In honor of the rest I have inside of me, and this blog turning six years old, I thought I’d come sit and stare and sip and storytell. Except, the narrative is more just a story of what I’ve been thinking. Stream of consciousness writing has always been a style that appeals to me. Or as whoever Truman Capote is said, “that’s not writing, that’s typing.” Regardless, it seems I always come back to mitteilungsbedürfnis as the reason I have ever hit ‘publish’ at all . . .

To start with, I’ll really set the vibe for you. I am at my recently inherited solid wood dining table in the kitchen eating nook of my now fully-furnished ‘Turf Shack’. The past three years of living here have truly unraveled and relaxed my soul. Restored my soul. There’s a song that became poignant to me as it spoke what the man I walked away from couldn’t seem to articulate, except that he totally did but I was in love. ha.

one day you will unfold and fall into the untold. one day you’ll long to be dancing away from me.

Although God has recently used that beautiful metaphor with me, and I have felt it . . . that life – and this season in particular – would feel like a dance if I let it . . . it’s more the unfolding part that I’m thinking of now.

Falling in love is such an odd thing with people whose hearts are put together the way mine is. I can categorically and truthfully say that I’m not ‘still in love’ with the first one. God miraculously healed my heart in an instant years ago, but at the same time . . . how sad is it that He had to? How sad is it that I loved someone with everything I knew to give and it didn’t last? That whomps. In the words of the sage meme makers of our age . . . “earth is ghetto.” ha.

So anyway, I’m next to my cozy-winter-rustic themed Christmas tree featuring faux pine cones, a few intentionally curated ornaments {some of which are ‘woodland’ creatures from the previous two or so seasons at Target}, and adorned with cardstock greetings from faces I love . . . It’s the hour of 3 in the afternoon, but I’ve turned out the lights for deeper rest. A string of twinkle lights is woven through the well-crafted back of one of the coordinating solid wood chairs that came with my table . . . a blessing from a couple at church who had more than enough. That’s what I love about the rich abundance of God and the glorious gift of community. Not only did the couple just post the table to be given away, they drove it to my house and set it up for me when I couldn’t find anyone else to help me.

I later joked with my unavailable small group that all deserted me, but the Lord stood by me. Ha. #biblejokes.

Now that you’re here at the table with me, munching on addictive complimentary shortbread cookies and sipping mocha molecules, let’s chat.

Oh wait, the soundtrack. How long has it been since I listed out for posterity what I’m listening to? It seems like I used to do that often. In the ages ago olden days of golden times in California. Shuffled up today are three hours worth of tunes that hit different lately even though some have been hitting for years.

From Roo Panes, the quiet Englishman whose beautiful voice and genius lyrics have deeply inspired me for at least a half a decade at this point: pacific, listen to the one who loves you, all these walking thoughts, my sweet refuge, water over fire, know me well, weight of your world . . .

From Josh Garrels: exalt the Lord our God {I could live in this song}.

From Elevation Worship: the acoustic version of overcome. For every fear, there’s an empty grave. Bless.

I’ve got all the boys singing to me. I do have what I’m realizing is a parallel playlist of the ladies . . . I’ve been studying style and vocal gymnastics in preparation for my next album.

Enyhoo, there’s also some tunes from Jack Johnson, Matt Corby, Ryan Delmore, Rob Thomas and Robin Thicke {only can you believe, I don’t really listen to him otherwise, ha.} . . .

Mat Kearney, Zach Gill, Trip Lee, and Future of Forestry – she walks in beauty.

and I do. I walk in beauty like the night. Of cloudless climes and starry skies. And all that’s best of dark and bright. Meet in my aspect and my eyes.

Yall, I am so in love with Jesus. And He is coming back so soon.

That’s been so much of what I’ve been thinking this year. These shenanigans with covid-19 . . . in my opinion increasingly seem to have a hardly veiled intentionality and orchestration. I have a few unpopular, but critically thought out and prayed through conclusions about all the things. And in some ways, I feel like I have been waiting for this my whole life, ha. All the things I grew up believing seem to be falling into place and I can see so clearly how they all fit together and how the incremental What’s Best For Society suggestions become mandates overnight. Not too long ago, I explained to my older sister that I’ve been building up a tolerance for dissent. As an ISTJ sentinel, I have never been one to rebel for rebellion’s sake, to question authority, or to scoff at rules. I have always despised rules that seemed pointless, arbitrary, and unjust, but it’s rare that I’ve come across rules that I would classify as such. That’s changing. And so am I.

