What I’m listening to


 

Hallelujah by MaMuse

Every time I feel this way
This, old familiar sinking
I will lay my troubles
Down by the water
Where the river
Will never run dry

Hallelujah Hallelujah (I’m gonna let myself be lifted, I’m gonna let myself be lifted)
Hallelujah (I’m gonna let myself be lifted)
Bye and bye
I will lay my troubles down by the water
Where the river will never run dry

It’s been said and I do believe
As you ask so shall you receive
So take from me these troubles
Bring me sweet release
Where the river will never run dry

Hallelujah Hallelujah (I’m gonna let myself be lifted, I’m gonna let myself be lifted)
Hallelujah (I’m gonna let myself be lifted)
Bye and bye
I will lay my troubles down by the water
Where the river will never run dry

There is a river
In this heart of hearts
With a knowingness
Of my highest good
I am willing
I will do my part
Where the river
Will never run dry

Hallelujah Hallelujah (I’m gonna let myself be lifted, I’m gonna let myself be lifted)
Hallelujah (I’m gonna let myself be lifted)
Bye and bye
I will lay my troubles down by the water
Where the river will never run dry

Where the river
Will never run dry
This river
Will never run dry

Rest.

I always thought I needed 9 hours of sleep to be rested.

I thought it came from space to breathe, being at home, time to myself.

I thought I needed periodic vacations, occasional stretches of getting away for a few days.

I thought it came from balance. Of time, energy, resources, friendships.

 

But I think I’m realizing that Jesus brings us rest in the mess of life.

When I receive a phone call I think I just don’t have the energy to take.

When I hop from responsibility to responsibility and I feel as if I just don’t have anything more to give.

When painful situations arise, one after another, and I barely have time to seek counsel.

When I’m tempted to check out, numb out, sleep it away.

 

Rest comes from crying out to Jesus.

When I acknowledge his presence, he restores my soul.

He leads me on a path of denying myself, dying to my flesh, losing my life. All for the sake of the Kingdom.

And in the midst of the funk he provides rest. Brevity, comfort, and delight.

 

I thought I had to provide rest for myself. But he brings it to me.

in unexpected affirming words, prayer offerings, gentle shoulder squeezes, bursts of laughter, and

a knowing.

I know it will be a ‘good’ day when I wake up with this song in my head.

Tugged the moon into the ground
Turned this bedroom upside down tonight
Took my faith and i breathed it out
Then walked right through a cloud of flashing lights, bright lies.

Pain takes my heart’s place
The love we made, we cant erase it, don’t wanna face it

Pitter pat, the angel on my shoulder
Is haunting me tonight
Tick tock, the clock is getting louder
Ready for me to decide

I’ve lost my sense of right and wrong
Well-justified my soul to carry on
It feels so damn good to write off the rules
But when a new day breaks, I’m left a fool I’m such a fool

Pain takes my heart’s place
But your sweet sweet love,
oh I can taste it but still can’t face it

Pitter pat, the angel on my shoulder
Is haunting me tonight
Tick tock the clock is getting louder
Waiting for me to decide

The sun is coming down on me
Could fate be so unkind?

Pain takes my heart’s place
The love we made remains

I consider myself a morning person. I have a hard time waking up on cloudy mornings just like everyone else, but once I’m up, I’m up and I love it. In college it was usually the thought of an everything bagel with cream cheese that made me roll out of bed (sad, but true). Now that I have a 35-40 minute commute from LA to La Mirada every morning I try to take advantage of the distance by making myself more aware of current events. One of my favorite morning moments is settling into my car and driving down the 5 freeway while hearing the musical intro to Morning Edition on NPR.

Last week a certain news piece during Morning Edition caught my attention: a Danish research study concluded that women who have had (elective) abortions have no higher risk of mental health problems after the procedure. In fact, they compared the results with women who had given birth, and those women were more likely to have mental health problems.

“Huh. Interesting,” I thought.

Occasionally I find something I want to learn more about and I throw myself into researching it. A few years ago, the week before winter finals, it was the impact of abortion. I spent several hours each day reading the stories of women and men who had been affected by abortion. The depth of pain that these individuals felt was incalculable. The trauma was so pervasive that it significantly impacted – and sometimes impaired – activities of daily living. Now, I’m well aware that this does not happen to all, or maybe even most, women who have abortions. But it made me more aware of the significant need for sensitivity around the issue, considering that 1/3 of women in the United States will have had an abortion by age 45.

