My searching

I’ve started searching for you again
In the faces of poets, strangers, and friends
Hoping to find that sweet company
That’s mine if I’d just hit my knees.
It’s mine, if I’d just hit my knees.

I’m hungry for pleasure, for a hit of success
Something to tell me I’ve still got a chance
A chance for some worth, some value, some proof
That’s mine if I’d just hear your truth.
It’s mine if I’d just hear your truth.

I’m wandering deserts, feeling lost and alone
And I can’t remember which way leads me back home
I’m filling with anger, why did you bring me here?
You’ve caught me, and I’ll lend an ear.
You’ve caught me and cut open my fears.

Pride was my lover, my very best friend.
He told me of the glory that’d be mine in the end
He wrapped me up, bound, with a noose
Almost killed me, until I found you
Almost killed me, and then I found you

My searching, the problem, became really clear
It’s you, the one, I so longed to be near
No worth, no person, could ever come close
To knowing you, my savior, so dear
It was you who helped me see clear.

And in the end, when the best fades
I’ll be at home in some other place.
For all of my sins, couldn’t chase you away.
You’re happy in being my friend.
I’m happy, for that’s who you’ve been.

And I’ll praise you now, and in the end.

 

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More of me from you

They say you never know unless you try
And I’m finding out all of the reasons why
People give it up so easy,
They lay it down,
And take the pieces
Hoping somehow it will all repair
Even when the pieces aren’t all there
My trying didn’t seem to lead me any where.
Because I hoped you’d be standing here.

They say better to have lost it when you love
That there’s a sure comfort in the sum
Of all the ways you gave yourself
You held on fast
You lost the wealth
Of things, they mattered not to you
Because they were worth giving up everything you knew
But it’s harder now to clearly see the truth
That love was right, yet wonder what’s the use?

They say it will get easier with time
That love still grows and never says goodbye
But the times gone by
And we’ll I’ve tried
To do all that I can do
But my best hasn’t gotten over you
And I’m carrying around the pieces for the proof.
That I was willing to give you more.
And I sure gave you all of that I knew.

I can say it’s been a wild ride
There was time of joy within my eyes
A hopeful song
A beating chest
Buried within my bosom rests
These memories, the laughter and the tears
The journey packs up again though through the fear,
And I can hope or at least pretend
The unexplained goodbye is the better truth.
Because I learned more of me from you.

 

 

context: a song in the making after my strange month long dating soirée.

Note to future self, this was a good and humbling process. It wasn’t love, but it had potential. You learned more in these last four weeks about life (pain, grieving the past) than you ever really had before. Blessings to him as you both find what it is you’re looking for.

Keeping Wisdom in View.

Somewhere over the last couple of months, maybe after one too many conversations about the need to be upfront and honest with people, I must have decided to give myself permission or find the need to be totally upfront and honest with people.

Sounds great. Until you, unfortunately, stick two people pleasing roommates with one roommate who, I’d say most unfortunately, can’t be pleased and even more so finds great (unhealthy) frustration in misplaced motivation for people pleasing. That’d be… me. What started off as honestly was soon tumulted into fiery insults and bad attitudes… and sooner or later I found myself wedging a huge vice in between some of the greatest friendships I have. What once was pleasant, joyous fellowship was now being choked slowly by frustration and a growing terror. What would happen next if they tried to wake the sleeping bear?

Somewhere a long the way, rebuke was delivered and so began the growing pains.

Do you ever look in the mirror and not like what you see? Try holding a mirror up to your heart once… it was so… disappointing. Oh, I know, I’ve been praying to grow in gentleness… but it was just like- Teresa, who are you?

A dear brother shared a verse with me one Sunday morning “When words are many, sin is not absent; but he who holds his tongue is wise,” he reminded me. Yes. I remember that. I used to have that one memorized and repeat it to myself daily. Now, I couldn’t even remember the reference. (It’s Proverbs 10:19, btw) What happened?

I started flipping through Proverbs and found good conviction and affirmation of my foolishness.

“A man who lacks judgement derides (ridicules, mocks, scoffs) his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.”  (11:12)

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” (12:16)

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (12:18)

“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (13:3)

Oh they go on and on! So why did this all happen?

