Musical Monday: My Immortal – Evanescence

Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote, in his poem “In Memoriam”:

I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

I sometimes wonder what Tennyson was smoking when he wrote that. I guess I’ve never known what it felt like to have never loved at all, so I’ll never know if it’s true. I have, however, loved and lost. So maybe anything is better than that, including never having loved at all.

I’ve gone through phases during the past six and a half years of my life. The phases have grown fewer and last a shorter amount of time than they did long ago, but they’re still there. Maybe because not many people see this blog, I feel ok writing about it. And I know I’m not the only one who’s been dealt this blow, so that helps, too.

I don’t believe in the concept of “The One” in regards to finding a spouse. I believe there are different people one is compatible with during certain phases of their life, and when you’re both in the right phase at the right time, then Yay! But if not, all is not lost. Like the summer rain in Florida, just wait a few minutes. The sun will be out again. But if there really is only “the one”, then I’ve already found and lost him. That’s why I’m hoping it’s just a silly concept.

I’ve been what I thought was “in love” several times in my life. Who hasn’t, right? But true love…real love…the kind that seems to define your very existence. The love that makes you physically sick when you’re apart. The love that makes you wonder if you could survive without them in your life. The love real love songs about swimming oceans and climbing mountains and walking thousands of miles are written for. That love I’ve only found once. And I sometimes wonder if I ever will again.

It’s not a pretty tale. It’s actually a fairly devestating one, full of sadness and wrong choices and betrayal and rejection (from both sides) that I will not delve into. It has marked my life in many ways during the past twelve (yes, I said twelve) years. And even though he’s halfway across the world now, and I haven’t seen him in six years, I still don’t think I’m completely over it. He was selfish and I was stupid. He was (and crazily enough, still is) my closest friend in this world. But I am forever changed.

I still mourn what could have been. I’ve moved on, but never really all the way through. Sometimes I think I am permenantly damaged. I guess there’s no way to go through what we did and not be. And I still go through times when the sorrow is overwhelming and the pain is deep and the loss feels so fresh. Silly, I know, given the years and miles that have separated us. But the periods of sorrow, like I said, are getting fewer. Maybe one day I’ll be over it completely. But I’m just in one of those periods now.

I miss my best friend. I miss my soulmate. For that’s what we are. We have both acknowledged it. And when you are separated from your soulmate, it makes a profound impact on you. I am forever scarred. Most days the scar is pale and shallow. But there are a few days, a few times, like now, were the scar is deep and painful with no cause for reinjury. Just part of the damage I bear, I guess.

I will love again, I am sure. But for now,

These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase

When you cried I’d wipe away all of your tears
When you’d scream I’d fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

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Musical Monday: The One Thing – Paul Colman

This is a huge week for the United States. Quite possibly one of the most significant weeks of modern time. By the end of the day Tuesday, no matter the outcome, things are most likely going into upheaval. And looking at it today (Monday), there is no telling what direction we are going.

There are going to be a lot of questions, a lot of fears, and, unfortunately, a lot of anger towards the eventual outcome. I confess I myself am a little unnerved.

Times like this can cause us to question many things. We question the integrity of our leaders. Are they making the right choices? We question ourselves. Are WE making the right choices in who we vote for? What are the important issues? How do we truly feel about this issue or that issue? If so-and-so wins, what does that mean for me? For my family? My job? My country? All these questions are being asked by a nation weary of questioning.

There’s a lot I don’t know. There’s a lot, come Tuesday, that I am fearful for. I’ve questioned so much recently. So much, save one thing.

“The one thing I don’t question is You
You really love me like You say You do
So hold me”

Oh, Lord, there are so many things I am tempted to question. So many things uncertain towards the future. I fear for my country and the road we are heading down, no matter the outcome of this vote. But I circle this promise, Lord, that is given in Your word:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” -Hebrews 13:8

That’s not a campaign promise that vanishes as soon as victory is won. It’s not a guarantee until circumstances change. It doesn’t cease to be true whether I voted wrong or right. Of all the things I have to question right now, You, God, are not one of them. And I praise You for that. Thank You, Lord, for being our Rock, no matter Tuesday’s outcome. Thank You for being the one thing.

Musical Monday: Broken – Lifehouse

Can You see me?

I know I’m small.

A speck, really.

Just one of three billion other people on this planet, all demanding Your attention in one way or another.

I hope You can see me, though, cause I need You right now.

I know it may not look like it.

I’m not homeless; I have a wonderful house to live in.

I’m not starving; I have food in my cupboards and the ability to get more.

I’m not unemployed; I have a wonderful job that I enjoy.

I have a good car. Amazing friends. Incredible support. Money in the bank. A college education. More love than I think I deserve. Wonderful opportunities to serve You.

Yes. It may look like I don’t need You. But looks can be deceiving.

I wear a smile on my face. It’s because I really am happy. But I think there’s something wrong with my heart. It feels…broken.

Some people may think that means I love You less, or not as much as I should. That’s not true. I love You more than my very life. I’m not in danger of “losing my religion” or anything. No, that part’s ok.