What I don’t understand about the article is that the data is based on women who were treated for mental health problems. That leaves out a significant portion of women who are struggling with anxiety, depression and a slew of other things who do not or cannot seek help. Maybe because they are consistently told by their family that they made the right decision and everything should go back to normal. Or maybe because the shame of an abortion is too great because they were raised in a religious home. Either way, they are still suffering.

What this research made me reflect on is the immense odds we (speaking mostly of women, but not excluding men) often go to to control our fertility. Abortion is a form of this, but there are many other ways we can do this too.

On Twitter I follow Christianity Today’s blog for women and this week they posted an article about a women who created a website for individuals born via sperm donation to tell their stories. These stories are powerful! Grown adults who were never told that their father is not their biological dad. Mom’s who, after telling their children how they were conceived, shushed their hurt and invalidated their pain. Teenagers who just want to know what their bio dad does for a living, and if they have any half-siblings. Children who realize, “Maybe that’s why I never felt a strong connection to my dad.” College students who have never told anyone that they were conceived via sperm donation who remain silent, hurting, as their friends discuss why they would or would not use donated sperm to conceive. And again it made me ponder, “How far do we go to control our fertility at the expense of ourselves and others?”

I believe that the desire to have children is beautiful and God-given. I also believe the idea of having children is scary as hell. So I guess my question is, “How often do we think about the ramifications of our decisions on the children we do or do not call our own?”

Jonalyn Fincher, a woman I greatly respect, wrote a powerful blog on lust in women and included a section on “baby lust”. In this paragraph she writes specifically about Kate Gosselin and her concern that she “lived like babies were her God-given entitlement”. As Jonalyn says in one of her comments to a reader, “Every lust object is a good thing, a natural, God-given, innate thing but when we demand any of these things when God has not given them we twist the pure desire into lust. When we treat a person (husband or wife) as a means to an end (whether that end be sexual conquest for a baby) we are using a human being made in God’s image to get what we want. We lust, we covet.” Jonalyn also acknowledges that she is not necessarily against in vitro – neither am I. But I think we need to thoroughly examine our motives in going to such lengths to conceive.

I think “baby lust” is possible in adoption as well. I have a special place in my heart for adoption as I have three adopted siblings. I am VERY pro-adoption. But I do think there are cases in which individuals want a child so badly that they choose to adopt when they shouldn’t. They may not be ready to be parents, the number of children may exceed what they can handle emotionally or financially, or they may not be prepared for the challenges of the child. It’s about our heart attitude and accurately assessing what we can handle… and having others speak truth into our lives about these areas too!

I’ve often wondered if I would adopt if I were still single at a certain point in my life. While I believe that an ideal family consists of a mom and a dad, I do think single parent adoption can be God-honoring. I would not, however, choose to use sperm donation. The loss of never being able to experience pregnancy would definitely need to be mourned though.

What is comforting and life-giving about my God is that He redeems all these situations. Situations in which a child never has the chance to experience life, in which women are overwhelmed with guilt because of a past abortion, in which individuals grieve never knowing their biological parents, in which a child feels lost in the commotion of a large family. He brings healing and redemption. Healing and redemption is waiting.

A meaningful song the last few weeks.

It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

“Daddy don’t cry, it’ll be alright”
She puts some water on the wound
And hums a little tune
While her courage puddles on the ground
Pooling, pooling

See the murder and the swarm descend
And the night is getting thick
The moon telling her tricks
She’d betray her every time

It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

It was the age
The foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And prayed for mercy, prayed for mercy

The rumble is low and the heat is high
Got a feeling that there’s rain out in the oil black sky
Gonna chase away the devil when that sun does rise
Gonna plead the blood
Gonna plead the blood

It was the year
The crows and the locusts came
The fields drained dry the rain
The fields are bleeding

It was the age
The foxes came for the fields
We were bleeding as we bowed to kneel
And prayed for mercy, prayed for mercy

She limps on up to the top of a mount
Looks at the faltered harvest
Feels her sweat in the ground and the burn in her nose
And the knowing in her guts
Something’s still gonna grow
She ain’t leaving ’till it does.

What can wash away my sin
Nothing but the blood…
What can make me whole again
Nothing but the blood…