oceans dotted with islands on the other. Nature always reminds me how small I am, that I’m a very small part of a great big redemption story. I can say yes to my very small part and then turn and worship.

 

 

 

This song by Audrey Assad is an invitation to confession. It comes from the Litany of Humility here. As I listen, I ask myself, “Am I holding onto outcomes? Was I hoping it would be a validating experience, that I would come out as the hero of the story?”

 

 

After confession, we receive the victory of Christ and start to walk into hope. This song by Steffany Gretzinger takes twists and turns and captures us by surprise but somehow it’s exactly what we needed to hear:

 

 

This song is perfect when I’m exhausted in the morning but still need to get going: (This song from The Brilliance is usually on repeat while I make breakfast.)

 

 

When you’re ready to move out into the day. We are late the the Josh Garrels party but oh. my. word. after hearing this two part podcast about his vision for his vocation, we fell hard:

 

Quirky to the Nth Degree, this song is from my favorite movie, About Time. It’s a gentle reminder to listen to the spaces of redemption among the ordinary.

 

 

And then prayers for further anointing:

 

I’m linking with #tellhisstory over with the fantastic encouragement guru Jennifer Dukes Lee here.

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What to do with Worry

This morning I feel insecurity building and find myself holding my breath, the worry whirring. I feel myself faltering, raw, vulnerable, fear-full and needing to lean heavily against God, the only One firm, sure, stable who does not change.

Because…

Where will our future be rooted?  Will there be enough?  Will I find people…my people? Will I have time to restore, and be ready to care for my brood…or will I be working full time outside the home, ragged?

 

Everything is about to change.

 

And I need to lean hard.

 

This is when I go back to a simple prayer practice, go back to my ABC’s.  Because sometimes simple is best.

 

Linda Dillow wrote about this first in Discipleship Journal.  A young mama was going through breast cancer full with all the wearying treatments and the packed in fears I can’t imagine.  And this is what Linda gently taught this fear-wracked one: write God’s attributes, his names one by one and organize them according to the ABC’s.  Watch your faith grow one by one and your fears find their place in the light of His truth.  Soon there amassed a dizzying pile of truths and a daily hunt for more with pages of a journal and a Bible and a pen.  Linda told this young mama to go through this list for twenty minutes a day, to go to the rock of who He is and sit there firmly…to lean hard into God through this practice.

 

Then, the Word and the words became everything…easily recallable during the chemo treatment and the exhaustion, a way to rest in God, to crawl into her Hiding Place.  This simple practice became a portal for full, focused worship and often a doorway for God’s healing Presence.

 

Faith is built one brick at a time, one God-truth mortared firmly on top of another.

 

And this is what I’ve needed again lately because even when my world is tottering, He is not.

He is:

A:  Abundant Life Giver, Abba.  Authority.  All-powerful, All-Knowing, Alpha and Omega, Affectionate, All-consuming Fire

I found the image here.

 

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Mary, The Promise of God Inside

Life leapt.

God kicked

and what at first she had held tight within faith’s fist,

now bounced,

small mass of God-cells somersaulting against internal walls.

 

Laughter must have rose up deep from that womb as God’s seed played in motion within her.  Worship had consummated, (My Soul proclaims the glory of the Lord, and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior,) and she was filled, growing large with Joy.

Because what is Joy except God’s Presence in full banquet form?

And she was carrying the Master of the Feast within her belly.  She would never be the  same empty virgin.

But joy marked by God-full Presence has its sacrifice.

In Sunday school this morning, we colored icons of Mary holding an infant Jesus and talked about her saying “yes” to God.  She stood holding faith-fueled courage in a world where stone throwing was common for knocked-up girls.

Her great “yes” – Be it unto me as You have said – was bravery incarnate and I look into my heart and see a faith that wavers when the god of comfort ducks behind the clouds.

