Still Haven’t Found…

I used to think U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” was a great song, but also a sad one.

wpid-20150207_172018.jpgI believe in the kingdom come
When all the colors will bleed into one, bleed into one
But yes I’m still running.
You broke the bonds and You loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame, of my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I used to hear that and think, “No, see, Bono, that was it. You found it. Right there.” I would think about how sad it was that those words weren’t enough for Bono, that he still felt lost and searching even though he believed in Jesus. How could he still feel the need to search for anything else? What, exactly, is he looking for that Jesus can’t satisfy?

Now that I’m reaching my mid-twenties, roaming in search of community, home, and still reeling from the loss of my last surviving parent, I think I’m starting to see where he’s coming from, that lifelong search…

The song hits me in a new way, and tears stream down my face as I try to drive home. I believe it, Jesus, you know I believe it, but I still feel lost and confused. I believed it, but where has it led me? Where am I going? I’m seeing as through a mirror darkly. I want more, but I don’t know what that more is. I want TRUTH, but I’m terrified of finding out I’ve been lied to… I’m afraid of everything I’ve built around me since the age of 5 unraveling and falling to pieces.

C.S. Lewis says God has to knock down our house of cards just so we can finally see that it was a house of cards after all. But then what’s left?

Someone once spoke to me in prayer three years ago about a vision of myself wrapped tightly in bandages and cloth that were slowly being unraveled so that I could see…

I know it was also Bono who said, “For all that ‘I was lost, I am found,’ it is probably more accurate to say, ‘I was really lost. I’m a little less so at the moment.’ And then a little less and a little less again. That to me is the spiritual life. The slow reworking and rebooting the computer at regular intervals, reading the small print of the service manual. It has slowly rebuilt me in a better image. It has taken years, though, and it is not over yet.”

Am I “rebooting?” Where am I going?

I’m almost finished with my reread of the Harry Potter series and I don’t know where to go next. It has been such a comfort to me, a way for me to escape, to remember, to believe in love, and to work through my emotions. I’m afraid. I’m finding it hard to pick up my Bible anymore, and I’ve let the mirror collect dust so that now the Image I see dimly is even hazier and darker than before. I don’t know where to turn.

I’m cynical and I’m tired. Some days I’m afraid to even look into the mirror, and then I’m afraid I’ve gone too long without doing so… How do I begin to go back again? How do I clean off the dust? How do I accept that it’ll never be truly clear? I hope I’m not too far gone.

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Let there be Light, and let it warm my bones.

Substance.

It has been almost a year now since my dad died.

It sucks. It is painful. I miss him, and I am trying not to think about it too much. Strangely enough, though, I feel similar now to how I felt last year, just before it happened: hopeful. This tragedy has led me to a place I never thought I’d be, and I think I am finally starting to settle into that place, to find the hope in it. God has blessed me with a joy I never thought I’d find. …And I am terrified of losing it all again (just as I had lost my hope last year).

One day, one breath at a time. Manna today, what is it? I cannot comprehend it, but I can choose to accept it, this mystery, and I can trust that God will provide this inexplicably satisfying mystery daily. Today the manna brings delight to my soul. Tomorrow it may not be so joyful, but it will still fill me, as my God promises never to leave me nor forsake me.

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when He is risen, but death still hurts.

Last year on Easter, I went to a sunrise service, had breakfast with friends, and then went to pick up my dad from the airport. We shared Easter dinner together with my aunt’s side of the family, and then I got to spend about a week with my dad before he flew back to Colorado. That was the last time I got to see him.

Last year, I had Easter dinner with my dad. This year, he is not here. How do I celebrate that death has no power, no sting, when its power overwhelms me and its sting still hurts?

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Christ’s tomb is empty, but my dad’s urn is still full. What does it mean?
“Today you will be with me in paradise,” Christ said to the thief who hung dying beside him. Not, “In the last days,” but “Today.” What does it mean?

“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” 1 Corinthians 15:36. NIV. Or, “Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, growing] unless it dies first.” -AMP.

On the night before He hung on the cross, Jesus told His disciples, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

Where is that joy? Why does it feel like death has swallowed it up — when in reality, death is the one that is swallowed up, destroyed, rendered powerless?

