Brokenness for Cohesion

I don’t know how people do grad school, or really anything, without God or a relationship with Him. A few weeks ago, things got really busy and while I’m normally very good about reading even the littlest bit of the Bible a day, I let that fall by the wayside. I realized that I was becoming more concerned with my needs and with whether I was getting credit for having done something, and just generally caring about school to a greater degree than I typically do. I didn’t notice anything was going on until my friend pointed out that I seemed “a little frazzled.” I grew up in the church, but I’m still reminded from time to time of what a mess I definitely am when I’m not putting my trust in my Savior and living like the truth of the good news is what motivates my life. I’m so glad to have a God who is making me new.

I’d like to share with you all a few songs that have helped me refocus. These are the songs that get stuck in my head and remind me, as John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all.” As Colossians 1 continues, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” I love how this passage points out how worthy God is of the glory we’re called to give Him. He created everything and He is holding it all together. He is holding me together. It’s surprising how unwilling I sometimes am to sacrifice brokenness for being held together.

“Mercy, Mercy” by Hillsong United is a great song for singing my heart out in those times.

“Mercy, mercy, bring me to my knees

as the morning calls to light the dark in me…

Now I find my life in Yours;

My eyes on Your name…

Awake my soul to the hope You hold;

Your grace is all I need.”

 

I also love “Strangely Dim” by Francesca Battistelli. This was my “over and over” song right after that little rough patch. Oh, to spend more time marveling at all that God is.

“When I fix my eyes on all that You are

then every doubt I feel deep in my heart

grow strangely dim”

 

And if you want to get pumped up in a Mumford and Sons/The Lumineers way (or just in general), the spirited prayer/jam session “Build Your Kingdom Here” by Rend Collective Experiment has some great calls to action:

“Increase in us, we pray…

You made us for much more than this

Awake the kingdom seed in us

Fill us with the strength and love of Christ

 

But really, can you imagine a jam session with these people? How happy and sore would you be after this?! They even post their chords on their website like they’re just asking you to sing along.

Even above and beyond RCE, there is some amazing and uniquely genred Christian music today. I love that part of worship is taking the time to sing these songs to God and to one another, and hopefully to use them to encourage us to worship God with all of the other aspects of lives.

Snippets for a Busy Week

It’s been a crazy week, so it’s one of those where I’m just barely sliding into home plate as far as getting these posts out before midnight! However, in the midst of this craziness, I have found a good deal of peace, comfort, and strength in several hymns that have danced across my mind and been hummed on the way to class or in the car. Colossians 3:16 tells us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” I especially need to remember this during my busy weeks when I am wondering how to fit everything in my schedule, and upon realizing that “fitting everything” is not an option, while prioritizing is mandatory. I’ve been praying this week that God would keep my faith and purpose in Him as an integral part of each day.

Though it will make for a short post, I’d like to share some of them with you (further commentary may appear in later posts!). For each song, I included a little excerpt that I’ve found particularly profound or moving. Sometimes seeing the words isolated from the melody helps me to think about them a little more. For example, consider the absolute magnitude described in the “The Love of God” excerpt. I’m so blessed by these songs that remind me of the continuing grace and love of such a beautiful Savior.

 

The Love of God

http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/28

Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,

To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry;

Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure, the saints’ and angels’ song!

 

Bless the Lord (10,000 Reasons) by Matt Redman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,

Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul;

Worship His holy name.

Sing like never before, O my soul;

I’ll worship Your holy name.

 

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

http://www.igracemusic.com/hymnbook/hymns/o10.html

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Love of every love the best!

’Tis an ocean vast of blessing, ’tis a haven sweet of rest!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,’Tis a heaven of heavens to me;

And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

 

Forgiven by Sanctus Real

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F9z54g30Eo

When I don’t fit in and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere;

When I don’t measure up to much in this life,

Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ.

And I’m forgiven; I’m forgiven.

And I don’t have to carry the weight of who I’ve been

‘Cause I’m forgiven.

 

Do you have any songs or hymns that consistently remind you of truths of the gospel or that are close to your heart? I’d love to hear them- feel free to comment below!