So to jump to my wild conclusions, ha. Oh wait, first . . . I saw a comment on the internet that death by guillotine had recently been added to the official list of death codes that the medical field pulls from when someone’s journey ends. I didn’t check for verification; but that’s quite a wild and out of pocket thing to make up, and the person who shared the information claimed to be a health care professional, and the rest of what they were saying seemed pretty legit.

So back to my wild conclusions. I’ve been thinking about Corrie Ten Boom hiding Jewish countrymen in her attic and being sent to a concentration camp for it. I’ve been thinking about the rising boldness and fire in me that can only be attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. And I have become increasingly fearless. It is a wonderful way to live. Especially because, you guys – the day could come where I am faced with death for refusing to fall in line with the way of this world. And at the risk of you thinking I’m a madwoman – which let’s be honest I may have already lost quite a few of you, ha – wouldn’t it be a particularly epic nobility to have my head roll from the blade of some nefarious guillotine only to wake and lay my crown at the feet of Jesus?? Like, the idea of that kind of excites me. Obviously I’d rather not be guillotined, but I am not afraid of death. And the things that happen here . . . it’s all so brief, but so much more of what goes on than we realize has eternal implications.

So the other thing I was thinking, to wade away from buckets of blood, ha. Is this planet. That we live on . . . that we live on a planet. Did yall see the thing about the astronomical conjunction they’re calling the Christmas star? So wild. And do you ever just look up at the visible moon at mid-day and re-remember that there’s such a thing as Time and it is passing?

We are so small. And so far away from every star. And yet, God is not far from any one of us. And He condescended, as the hymns says, to ransom us. Fun fact – one of the writers of that hymn mentored me a bit in songwriting, and I church planted with the other one’s little brother . . .

Along the lines of time, I’ve been thinking about hurry. One of the questions to the Whosoever Tag I recently shared was asking about the best spiritual advice I’ve ever received. My answer was, ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. That phrase has been circulating for a while now, but there is so much to it. It is, unfortunately, extremely counter cultural. And it’s also non-negotiable if you really want to know God. You have to stop. You have to slow down. You have to rest and be still before Him.

During the era of the law, before Jesus fulfilled His earthly ministry and became our Great High Priest, death was God’s judgement for not keeping the Sabbath. Death. But you know what? Death is the natural outcome of not keeping the Sabbath. We are not built for worry; for hurry; for sustaining ourselves. We will burnout and wear down and die. Even just ‘naturally’ speaking,

Oh, my. How could I have forgotten . . . ghost on the shore, Lord Huron. bless.

But just naturally speaking, accidents happen when people hurry. They forget to turn their stoves off, they blow past stop signs. And worry isn’t any better. There’s an ever-growing body of research that corroborates what God has said all along. Worry kills people.

At the start of this year, I read An Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling. One of the main things that I walked away seeing was that Jesus was able to live a grace-paced life {if you will} because He died to His own will. He came to do His Father’s will and He wasn’t carrying a second agenda or vacation plans in His back pocket. He cultivated a lifestyle of following the Father, which also means being still sometimes until He says, ‘go’. Jesus disciplined Himself to wait for, and follow The Father’s instruction. He embodied the exhortation of Proverbs 3 . . . trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Jesus is fully God, but Phillipians tells us that He emptied Himself of His divinity . . . taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And the scriptures go on to illustrate His reliance on the Holy Spirit to execute the Father’s will, accomplish His assignment, and fulfill His ministry.

So if we are to walk in the way of Jesus, we have to learn to walk slowly. There is so much comfort to be had in this. Comfort that Jesus freely and openly and repeatedly offers. Come to Me, He says, all who are weary – and I will give You rest.

Jesus tells us to learn from Him and the traits that follow the invitation are meekness and lowliness and restfulness.

Other spokes in my soul-web these days are Jesus as the Bridegroom King and abiding in His love. Do you know what He says in John 15? He says, as the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.