Young Jackson reminds us that she was the first Christian and I nod because she was the first human “yes” to Christ, the first to bear God in the world within her flesh.  Our icon coloring page reminds us that her hand was always pointing in Jesus’ direction, showing us where to hold our gaze.  Jesus’ infant hand always holds out a blessing for those who seek Him.

When we walk pregnant with God-full Presence, our orientation changes too.  We become pointers.    Bill Bright wrote a beautiful tract, the Spirit-filled Life, in which he illustrates the change that occurs when we are filled with God.  A simple circle of the self, a simple chair in the center, a simple cross drawn on the chair, and we take a joyful leap off the chair and orient ourselves in worship.  We are no longer our own hero demanding homage. No longer a god demanding ambitious sacrifices.

How many times a day do we have to remember to climb down off that chair, listen to Spirit’s Voice, breathe in Pneuma pure and breathe out the toxic of Self-centered pollution?

How do you climb off the chair?  How do you listen, my friend?  How do you make room for God within you?

(Reposted from Feast of the Annunciation last March)

Summer Gross

Counting gifts, always counting, because thanksgiving invites the Presence:
1. wonder and lights, the hunt through the town
2. my girl, joining the wonder with lit-up fairy wings…I match, mommy
3. mild days and time to turn on my camera in the open air
4. God is at work in my beloved friends on the Journey
5. He invites me to be a treasure seeker and promises that it will never be in vain
6. The advent candles lit and theology handed on a platter to my beautiful little ones, come to drink with wide eyes
7. Poetry magazine’s podcast. Pure joy of rolling words.
8. Advent, emptying and preparing and the drumms along with O Come O Come Emmanuel.
9. The Artists’ Way and God’s giving confidence that He will keep lighting the darkness
10. Precious girl practicing prayer of being with Jesus before bed. Lead me, Mama.







Also linking with the beautiful Laura Boggess @ www.lauraboggess.com Go check out all the wonder gathered.

And always enjoy linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood under Jen Ferguson’s gracious hosting:


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What Nourished Me This Week

One of the greatest joys in my life is to pull books off my bookshelf, share music, print off a chocolate brownie recipe to share.  If it was melt in the mouth good, than why keep quiet?

Want a view of my week’s favorite things?

1. Friday night movie: Cyrano de Bergerac.  His language and fierce love of poetry, his devotion to a woman.  Her orange gossamer cape.  Light and fun, especially the fifth (?) time.

2. Honestly, how have I missed this?  Donald Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years who encouraged his readers to become more intentional about their lives.  He’s written a blog, a paperback/workbook by the same Storyline title and software that makes my little techy heart race!  This quote from the free downloadable chapter gave me something to chew on all week long.

“My friend Justin Zoradi runs an organization called These Numbers Have Faces.  In his work, he provides scholarships for students in second and third-world countries so students can attend college.  Each of his students then pays back their scholarship through community service that helps somebody else.  It’s a revolutionary program and under Justin’s leadership, it’s thriving.

I talked with Justin recently and he said something I’ll remember for years.  Justin said: Don, just sitting down to do my job every day is a revolutionary act.  It may not feel like it, but by showing up at the office and facing the mundane nature of the work, I’m pushing back against academic inequality.  I get up, I do my work.

I agree with Justin in that when we push the plot forward we’ll drive light into darkness, no matter how mundane it may feel.”

Thank you, Donald Miller.  All week long I’ve lit a candle both literally and figuratively and seen it advancing into the darkness, one inch at a time.  The prayer is that I’m never advancing myself, but Him.

3. I downloaded this:  We sang it around the black babygrand at Aunt Sue’s over Thanksgiving, women who have walked through fire, singing of God’s faithfulness and as I listen over and over, I can’t help but raise my hands.  I downloaded The Falls’ Church Anglican’s version off of itunes.  Beautiful.

4. I started Quiet by Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking and ahhh, I am not alone in this fight for quiet.  Fascinating commentary on a loud, self-promoting society.

This weekend I’ll be looking for moments of peace to reflect on the beginning of Advent. I’m waiting, hoping, praying for Christ’s Presence to be born in me anew.

