the magic of words

Something happens to me after midnight. The hands on the clock line up & in that single magical moment, emotions & minutes just as suddenly become clear & words flood through my mind. My fingers itch for a  pen or more often these days, a key board.

Today was the March for Life, probably the 20th march I’ve been a participant in, but my first in the Capital. But I’ll not write about that now.

Right now I want to write about my planner. Yes yes, we live in the information/electronic age but I’ve not yet caught up to it, frankly I hope not to. Each year I purchase a paper planner within the first seven days of the new year. A few years back I settled into a rhythm of loving the Moleskin planner, (thank you Matt Lockett for the White People Love link, it’s true) but this year I couldn’t find one. Surprisingly in my search for a second best I struck gold.

Ok maybe you won’t care but I found the 2011 Songbird’s planner. Each week contains a picture of a different songbird. It’s beautiful, its prophetic, it’s animals….. I’m happy 🙂 Tucked away inside the front cover is about 15 pages of mostly useless, random information though, most of which has found itself torn out & happily residing in my recycling bin BUT…. some of it is strangely helpful such as the “Useful Foreign Phrases” page.

So to all of my Japanese readers “Watashi wa rikai shi te i nai” and to my french subscribers “Bonjour!”

Ok that was really just for Annie.

What’s really on my mind tonight is the idea that little changes are the hardest to reconcile & to move past. For example; tonight my sister was reading The Singer. I know because she kept tweeting quotes & I have most of the book written on my heart. This only bothered me because…. we read this book together. Correction, I read this book out loud to her, usually when she has a migraine or during our many Emergency Room Adventures.

The fact that she was reading the book is good, because it is a sure-fire way to stir up the heart of a Styles. But her reading it without me there? Well that hurts. And it stirs up a plethora of memories, because we don’t just read The Singer out loud, I read everything fantastic out loud to her. This list ranges from Miller’s books, the Chronicles of Narnia to excerpts from The Man who was Thursday. I read & get my dramatic out & she listens & gets the books in. So in a minute I was stepping though memories of hundreds of nights, different situations of us reading together.

It’s just what we do. It’s what we’ve always done. But this little life change, the moving half way across the country? Well it changes everything, instantly. I’m not there to read good books out loud to Kat at night & I’m not going to be. And even though everything changed the moment I stepped on the plane, it’s going to take a long time to fully adjust to those changes. I can even feel confident in saying that I won’t hardly have begun to adjust by the time she get’s married & we’ll start the process all over again.

While reading a tear-stained txt from her about missing me while reading that book today, my eyes flooded with tears & my soul whispered “remember”. And I gave that moment back to the Lord.

Everytime it costs to follow You, count it as my worship.

I will continue to set my heart to give every single costly minute, every single costly emotion back to the Lord & ask for Him to write it in His book as done out of a heart of love.

Someday that process might be easier, but maybe not. Since someday hasn’t come yet I really don’t know. But I’m determined to offer my body as a living sacrifice. It is my spiritual act of worship. It is my practical act of worship. The practical side now is calling my mind & heart to remember, & to do it for the glory of God. The spiritual side now is that He actually counts it when I don’t yet believe.


Love is such a worthy cause

The sound of fingers lightly strumming strings of wire, the guitar feels like a part of me with my ear down against the wood listening. Same familiar chords, same familiar pattern, same familiar song, “I miss you”. We do funny things with our missing. Some times it drives us to extreme measures in hopes to convince a return, sometimes it finds us madly pursuing our pleasure, thoughtlessly filling our thoughts with others to avoid….. what? The missing. But it doesn’t go away.

Do our souls remember Eden? How else could we ache for communion?

So many of my friends have left town lately and I want them all to return; tuck them all in next to me, no don’t leave, stay here where I have control. I’ll wrap up in you all like a blanket as a comfort to my fears that some of you might go …. but even now you are going.

This week I missed my brother. Dang it, I’ve missed him every day since he left. Matt Lockett sent me a cruel photo of the two of them stating “He’s here with me. And you are not.” As soon as I saw it I burst out in smile – Jeremy with Matt. I love that Jeremy is with Matt! Then tears, because I want to be with Jeremy & Jen, and I want to be with Matt & Kim. Oh fellowship. The next night I pulled into the parking lot and passing what I thought to be Jenny’s car got so excited to run inside and hug my brother, only to remember how far away that hug is. I txt him my dilemma and he responded “come and get em!” It’s a long drive to Fredricksburg for a hug J.

My heart has been aching, to quote Sara Groves “So much painful information no sure way on how to hold it and everything in me is tightening like a circle round this ache”. Friends and family moving away and changing, Haiti & my hearts cry, and the pains that come with life. One of my dearest friends from my “pre-IHOP” days is going through the hardest thing that I could imagine and is too far away for me to comfort, a missionary friend finds herself deported and lost on what to do and where to go, even in my home the increasing awareness of our brokenness combined with circumstances threatens to overwhelm us.

I spent an hour on the phone crying with a friend this week, longing for words of life but having nothing to offer him but my tears and woke the next morning to the song “love is such a worthy cause” drifting through my brain. Love, the worthy cause. But it cost’s everything.

To love well is choosing to be the one who loves more NOT the one who IS loved more, and it does mean that we are the one who is loved less. To love is to feel, to love well is to be hurt. The more we love the more tender we become and the easier we feel the pain. Living with hearts that are bruised; the most gentle push hurts deeply. And what is the option from here? Turn back? “Where else can we go Jesus? You alone have the words of life.”

I imagine the Son of Man, eyes like fire – can you see them burn? Gazing over the hillside. The multitudes. Shepherdless sheep, His sheep. Harassed, helpless, abused, lied to, betrayed, lost, confused, manipulated, led on only to have their hopes dashed time and time again, dreamless, hopeless, accused and loveless ….. and He was moved. Can we be His friends and not be moved? Oh the Son of God, the Lord of all Creation how He FEELS.

Oh the longing in our souls to be with You Jesus. The longing in our souls for the garden, we’ve not forgotten, we were made for true communion. Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the wrong would be made right, that Love would have it’s day, that all darkness would flee before Your ever increasing light, and that we would be found like You.

Love. It costs us everything today, it cost You everything too. Everything. It’s not figurative, not poetic language that Love looks like “the God-Man bleeding on a tree.” There is no deeper truth; love looks like the Son of God, the Lord of Glory, unrecognizable as even a human with a gash in his side that pumps out blood to a beat, the beat of a dying human heart. That is Love in the truest form, the clearest picture. It costs us everything, oh but help us to believe that it will pay for forever.