“A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eye wanders to the end of the earth.” (17:24)

I stopped keeping wisdom in view. Sure, I was reading the word… trudging slowly through the prophets as I’ve been, maybe flipping to the NT every once and while. But, storing up wisdom? Reading through the Proverbs? Wasn’t doing that. Wasn’t searching for it as for silver or hidden treasure, wasn’t binding it around my neck or writing it on the tablet of my heart. Just being foolish.

So what hope is there for a fool? Well, Jesus for one. He paid for my sin in all of this, painfully, on the cross. So, forgiveness and a hope of sanctification as I pursue him more and more.

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. […] My son, preserve sound judgement and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.” (Proverbs 2:13-18, 21-26 NIV)

And so because I do what I do… here’s a song I wrote tonight. “Keeping Wisdom in View”

If I could take back
all that I said
and it could be written
by someone who cared
cared

someone like you
someone like you

I gave up control
and my tongue had its own
and I turned a deaf ear
revealing a fool
fool

and silenced the truth
silenced the truth

Wisdom won’t you come at my gate
I’m ready to let you in
For all of my friends might have thrown me to waste
unless I bind you within
unless I bind you within

My wandering eyes
led me, poor, in disguise
now truth is a witness
to uncover these lies
lies

now how poor am I?
Oh how poor am I.

Wisdom won’t you come at my gate
I’m ready to let you in
For all of my friends might have thrown me to waste
unless I bind you within
unless I bind you within.
Please Jesus, come abide within.

Here’s a link to hear it, for what that’s worth.
http://youtu.be/cJ400KmndOw

Carry on in faith and love, and wisdom!

Teresa

The Glory of Zion

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We have walked these crooked roads
and we have known no paths of peace.
Justice is a distant thought
and righteousness we cannot keep.

Darkness has come upon us, all around
though a brightness we hope to seek.
But fearfully we grope as blind,
stumbling we cannot see.

We are crawling, growling bears
moaning mournfully like doves.
Waiting for a day of justice,
waiting for when our salvation comes.

But it seems too far away.

We acknowledge our iniquities
our rebellion and our treacheries.
Our many sins that block out truth and honesty.
Uttering lies our hearts conceive.

Who will intervene?

Arise, shine, for your light has come.
His own he will redeem.
His glory, the Lord, rises upon you,
and darkness will not be seen.

Lift up your eyes and look about you.
Come near, even if you’re now afar.
Look and see your radiance beaming;
darkness covered by the blood of God.

Arise, shine, for your light has come.
Jesus, with power, has redeemed.
With joy your heart will swell and throb,
proclaiming His glory, the Risen King!

Song of Deliverance

As goodness seeps into the air, like dew and morning fog
A deeper longing starts to grow and settle on my heart.
A whisper from a distant dream, no- memories; they’ve all been mine.
Not the yet unachieved, but past is this constant dream
Speaking to me of deliverance.

In tiny fears, no instead tiny hands where fears first started to grow
as trials mended, spoiled, and tempted, where desperation I started to know.

In my mind and soul, as the world taught me to see, trust was given to nobody
it was You who helped me breathe.
Every last, though I resisted and painted a different kind of dream
one that schemed of endless bleeding brought forth from suffering.

Thankfully, you had a sweeter dream.

Even yet before that time, your dream was coming fully alive.
Though penitence may have been mine, it was your drawing and love:
I became Thine. You had still, greater deliverance in mind.

Within that suffering when I despaired, regretting every sense of hope
Abandoning truth, power, and strength… I stretched forth to find my own.
Yet your hand still beside me though I refused to pay any kind of attention to your love.
I thought I’d be better off.
My eyes wide shut.

Though a calloused stone, once called my heart, occupied this cavity
with time and distance you gently melted me
in time to remember why I’d left so long ago
only to be met by a God with might, His love that he loves to show.
Any reason can you guess to make this sinner whole?

And then from there, if there’s a yet to go, freedom began to fill this soul!
From mountains and valleys, building bridges again.
You’ve taken me back to the world I was first delivered in.
With bitterness, malice flowing away. Instead in its place- fountains of grace!

Oh and you see this isn’t even the end. The greatest deliverance has yet to begin!
From this old world to the eternal next, from Jesus’s blood- the first, the last.
I did taste and see, in my heart when I believed.
And then when mighty waters rise, I will not be reached.
You are my hiding place, my protection, my peace.
He surrounded me with songs
Of deliverance!

 

The Resistance.

If you haven’t heard of Josh Garrels or have checked his pretty rad lyricist skills. You should. Here’s an easy link to his sampler album.