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The very day before my dad died, before I even knew it was coming, I went to church and listened to a sermon on Nehemiah 8. I wrote verse 10 in my journal: “Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” I continued writing, “What does that mean, God? Teach us, lead us. The joy of the LORD is your strength.”

I am looking for the joy of the LORD today. I found Him in the stillness of the early morning hours, in the dark sky, in the foggy mists, in the creeping dawn. I found joy at first light, as the world turned golden orange and the water sang.

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Then the day came on, the sun rose rapidly in the sky, the stillness turned to busyness, and the cool mists burned away in the stifling heat… And now it is dusk. The sun has gone down again, and I am still not any closer to understanding Christ, His death, His sacrifice; His resurrection, His victory. I am drawn to Him, to the dawn. I need His hope, but I don’t understand it.

What does Resurrection mean today? For me? For the orphan? For the widow?

It is easy to sing of Christ’s victory, “He rose and conquered the grave, He conquered the grave.” It’s easy, when death seems far away, when you haven’t yet felt its sting, or when that sting has faded to a dull memory. Today, though, it hurts. Today, I sing, “He conquered the grave” not with a shout of triumph, but with a cry of desperation. It has to be true. He has to be risen. Death is defeated, it has to be, or what else can I do?

This sorrow will not pass, but perhaps joy can mingle with it… perhaps “pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.” I am looking for the eucastastrophe.

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Grey Havens

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or even if you read one of my posts from December, or checked out the meaning behind my username, you’d know that I really love The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.

I found Tolkien around late 2001/early 2002, after my friend dragged me to see The Fellowship of the Ring movie. I remember being really upset because I didn’t know she was taking me to see it, and the previews had really frightened eleven-year-old me. However, I fell in love at the cinema that day, and even though I still turned away during the Moria scenes out of fear, I wanted to learn everything I could about this strange new world called Middle Earth. I started reading and devouring the trilogy, and by the time The Two Towers movie came out, I was a bit obsessed.

As you may remember from the poem I published a few months ago, my mother died not long after The Two Towers was released. In fact, the last time I saw her awake and breathing without a machine to do it for her was before my dad and I left the hospital to go see the movie.

I clung to Tolkien’s works during that tumultuous time. I clung to Jesus too, and I don’t think the two need to be separate. Yes, The Lord of the Rings helped me to escape, but it also helped me to see God in a different and deeper way. I researched into Tolkien’s life and his faith, and I found hope in the same Power that was dear to him. I did a project on the making of the films for my seventh grade English class. In eighth grade, I led a workshop for my church youth group on finding spiritual truths in The Lord of the Rings. As a freshman in drama class, I had to write and perform a monologue while portraying a famous person from history, and of course I chose good old J.R.R. I wish I had the transcript of the monologue somewhere… but I remember I wrote it as John talking to his wife Edith about his mother. (He too had lost a mother around the same age as I did.) I also remember that my British accent often strayed off course as I kept turning into a southern belle… but that is neither here nor there. In my senior year, I titled my college admissions essay “Hobbitry in Heart,” after some encouragement Tolkien wrote to his son in one of his letters.

If the kids at my middle school knew me at all, they knew me as the girl obsessed with The Lord of the Rings, the one who wore the One Ring around her neck and decided that instead of doing a peace sign or a thumbs-up in photographs, she would hold up nine fingers, the right ring finger missing, as if she were Frodo or something… Yeah, I was that kid. God bless my friends at the time. I love that about nerds, we look out for each other.

And that’s what brings me to the present moment. (Yes, I know I skipped a few years.) I wanted to write about a group I found here, a group of nerds, a group of scholars, a group of loving and compassionate people, The Grey Havens Group. I moved to Colorado after my dad died last summer, and I have struggled to find new friends, new community, and new hope. I’ve clung to Tolkien (and Jesus) during this time too. I remember needing to watch the films right after it happened, putting them on as I tried and failed to sleep. I returned to the books and read them over again, and I started reading The Hobbit to my little niece. I am grateful that I got to share The Lord of the Rings with my dad before he died. He was the one who actually shared it with me, since he read it back in the day and would watch it with me and tell me it’s not scary. He would always point out to me the lines I should pay attention to before I knew the whole story. For example, he would repeat Gandalf when he tells Frodo in the mines that “Gollum has some part to play yet,” and then make this humming noise that always meant he knew something I didn’t. I love remembering how my dad would get excited about movies, stories, and foreshadowing.

