Ash Wednesday is coming up on March 1, which is just a week away!
I take the stairs up to our apartment two at a time, trying to shake the cold off and keep from annoying our downstairs neighbors at the same time. I shut the door behind me and the first few notes of that song come greet me like an old friend.
Words I first heard during college, in a little church I fondly remember. How the carpet and the chairs were deep red, reminiscent of the eucharist; how familiar words of blessing would be passed every Sunday morning: The peace of Christ be with you… And also with you; how it was in that place that I learned how to look for and to listen to Jesus in the rhythms of my life.
How very different my life is now than it was when I excitedly made the pilgrimage every Sunday to a place where knowing Jesus wasn’t just something we talked about, but something we practiced. My husband is sitting on the couch with my daughter and they are listening to those same words, that same song. Her sister is, for now, asleep in her bed. I sink onto the mustardy velour of our vintage couch and my head finds his shoulder. And it might as well be made of kleenex for all the times his shirt has caught my tears. This time is no different. They’re pooling, puddling right there on his shoulder and I’m starting to resemble a raccoon.
Those old and comforting words, much older than my experience with them. Still the same as ever they were. An imperfect but helpful picture of the way our Jesus is. These words carry with them memories of frenzied prayers and anxious nights and the peace that comes from trusting. Tonight, their meaning expands for me. For tonight I have rocked and cuddled, nursed and carried a child in an effort to still her. Patiently, tenderly, holding her close to me so that she knows she is safe, inviting her to give up the struggle and rest. Her eyes open, search, find my face and close again immediately, a serene smile briefly graces her sweet face. She knows me. She knows the safety and comfort of my love, my arms. And I am so imperfect, so frequently impatient and distracted. And yet, he is so constant.
He doesn’t struggle to calm the storms, and his arms aren’t too short to save. He doesn’t mean for me to attempt to navigate hard and ugly and exhausting circumstances on my own. He offers, he expects, to direct me, to carry me, to pilot me. He invites me to surrender. To give up the struggle and lean into the comfort, the peace found in submission.
Oh how very different my life is now. How very much the same my Jesus is. How much older I feel. How much more deeply I feel my need for him.
It’s no secret how much I love folk-pop duo Jenny & Tyler. This isn’t my first blog post about them, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. Since I started following Jenny & Tyler’s career during my sophomore year of college, I have been amazed with each new album they release. This is why I am so excited to share with you that their new EP, For Freedom will drop on 11/12/13, and you do not want to miss it. For Freedom is a covers EP that Jenny & Tyler have created to support organizations that fight human trafficking. That’s right. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of this album will go directly to the fight for human freedom and dignity.
Aside from its great purpose, For Freedom is a fantastic album. With covers of songs by U2, Coldplay, Louis Armstrong, and The Postal Service, you’re bound to love at least one of the tracks on this album and to find yourself singing along with most of them. Jenny & Tyler have picked songs that shaped them as artists, and they pay tribute to them in a fun, unique, and musically interesting way. From the guest vocalists peppered throughout the album to the virtual choir of over 300 voices, this album is a fun and engaging listen from beginning to end.
My favorite track on the album is We Will Become Silhouettes, originally by The Postal Service. I found myself listening to this one over and over from the first time I listened through. It’s faithful to the original but feels fresh with Jenny & Tyler’s unique perspective– basically what every good cover should be. David’s favorite is Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence. They released this song about a year ago, and it quickly climbed the singer-songwriter charts on iTunes. It’s haunting and beautiful, and it includes Jenny’s excellent clarinet skills. A few other tracks worth mentioning are their cover of Dreams, my favorite Cranberries song–perfect for loud driving sing-alongs; What a Wonderful World, with a special appearance by their sweet baby, Jane, and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, the track that features both Sara Groves and the virtual choir (is it fair to say I sang with Sara Groves?).
I think I’ve mentioned almost all the tracks, but while you wait with bated breath for the 11/12/13 release date, you can check out Jenny & Tyler’s website for the full track list and for explanations of why they chose the songs they did.
Also, I love this album so much I’ve decided to give a copy away to one of you– as a thank you for taking time to show up here on occasion, because I believe in what Jenny & Tyler are doing with this album, and also because it’s just so dang fun to sing along to. So, first, scroll up and make sure you’re following this blog, then follow this link (a Rafflecopter giveaway) to enter to win a copy of Jenny & Tyler’s For Freedom EP.
This contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada. Contest runs 10/30/13-11/4/13. Winner will be notified via email within 48 hours of the contest end. If the winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, a second winner will be chosen. Questions should be directed to lindsey.writes.words(at)gmail(dot)com. This contest is sponsored by me.
This post is the first in a ten week series called Ten Weeks of Tuesdays. If you’re participating, share a link to your post in the comments.
I recently bought one of those mirror things you mount in your backseat so that you can see your sweet baby’s face in your rearview mirror while you’re driving. And today, I was driving and thinking. And obviously listening to music. At a stoplight, my eyes wandered to that rearview mirror and misted over.
“I can’t help but reflect on what it was I almost lost
What it was I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and grateful”*
I almost feel like I don’t even need to add any more to this post. Anyone who has read more than one of my blog posts probably knows what happened to me after I finished college. What happened to my dreams and my plans for myself. And I bet some of you are ready to shut off your computer and say, “just get over it.”
But I tried to.
And I don’t want to.
I don’t ever want to forget how I made what was supposed to be service and obedience and mission an idol to my pride.
I don’t want to forget how it hurt to have that deep love for and devotion to something other than Jesus ripped from my heart.
I don’t want to forget how dark it was when my eyes were focused on my pride, and how bright Jesus was when he finally, finally revealed himself.
I always want to remember how, right there, in the middle of my pride and confusion and sadness. Right while I was struggling and crying and praying, Jesus finally answered. When the time was ripe. Just how he wanted to.
I want to remember that it wasn’t in line with my plan.
It didn’t make financial sense, success-oriented life sense, human sense. But it was just what Jesus wanted.
I don’t ever want to forget the joy of living in the good of God’s great gifts. How he heals, protects, provides, and strengthens, even when we have no. idea. where we are going.
I don’t ever want to forget how he turned my wailing into dancing.
I don’t ever want to forget the way that He taught me. So gently, so patiently, so faithfully. That he is good and he is holy and he is enough.
I’m not talking about living in the past. I’m talking about living in the fullness of the faithfulness of God. Every time I look at my daughter, I’m reminded of God’s grace, his faithful discipline, and his great love. I don’t ever want to slip into thinking that this is commonplace, that I somehow deserved this.
We talk a lot about how God can heal our brokenness. But there are at least a few places in the Bible where things were broken for good. Jesus’ body, for one example.
I don’t want to be afraid of living broken.
“I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful”*
*what I thought I wanted, Sara Groves
Ok, so I realize it’s Saturday, but I’m the boss around here, right? I meant to have this done on Saturday, then Sunday, then Monday. But, well, I have a six month old. Well, now it’s Tuesday, but, like I said, this is my blog and I can do what I want, right?
This week I…
Read this. post. and cried, obviously: “I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart.”
Sewed these for Ellie Jo’s crib.
Have been listening to this.
And watched waaaay too many episodes of Parks and Rec.
I’ve finally been inspired, and I can think of favorite things for several Fridays, so check back over the next few weeks for new stuff. About a week ago, a good friend and I decided to go on an adventure. … Continue reading
This afternoon, while I was sitting in my cube, eating a strawberry, I decided that I would start something called “Favorite Things Friday.” I’ve just made it up, so I get to include whatever favorite thing I’m enjoying at the time. Music. Books. Recipes. Hair Products. Kitchen Appliances. Etc. I can think of no better way to kick off Favorite Things Friday than with some FREE MUSIC by a duo that is very close to my heart.
Meet Jenny & Tyler
I started listening to Jenny & Tyler about 2 years ago. They agreed to come play a few shows at our college, and I fell in love with them and their music. Over the last two years they have not only been a favorite band, but they have also become friends. Em and I recently had the chance to hang out with them in Nashville. Soon, they will be releasing a new album, and rumor is it’s going to be WONDERFUL. In anticipation of this release, they’re GIVING AWAY their most recent album, Faint Not and it is PURE. GOLD. You can get their CD at this link: http://bit.ly/wpvPx5.
In addition to that, they’ve covered Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” and it’s available on iTunes. This cover is also PURE GOLD, and all proceeds go to fight human trafficking. you can get “The Sound of Silence” here: http://bit.ly/xLV8X4.
As long as I’m going link crazy, you can check out their website here: http://jennyandtylermusic.com.
Go treat yourself to some honest, refreshing, encouraging music written by two godly, passionate people. Go. Treat Yourself. Thank me later.
Happy Favorite Things Friday.