Quiet Heart

And just like that, the one thing you were looking forward to all year is over.

I’m still readjusting to my normal time zone, still tripping over stuff I haven’t unpacked, and my head is still spinning.

You see, my adventure wasn’t just fun. I learned something very important.
It’s always good to do the right thing, even if no one’s watching.
Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
That’s called integrity, and it’s worth having.

But my head is still spinning, like the days that follow after Christmas.
All I want to do is sleep. In sleep, my brain will stop racing. I can slow down enough to gather myself so I can function as a normal human being.
But I can’t just sleep my days away to escape life. There are things that must be done, but my mind is too heavy.
And I need more that a quiet, rested mind. I need a quiet, rested heart.

Here’s the prayer I had for my adventure. Here’s the prayer I have for tomorrow and the day after that.

“Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me.
The changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see.
I ask thee for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.

“I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do
Or some great thing to know.
I would be treated as a child
And guided where I go.

“I ask Thee for a daily strength
To none that ask denied.
A mind to blend with outward life
While keeping at Thy side,
Content to fill a little space
If Thou be glorified.

“In service that Thy will appoints,
There are no bonds for me.
My secret heart is taught the truth
That makes Thy children free.
A life of self-renouncing love
Is one of liberty.”
~Anita L. Waring – 1850

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You know…

life is more than a heartbeat.

Life is in the second and the minute, the everyday and the year.
Life is the mundane and the special, the average and the extraordinary.
Life is in the laughter in the morning and the quiet sobs past midnight, the joys and the sorrow that pass through your heart more swiftly than blood.
Life is when you fly and when you fall, in reaching the stars and in not quite.
Life is in the easy choices and the hard, in saying yes and in saying no.

And sometimes, life is saying no to what your corrupted heart desires.

Life is hearing the voice your prideful heart had forgotten, hearing him whisper, “You are mine.”
Life is knowing why you were made.
Life is knowing you were fashioned one way and you cannot be another.
Life is realizing that the world will turn without you.
Life is lifting up what you have and giving.
Life is being content to fill a little space, if he is glorified.
Life is knowing who took your lifeless shell and breathed life in it again, who took your hand and lifted you from the grave.
Life is knowing who died to transform your stony heart into a heart that beats, that lives, that loves.

Life is loving, because he loves. Life is living, because he lives.

Life is more than a heartbeat.
Life is your soul.

Right now

~reading: Dante’s Purgatory
~eating:
 birthday donuts, peanut butter crackers, salted almonds
~smelling: dryer sheets, coffee
~dwelling on: a return to soccer
~listening to: my school playlist (Piano Guys, Avicii, Avenger’s theme, Captain America soundtrack, random bluegrass, Ed Sheeran, Neil Finn, Outset Island theme, Metroid, and Portal ending songs)
~feeling: rather sore from soccer practice last night, sick from donuts and the smell of last night’s supper
~dreaming: dystopian sequels (again…why can’t I leave it alone?)
~considering: the sheer amount of school that there is to do, attending robotics tomorrow, exciting surprises
~excited for: cool weekend activities, new movies and music
~wishing for: more sunshine, movie tickets, clarity of thought, the guts to sit down and write (at my computer, not on my phone), the ability to drink more coffee without buying myself a headache, time to teach myself to play guitar (so I can cover I See Fire)
~practicing: stretching, convention music, recital piece, patience when things don’t go my way
~I really should: drink more water, eat more than just protein supplements every 90 minutes, take a nap, read a non-school book as part of nightly routine, buy new earbuds
~emailing: awesome friends who put up with me (y’all know who you are -.- )
~wearing: grey sweatpants, pink and yellow stripy shirt (that I tie-dyed), soft blue sweater, my cross necklace that I wear always (except when I sleep. Strangling oneself is not recommended), and my old green watch. Oh, and yucky blue earbuds
~loving: my siblings, who have the remarkable ability to drive me both toward sanity and away from it (usually at the same time), new opportunities and horizons
~pondering: why I felt the need to write this post

why did i do this? 

{inspired by Hannah Nicole

Happy New Year

Have you seen the Google tribute to 2013? (Watch it here) Also, you can see a collage of the most searched for names and items this year.

Ah, yes. We’ve said goodbye to some notable people, such as Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela (and a cute actor, apparently). We’ve said hello to a royal baby. We’ve done the Harlem Shake, and we still don’t know what the fox says. And several brave, brave pro athletes and others have spoken out about their private lives. “When you get to the point of acceptance, there is nothing more beautiful.”

Bars at the bottom of the New Year’s countdown list the most heartbreaking celebrity breakups of the year.
Miley Cyrus stuck out her tongue at me.
Strangers kissed to kick off 2014.
Oh, pop culture. Where would we be without you?

In other news, God is still good.
He is still working in this broken world.
Through all the degradation, all the vulgarity, all the good, and all the bad.
He will have his way this year, and every year to come.
God will not be thwarted.

What did He do for you last year?

Identity

After participating and winning NaNoWriMo, I left writing alone for a while. I wanted time to think and breathe again, to refill my muse, if you will, before I actually finished my novel. Unfortunately, the past few weeks have not been particularly restful or ideal for daydreaming an ending for my NaNo.