Right Here, Right Now

I’m not going to sit here and lie about it- I love High School Musical.  I have all three movies and saw the only one to come out in theaters on opening day.  It’s a well circulated story that the two other college freshmen who accompanied did so to watch me watch the movie and were not disappointed.  Now that I’m a senior in college, I’m falling in love with HSM3 all over again: Troy and Gabriella are moving through their senior year and trying to figure out the future, and I’m doing the same, just four years ahead.

Unfortunately, “thinking about the future” often just translates to “sitting and worrying.”  The HSM soundtrack conveys this well, with plenty of heartfelt songs about indecision, conflicting opinions, and fears, but it also slows down for a song called “Right Here, Right Now.”

Oh we know it’s coming, and it’s coming fast

So let’s make each second last, make it last

Right here, right now

I’m looking at you and my heart loves the view, ’cause you mean everything

Right here, I promise you somehow

That tomorrow can for wait for some other day to be

‘Cause right now there’s you and me

T & G are singing about each other here, but in looking at the lyrics, I’m reminded of my relationship with God and certain Psalms.  One of my favorite passages from the Psalms comes from the 73rd and says

“Yet I am always with You,

You hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with Your counsel,

and afterward You will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You?

And earth has nothing I desire besides You.

My heart and my flesh may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.”

And later in the New Testament, we’re told to make the most of every opportunity but to not worry about tomorrow (each day has enough worries of its own).

The idea here isn’t to stop what I’m doing and hope the future won’t come as quickly because I’m singing about my feelings.  It’s to be more aware of what I’m doing in this moment and how I can serve and love God and others in this moment.  In “The Screwtape Letters,” C.S. Lewis mentions how people often get so caught up in fears about hypothetically doing something wrong in the future that they forget that their sitting and worrying about it right now is doing something wrong in the present!

Planning is important, but let’s be honest- at this point, I’m just stopping and thinking “I’ve done everything I can to be prepared for X and I just can’t handle sitting and waiting!  God, what if Y happens?  Or what if Q happens?!  I hadn’t thought of Q  before!!!” (where Q is some far-off possibility about which I can do nothing right now)

Right here, right now.  Am I fearing, doubting, and forgetting to cast my cares on God?  Or am I learning to wait in peace, to yield control to God, and to truly rest in and trust Him?  I’m praying that I’ll do much more of the second than the first, even during trying times.

Snippets!

I’m sorry for a rather sub-par week of blogging, BUT hopefully the wonderfulness of these songs will make up for it.  =)  It’s another Snippets!

 

Tidal Wave by Owl City

Favorite Line: The end is uncertain, and I’ve never been so afraid, but I don’t need a telescope to see that there’s hope and that makes me feel brave.

In the Hands of God by The Newsboys

Favorite Line: We’ve stumbled over the trials of life, and we’ve wrestled the unseen, but only One can calm the storm inside our souls.  In the hands of God, we will fall– rest for the restless and the weary, hope for the sinner.

Forget and Not Slow Down by Relient K

Favorite Line: I’ll watch the glint in my eye shine off the spring in my step, and it could blinding, depending on the amount of You that I reflect.

Let That Be Enough by Switchfoot

Favorite Line: All I see, it could never make me happy; and all my sand castles spend their time collapsing.  Let me know that You hear me, let me know Your touch.  Let me know that You love me, and let that be enough.

 

These songs are some of my favorites- and these lines remind me of the fundamentals of my faith and the hope that I have in Christ.  It’s nice to have a musical reminder of these truths when I struggle with different things. =)

Snippets

Two Notes:
1.) This is going to be a shorter post than usual.
2.) For those of you who like the musical posts, today is your day. =)

I want to share some snippets with you. Snippets of what? Songs, of course!

Now don’t get me wrong. Each of the songs that I’m about to recommend is one that I thoroughly enjoy listening to in its entirety. But each of them also has one particular line or a few lines that just really jump out at me and that I sing wholeheartedly every time I listen to the song.

This post is largely about music, but it’s also about links!  I’ve tried to link to a site where you can legally listen to every song (though I wasn’t able to find them all) and I also linked to other blog posts that are somehow related to the lyrics that I pinpointed.  So take your time and take a look! =)

~

“In Such a State” by Edison Glass
Check it out: I couldn’t find a legal link for this one, but you should look it up!  It’s on their album titled “A Burn or a Shiver.”
Favorite line(s): “Burn the exits; there’s no escaping from love eternal, limitless. I’m in such a state; I need You here, I need You near me.”