It was during this mourning season that I randomly came across a Tolkien Society not too far away from me in Boulder County. I decided to show up to one of the meetings, and I instantly felt welcomed, cared about, and accepted. I had been struggling to find a church community at the time, and when I walked into Grey Havens, I felt more accepted there than at any church I had yet found. I’m sorry to say that about church, but it’s how I truly felt. Here was a group of people from all different backgrounds, all different ages, careers, beliefs, life stories, but we had one thing in common: a love for Tolkien, for the Inklings, for fantasy and imagination. I am so grateful for that bond, and for a group that will sit around a table in the back of a bookshop to discuss fantasy, history, comedy, and spirituality while respecting each other even amidst disagreements. We spur one another on to think deeper, and I love that.

I haven’t been able to make many Grey Havens meetings, but with its online presence, I never feel as though I’ve left the community. Grey Havens has also started a young adult chapter (the blog is now LIVE!), and I’ve been able to get involved there. Watching young adults come alive while discussing literature makes me so happy inside, I can’t even describe it to you. We host monthly events at the library and a biweekly book discussion. These young adults have such passion, and they are not afraid to be themselves, to love what they love, and to respect others for what they love too, even if it’s different. (We stole our slogan from Wil Wheaton: “Being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.”) I am so blessed to have come across the Grey Havens during this time in my life.

Tolkien people are good people, and I am grateful to have found a community of them right in my neighborhood. If you’re in the Boulder area, check us out. If you’re a Tolkien fan, but haven’t told me yet, let me know. (You’ll be my new best friend!) And if a work of literature or film has helped you through a dark time, I’d love to hear about it.

I’ll leave you with the quote I used for my essay. It’s from one of Tolkien’s letters to his son Christopher while he was in the army during World War II: “Well there you are: a hobbit amongst the Urukhai. Keep up your hobbitry in heart, and think that all stories feel like that when you are in them. You are inside a very great story!”

Re: With Time

My last blog post was a bit messy. I put it out there because I’ve been telling myself that I want my writings to be real, to be raw and honest like Lewis’ A Grief Observed and the various psalms of King David that included anger and despair as well as wild hope.

Maybe that’s puffing myself up too much– I mean, let’s be honest, I also do it for that tiny bit of attention, because sometimes I just want to scream to someone, anyone, that I’m still not doing well… and for that I am sorry. However, I have noticed that whenever I get this stuff off my chest by posting here, I feel a little better, a little relieved.

Thursday, after I published “With time…” I felt like I could actually turn to God and seek Him, see His goodness, after I’d gotten all that despair out of my head and into the words I published here. Perhaps that was how David was able to write songs of such joy alongside songs of such sorrow and anger.

I confess, I’ve sometimes been a bit of a brute beast lately, but God is patient and gracious with me, and He won’t let me go. The “Asaph” psalmist knew what that was like, the feelings of grief and bitterness, and still the overwhelming comfort of God’s everlasting presence.

I’m no Lewis, no king of Israel, no ancient songwriter, but in a way we are all just like them. They were human too, and I would like to write as they did. I know I’m not the only one out there who has gone through/who is going through something like this, and I want to be a voice. That’s part of the reason why I’m keeping up (or trying to keep up) this blog, especially during this mourning season. I want to be a voice for those struggling with such loss, a voice that says, “I’ve despaired. I’ve been angry. I’ve lost. Yet in such darkness, I’ve tried to cling to hope, but sometimes I really didn’t want to, and oftentimes I failed.”

God is the Rock, and He is what I keep coming back to, no matter what happens. I can’t stop going back to the notion that I need Him to be such a rock. He is the constant one, the one to count on in all this chaos.

