Good Day Friends!
I have been in Nashville all week - unable to figure out how to get my computer online so that I could blog. Sorry for the delay in blogs!
It has been an amazing week. I arrived Monday and actually got to shop a little and enjoy some much needed R&R. Tuesday we hit it hard in the studio - laying my vocals on the final songs. Tuesday was very tough - we recorded the three most emotional songs of the entire album - songs that rip my heart out of my chest and lay it bare for the entire world to see. Songs that dig so deep into the pain and agony of my journey through grief that they leave me a bit exasperated . . . so, three of them back to back was tough. Then, one of them disappeared into cyberspace and we had to re-record it yesterday (we lost four hours of my singing work!) It is o.k. though - in the end the re-do was WAY better than the first take. God DOES work all things together for good.
In the end - I know that those three songs that were the toughest, emotionally, will forever be my favorites! Why, you may ask? Because I will not sugar coat this journey that I have been on! I will not pretend that it is or has been anything other than it is. I believe that the "church" needs to get back to authenticity and stop pretending that God is a magic eraser to the struggles of this world.
At some point last summer I had a neighbor of mine look at me and tell me that she doesn't think there is such a thing as suffering . . . chew on that for a moment . . . (I furrow my brow as I think of our conversation.) A seventy-something woman who has never lost a child or husband and who regularly vacations in the Caribbean and who has a condo up north, etc . . . looking at a 34 year-old widow with three young children and saying there is no such thing as suffering. HUH???? What in the world? Truly!
I looked at her and said, "you know, the bible says that 'to live is Christ and to die is gain.' Christ suffered, how can you say we shouldn't suffer?' Her only reply was that she didn't think that was the right interpretation of that scripture.
Well, friends, I pray that your life is so great that you agree with my dear neighbor. However, my life has been riddled with suffering. My daddy left me when I was eleven. I know the pain of miscarriage. I know the angst of drawn out marriage troubles (yes, we had a WONDERFUL marriage - but we had truly had our struggles along the way.) I have and still do taste the bitter tears of grief . . .
It is from these places of darkness in my life that I can stand before you today and tell you that if you are facing dark days - there is a way through. There IS hope! There is a constant Who longs to hold you and be your strength and shield. That DOES NOT mean that the pain and sorrow in your life will disappear . . . it means that there is a hiding place in the midst of this sinful world!
There is a key in all of this . . . Philippians 4:11 says that "I have learned the secret to being content . . . " Paul continues and says, " I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need."
Today - if you are walking through high waters - please turn to Christ. Please focus your eyes on Him and all that HE is and all that HE wants to be to you. How? How do you do this? Well, for me it has been through my being authentic with Christ. It has reminded me of those times after Chad and I had been intimate with one another . . . totally open and raw and intimate . . . two people becoming one . . . hiding nothing. Then, in the moments to follow, there was perfect peace . . . a total calming as we rested in the afterglow.
Throughout this past year, the moments of sweetest communion with God have come after I have been the most open and transparent with Him - when I wasn't afraid to shake my fists at Him and yell at Him and tell Him what I truly thought and felt. Then, like that calm, that peace of the afterglow . . . the Spirit of God would come over me and envelope me and God would pull me in just as Chad did and He whispered to me "Be Still, my sweet Sarah! Be still and know that I am God!" Ah . . . the rest.
Hide nothing from God, my friends! Bare it all . . .and in that transparency, in the being real with God, in you being you and no one else . . .that is where God can meet you at the deepest places of who you are and enter in and heal. That doesn't mean 'magic' . . . it means peace. What more can we really ask for?