What nourished you this week?

Summer Gross

 

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Summer Feast

(Be aware, Grandma, the pictures don’t come until the end of the post!)

 

I’ve been hungering for delight.

 

My living has become dry boned parched. I escape into the still-dark morning, spread out on the linoleum office table, a litter of focus and begin jumping from one heavy book to another, searching for You. I need more than wisdom, more than ENOUGH. I need unstrained, unfiltered You. I open the thin pages one after another to Song of Solomon, slightly embarrassed, (this book of unabashed desire) and just place my hand flat, willing desire to seep into me too…miracle by osmosis.

 

See the Winter is Past, the season of singing has come. (S of S 2:11)

 

I’ve missed the early morning expectation.  Do you remember?  I could feel the Eastern sun seeping through the windows, throw on jean shorts and a sweatshirt and quietly open up the door of the cottage at the Inn.  Barefoot, I would pad down the wooden staircase and out into the sea-smelling morning.  As I walked across the sidewalk, I would run my fingers through the lavender around the statue, crushing the petals between my fingers and then turn: eight boardwalk steps down and then the quarter mile wooden path lay before me through the underbrush toward the ocean, toward You.  I would run RUN long strides, barefeet heavy on the wood, pad, pad, pad, pad.  The seagulls cried as I climbed up a small hill of sand surrounded on either side by pink rosa rugosas and there I was… in front Homer Winslow’s wild foggy sea, lobster boats puttering in from their morning catch.

 

You always met me there.  You ALWAYS met me there.

 

He has taken me to the banquet hall,
and his banner over me is love. (S of S 2:4)

 

The memory lies before me haunting and I am still empty, and I need You now, here on THIS shore and the words come that if I seek You, You promised I would find you.  Even here windows cranked open to freshen the stiff office air.

 

When I’m hungry for You, I paint You with words.  Linda Dillow taught me that, the missionary-writer of Satisfy my Thirsty Heart.  She said, worship was a door inviting You in.  And so, I practice the simple steps…painting You from A-Z:

 

Abba, Abundant, All-Knowing, All-Powerful, Advocate, Atoning Sacrifice,

Bread of Life, Beautiful, Bountiful, Brother, Banner of Love,

Come Along Side One, Clay-molder, Creator, Comforter, Cornerstone, Curator,

Deliverer, Delights in me, Discerns darkness, Death-Annuler, Disease-Healer, Dream-Granter, Desire-Creator,

Forgiver, Faith-Teacher, Father, Feast-Spreader, etc.

 

I run out of my own words and open the Bible to find more You, more words, more stories, brushstrokes to a fuller picture.

 

Just typing the words makes me feel like I’m taking a cloth on a window and cleaning, one word at a time until I see You again.

 

I NEED to see.

 

Turning to worship is a 180 repentance turn away from self-gazing, self-grazing and toward the the only hunger-satiator, Bread of Life, thick, nourishing.

 

I pulled the minivan back into the driveway, getting home as the children were padding down the green carpet of the front nursery steps.

 

But the worship did not stop… The clarity of your picture spilled out into a new thanksgiving.

 

And as I began counting thanksgivings, (and I do use Ann Voskamp’s lovely 1000 Gifts App.  I can download my pictures straight in!) they come faster and faster and faster…an embarrassing overflow.

 

It was all present before and yet not filled with Presence.

 

Worship uncorked thanksgiving and LIFE washed up wave after wave into our day.

The feast prepared became visible, and I began seeing glory everywhere:

In a fresh-picked picnic.  Easy laughter coming from our beach chairs.

The freedom to adventure big…

and small.

and hours to search for treasure.

 

When you have been stuck in the desert, how does the rock get struck, joy begin to flow in your life again?