And here’s a song I’m digging lately: The Resistance.

“I was born into a system constructed for failure
It’s a sinking ship manned by drunken sailors
An escape artist behind the bars of a jailor
An asthmatic attack when we forgot the inhaler
If the shoe doesn’t fit what good is a tailor
In the midst of a crisis please cancel the gala
Without a symphony there’s no need for a prelude
To foreshadow what’s to come. 

See the secret committees, commence with their meetings
To make red tape in response to simple questions
Questions threaten the perception of the beneficial systems
A pyramid scheme with it’s cogs and it’s pistons
Mechanization of men, making more and more
Live in a miserable exhistance
How can so few, claim so many victims
And this begs the question

My rest is a weapon against the oppression
Of mans obsession to control things
Look at the long line of make believe kings
The lord of the flies want’s you to kiss his ring
Follow new rules with invisible strings
And become a puppet in the diabolical scheme
How do good men become part of the regime?
They don’t believe in resistance.

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

Lesson number one, overcome
Every fear of regret and confusion
It’s all illusion, delusion
Sent to disconnect the holy fusion
Of spirit and the flesh
Every mortal breath, is meant to bring forth fire
But only when the fear of death, gets consumed
On the funeral pier
So let the flames rise higher
Let every man be considered a liar
If he doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God
Itching ears will compulsively nod in approval
When unbelief is taught in all our temples and schools
But God can restrain the madness of a fool
He can bring His truth through the mouth of a mule
You can move an mountain without any tools
It just takes the faith of a little seed
to make a way through what might seem to be
Impossibility,
And the ability will match the occasion
The outcome will defy explanation
The liberation will not be televised
When it arrives like lightning in the skies

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
For your love, we will rise and overcome
Through the fire

Hold fast my people and sing
Through peace and through suffering
All for the joy that it brings, to be free
It’s gonna cost us everything
To follow one Lord and King
True love endures everything
To be free

Hold fast, like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

 

Carry on in faith and love

-Teresa

Letting all go.

Here’s a song I wrote a couple weeks ago on the brink of forgiveness.

There’s a child inside of me crying, longing for you.
There’s a darkness that lingers around me, and nothing gets through.

And the strings of this pain that’ve colored this stain,
you’d think they’d pull like a noose.
Yet, I’m here to say when I give Him my pain,
there’s nothing that crumbles this cave like the truth.

Broken I’m falling before you, down on my knees.
Feeling the weight of regret, my soul needs relief.

Oh Father of mercy, please tell me you love me
and Jesus, you cover my need.
For my father before me, he could not protect me
from corruption and all that it reaped.

Here I am. Nothing in hand. Parched in a desert land,
and water comes from your hands.

Forever here I’ll stand, with your promise to the end.
For this world has left me wanting, though measured I have been.

When the wolves cry out to the moon; hungry, they encroach.
Yet laugh at them, though I must, for I will not let go
of the truth that has saved me,
the blood that renamed me,
and the penitence in all of my soul.
The healing He gave me,
the loves that replays in me,
and the freedom of letting all go, gives me hope.

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Pizza and learning to play without the queen.

(This is a long one, but a long time coming! God has done some great work!)

First I think I need to describe my grandfather. Yes. This is a good idea.

He was average height and dark skinned. Polish. I remember him best seeing him growing his giant, tall tomato plants in the garden; always shirtless, his skin was tight but also wrinkly. When he spoke his polish accent shaped every word, it was a low grumbly voice. Inside the house, he would always offer us (the grandkids) gum. My favorite was finding really old Big Red in a drawer because it would snap when you bent it. My grandpa was a hard worker and spent time in a concentration camp as a POW during WWII, but he never talked about it because somethings in life “were best left in the past”. He coined the catchphrase in our family “you can do it like a lion or you can do it like a lamb, but you still gotta do it” and that was the mentality my mom passed on to us kids. My grandpa didn’t have a mother figure in his life, apparently she had died when he was five so his dad raised him and taught him to play chess. When my great grandfather taught my grandpa and his siblings to play, they learned to play without the queen: to teach them that the other players had very important roles and could win the game without her and then also to show them that as they depended on each other (the knights and rookies, pawns and bishops) they would work wonderfully together and if the queen came back into the game, the rest of the pieces knew how to function to their ability and could compliment the queen. This my grandpa passed down to my mother as well, as her mother was diagnosed with delusional schizophrenia and was placed into an institution so my mom too had to learn to play without the queen.