I feel like I am living a terrifying, exhausting roller coaster. I can write posts like Thursday’s, full of darkness, and then two days later I can churn out posts like this, words with a sense of burden’s loosed and hope rekindled, and yet in the back of my mind I fear that the darkness will lurch forward again and take over tomorrow…

Yet, I still have the Rock, don’t I? And each day I can come closer to knowing this love that surpasses knowledge. That’s what I want my story to be. Thank you for reading.

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Jumbled thoughts on the new year

So what I wrote in my last post about choosing to take joy is very much easier to write about than to do. It seems that every time I proclaim that I will take joy, darkness rushes in to try to steal that joy away. I have decided that I have to change the notion to: “I will take joy — and I will not let it be stolen from me. No one can take away my joy because my joy does not come from within me, it comes from the Father who holds me, and no one can snatch me out of my Father’s hand.”

Still, easier said than done, but I have to start by saying it or I will never do it.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about church recently, mostly because it seems impossible for me to find one. For the past few months, I’ve been working most Sunday mornings, and even when I do rarely get the morning off, it’s still difficult to get to a church because of sudden illness or necessary babysitting. When I do get the chance to go, community is hard to find, and it doesn’t come about as instantly as I’d want it to. (And why, oh why, is it so hard to find people my own age in church in middle America?) I miss my old communities. I miss how easy it was to form friendships at Crossroads in Scotland. I miss how quickly the people of Metanoia in Maryland embraced me.

You’d think that if I needed church and Christian community at any particular time in my life, it’d be now…right? Now that I’m in a new place, orphaned, directionless… But God doesn’t seem to be bringing me that community as quickly as He has in the past.  And I don’t understand it.

I am grateful, however, that I still feel Him so close, that I still worship Him and learn from Him, even if it’s not in the midst of a congregation. I am lonely, and sometimes I ache for a community like this, but I can still sing with the earth. I don’t know exactly what He’s up to right now, but He hasn’t left me, and that is good.

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On the first day of 2014, I glanced back through my journal and found a verse I had written down back in July. The verse was Isaiah 51:3, and I wrote about it on my Facebook status that day:

“The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.” -Reading Isaiah 51:3 at the start of this new year, when the passage of time seems depressing and daunting rather than “happy,” but my God is in the business of turning wastelands into gardens.

Yes, amen. Wastelands into gardens. But wasn’t that the same tune I was singing a year ago? Two, three years ago? A way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. Is this the tune I am to sing all my life? Am I to move from one wasteland to the next, following the Way, sipping from the streams that miraculously burst through the ground at just the moment when I feel I can’t go on any longer without a drink? If that is to be my journey, at least I will not be making it alone.

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The LORD will comfort His people, He will look with compassion on His daughter, and He has comforted me. He has made streams appear in the desert before, and He has made a way in the chaos and the wasteland, so I will trust Him to do so again. And again, and again, for all my days.

But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of the God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
-Psalm 52:8

“In Transition…” One Year Later

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Last year, I wrote this blog post on Christmas Eve called “In Transition.” It’s odd how I feel pretty much the same way now, though rather than hitting a speedbump, I’ve faced an earth-shaking crash that seems to have turned my world upside-down and render me senseless.

In that post last year, I wrote this:

One day from now marks the traditional anniversary of the moment my God left the throne of Heaven, took on flesh, and became a baby, a baby that would grow up to die for my wrongdoings and then conquer death to bring freedom and victory to the whole world.
So maybe that’s all that matters. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know the Gospel. …
May this be a time of sweet communion with the LORD, then. I want to know my Father’s heart so deeply, to bind mine with His so closely, that the way is obvious. And even if it isn’t, even if I still don’t get an answer, at least I will be drawing closer to the Lover of my soul.

I am grateful to have kept a log of my journey and be able to look back on these words to find comfort, comfort in the encouragement to simply commune with the LORD.

Manna today, or I starve. And that’s for today, not tomorrow, not a week from now, not a year from now, but today. There’s a reason God specifically commanded the Israelites to only gather enough manna in the morning for that day alone. (And when they disobeyed and tried to save some for leftovers, it rotted. See Exodus 16:16-20) Manna today. I must see His goodness today, or I won’t make it to tomorrow. And if I see His goodness today, then that is enough. He provides today, and therefore He will provide tomorrow, and two weeks from now, and decades from now.

