Saturday, September 26, 2009

Still Here Waiting

I've not blogged since "What Do I Know of Holy?" because that song was so inspiring and impacting that I didn't know where to go next. Tonight I was scrolling through my ipod to find something new to listen to, something I hadn't heard in a while. I came across a song by Todd Agnew. I attended his church in Memphis while I lived there for one of my internships back in 2004 and I've been listening to his music every since. The lyrics below are to one of his songs...I attempted to link to the music video but had technical difficulties so if you want to hear the song look it up on YouTube.

Still Here Waiting -Todd Agnew

It's cold outside
Or is that just the chill I feel inside from standing here
Steeping in my shame
I can't deny I'm surrounded by the very thing You freed me from
That's why I can't come home

I don't know where I turned around
From chasing what I always found completed me
More than I could dream
I don't know why I can't remain
Safe here where I always came to meet with you
And You always met with me
And You're still here waiting

I fail to see
Why You'd still be waiting to forgive me
After all that I have done
But I cannot say
That one time I returned and You had turned away
Your love never fails


You say, "Come home" and You'll be there
I can run into Your arms

This is the story of true love. Of true, unselfish, forgiving love. The kind of love so many of us seek after in our relationship with our parents, our spouses, with our closest friends. We have all screwed up. We've all done things we've regretted. As children we dread having to tell our parents we did something that will upset them, that will make them ashamed of us...or so we think. As young adults many of us get into all sorts of trouble, saying hurtful things to the people we love the most, acting out in rebellious ways that looking back seem so childish and selfish. As adults we sometimes take it to the next level, making mistakes which will impact not only our future but the futures of others around us.

As a Christ follower we are held to such high standards by society. Many people see being a christian as being a "rule follower," and its all about what you cannot do. And we are supposed to be perfect, and not "sin" because then we would be hypocrites right? This view is so horribly wrong. Christianity is about the saving grace of Jesus. If we were perfect we wouldn't need Him. And if we didn't need Him then why would God have sacrificed Him in the way He did?

Yea, so maybe I'm getting a little too "churchy" here but in looking at these lyrics I think about my relationship with God. I think of how for years I watched from a distance until I finally decided for myself that yes I believed in Him, yes I saw what He had done for me...that was such an intense spiritual time in my life. I gave all of my worries, my fears, my insecurities, and my failures over to Him, and He took it all away. There was such peace, such joy, such direction and purpose in my life. And yet....I fell again. I sinned again. I walked away again. How could this happen?

Just as the lyrics say, God completes me more than anything or anyone in this world ever could. So why did I screw up? Did I commit one of the big "cardinal sins" that everyone talks about? No, actually I didn't, but the interesting thing that I find to be true is that when your sin is not one of the blatant, "oh my gosh i can't believe you did it" kind of sins, it is actually more challenging to get rid of. Hang with me a sec... Think about it. Someone who is cheating on her husband is obviously in need of some direction, and everyone is able to see it, and can try to help her, and there are typically support groups and books for that. But what if your sin is in the shadows, what if it is something that only you and God can even identify? No one sees it so no one holds you accountable. That's the kind of sin/problem/issue that can start eating away at you, and unless you choose to take it before God it is going to linger and grow. And when you choose not to take it to God then a wall is built. A wall between you and God.

So over the past few years I've been going through this process of figuring out "Who am I?" and "What is my Purpose?" and let me tell ya, if you aren't talking with God, listening to God, then you won't ever hear the answers to those questions. The lyrics to this song remind me that no matter how bad we've screwed up, no matter how many times we've tried to "get clean" and failed, that if we go to God with a true, willing spirit He will be there with open arms. Its an amazing love He has for us. I don't deserve for Him to take me back but He is there waiting. So many people know the lyrics to "Amazing Grace" but how many of us actually sit and ponder on the true meaning and power of those words? God is waiting for us. He is waiting for us to see that being in a relationship with Him and serving Him offers an abundant life...its not about what we can't do, its about all HE has already done and all that we will be able to do through Him who will give us the strength, peace, and JOY that this world will never be able to match. I'm running to the Mercy Seat...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What Do I Know of Holy?

Well I survived blog number one and found it to be quite refreshing. But it's funny because with blogging I think you have to make a conscious decision that you are either going to be completely transparent or you're not. What if my family members read this? What if my Christian friends read it and find offense at something? What if my non-Christian friends read it and think I'm a holy roller? What if an old friend reads it and thinks "Is she talking about me?!" In all actuality few people will probably read, few will judge, few will give what I write a second thought. Transparency can be so challenging, because it makes us vulnerable. This state of transparency and of vulnerability, of willingness to be open and authentic, is where God wants us to be. This is where He can come in and fill us up, because we are willing. Because we are not blinded by fear of what people will think or say... I think one struggle I've had since choosing to follow Jesus (in high school) is that I do worry too much about what others will say or think about me. This has impacted my walk with God is so many ways. I've put Him in a box at times, not allowing Him to show me all He can do and all He is because I was afraid of fully diving in and giving my all in order to become more like Him, more "holy."

This week I discovered a group called Addison Road. There is a song that when I first heard it goose bumps came and tears came to my eyes at the realization that they were words from my own heart. Below are the lyrics...I attached a link to YouTube for the audio but there are no pictures (intentionally) because I want the emphasis to stay on the lyrics...

What Do I Know of Holy? -Addison Road

I made promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made you too small
I never feared you at all No,
If you touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?


What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along your ocean?
Are you fire? Are you fury?
Are you sacred? Are you beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You are mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees


What do I know of holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life "its" name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your Name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?


Wow. Some songs have a way of knocking you on your butt, making you sit and think about where you are in life. This song did this to me. The technical structure of the song and vocals mixed with the lyrics is just beautiful, and moving, which is why I also added the link. I am excited to say that God has really been on the move in my little family in the last couple of months. And yet when I heard this song I realized how I still had not allowed myself to really dive in, be transparent and authentic with God, and to allow Him to show me who HE is. It has been all about me, and how I want to grow in my spiritual walk, how I want to serve more...this is all great, but how do I genuinely, fully do that? My "walk" is with a HOLY walking with Him means that I live with Him, talk with Him, LISTEN to Him, try to be like Him. The word "holy" can be so intimidating. And so can the image of God that so many people have. What is the image I have? What is my holy God really like? I know about all the amazing things He has done, and I've seen Him work in the lives of people...and yet how well do I really understand His level of Holiness? Is it even possible? Some things are just beyond comprehension, right? And yet when I see sunsets in the mountains, or watch the waves at the ocean, or see a newborn baby be born, I get this sense of could anyone not believe that there is a HOLY God out there... What is YOUR view of God? Is He fire? Is He fury? Is He sacred? Is He beautiful?