chess-shutterstock

My mom was telling me this story tonight as we sat at a local pizza place (its much too classy to be called a ‘joint’) in my hometown.  I want to share with you an amazing story that unfolds to show God redeeming love and power! Last Thanksgiving break I remember my mom telling me that I couldn’t understand disappointment because I had such an easy life; I remember responding with tears and shouting as I confessed to her that I had been suicidal and stuck in depression for most of my childhood. Before coming back she had blamed me for the riff in her relationship with my dad, words that stabbed far deeper than any knife could and I cried myself to sleep listening to Hold My Heart by Tenth Avenue North praying and waiting for the pain to stop. Coming back to school, surrounded by believers I sought to allow God to change my circumstances and to change my heart. Exodus 20:12 says “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” and Ephesians 6:2-3 quotes Deuteronomy by saying “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” I went to a conference over Christmas break that year on the same topic. I knew regardless of how I felt about it or how much I thought she earned or deserved honor, I was going to honor because of the promise God made if I obeyed. It’s been a roller coaster of humbleness since.

Now that I’ve caught you up on the mess (and you can read plenty of previous posts on the matter) I’d like to tell you where we are now.

My mom and I sat at the restaurant for an hour talking about the magnificent work Jesus has done in our lives and the brokenness it has come through. Both of us. Mainly her. Oh Frabjous Day! Cahloo! Callay! How I chortled in my joy!Better yet, we wept beside one another in a church in my hometown yesterday when singing From The Inside Out by Hillsong. What is the cause for this change?

God is at the end of your rope. A couple times a week I pass a sign outside of a church on the west side of Ames and that’s what its said for the last week. God is at the end of your rope.

I mentioned in my post Lord the Healer and Redeemer that my mom’s boyfriend Jeff was diagnosed with cancer and only had a limited time (3-9 months) left to live. 3-9 months turned out to be three weeks. I received a call one night from my mom that Jeff wouldn’t make it through the night. God put it on my heart to share the gospel with him so I left everything and a beloved sister (my kindred spirit) drove 6 hours with me. In the span of 22 hours, we drove there, met his wife and kids, and paced and prayed for 7 hours (well, my friend slept somewhere). I had no idea what I was doing- but I knew that as the hour grew later (or earlier I should say) my time was coming as his time was ending. 6 am I asked to speak to him alone. His body was frail and almost non existent on the hospital bed. His eyes yellow. He reached out often to grab things that weren’t there, but when I called his attention he would look at me. As I shared I asked if he wanted to accept Jesus as his payment for his sins, but no answer. I left it in God’s hands. 5 hours later I gave him a hug and said goodbye, I whispered into his ear to watch for Jesus and lifted up the rest to God. I left and couldn’t hold in the tears. The sadness was too real. I hugged my mom tightly and we talked of Gods love. My friend and I drove back to Ames. 22 hours. The next morning was a friday and my mom had called to tell me he had passed. It’s been God’s healing work ever since.

I had been praying recently in the last month for my mom, that she would find a church to get plugged into and another believer to come a long side of her. Last week (or so) my mom called me on a Sunday to tell me about her time at church for the 3rd week in a row and how she wanted to make it her highest commitment. No excuses. She just ordered glasses and as soon as they came in she was going to start reading two pages of the Bible everyday. I’ve been sending her messages on CDs about topics I think will help bring healing to her heart and songs about God’s love to bring comfort. She’s been going to church with a woman named Judy, who I was able to lift my hands of praise next to at church. I couldn’t wipe away the tears fast enough.

Its like- in the depths of ALL of this brokenness that just thrives all around me, knitting my family together, God is working powerfully. Theres still more work to do. But if you are encouraged by anything out of this, let it be that God can and will change your life and your family’s life if you seek to obey His words. It may take a long time, but let it be worth it. It makes take hours of tears and heart wrenching pain, but get through it. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Keep thanking God for the hard stuff even when nothing in you wants to. Look your self in the mirror and say “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins, and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfied your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5) And don’t let your self forget it.

This thanksgiving I’m thankful for everything above written. Even the messy stuff. It was worth it just to experience the glory of God within my family.

What are you thankful for?

Cutting Out the Idol: Filling in the Hole with Jesus Paste

Dehydration: fatigue

Fatigue: a common symptom of depression.

Despression: a common symptom of dissatisfaction with life.