Remember earlier this year when I blogged about my trek through the Hebrew prophets post-exile? I wish I had started blogging even earlier, when I was reading about the prophets in conjunction with the accounts of their various kings, because then I could’ve blogged about Habakkuk. I remember writing about Habakkuk for my college course on “The Problem of Evil,” because Habakkuk cries out to God about the evil he sees in his world and God’s plan to let the Babylonians carry the Israelites into exile, but in the end the prophet chooses wisdom over knowledge and joy over despair and lives by faith in a sovereign God.

I am grateful that such a sovereign God led me to read through the Old Testament prophets last year so that this year, when I am so in need of their stories, He can bring them to mind again.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 says in shigionoth (wild, emotional, enthusiastic song):

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.

Yet. I. will. take. joy.

That’s not a very easy thing to say or do right now. Grief still troubles me in the middle of the night, it still suddenly stabs the heart in the course of a normal day. Confusion and worry and fear tend to cloud my future. Joy sometimes seems too simple. Or worse, joy seems like forgetting, forgetting the father I lost, forgetting the need for a future.

But joy is not forgetting, joy is remembering. Habakkuk didn’t forget the evil surrounding him, but rather he chose to remember the goodness of the Lord and to trust in that goodness to carry him through the hardship, to allow him to tread on the high places, to give him hope and a future.

To quote Voskamp again: “Instead of filling with expectations, the joy-filled expect nothing– and are filled. This breath! This oak tree! This daisy! This work! This sky! This day! Surprise!”

I will take joy.
“LORD, I have heard of your fame: I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known…” –Habakkuk 3:2

Winter Sustenance

imageToday in northern Colorado, we had a mini heatwave, and thankfully, I had the day off. So I brewed some chai and rushed over to the place I like to call my walking lake.

To get to the lake, I have to climb a stone staircase. Before that, all I see are the walls of earth that make up the basin in which the water flows. I’ve been to this lake countless times since I moved to Colorado and still, each time I reach the top of those stairs, the view takes my breath away. Sparkling blue waters beneath rocky mountain shadows surrounded by amber waves of grain.

This morning, I saw a most unexpected sight.

I felt as though I’d stumbled into something… magnificent, secret, natural, and holy.

My walking lake had been taken over by flocks upon flocks of waterfowl. I’d never seen so many in one place before: walking on the ice, swimming in the patches of thawed water, calling to one another under the snowy mountains. A gentle breeze, life on the ice. An abundance of LIFE in this frozen winter…

As I walked, I listened to The Oh Hellos’ Family Christmas Album (click to download for free on Noisetrade). As birds flew, singing, overhead, the music blasted in my ears: “Oh come let us adore Him.” As the breeze rustled in the leaves and the sun glinted on the icy waters, I heard, “Fields and floods, hills and plains, repeat the sounding JOY.”

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy. Comfort and joy.

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These plants are so dry and brittle.
They look as if one touch could crumble them into dust.
But I reach out, I touch them, and they are strong,
Made to endure this death of winter.

In Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, she writes: “Manna today, or I starve.” I must have eyes to see, to behold the glory in each day, I must take in the manna, my daily bread, or I won’t make it through the day. And God, oh He’s so gracious, He provides that manna in abundance.

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!
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November Walks

The months are passing faster than I’d like them to…
The leaves are almost gone, June has turned into November… It seems that death is finally sinking in, and nature has finally caught up to my grief.
IMG_9868_ed from summer…
…to fall.IMG_0552

The purple thistles that gave me hope in those tumultuous summer months
are shriveled and brown these days… but still standing.

The natural world around me now echoes my heart under this dark shadow:
The bare, dead branches
the cracked and yellowing grass…

I walked this lake in summer,
when it was full of flowers and green grass.
I walked it in harvest time, under September sun
through golden fields and crisp red leaves.

(Walk another mile, stare across the fields of grain: this is how the prophets trained.Josh Garrels)

Now I walk it in November, as autumn turns to winter.
I have watched this lake scenery die around me.