Instead, I have been swamped with concerts, school, and various Christimasy things that demand time and energy. This past week has been especially bad, a flurry of the unproductive. I’m beyond thankful that Christmas break has begun. If I don’t unwind, I’ll snap like a used rubber band.

Interestingly, I found myself pondering non-fiction writing for the first time in quite a while. It came when I was considering the terrifying fact that another year has passed. Since my birthday is at the very beginning of a new year, I have the opportunity to ponder both another new calender year and another year of my life. I’m not sure what the connection is between my recent musings and the life questioning that begins in the week of the new year. However, there is one somewhere. It’s just buried.

I draw inspiration from the strangest places. One thing that hit me was actually from Cartoon Network’s “Lego Ninjago.” The majority of it is cliche, but I watch it with my little siblings despite its shortcomings. At one point, the characters are searching for their “full potential” (which is never really explained, I must add).

When the ninja called Zane discovers that he is a robot, he is numb with shock and refuses to leave with his friends. Examining his blueprints, he reactivates his memory and remembers his father for the first time. This knowledge soothes him, and he runs out to join his friends, only to find them under attack.

When the battle goes in favor of their enemy, Zane begins to float and then faces his enemy. “Nothing can hold me back now!” he shouts. “I know who I am!”

Freeze for a moment. Have you ever felt like that?

In this culture, people, especially young people, are pressured to be the same as those around them and yet celebrate differences, the unique design of every person. You can be anything you want to be. The only rule is that no rules should be put on who you are.

We, as inhabitant of this culture, often try to find ways to define ourselves. Based on what you like, what you listen to, what you watch, what you eat and what you don’t, what you look like, what you read, what your passion is, what four letter sequence that supposedly describes your personality… The list is endless. I find it amusing as I struggle to find the perfect words to describe who I am. It makes me wonder if words are not powerful enough to classify personalities.

I am blonde. I am homeschooled. I am crazy. I am a fangirl. I’ve read this. I’ve seen that. I can’t dance. Etc.

The need to classify oneself is addicting, is it not?

And here’s the conclusion I reached.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

In the end, I will stand before the judgement seat, and it will not matter if I am blonde, if I sing, or if I can’t dance. Everything that I have ever been or claimed to be will not be of consequence.

All that will matter is that my old self is dead, and my Jesus has rescued me.

“My life is hid with Christ on high, with Christ, my Savior and my God.”

That’s where my identity lies, and it is there that I will grow.

 

Psalm 34

1 I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

11 Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21 Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

(emphasis mine)

I originally was planning on posting just verse 18, but after reading the whole psalm, I couldn’t not do the whole thing. The emphasized parts are the ones that sum me up at the moment, and the doubly emphasized parts are, well, the doubly emphasized parts. 😛 I think there’s no need to to mention what that must mean. I’ll let you speculate.

*tilts head sideways* Hmm. It’s kinda hard to see where it’s double empathized. Oh well.

Don’t you just love it when God gives you a passage, and you instantly snap back into focus.
God is there.
He cares.
And He understands.
Even when no one else does.

melody-sig-1

A New Song

I collect songs.

Literally. I don’t know very many people who do it like I do. I hear something. I like it, and when I do, I make a mental note to memorize it. Being a band player, I also sing songs without lyrics on occasion, just cause I feel like it.

Here’s one of my recently memorized songs.

 

I Will Glory in my Redeemer

VERSE 1
I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose priceless blood has ransomed me
Mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
And hung Him on that judgment tree
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and death
My only Savior before the holy Judge
The Lamb who is my righteousness
The Lamb who is my righteousness

VERSE 2
I will glory in my Redeemer
My life He bought, my love He owns
I have no longings for another
I’m satisfied in Him alone
I will glory in my Redeemer
His faithfulness my standing place
Though foes are mighty and rush upon me
My feet are firm, held by His grace
My feet are firm, held by His grace

VERSE 3
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who carries me on eagles’ wings
He crowns my life with lovingkindness
His triumph song I’ll ever sing
I will glory in my Redeemer
Who waits for me at gates of gold
And when He calls me, it will be paradise
His face forever to behold
His face forever to behold

Credits:
Words and music by Steve & Vikki Cook
© 2000 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)



I sang this song on Sunday, but somehow, I think I didn’t realize exactly what it was trying to say.
To be honest, I’m painfully prideful in many ways. I feel God starting to teach me what it means to be humble, to give him the glory for the things I do. The very words “I will glory in my Redeemer” suddenly come to light when I realize all that he has done, and how much glory He truly deserves.
It is tempting to take to glory for our gifts and accomplishments. After all, weren’t we the ones who did all the work?
God made us. He made us to glorify Him. He gave us our gifts, and He granted us the accomplishments because, well, because He wanted to. His plans are perfect.
To glorify God is the reason we were given gifts and accomplishments in the first place.

Here’s another song I want to memorize, and maybe even add a tune of my own. (this one’s much, much older)

“I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and my song,
And he has become my salvation.”

(emphasis added by me)

Wanna know what that song is?

Too bad. Go and look it up.

 

In Christ,
Melody