Dissatisfaction with life: a common symptom of feeling like your missing something.

Feeling like your missing something: a common symptom of having an idol.

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 weeks of fatigue, 2 weeks of depression, 2 weeks of dissatisfaction with life, 2 weeks of feeling like I was missing something, 2 weeks of idolatry= 2 weeks of confusion, lamentations, and weeping.

It took me TWO weeks to get to the source of the idol in my heart.

The idol: my parents understanding me.

From a basic glance this is not a terrible thing, asking that people could understand me. It speaks a lot about God’s nature, this desire that I’ve had in my heart. God wants us to seek him, and wants us to know him. I believe when he made us in his image, that desire came with it. Some have told me it’s a common desire with women… but I’m hesitant to believe that’s the case: correct me if I’m wrong. Our cry for intimate relationships with our families, friends, God, each other is a desire that has been placed in our hearts as an image of God’s desire for us to know him intimately.

My last post is closely related to this because the reason why I found myself unable to study was intimately linked with this idol. I have a desire for my parents to know me in a certain way, for them to know and understand, to comfort me, and defend me in a certain memory I have from when I was younger. I confronted them then with some terrible news, but they did not comfort me, they did not defend me, they didn’t want to deal with and neither did I so I gave up. I decided it was too much to deal with. If only I had stood up for myself I wouldn’t have this desire for my family to know me. I tried. And I failed.

If you try, you’re just going to fail.

I saw my studying as a reminder of this: so I avoided it at all costs. I knew I had to do something about it when on Friday I found myself in Lamentations, and being comforted.

But if God uses our failures to bring glory, wouldn’t I rejoice?!

Not if the relationship with my parents is more important than God, not if my parents knowing me is more important than God.

Psalm 139:

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

I read this psalm and thought Wow, look how deeply and intimately God knows and understands me. He has woven me together like a quilt, knowing and considering each stitch. I cannot escape him. He will not let me escape him. He is everywhere, holding me, the wind beneath my wings. Everything has been ordained by you. 

I began to pray. Prayers to be satisfied in him and to trust him with this desire: knowing the beauty of it being fulfilled, but knowing that God is greater and better than any other desire that I could ever have. So out went this idol: Give it up. 

After that my weeping and lamentations of this unfulfilled desire turned into weeping of sadness now that I had this idol taken from me… left over was sort of this hole. Wide open and empty, crying out for something to fill it. I stood in someone’s driveway last night and sobbed not for any particular reason, just for mourning. We had just song the song Father:

Father
I want to be close to You
You alone can understand me
Look inside my heart and find me

Father
I want to be close to You
You alone can satisfy me
fill the hole that is inside me

I cry with a passionate voice
I long to feel Your intimate touch
It’s You I need so much
I’m empty without You
I am empty without You

That was my prayer that He would fill the hole inside of me. Fill it with a nicy gooey paste mixture of love and joy and peace and thanksgiving, gladness, purity, and hope. Hope in that He works all things together for my good. Hope in that I have a trustworthy comforter who shows up for me time and time again in my pain. Hope in a God who wants the best for me and wants my heart to be in all for him. Hope in that one day I will join God and be will him and my soul will be completely whole. I will be in perfect union with my father and all of this because of Him, because of Christ. Praise the Lord!

 

Be Still

Ok so this song means a lot to me. Not only because of its beauty and faith scented lyrics, but because of its delivery in my life.

It was evening and I had just gotten back from a church thing where I had just finished relishing in revealing a lie that was hidden deep in my heart telling me I was responsible for the malfunction of my brother’s life. If you’ve ever been there you know, but if you haven’t, know that for me that was the most painful experience of my life even though it lasted for a short while. At the end, while sitting there drenched in my tears almost shaking in fear,  I asked God to just speak some truth into my life and he said “Be still, I am Lord” and when I got home this is the song I was given.

Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still and know that I am here
Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still, be still, and know

When darkness comes upon you
And covers you with fear and shame
Be still and know that I’m with you
And I will say your name

If terror falls upon your bed
And sleep no longer comes
Remember all the words I said
Be still, be still, and know

And when you go through the valley
And the shadow comes down from the hill
If morning never comes to be
Be still, be still, be still

If you forget the way to go
And lose where you came from
If no one is standing beside you
Be still and know I am

Be still and know that I’m with you
Be still and know I am

Psalm 46:10 “Be Still and know that I am God.”