ten years.

Ten years ago tonight I didn’t think I’d be spending much of this day with music in my ears and tears in my eyes at the goodness of God. Because if you asked me ten years and a month ago today, and I was being honest, I probably would have said I wouldn’t be here. A little over ten years ago, at fourteen, I had too many mornings where I didn’t want to wake up.   

i spent my days giving my heart away
to anything new
only to ache from the poison of my
temporary muse
and there were times i’d cry myself to sleep at night
only to wake up wishing that i didn’t.
 

And now, I can’t imagine not being here. 

September 7th, 2005, at about 10:30 pm and without the faintest understanding of what I was doing, I surrendered my inner screwed-up-ness for something greater.
Which doesn’t mean I’m no longer screwed up inside, just that I know everything is for a reason. Nothing is for nothing. I am still alive because of this. The last few weeks, I’ve had more God-moments than I’ve had in a long time. Moments where I haven’t turned away from His voice, speaking through music, and often bringing me to tears. It’s been beautiful.

thank You for never giving up on me
when i looked to everything else,
and lived so selfishly
and You bled
and You died
to be with me
why would You do something like that 
for someone like me? 

[…] You formed my heart with Your own hands
and now i finally understand
and i give You my life, and i’m healed by Your grace
i was made for Your love that no one can replace
this is it, i won’t miss, everything i am made for
to be Yours—all Yours.

the reason, lacey sturm

I don’t understand it, at all. I know I am here for a reason. I try to embrace that every single day—even if I don’t embrace God every day like I should. But somehow, I keep finding my way back. I’m not perfect—but that’s kind of the point. I have too many questions and I can’t follow blindly—but in my world, that’s kind of the point, too. God can handle my questions, and I know that He is bigger than my questions. Still. My questions have only evolved over the last ten years, and they’ll keep doing that. I’m okay with that. I’m okay if I can’t fit into boxes now—Jesus didn’t fit into boxes, and Jesus still doesn’t fit into boxes.

This September, I’m working on self-care. On healing. And then today happens. It’s Suicide Prevention Week. If you need help, please find it. 
I am not here by accident. And I have not been distant for nothing, either.

so how does this work? how much will it hurt to open my heart again?
and will there be scars, reminding me of the way that You healed me?
i wanna be well—i wanna be well…

i’m splintered, i’m many
there’s light and dark within me
but i’m bringing all these pieces
only You can heal me, Jesus
i’m here now, i’m ready
giving everything that’s in me
only You can mend these pieces
be my Healer, be my Jesus.

‘cause i wanna be whole.

be my healer, jenny simmons

Each moment I stretch my arms up or out while my heart sings to Jesus today, I am getting closer and closer to being whole. And, while for now I’ll try to keep up that vibe for as long as I can, I know I’ll wander again—but those who wander are not lost, and I know I’ll learn more about God’s love, and myself, in my wandering, too. Even in the wandering, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. Because I am still here.

Ten years ago tonight I was writing about taking the leap into faith, into trusting God to heal so that I didn’t end this journey mid-sentence. He did that. So I celebrate: by smiling and laughing, being free of anxiety—being the opposite of who I was on that night.

And, I like this version of me a lot better.

love is louder than circumstance

You make all things work together for my good.

and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? [. . .] our God is healer, awesome in power . . .

 

I hear ignition in the words off her tongue.  I see the light in her eyes.

This IS the girl I knew last year, but the girl has grown.  I am seeing the change, seeing the love.  And I am blessed, amazed, astounded at the work that God is doing in this girl.

She’s sixteen, and has the beautiful trusting mind and relentless love of a five-year-old.  A glowing smile, and a hug every time we see each other.  And the above are a few of the choice lyrics that overflowed from her heart tonight during worship.

Last year she came but rarely engaged.  Worship was too crazy, too overwhelming for her, and on the bigger, busier nights, she’d often choose to stay home.  This year, I can’t even piece together what changed in her, except that God is doing amazing things through music in this girl.  She runs in every single week, finds me, gives me a hug and then holds onto my shoulders, jumps up and down and says “Kerri! Are we doing worship tonight?!”  And I am so, so happy every time that I get the opportunity to say “YES!”  And then she asks me repeatedly “How long until worship?”

The character of God is changing the character of this girl.  I love that when I least expect it, He opens my eyes through her in such a way that only a big, big, BIG God can do.

I am blessed.

I am blessed by her presence, her heart, her love, her perspective.  Her perception.  Seriously, she caught me tonight, figured out I was tired, and then after worship told me I needed to go home and go to bed.

I am blessed that through some path only an amazing God has created that our paths crossed, and I’m able to be a part of her world–I do one-on-one respite support for her at our youth events on Friday nights.  It’s something I never perceived happening when I signed up to be a youth leader, but it was definitely not an accident.  And it’s an amazing learning experience, not only in working with people with disabilities, but in life.

She opens my eyes every single time.

She teaches me how to trust.  How to engage when the moment is right for not everyone, but for me . . . as she does.  She teaches me how to open myself up to others . . . not for them to see more of me, but for me to see more of them.

She reminds me time and time again that LOVE is LOUDER than circumstance.