 

…………………………………………………

linking with the very lovely:


and

 

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Receiving the Sabbath as a Gift

Fridays at a thirst for God we focus on Sabbath, carving out space for God, for rest:

Spring dances in, high and lifted up, waving scepters of gold. Gilded Day bounds free from the east, rising tentatively above slim, blue line of clouds that scurry. Birds chirp. Airplane drones, pretending a sun didn’t rise!

I watch….. still.  Cobwebs emerge, necklaced with dew, on shiny leaves.  Last year’s corn wears shadows well.  Trees blaze, red, gold: now buckets of yellow. Rainbow colors tremble, immodest across bluish sky: breathless peach–purple thunder.

Raucous crows announce “fiesta”!  Sun lavishes painterly light with good cheer. Today, seems overladen with possibilities!  Shadows are, quite simply, disappearing.  All of them. Inside and out.  “You are here!”

And still I watch.  Morning is secure now: full bodied and relentless in bright patchworks. Spring in Michigan.  A coolish breeze reminds me– scatters last year’s leaves in a dervish across emerald grass.

Spring brings crisp, bold mornings, and still-cool fireplace-kind-of-evenings. Mittens are put away.  Garden goods “pop”.  Glad earth turns.  Evenings stretch longer now, and Sun stretches out its’ bedtime.

Gifts of the morning, gifts of the evening.  How many do I miss, and why?  No reason passes muster!  These Sabbaths I will receive, or feel the loss to my soul.

And so, it is brief, but I claim this gift…this Sabbath.  I savor, and I pray, because I can, and not because I must.  “Multicolored gift of God, do your deep and soundless work in my soul.”

Linda Andersen

Where do you go to receive true rest?

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Bewitched

I am ambushed by You this gilded morning.  You flood me with you!  Your “you-ness” fills this quiet space.  And yes, I stand in complete awe, bewitched by who you really are in this life of mine.  Your very blood flows red in these veins. ..makes me you in blue jeans.  I touch satin sky with morning eyes and skim puckered-up clouds with fingertips of soul.

Heart breaks with joy as I step into the pool of this day.   Inside,  your very Holy Spirit sets blazing fire to  dwindling coals.  Manna!  Feed me full!  Water me deep!  Rock and swaddle me!  Sing me awake!

I turn and see your shadow.

Ears listen, and ring with heaven’s voice.  Hands reach, and are held close and firm in a never-let-you-go grip.  But why?  Really….why all of this if not for love?  Why, if the cross did not spill and bleed splintered love for all to see.  Why, if I have to hold my own self up and chase my own sin by the tail and worry my way to heaven?  Ah, but I don’t and won’t.  Not now.  Not ever.  Just not.  I can’t.   He did.  It worked.

Purest joy, I can’t take myself to heaven nor wipe  my sin.  Power-in-the-blood, Jesus, you can!  Did!  Do!  Will!  Want to!

Find me, Jesus!  Forgive me, Lord.  Enjoy me always.

All things is what you do so well.  All I never can, you do, with an eye blink.  Save.  Keep.  Satisfy.  All of these are all of you.

I scroll down and peep into today.  So ordinary.  So lackluster dull.  So  hum-drum beige.   Nothing here to inspire.  But…..wrapped in you and what you can do, errands and ho hum can “pop”.  And will.  And diapers will be mission fields.  And sinks will be butterflies.

Even so come!  Shine.  Buff. Transform.  Embed yourself into my ho hum and mundane.  Ambush my day!  Storm my ramparts!

Jesus!  Sweet geyser of God.

Linda Andersen

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Spring Thanks

“For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone”  Song of Solomon 2:11

Oh, Lord, what a wonder You are!  I stand back and exult in the coming  of yet another magical spring, so beautiful it takes my breath away.  I’m over-the-top pleased–surprised at its sudden arrival, and astonished at  gossamer puffs, high and lifted up,  cloud upon cloud, and  sparkling sun jewel hung high in  sky awning: necklace of light.

When did it begin, and why?  Was borning beauty tucked quiet under white, and protected under blue-gray ice? Was cold, good earth pregnant and white and mother in waiting? Were bulbs bursting and becoming even when all I saw was icicles on roof edge?  Was life begetting life in unseen womb and giving form and shape and color and essence even as crusted snow trudged under filtered light?

