I haven’t written in a while. Not REALLY written. I’ve posted a couple of things that really resonated with me, that were (are) pertinent to where my head has been these past few months, but nothing really from me. My husband has said on a number of occasions that I need to get back to writing, and he’s right. It sustains me, revives me, and most of all, it’s an outlet for my thoughts that are otherwise being shared with him in the middle of the night when he would rather sleep.
I have felt the weight of writer’s block for a while, and I’ve wondered…a lot…why it has suffocated my desire to write for so long. Especially since I know that the longer I go, the harder it is to start back again, and the more of an unspoken (and unwritten) victory there is for silence. I do not want the silence to win.
The annual Blogging A-Z Challenge took place this month, and sadly I was unable to participate…for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was starting out the month of April quite sick. But beyond that, and beyond feeling wholly uninspired to write for the past several months, I have been practicing the piano like a fiend. It’s a good thing, and unlike the practice sessions of my childhood, where I would count the minutes until the required time had elapsed, I have to keep a close eye on the time now or I will blow by appointments, school pick up, and the like because my head is so immersed in the music. Never in my life did I anticipate this…not just an enjoyment of the work, but a craving to get at it and stay at it until the music is mastered. (And if you are a musician, you know the music is rarely ever “mastered,” just prepared enough for public consumption. There is always room for improvement.)
All this is a preamble to say that never in my life did I think I would play for church…and by play, I mean lead the music from the piano. Not only did I not anticipate that eventuality, but (more importantly) I did not anticipate enjoying it. Seriously, I have a fairly well developed case of stage fright, and the thought of actually speaking in front of a group gives me jitters and cold sweats, far beyond the normal performance nerves that I have always had. I was a bit terrified to take this on, even on this temporary basis, because of fears that I would screw up enormously (I have), make lots of obvious mistakes (I have), constantly battle nerves (I do), and ultimately be a distraction to the worship service. Never did I think I would love it, but I do…as long as I never have to speak up front. I’m serious!
What makes it great goes miles beyond being able to play beautiful music. Though in and of itself, that would be enough, it’s getting to work with fellow musicians, willing of heart to share their musical gifts to the glory of God, that makes this an experience I am treasuring. There is no way to adequately thank them for their willingness, not only to share their gifts, but to put in extra practice time and deal with my (more often than not) last minute changes. I love conversing in the language of music with fellow speakers, I love tweaking the performance of hymns so we work together better, and I love accompanying other musicians who are glorifying God with their voices and instruments.
I will miss it when it is over, but not in a sad way. It’s a lot of work…great work, if you can get it, but work nonetheless. It takes a great deal of time, and though I enjoy every moment of the time I am putting in, I know I can’t devote adequate time and pursue expanding our family. We have been seeking to adopt a child for so very long, to have a sibling for our son (who desires it so very much). This gig has been a glorious respite to the waiting, waiting, waiting for our second child And we’re still waiting…somewhat impatiently…to see where God will lead us in our search.
So I will revel for the next couple of months in the glorious music I am blessed and honored to play each Sunday. I will soak in the beauty of the melodies and the love of God that pours forth in the words. When I am finished, my family and I will worship God from our pew, and hopefully sooner than later, we will worship as a family of four.
I love the analogy of wood vs. water to the fire, and it is so true. It is so much easier to throw wood on the fire, though water is what is needed. Such is our culture of self-centeredness.
Good and godly changes are never easy, but they are worth the effort.
Last year I participated in the Blogging A-Z challenge, and it was a blast. I had high hopes of doing so again this year. Alas, I don’t think it’s going to happen. At the moment I am too sick to try and come up with any witty repartee, but regardless of that, I’m afraid time is a factor as well. <SIGH> Perhaps next year…
I am stressed these days…in fact, I am a walking illustration of what stress can look like. Every skin issue I struggle with has flared up. My back pain has flared up. I wake up frequently with a headache. My shoulders & neck feel stiff and sore all the time. I grind my teeth at night. My energy level has tanked, and even working out (which I do) does not give me the boost it usually does. Sometimes I can’t sleep, sometimes I sleep to much because I can’t turn off my thoughts and quiet my frustrations & worries. I eat the wrong things…comfort foods that don’t really comfort.
The problem with stress is that, when I least want it to, it leads to writer’s block. So the very thing that has provided relief for me on myriad occasions seems just beyond my fingertips at the moment. It is frustrating, and made more so because of part of what is troubling me is a personal brouhaha over my writing.
I want to sit down and spill it all a the keyboard. I can’t…I can’t find the words right now. Instead, I internalize everything and then talk my husband’s ear off in the middle of the night. To his credit, being the incredible man he is, he understands that those late night rantings are sometimes necessary, and he listens…or suffers through them…until I wind down, or he kicks me out to the couch because he needs to sleep.
This will pass. I know it will, but in the meantime I’m muscling through the anger, anxiety, frustration, and sadness the best that I can. If you pray, please say one for me. God is a miraculous healer, and I could use some heart healing right now.
I’ve been reading Natasha Metzler’s blog for a few years now. She inspires me with her graceful willingness to be transparent in pain, all the while giving God glory for the beautiful, blessed life that he created for her. I am humbled by her faith, and by her conscious decision to take every situation in her life and find God’s blessing(s) in it. What a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s love and grace, and how it can so magnificently transform us through our pain and disappointment.
This month she is writing a daily post on what she loves about her husband. One new thing each day. I love this, because each one has caused me to stop and reflect for a moment on my own husband. Today she wrote about how her husband blesses her with his gift of conversation. I love that something so common, so taken for granted, so quotidian (to quote my friend Bri), is described in such a way. I love it because my husband blesses me in this way, too.
How many times does he allow me to talk his ear off when we go to bed…too late to talk…but knowing that I need to decompress? The answer is too many to count And so many times has he offered a perspective to me that I have not yet considered. So many times he has offered a Biblical framework in which to see my concerns anew. So many times he has thoughtfully expressed his understanding of a Biblical principle that opens up a new level of understanding for me. So many times…in the middle of the night…when I am downloading all my worries and rants to him.
I am so very thankful for him, and for how he helps me reshape my thoughts and worries. I am thankful for his depth, and for his willingness to be tired the next morning because so many of these deep conversations happen in the middle of the night. I am thankful that he listens (even when he’s tired), and that he hears…that he seeks to know my heart intimately, and that he prays for and with me. I am so very, very thankful that God saw what I needed and provided in such extraordinary measure.
Christ’s Example of Humility
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a]
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[b] being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
1 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
3 When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
and with dishonor comes disgrace.
4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.
5 It is not good to be partial to[a] the wicked
or to deprive the righteous of justice.
6 A fool’s lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.
7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.
8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
9 Whoever is slack in his work
is a brother to him who destroys.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.
11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
and like a high wall in his imagination.
12 Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
14 A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15 An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man’s gift makes room for him
and brings him before the great.
17 The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
18 The lot puts an end to quarrels
and decides between powerful contenders.
19 A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
20 From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.
23 The poor use entreaties,
but the rich answer roughly.
24 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
- Proverbs 18:5 Hebrew to lift the face of