A New Song for 2017

Abide. Rest. Comfort. Hope.

Another year gone, another word- but so much more -joins the list.

It was truly a year of practiced hope.

We’ve been raising a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder for about nine years… from foster care to adoption. It has been incredibly difficult and at times, I’ve felt helpless and hopeless.

My family has experienced trauma on a few fronts, all of which affected my marriage, bringing my husband and I to a year of counseling (which greatly helped). We also see individual counselors / mentors to help us navigate the emotional waters of raising a child of trauma (who re-injures in a home with other children.)

We live cross-culturally in a place we love, but in a place, all the same, that differs in language, culture, expectation, money, and norms. We weave in and out of Alemanish Germany, Alsatian France, and Northern Switzerland and a Christian conglomerate of individuals working together from every different denomination, from different countries, and from different cultures with a common purpose and many different ways of getting there. It would be enough to live within one of these cultures, but we daily navigate them all.

And to do that, we have to raise our own salary… which adds another layer of stress (I mean, opportunity to trust and hope and believe).

This is just a sampling.

Needless to say, the words abide, rest, comfort, and hope have been crucial to my last four years. Their deep meaning has carried me and comforted me and challenged me in ways I could never have expected. And as I said last year, each word continues on long beyond December 31st. They weave together into a more beautiful hug.

This year, for awhile, I thought my new word was going to be expectation. It’s close to hope… and I’m fine with a thread of hope continuing to weave through my life story. However, as I was recently on a walk and pouring out my heart to God, I heard myself asking Him for a new song.

Okay, that’s not a word. But I’m going with it.

My last few years have been heartache nestled among great beauty. I have so much to be thankful for, in spite of those things which have challenged me to the core. And, looking back at the me who arrived in Germany nearly five years ago… I’m a different person. Hopefully a better person. Certainly a person, though, that has been to the ends of herself multiple times. Who is clear that she is weak and only He is strong. Who lives in the constant reality of her inability to affect change in the circumstances around her and the incredible ability of God to be the Change-Maker. A person with deeper compassion for godly, loving parents who are struggling, suffering marriages, individuals with depression, the lonely, the lost, and the broken.

And I’m ready for a new song.

There are sweet glimpses of healing and growth and joy in my family’s future. This is where I thought expectation would be my anthem… but instead, I know the Singer and Dancer of my soul delights in this coming season with a new song.

A song of deliverance.

A song of joy.

A song of peace in storms.

A song of love.

For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

 

A Year of Hope – 2016

hope3

Abide. Rest. Comfort.

All beautiful words that have spoken truth to my heart and soul over the last few years. Words that don’t end on December 31st, but which follow me into forever.
Continue reading “A Year of Hope – 2016”

Comfort – 5 Minute Friday

5-minute-friday-1 Comfort.

The word floods my mind with a collage of images.

Images and voices.

Voices that swoon and croon and call and plead and promise… and guilt.

My heart quiets and a soft smile settles with images of great reading rooms with large cozy chairs, overlooking the ocean. The sea breeze caresses my face, wisps of hair dance in the ocean’s song, and I am lost in a book, only drawn back to reality by the call of a seagull or the crash of a wave. A contented sigh.

Comfort.

I can doze in the warmth of the sun’s gentle rays and awake to cool in the ever-reaching waves. Laughter and joy and peace wrap around and I’m soon back in the arms of the chair, book in hands, world faded into another.

This is my “happy place.”

But then the guilt… all of the “comfort” foods that promise happiness in the moment, heartache (and bellyache) in the next. Guilt over the millions around the world living (if we can call it that) with little to no food, water… dying of things I take for granted. Guilt over the complaints I give a cold-sore when people say less about their own starvation, decaying body parts, children dying of preventable and treatable diseases. Guilt that my life as a believer in Christ should not be filled with comfort, but of perseverance, tribulation, endless hard work and long-suffering, sacrifice… exhaustion for the Cause. His Cause. Guilt that too much pleasure shouldn’t be for me and how can I even dream such things?

Then a gentle voice speaks:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:28-29

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 94:19

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

 

And truth, though my thoughts are so small in comparison, overwhelm my guilt and fears.

And the comfort comes.

Not through sea breezes or oversized reading chairs or worlds created by authors…

but by that voice.

The voice of Truth that overwhelms all shadows of guilt and fear.

That speaks peace and comfort into everything I can’t understand.

Quiet heart.

Soft smiles.

Contented sigh.