Was there a wooing and winning of one season over another even as  I waited and stirred vegetable soups and tapped feet, impatient for the wedding and done with the engagement?

Did Spring bedeck herself and don fragrance even as I searched the sky for evidence, and sighed large?

Where really “was” the season I craved?  Where had it gone and for how long should I wait?  Would it come and would it seal my longing with “yes!” and “here” and “now”?

Was there anything I could do to hurry the debut, the opening act?  Could longing be a key to open the lock?  Could prayer push or shove?  Could wishing devise a door?  I wondered and I tried.

But no, and no, and no!.   I could not make it come, but I could stay in the waiting room and “faith it“ out I could take hold of what was, and embroider it with a true presence.  I could enrich the wait with a song in my heart, and a lilt in my step, and  laughter out loud and big.  I could dance the dance of  the season at hand — not wish it away or erase the days so freely given.

So then, I can and I will.  Sit still in the season at hand , and watch the birthing of another. Abide.  Still my soul.  Order my feet.  Touch base with today.  Sing the songs of now, and this, and “is”.  Take hold of  gift and  giver.  Good God of the seasons, hold me!  Touch me with wonder, sweet and now, and fill me with “this” while spring erupts.

Spring will come, is coming, is present and very present under  the last of the sheeted snow and frosted ice and tommorrow.  Restore my wandering gaze and teach me thanks.  Help me love the season that is: in life, in weather.  Here then, are  questions,  longing, and premature desire.  Here, is me.  Here is now.  Here is this, and this, and this.

Seasoned bliss!

Thank you,

And thank you,

And thanks, God of winter, God of spring, God of all.

Linda Andersen

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Abba: Worship Wednesdays

                                                  

Galatians 4:6                          Mark 14:36               Romans 8:15

 “Abba!  Daddy!  Father!  Oh, how my spirit wraps itself around that unspeakably warm and touchable name!  You are who you are.  You are not as the fathers I’ve known or the ones I will know about.  None can compare to your matchless, flawless self.  There is no way to compare you with human fathers.  Does the sun compare to a match?

 You ride the winds for entertainment.  You dabble in the oceans and spin the earth on its’ axis and lift the sun and juggle the stars.  You cast the rainbow and stride the clouds and call the seasons out from their hiding places.  There is nowhere your voice is not heard.

 You spoke and commanded a universe and more into being.  You speak now, and nations shift and powers bend.  You pull fruit from blossoms and snow from clouds and toss thunder from shrouded darkness.  You “get little” and take our pulse and patch our hurts and plan our trips and pay our fares.

 You hold our pain, erase our fears, soothe our worst selves and blot unruly tears.  You are a safe place to tell our truths and confess our sins and ask for help. We need wisdom and  ask with a certainty we will not be harshly judged for asking.

 Like a human father?  Oh no.  Never!  Just “not”.     We can run to you and confide our angry and blistered truths and confess our tattered sins and get great helpings of forgiveness and be set back up on our trembling feet.  We can count on you, believe in you, rest in you, and trust you in a stretched-out eternity that lies ahead. 

 You don’t invade our space, but you do come when invited.  Your love is personal, perpetual, and purposeful.  You’re always about the business of reshaping us inside ourselves and seeing that our spirits grow younger and stronger even while the body wails under the weight of humanity.

 Abba!  It’s the sweetest name we will ever know!  And you’re just the same as your lovely name. 

 Of fathers, I’ve had two plus two, fathers and fathers-in-law.  Good men, all. But men.  Grounded-in-earth men and mightily flawed like me.  I don’t hold their feet  to your fire.

 Oh, there have been names I’ve longed to hear.  But never has there been a name so dear, to this heart of mine, as the name divine.  The precious, bejeweled name: Abba.

Linda Andersen

What name of God ushers you into worship?

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