As the Father has loved Him. That’s the way and how much Jesus loves us. As much and in the way that the Father has loved Him.

If nothing else, that means whole-heartedly because that’s the only way God can love. God is love, itself. More than just the essence of Love, as if Love were an entity that existed outside of Him, Love is Him. ha. And Love, itself is who loves us. Selah.

We are greatly loved by Love.

What else I was reading at the start of this year that has stuck and steeped more potently every month is Matthew. And the parable about the virgins and the oil in their lamps. All the virgins in this parable believed in the King and were waiting for Him to come, but half of them burned out along the way. Do you know where the extra oil comes from? It comes from abiding in His love. Spending time with Him. As I have mentioned before, cultivating intimacy with God is *the* most important thing you could ever do.

And He loves it when we do. He is scanning the earth for those on whose behalf He can show Himself strong. He waits to be gracious to us. He delights in us. He enjoys us. He likes us. More than just loving us because He can’t not love us because He is love, He delights in us. He wants us in His presence and in His family. He wants us at His table and in His living room. He wants everyone. But He lets us decide. We don’t understand this. And we often superimpose His Sovereignty in a way that distorts this equally true thing . . . that He has given us free will. Like, actually free.

I am just about finished with my third book from a Christian neuroscientist I greatly admire, and she’s in the middle of explaining the quantum physics and ‘coherence’ of our ability to freely choose. There are like, equations and whatnot that capture and demonstrate this big huge piece of Likeness that God instilled in us. The piece that – when it goes askew – ruins everything. I used to believe that everything that happened was inevitable to some degree on some level when it really came down to it . . . but in recent years, the Light of Christ – the Word of God – has illuminated that that’s not actually true.

I don’t see the whole picture, but I have seen with just a few fewer particles of dust in my eye that God dances with time. He weaves somehow in and out of it . . . there are prophecies that are prophecies because they are Going To Happen, and there are prophecies that are prophecies because God has already seen what we did there. And just like with sharing the Gospel, we don’t always know which is which. We know that God is faithful; that He knows those who are His. And we see that sadly, some people will never want or choose Him. But it’s clear that the choice was still theirs.

I’ve seen with a few brighter rays of sunlight what C.S. Lewis once said – all God does in the end is give people what they want.

And if you don’t want Him, you don’t get what comes with Him. You don’t get everything good. In the end, you won’t get anything good.

So I’m also reading this book about Bob Dylan’s life that was put together by the son of a man who was friends with and on the road with him for forty years. And from there I ended up on a rabbit trail of watching/listening to Bootstraps’ self titled album. And I don’t know if they all love Jesus, and I’m not saying anyone in this story doesn’t, but I did have the thought that there are many gifted men with emotion in their fingertips singing their way beautifully to hell.

It’s like winter. God’s creation is so good and so beautiful . . . so glorious that even when it’s dead and dying, even when it’s not aligned, it’s splendid.

The more I lean into my voice and vocation, the more keenly aware I am of how inherently spiritual music is. You never *see* it. And we record it now, but it’s still . . . music is time. It’s vapor. It’s magic. And I don’t really like to use that word, but the third definition is a mysterious quality of enchantment . . . and another is, possessing distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable or baffling effects.

If you’ve ever sang to a baby or even had people sing Happy Birthday to you . . . let alone if you have ever really worshipped devoid of entertainment . . . you know.

The Bible says as much. In Chronicles, the praise team gets put *in front of the army* . . .

2 Chronicles 20:20-23 . . . ” And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe His prophets, and you will succeed. And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise Him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say –

Give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever.

And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one other.”

. . . unaccountable or baffling effects. Ha. Enemies destroying each other while God’s people worship Him . . .

All people wanted in the end.

The enemies were hell-bent on destruction. And God’s people were aligned with Him in worship {in this episode, ha.}.

God’s people got to worship Him, and His self-appointed enemies were destroyed.

So here I am all out of words, and still not much said of lingering.

I guess, though, that’s the essence of it . . . just linger.

Just be quiet.

Be still before the Lord and know that He is God. He will be exalted among the nations; He will be exalted in the earth.

. . . & & // Merry Christmas.


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