The broken pieces of my heart feel…lonely. I know that sounds crazy, especially since I’m surrounded by such incredible people whom I love and who love me in return. But that’s the only way to describe the way I feel.

I’m surrounded by people, but still feel alone.

Is there a cure? I don’t know.

Why did it start? I don’t know.

How long will it last?

I don’t know.

There’s a lot I don’t know. But there is one thing. One thing I know for certain with all the broken pieces of my heart.

I’m hanging on to You.

So, God…can You see me?

Musical Monday: Busted Heart (Hold on to Me) – For King and Country

Broken. It’s a place we’ve all be in at one time or another. There’s varying degrees of brokenness. It ranges from a disappointing moment to a tragic circumstance to a life-altering event. It covers missteps, broken promises, betrayals, loss, death. Sometimes it’s our own choices. Sometimes things just happen without rhyme or reason. Then we are left broken.

Our hearts are so strong, yet so fragile. God knows this. He spends a good part of His Word telling us this. But, being the perfect Father and Lord that He is, He also tells us how we will come through and why we experience these things in the first place.

Some verses that have been on my heart recently:

Psalm 34:18
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 51:17
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

2 Corinthians 1:3-6
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.”

Isaiah 66:13a
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;”

John14:27
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Romans 5:3-5
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

I know for myself, I am in a place of brokenness right now. Dreams I have been awaiting seem to be taking forever, and my heart is weary in the wait. I know so many who are living in this place with me, some along the same lines, others in so much more pain than I. And so we sit and wait.

If you also find yourself in the place of brokenness, take heart. There is no shame in being in this place. We all have to traverse it at one point or another. It’s how we grow. It’s how we show perseverance. And, once we’ve been through, it’s how we are able to bring comfort to others. Don’t despise the broken. Heal and grow stronger from it. And remember that God is the master fixer. His love heals all. The healing may leave scars, but they are nothing more or less than the beautiful testament of your survival of brokenness. Let Him hold on to you, and there is nothing – I repeat, nothing – you can’t walk through. It’s never easy. But it will be worth it somehow, someway, when it’s all said and done.

Faith Friday: Our Future Tense = God’s Past Tense

*This is a repost from August 27, 2012. I felt I needed the remindar in this post, and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. I may not know tomorrow, but I know the One who does! And that’s all I need to know.*

A man is in a foreign land. This land is full of enemies. Due to the death of a leader, the responsibility for millions of people has fallen on him. It is his land. He knows that. It is his people’s land. His people know that. It is not his enemies’ land. His enemies know that and melt in fear. But the man has a problem. All the most experienced fighters among his people have died. He is left with a new generation who has known nothing but the nomad life. Fighting isn’t exactly what they’re good at. But he knows they have to fight if they’re going to take back their land that they are just stepping on for the first time. First time, yet it was promised to them hundreds of years before. It’s now time to claim that promise. A bunch of nomadic, non-warrior people vastly outnumbered by enemies with fighting experience and walled cities and a most definite advantage. Sounds like the beginning of one of those hero underdog stories. And that’s exactly what it would be, if the advantage the enemies had was one that really mattered. This man knew their advantage meant nothing. It wasn’t him that needed to be convinced. It was everyone else.

Have you figured out who I was talking about yet?

Good job.

You have to feel for poor Joshua. Here he was in a place he knew nothing about, save what was told to him since childhood of a good land promised to his people hundreds of years ago. He’s trying to fill the shoes of the great Moses, who led his people, the Israelites, out of bondage in Egypt, through forty years of wondering in the wilderness due to the ignorance of the people, and is left with a group that has done nothing in their lives but walked. Fighting? Yeah, right. Maybe little skirmishes here and there, but nothing close to the scale of what they were facing. And now, their first huge obstacle was before them. Jericho. With walls so thick people had HOUSES in them. Gates securely barred (ironically because they were fearing for their lives, thanks to the miracles of God on behalf of the Israelites they heard tell of ). No one goes in; no one goes out. Oh, how he must have been feeling!

But remember…I said that Joshua knew the tactical advantage his enemies had meant nothing. Who needs experience and forts and weaponry?! How in the world could Joshua think that? It seems insane to us. It may have seemed insane to him, as well, had it not been for a visitor. A strange vistor, too. Comes out of nowhere with a sword drawn! You can’t blame Joshua for asking “‘Are you for us or for our enemies?'” (Joshua 5:14) I’m not sure how comforted Joshua was at first when the visitor answered, “Neither.” Ah, well. Everyone loves a Switzerland. But then the visitor continued, and it got good.

“…but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.”

Faceplant.

Joshua falls facedown to the ground. He’s a smart cookie. He knows who this visitor is. We may have visions of (forgive my irreverence) hot, winged men with trumpets and flashing swords gleaming in the sky when we think of messengers of the Lord, but since Joshua didn’t know who this man was at first, I’m going to gander a guess that the man didn’t have wings (insert some stupid red bull joke here).  In reverence, Joshua asked the man, ‘”What message does my Lord have for his servant?”‘ Ah, but Joshua has to do something before he can receive his message. Forgive the pun, but he’s about to follow in the “footsteps” of his predecessor. The messanger said, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Of course, Joshua complies immediately.