And yet, even as I sit here,
birds chirp in the dead trees
and ducks flock to the waters.
The sinking sun kisses the earth
and all the world glows at death of day.

And now we are all dying. Golden. Mourning.
But soon the night will be over, dawn will break. And after winter must come spring.
Why do I keep coming back to this hope?

Because I cannot survive any other way,
And, thankfully, the Majesty just won’t let me go.

* * *

I read what Ann Voskamp says in her book One Thousand Gifts: “When we are despairing, we can choose to live as the Israelites gathering manna. Forty long years, God’s people daily eat manna- a substance whose name literally means, ‘What is it?’ Hungry, they choose to gather up that which is baffling. They fill on that which has no meaning. More than 14,600 days they take their daily nourishment from that which they don’t comprehend. They find soul-filling in the inexplicable. They eat the mystery. They eat the mystery. And the mystery, that which made no sense, is ‘like wafers of honey’ on the lips.”

I choose to eat the mystery, because I am hungry, so hungry. I do not understand this time, but I have to believe that my soul will be filled anyway, if I gather it up, if I keep carrying on, if I let the mystery nourish me. I choose to take in that which makes no sense, and pray that I too will find honey on the lips soon enough. Amen.

Rohi

[I hesitate when I write blog posts now. I always want to include some sort of faith element or hope at the end, as I did last week, because I know everything’s not lost. However, I worry about publishing a completely positive blog post because I’m worried that it will give the impression that I’m totally fine, when I’m far from it.

Thank you for telling me that I am strong. I suppose, through God, I am, and I’m grateful for the strength He has given me. Whatever you have seen in me is from Him and Him alone. But that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped grieving, that doesn’t mean I don’t still cry myself to sleep some nights, that doesn’t mean I don’t still struggle with bitterness, anger, and doubt towards the God I love. But I do love Him, and I have to write about how He is walking with me right now. Thank you for reading.]

I mentioned briefly in my last post that I’ve been struggling with going to church and finding community. Well, I went to a new church last Sunday, searching for people, and what I got instead was a whopping dose of the Presence drawing near to me.

I was disappointed at first, when I left church without having made any connections or seen anybody my age around. (The people at this church were very nice and welcoming, there was just nobody in my age range that I saw or was able to meet, and I am terrible at sticking around awkwardly afterwards. I’m bad at that even when I’ve been going to the same church for five years.)

Anyway, I didn’t realize until I got home that maybe today wasn’t about finding people, or even finding a home church, it was about me and God.

Because you see, the sermon was about Psalm 23. The church is in a series right now where they are going through the names of God (such a neat idea), and this week the name was Jehovah Rohi, The Lord My Shepherd. And this week, I just happened to walk through their doors to be greeted with the truth that the Lord cares for me as a shepherd cares for his sheep.

You might have noticed that I’ve been very intrigued by this particular psalm lately. In fact, the pastor from my old church in Maryland read my post, “Twenty-three,” and decided to give me a book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller. I’ve been in and out of this book for a month now, but I was just in the middle of reading it before I left for church on Sunday. Keller takes apart each sentence of the psalm and discusses the depth of the metaphors (ya’ll know me and my love of metaphors).

But the point of all this was to write about church on Sunday. I’ve been having a really hard time concentrating in church since that day. The sermons make me bitter, and most of the time I just end up flipping through my Bible reading psalms or looking back through the words I had written in my journal.

I love the singing part, even if I don’t open my mouth, and I find myself swaying to the music as if my bones can’t help but cry out. (If I kept silent, surely the rocks will cry out.) The Spirit stirs inside of me, and I must respond in musical worship. However, as I said, I haven’t really been able to focus on any of the teachings. And these days, I’m going more to see who I can meet than what I can learn from a sermon.

But that Sunday. That Sunday, God came near to me, and He showed me again what is truly important: Him. The Lord. The Lord My Shepherd.

He cares gently for His flock, and he holds the orphaned lambs close to His heart. His power and his compassion comfort me in the darkest valley as He leads me to the next mountain. Jehovah Rohi.

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