The Coming King: Time To Move Out

You may never have heard of the mythical album project I have been compiling for the last ten years. That may be because I am also hard at work on the book, finishing what feels like the hundredth revision. Constancy would not be the most applicable adjective here because I can’t seem to consistently work on it or tell anyone about it. Fun fact about thoughts in your head: Other people can’t hear them.

I could tell you a long story about California, Minnesota and Florida which involves a great deal of house-hopping, hopeful waiting and harried striving, but let’s skip all of that and stay in the present.

After a great deal of thought followed by a sudden epiphany, I am going back to the very beginning. As Julie Andrews sang, it’s a very good place to start. Ok, I lied, I’m going back to the past after all.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved singing. She had long, brown hair that would sometimes billow in the wind on the playground while she belted Disney songs at the top of her lungs from the jungle gym. The rabbi’s daughter used to call her Pocahontas, although she always fancied herself more of a Belle. “Madame Gaston, can’t you just see it?”

Every Saturday at the Chabad synagogue, she would sit on the women’s side of the sanctuary and sing the Hebrew prayers. She listened to how her mother would weave her voice through the low hum of the men and try to follow. After her parents’ divorce, she found herself alone in the women’s section and, as a girl over twelve years old, men were not permitted to hear her voice unless she was singing with them. She continued singing her mother’s harmonies and explored new ones.

In high school, while everyone else was obsessed with the latest hits, she preferred jazz and skilled lyricists. She read Chaucer and Gone With the Wind from the front row of her chemistry class until the teacher started lecturing. He told her she could pull up her grade if she read her textbook as much as she read Margaret Mitchell. She didn’t. It was the only C she earned in high school.

She never took chorus, opting instead for the clarinet and drama. After graduating her masters program, she taught herself how to play the piano. She played well enough to record melodies and write chords to the songs she wrote, but she felt clumsy in comparison to when she sang. Like the painter whose unskilled hand cannot translate his mind’s eye to his canvas, I could hear the arrangements in my head, but could not reproduce them on the keys.

While I have not given up hope that a team could come together in Florida, I have decided not to let their current absence be an impediment. Since it all started with my voice, that’s what I’m going back to. I never intended for the LONG awaited EP to be completely vocal, but that is what it will be. Someday, I will find musicians who are as excited about this music and, more importantly, the message, as I am. Until then, I am hard at work. More to come soon. For real this time.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19 NIV

The Revolving Door And The Open One

The last few years of my life have been a weary wandering. Suddenly, every blog or devotional I come across is speaking about waiting. I’m finally moving fast enough to hear. I’ve broken the sound barrier, but on this side of the noise, God’s the only One left to listen to. Physical barriers don’t apply to Him. He is without limit. I am painfully aware I am not.

I’ve always been drawn to the idea of God opening doors. It’s a Biblical concept, not just a trite platitude. We’ve all heard it at one time or another, usually when we’re least disposed to the idea, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

God created us to be creatures of change, as much as we sometimes fight it. We are wired to seek novelty. There are times and seasons in our lives. Beyond our natural desire for the different, God uses these variations in momentum to prepare us for what’s next. When a “door opens,” when an opportunity presents itself, we should be ready to walk through it if we have been sensitive to God’s direction leading up to it.

I have been somewhat fixated on these doors, of late. To my dismay, all the doors I thought I walked through seem to have spit me back out. Just when I felt the high of progress rising, I found myself where I’d started. Every door I walk through seems to be a revolving one, programmed to take me on a delightful merry-go-round of imagination and preparation, only to drop me back off at its entrance. Hope deferred stops my inertia dead in its tracks and I cannot maintain even a slow forward motion.

I am not one to shake a fist at God, but I am not afraid to bow my head in surrender and ask why. Why, God, can I not move forward? What am I missing? Where am I looking away from you? How can I move toward the plans and purposes You have ordained for my life? When am I to move?

Absurdly, the phrase that has assailed me this season is “be still,” in all of its Biblical forms.

God says Be Still…

The Lord will fight for you. (Exodus 14:14)

Wait patiently and fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way. (Psalm 37:7)

Know that I am God and I will be exalted. (Psalm 46:10)

Jesus awoke, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace.” The wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

The more I despair over how I’ve failed God, He’s been speaking to me about rest. He’s been whispering to me, “Be still, child.” As a woman who searches for answers and seeks wisdom, this paradox threatens to drive me mad. Riding shotgun on this trip of existential uncertainty is the voice of doubt shouting, “You must have walked through the wrong door! You must have missed your chance!”

Yet, I’ve stumbled upon the most liberating plot twist in my series of unfortunate thoughts.

In all my searching for the correct door, I imagined a stage of life on the other side. The door I thought I was seeking held my steps on the other side. I had never considered the door would not lead to an earthly place.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Revelations 3:8-9)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelations 3:20)

Isn’t that what I’ve been looking for? What I’ve been told to find? Rest. Stillness. Pasture. But what use is a pasture without one to guide and protect the sheep? A great field is an open trap for wolves and bears to strike the sheep. Without safety, there is no rest. A fearful mind and an anxious heart are a recipe for misery.

Yet, Jesus is both the door and what lays behind it. The Holy Spirit binds me up and leads me where I need to go. He is the final destination, so why should I be surprised that He is my earthly destination as well? I have little strength and thin resolve, but He does not expect me to do more than open the door. He knocks, I open. Simple.

Stop looking for the door to your success. Still your restless ambitions. Halt your heavy steps. Seek the Holy Spirit and the door will be open. He Who holds the key of David opens the door that no one can shut.

For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following the same pattern of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:10-11)

Rest from your works, child of God. Listen for The Spirit of Jesus Christ to give you life, direction and wisdom. In doing His work, we rest from ours and find rest in obedience. Don’t be afraid of where He calls you. Rest in Him. Know that He will exalt Himself. Know that the wind will cease and calm will come.

Be still.