Ten Weeks of Tuesdays: Wide Open Like a Lake

Dear Eliana,

I hate that I have to write to you about this, but I know that one day, you will need it. You will need to hear about how things break and how they are mended.

there is sin. and sin can hurt. it can rip babies from mommas and daddies from homes. it can mean thousands of people dead. it can mean long nights of crying and sharp stabs in your heart. it can break hearts and homes and people.

it can mean bitterness. it can mean a tight heart and clenched hands and darkened eyes.  it can mean isolation and insulation and grasping at brokenness.

dear daughter, there is also forgiveness. it means an open heart and hands that mend and eyes that are full of light.  it means healing and grace. it means trying and forgetting. it means peace and stable and steady.  it means stillness and wonder and a peace that you can’t fake.

Like a Lake

I know that sounds hard. I know it sounds hard to be open when someone has hurt you. I know it is hard to mend hearts when yours feels broken. I know the ache that wants to be healed by clenching.

But I also know that clenching doesn’t work. I know that a barricaded heart and clenched hands never did anyone any good. I know that we aren’t healed by closing off but by opening up.

I know this because it’s how Jesus forgave. He didn’t clench up, he opened up. He stretched himself on that cross, wide open and vulnerable and begged forgiveness for us.  for us.  who killed him. forgiveness. before we asked.  His grace extends to us, and the best way for his forgiveness to heal you, sweet girl, is by opening yourself up and letting him use you to extend grace. He doesn’t ask you to come up with it. He freely gives. He only asks you to be open for it.

“when everything in me is tightening
curling in around this ache
I will lay my heart wide open
like the surface of a lake
wide open like a lake”*

I love you, sweet girl.

*Like a Lake, Sara Groves

an album review and a giveaway

jtffca

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. 

Broken and Grateful

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.

I can’t.

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