A letter

Posts Tagged ‘strength’

Stronger than before

In 2018, Entering Spring on April 6, 2018 at 10:48 am

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I was eight, maybe nine. Yep, just as you imagine: stringy blonde hair with my “just don’t care” look. The one you know so well. The concert was at the new sanctuary. I don’t remember anything until I remember what I remember. And that part is branded in my heart forever. And it feels illuminated— almost like I’m still there if I close my eyes long enough. I didn’t know then how that evening would shape me. I didn’t know the seeds it would sow deep into the bedrock of my soul. I don’t know if you even remember it. But I sure do. She was all the kinds of crazy I felt inside. Inch-short, spiked hair. Fierce, passionate, bold. I distinctly remember feeling the bass in my chest. The ground shaking. I remember exactly where I was standing in the room. And then she began, and like a wrecking ball these words came, again and again: “they’ll be stronger than before.”

I was eight, remember? Stronger than before. Great! Why would I need to be stronger? For what purpose? What would make me stronger? I feel great now. Stronger for what? And Why? Now at thirty-four, I know all too well what those words meant. And the reason they branded me was for that very reason. She was stronger than before. Before life. Before things you never want. Because of things you never want to face. Because of hardship. Because of tears. Because of winter. Because of things you never dream you’d walk through. Because of pain. Because of life. And, on the other side you are stronger. But no one signs up for the “stuff” in life. No one welcomes it with wide open arms, or goes looking for it. It just comes.

I remember being at a conference a few years later. I think I was 11. I’m sure you remember it. A grandfather spoke. Well, he may have been my dad’s age now, but then he was definitely “older” to me. His message was about pain and ministry. I don’t remember his exact phraseology, but I remember what I came away with–a sinking feeling that God could never use me because I didn’t really have much to show for in regards to “stuff. ” In regards to suffering. In regards to pain. Not everyone can say that at eleven, but I could. And I desperately wanted God to use me. I remember me and Al having a serious talk with Dad that night, and him reassuring us, in his ever-so-gentle way, that God would certainly use us. We didn’t really know what he meant at the time, but I sure do now. He was so confident that pain would come, though he wouldn’t wish it for us in all the world. Almost everything was roses for us then. I wish I could say that it stayed that way, but dad was right: God would use us, and life was sure to come, full of heart-searing pain.

Janny marked me. Her words haunted me for years and years. Something about her raw passion. Something about her journey. Something about her hot-love for God.

In 2014, when I was compiling my album and choosing which of my songs I wanted to include, I kept coming back to that song. I wanted to sing her song. I had this ache to sing it. I now understood what she meant. And, as powerful as it was then at eight, it was grippingly real to me in a new way. It was a tribute to her, a woman I never had a chance to meet, but one I will one day on the other side. But more than anything, it was a testimony. A truth. Still resounding years later. That we will be stronger than before. He see’s us through, always. I hope you’ll listen to my recording. And, I hope you’ll listen to hers too. But more than anything, I hope you’ll be encouraged that seasons do change, and we do come out stronger on the other side. And rest assured, that even when we feel we can’t hang on, His grip on us never changes.

 

Love,

Bep

 

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When to-do-lists don’t get done…

In Spring in New York on May 21, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Well friend, here I sit.  Or should I say, here I sit in bed at 8:36 p.m. hot packing my angry lower back and praying my children remain tucked until morning dawns.  There are few guarantees, but I have not heard the bedroom door creak in the last 6 minutes which is hopefully  an indicator of sleep.  Today was one of those days.  This week was one of those weeks.  Maybe it’s because I told you I’m working on “messy happy”.  Maybe it is because occasionally there do not seem to be enough hours in a day.  Maybe it’s because I try to conquer the world in a day rather than the world one day at a time.  Maybe I’m just cranky and an overachiever, perfectionist who doesn’t have a large enough soul to let things slide.  If this is what I signed up for in “growing in mess”, I may have to re-evaluate the contract.

Okay, okay, I’m probably being a bit dramatic.  But in full truth I don’t do well when things aren’t done.  Every day this week, I have gone to bed and at least half of my to-do-list remains undone.  I’m sure you know the feeling.  I think I should just scrap my to-do-list to the curbside entirely and just going about my day singing “Que Sera, Sera”. Do you ever feel this way?

I think every mother feels this way though, at least from time to time. We start a task and someone needs wiping.  Then we referee world war four in the front yard before being reported by the neighbor.  We put the last pile of laundry away only to see dirty hampers spilling over.  We finish cleaning up lunch only to start dinner, and in the midst of it all we are paying bills, loving husbands, dreaming dreams, not to mention tending our own souls.

What is my conclusion in this all?  What resolution have I found?  What peace have I met to calm this storm.  We both know. It’s not a maid, though I wish, It’s not a super power, though I wish that as well.  It’s not even the ability to re-start the day and do it perfectly, and I know we both wish we could do that daily.  It’s this kiss of grace, that meets our lips held tight with frustration.  It’s the mercies in the morning that greet us no matter how the day before finished. It’s the strength that meets us when we are weak, when all we can say is “help”.  It’s the cleansing shower, that washes expectations of perfection to the wayside and reminds me I’m but dust with out Him.  He’s okay with it, it’s why He’s Savior. Somehow that’s what I’ve been trying to be.

So tonight, laundry half done, bills not paid, groceries not purchased, and house not cleaned I’m sitting back and drinking grace, remembering His strength is made perfect in weakness.  He came to rescue because I needed it.  I’ll drink to that, won’t you?

Love,
Bep

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