The statement that comes next, I believe, may be one of the most important statements ever uttered. Not for its insightfulness, depth, or humor, but for its verbal usage. I know, I know. All of you who despise grammar just groaned at the very thought of anything to do with a “verb”. Yet the tense of the verb the Lord uses in His message to Joshua is very profound. As many times as I have read this story, I never paid much thought to verbal tenses. You can bet I’m paying better attention now, for this is awesome. I thank Mark Batterson for making it a point in his book The Circle Maker (an incredibly amazing book that will make you look at your prayer life in a whole new way!). This was the Lord’s message:

“See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men.” (6:2)

Did you catch that? “I HAVE deliverED…” PAST TENSE!! Now, when we are using verbal tenses, we don’t use a past tense verb unless it’s something that’s already happened. This hasn’t happened yet. Jericho is still standing. There’s been no battle. Joshua still doesn’t know what he’s doing.  The people still don’t know what they’re doing. His enemies are still huddled in the fetal position in their walled hidey-holes.

Oh, the sovereignty of God! When it comes to foreknowledge, we totally don’t give God enough credit. When our problems come barreling down the track at 100 mph with us as helpless as one of those women in old movies the bad guy would leave tied up on the train tacks, we rant at God like He hasn’t got a clue in the world what’s getting ready to happen to us, let alone see how He can possibly help us. We forget. In our fear, in our frustration, in our deepest heartache, we forget. We forget that, not only did God see this train coming, but He’s already seen where it’s going! And, not only has He already seen where it’s going, He knows where it’s going to end up! He’s already got the before, during, AND after in place long before we even hear the whistle!

God already knew the Israelites were going to take Jericho. That’s why the messenger didn’t say, “Well, IF you follow all the directions I’m about to give you, you will take the city,” or “IF the people of Jericho get scared enough, they’ll run like pansies and the city is all yours!” Nope. God said, “I HAVE.” He already paved the way. Joshua just had to walk the path to victory.

In our lives, there are issues we are facing that we can’t see a way out of. We’re oppressed, depressed, repressed, or any other kind of press there may be that causes pain. Sometimes our problems seem so overwhelming we can’t see God through the trainyard. But He is there. You may think He has no clue, but your problems are not a surprise to Him. He knew about them long before you did. And the good news? He’s already set up the solution! God is a God of precedence. All you have to do is keep walking. Know He’s waiting on the other end, cheering you on. He can’t wait to see you! Just keep walking. God has delivered this problem into your hands. You’ve already conquered it through Him! You just have to keep going. This, too, shall pass. It always does. And, as long as you keep your eyes focused on Him, it always will.

CHALLENGE OF THE DAY: Sometimes the road is very long when we are facing tough issues in our lives. We’re all fighting something. But take heart! The victory is already yours! It doesn’t mean the problem will be easy. It doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. And there’s no guarantee of how long it will take to get through it. But if you keep pressing on, you will be delivered the victory. It’s going to require work on your part; God didn’t just Big Bad Wolf Jericho to the ground. He laid out the path. The Israelites had to walk it in an act of faith and obedience – a testimony of their love for God. It’s the same for us. But oh, how much easier it is facing the train knowing God’s already waiting on the other side!!

A must-watch video for those facing the issues of uncertainty and fear, wondering where God is:

Musical Monday: If I Had a Million Dollars – BNL

Because we all need to dream sometimes about hitting that Jackpot…

What would YOU do if you had a million dollars?

My top ten, in no particular order (except the first):

1) Spread some between my church and various other ministries and families that are close to my heart.

2) Pay off my car, give it to my sister, then get a new one.

3) Fly to Russia to see my best friend whom I haven’t seen in six and a half years.

4) Pay off my student loans.

5) Gather my closest friends and family together for a cruise.

6) Hike the Appalachian Trail with no financial concerns.

7) Get a masters in education.

8) Buy a house in Maine.

9) Go see Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

10) Have a big steak at Outback…because I could finally afford it!

What would the Barenaked Ladies do? Take a listen and find out! Suddenly your dreams will sound normal!

LOBLA

Musical Monday: C-A-N-A-D-A – Stompin’ Tom Connors

First off, a very big HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my Canadian family and friends!!

I miss celebrating two Thanksgivings! There were a few bonuses of being an American living in Canada, and that was certainly one of them. Canada will always hold a very special place in my heart. I didn’t know it until after I moved away from New Brunswick, but that’s were my paternal roots are! I do believe there are certain things ingrained in us from our ancestors, and being at home in beautiful New Brunswick is one of those for me. I miss it very much, and am blessed that I always have a home to go visit there! This is one of my favorite little ditties about Canada. My 2008-2009 middle schoolers can probably still sing this song from memory! Even though we were in South Florida, the sixth-grade A Beka history curriculum has an entire chapter on Canada. Needless to say, it was my favorite chapter! So, in honor of my love for Canada, allow me to introduce you to Stompin’ Tom Connor’s!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!