Revelations and new perspective is always nice, so i thought i’d share. so – the story goes like this.
i had a dream.
really – i did. it was a dream of traveling the world, playing my songs for thousands of souls and seeing the broken and lost healed and found and filled with hope. yes. it was a rather lofty notion. i knew it from the start, but i believed that God had put something in me to release to the world this way – on a stage with a guitar and a mic – a band… merch table, you know – the touring musician thing. i had it all planned out. i had a dream. then i married a guy who turned out to be a producer and i thought – hey, jackpot! wow, God – thanks for that. who knew?! because all we knew before we tied the knot was that we both did music and that music couldn’t be more different – him playing hard core (previously punk rock) and me a simple folk singer. yeah we had no idea what we were gonna do, we just believed He’d show us. it was a step of faith. my idea of marriage hinged on this whole music thing working out so you may be able to imagine how crushed i was when 6 months into our marriage my husband (who i had married so i didn’t have to music alone anymore ((really good reason, right?)) informed me that he would NEVER get in a van with me and drive across the country playing my music in coffee shops across America. it was not HIS dream. and mine was shattered. broken, but still the fragments remained. i started meticulously pasting together the tiny shards of my fragile dream of releasing the music i believed God had put in me to the whole world. (before you misunderstand, i must interject here that it was necessary for that dream to shatter – although i was completely devastated and lost at the time not having any grid for why this may be. hindsight my friends – better than 20/20….) so anyway this dream of mine had hung around, like a dark, sad cloud over my head, pitifully fitted together with paste and tape and i hid it in my heart to keep it from getting busted up again. this went on for years… years. not surprising. it was after-all my dream.
fast forward 8 years to a moment of reckoning. i lay in a dark room, seething in anger. everything had been stripped from me. my home (a tree fell on it), my church (a story for another day), my worship position at that church, my best friend and photography partner, my car (which had been totaled by previous best friend), and my music lay cold and naked on the floor breathing what felt like it’s final dying breaths. in a rage and state of utter hopelessness, with everything in me i screamed out (literally, i can’t believe i didn’t wake up the kids) THAT’S IT!!!! I GIVE UP!!!!!!! I’M NEVER DOING MUSIC AGAIN!!!!!. in that moment in the darkness i saw a feeble, yellow flame. it was in a vast sea of nothingness – it was just black. void. then i saw two hands holding a bucket. and those hands threw darkness from the bucket onto the flame extinguishing it – encompassing it in the void. and fell into sobs lying there next to my poor husband, who i can only image was being as still as possible to keep from drawing my attention and consequentially my wrath. i knew it was done. i somehow knew – with no words or explanation – that what i had seen was the feeble remains of my hopes and dreams, my expectations, my will – being extinguished by God. wether i had meant it or not – He took me up on my proclamation of surrender and had done what i could not do. He took out the flame. and then there was nothing. only that great, black void.
The Word says that the Lord gives us the desires of our heart. I’ve always read that as He is the one that places those desires in our hearts – he gives them to us because that is His will and purpose and calling for our lives. He loves to give His kids good things, He loves to see us fulfilled in Him, by Him, through Him. but a nasty issue arrises when we begin to dictate to Him how this will play out for us – when we begin to tell Him how it’s gonna be, what it will look like – we say, “here Pop, let me lay out for you the 10 year plan” and He says, “Oh? Well, that’s mighty interesting, Love… but not quite what I had in mind for you. Now do you want it your way or My way?” and as we see in the previous paragraph, we kick and scream (some of us literally) and demand to have our way, insisting that it’s just cruelty if we don’t get what we want. i mean after-all, YOU’RE the one, God, that put this music in me, now you’re taking it away?? How cruel. And being infinitely patient and loving and kind, He whispers to us of His great love and waits next to us while we writhe around in pain, just waiting for us to look up into His face and see. See what, you may ask. Everything. THE plan. THE Way. THE Truth… all of which is encompassed in Him and His mighty goodness. For me it has taken years, for Him a breath of a moment – but I am finally looking up into His eyes and what I see… well, I can’t really describe that to you… so I won’t try. But I will share this revelation and new perspective i spoke of at the top of this bit of hemming on (now that i’ve caught you up on the background).
I’ve been seeing this picture of nothingness for about three years now. Exciting things came with that experience, like realizing that when He takes out our unsuitable expectations He will replace them with His own. However, after a couple moments of insight, everything just went still. No more pictures, no more explanations… just dark, stillness that He had seen fit to inflict.
I was talking with a friend who is becoming more dear to me every day, and she was telling me of a picture the Lord had given her of a pot. She had been filling this pot with food, but it was perishable and had rotted and begun to smell. He showed her that this pot had to be emptied so that the perishable things she had been putting in it could be replaced with eternal ones. Eternal food. But the pot didn’t just have to be emptied, it had to be scoured, and cleaned, and rinsed and cleaned again – to remove the stench and any trace of rottenness. So for a while that pot had to remain empty. There was a process at hand here. And at this point in the process – there was emptiness. It’s uncomfortable to be emptied out. It’s uncomfortable to be cleaned and scoured and rinsed. It’s certainly easy to lose perspective while this is going on. A few years ago a cry rose up in my heart. I was tired of people telling me i had a pretty voice after a time of worship. It discouraged me that my voice was all they noticed. I cried out to the Lord and told Him I didn’t want something that lingered for 10 minutes and then was gone. I wanted what was Eternal. Now looking back I believe that was the point things began ever so subtly shifting for me – that shift landed me in my bed, in the dark, screaming out a broken surrender that i don’t think i even meant at the time, but He was good enough to do it anyway. I’ve been looking at my life and mourning the fact that i couldn’t see anything but this dark void. I have mourned and cried over how lost I felt and how I had nothing to say… how I haven’t written a song in close to 2 years. And then today He told me that it was ok. It’s ok to be empty, it’s ok to not be able to see “the great vision for my life” – I can trust Him that He’s got it. I can be content in this place that seems so void because He has me here on purpose, FOR His purposes. I can let go and rest. I can believe that He is getting rid of all the dead, rotten temporal things and making room for me to be a vessel for the Eternal. That is a much more vast dream than singing songs on a stage (although it doesn’t mean His plan doesn’t include singing) and even though i don’t have a clue as to what that looks like – I believe it’s Good – because He is Good and He promised me the desires of my heart. I know He’s faithful to complete this good work He began in me.
So there you have it, my dear readers. And that’s all I have to say about that 😉