“Meteor Shower” by Owl City
Favorite line(s): “I am not my own, for I have been made new. Please don’t let me go; I desperately need You.”

“Merry Christmas, Here’s to Many More” by Relient K
Favorite line(s): “Jesus Christ, it’s blessed my life to know just who You are. You are my hope.”

“No Regrets” by John Reuben
Favorite line(s): “To the future, in the palm of God’s hand. To the past as of now, that I can’t understand. To the future, uncertain, unclear; to the past I left to bring me here.”

“Redemption” by Switchfoot
Favorite line(s): “My fears have worn me out… I’ve got my hands at Redemption’s side, whose scars are bigger than these doubts of mine. I’ll fit all of these monstrosities inside, and then I’ll come alive.

“Savior, Please” by Josh Wilson
Favorite line(s): “I try to be so tough, but I’m just not strong enough. I can’t do this alone, God I need You to hold on to me. I try to be good enough, but I’m nothing without Your love.”

~

Even if you don’t enjoy these musical posts, or don’t want to listen to the songs, you can think about the lines that I pointed out. Do they hold any value for you? What songs or lyrics do move you? Give them a listen. I hope whatever song you decide to tune in to brightens your day and encourages you in your faith!

LIFE: The Musical

One of the greatest ways that God uses other people to minister to me is through music.  I completely believe that life can be viewed as a musical- if you’re inside my head, anyway.

You know how in musicals, people suddenly just burst into song about their feelings, singing loudly to no one?  Or sometimes singing loudly at the most inopportune times?  So what if we’re being chased by the Phantom?  When you need to sing as high as possible about your feelings, it needs to be done!  Is that an empty golf course over there?  Well, pardon me, but I need to go over there, do an epic dance, and let out some stuff that’s been bottled inside.

The only difference with my life-musical, however, is that most of the songs I sing didn’t just pop into my head. I have sung a few impromptu songs about how it’s a pretty day and I’m on my way, or something like that.  But a lot of the times, the songs I sing are songs that I’ve listened to over and over, songs that have encouraged me or at the very least, related to me.

I remember that in high school, I used to always sing “More than Useless” (by Relient K)  in my head during Pre-Calc tests.  “I’m a little more than useless, and when I think that I can’t do this, You promise me that I’ll get through this…”

Sometimes when I’m feeling frustrated and I’m opening up my Bible to find encouragement, I’ll pray/sing, “speak to me, and tell me all the things I need to know.  I want to hear You now.  Can You speak to me?  I’ve opened up Your word to free me.  I want to hear You now.  Make Your wisdom clear…” from “Speak to Me” by Audio Adrenaline.

And so, life becomes something of a musical what with all these worship songs and deep songs and Bible-verses-turned-into-songs jumping into my head at just the right moment (which, I’m sure, is no coincidence).  But I had to hear the song from someone else first.

2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

So today, instead of writing a post the way I typically do, I’m going to post a few of the songs that really comfort and encourage me in hopes that they can, in turn, encourage you.

I encourage you to first read the lyrics, then listen to the song.  I know that not everyone is into the same type of music, but lyrics by themselves can often be very moving.

Savior, Please // Josh Wilson

Lyrics: http://www.rhapsody.com/josh-wilson/trying-to-fit-the-ocean-in-a-cup/savior-please/lyrics.html

Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aP_H5EJLUc

By Thy Mercy // Indelible Grace Music

Lyrics (and a story with them): http://www.igracemusic.com/indeliblog/?p=130

Song: http://www.reverbnation.com/controller/audio_player/detachable_player/artist_539029?autoPlay=true

For the Moments I Feel Faint // Relient K

Lyrics: http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/lyrics/new/track.asp?track_id=1199

Song: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a legal Internet source for this song, but I had to include it because it’s my favorite song by one of my most favorite bands.

I hope these songs encourage you as much as they’ve encouraged me.  And don’t hesitate to share your favorite songs!