'Kiss Me' - Sixpence None the Richer
'Edelweiss' - Sound of Music
'Best Friend' - Jason Mraz
'Back At One' - Brian McKnight
It's been a little over a year since I've learned how to play the guitar and other than those Korean dramas, practicing guitar takes most of my free time. I can only play in the key of E and G... so to say that my guitar skills are 'limited' is an understatement. Surprising though, just how many songs I can squeeze into these two keys. Surprising just how low or high I'm willing to sing to stick to these parameters. Sometimes a caveman growl or a squeaky airy whisper almost. If you can imagine just how low, just how high. All so I don't have to learn how to play the F chord.
Bashfully, I've been curating a 'someday-one-day busking playlist' of songs I can play comfortably. I still can't play faster songs. I trip up on the beat and loose rhythm big time once the tempo passes anything faster than a brisk morning walk. No running, not just yet. Maybe some skipping ;)
Each of those songs draw out memories and special sentiments, from 'She's All That' to the rolling hills of Austria. And who doesn't love Brian McKnight? I imagine his handsome self walking onto the stage of a PBS David Foster special. Smiling his white smile as his kind eyes look at me, telling me I'm his dream come true ~oo~oooo. Such feelz <3
As I spend those nights playing and singing, I'm interested in how some things simply don't change. How much I love music and singing. How I'm much the same person as I've always been. Easy to please yet reliably needy. How family is important as ever and God is faithful still.
In my mind, I see the trajectory of my life move in circles. Sometimes they are big circles, taking a long time to connect at the starting point. Some are smaller with a faster return home. For Brian McKnight, ONE starts with a dream come true. And today I wonder, how long it takes to find the way back to that first confession. After those tiresome moments of paying the bills, fighting through shadows and scars, picking up the kids from soccer, basketball, synchronized swimming. How reliably can Brian find himself proclaiming that all this is a dream come true? Can Mr. McKnight find his way to starting back at one when life carries past a 4 minute song? Can I?
For me, these past few years have been filled with a lot of guilt and shame. Guilt, knowing how far I am from that first confession. Because my heart, thoughts, actions, constantly stray from faithfulness. Shame, feeling like I'll never get things right. That my autopilot is locked in selfishness and all those things... all those things I said and felt, were untrue.
Somewhere in my early twenties, I said a lot of things. That families have to change. That we have to grow in compassion and change our lifestyles to incorporate the marginalized. That farmers matter and the dinner table matters. I heard a calling to the common household in my neighborhood and I set my heart and life to committing to this change. Among all the things I said, my heart is most sorry and tender to my bold claims of love to my God.
In the quiet of my room I confess with my lips, "Lord, I love you. You are my good Father. I no longer live but you live through me." On good days, maybe half a day passes by before bitterness starts to creep in. Accusatory words toward God and hateful thoughts start to lay heavy upon my chest. The only sword out of the thick is God's Word's to my heart. 'The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save.' But then there's those nights when I simply yell at God that I've had enough. I tell him to back off. All of this is too hard and I hate life. I stay angry at Him, waiting for some kind of payment for His 'bad behavior' of not giving me the life I desire. "Make me feel better, God. Make my life better." I say.
Then while driving to the farms, I look up at the sky and hear Him say, "Yesie, I am pleased with you. You make me happy and I love you. I died to take care of you. Trust in me. I rose from the grave. I have the power to redeem anything." Such ridiculous words. Such powerful words that stop my self-protecting and humble me to come to God as a child in need of her Father.
All these things I thought and said, as I started the work of trying to live it in my life, I am realizing these truths can only become a reality through the power of the Holy Spirit. I find that the only way back is not through my efforts but through confessing that I can't do it. I can't bring about change in families. Unless from God, my compassion for the marginalized is simply a way to feel better about myself. I don't know how to love my neighbors as they need. I do not love God as He deserves.
And yet...I confess!
I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. Because in this journey of finding my way back, my life becomes a testimony to the glory of God as He presses in the gospel into my daily living. That no matter how far I wander, there is God who is always leading me back to that first confession. The Hound of Heaven will do whatever it takes.
I am weak and prone to stray. But God is strong and will always bring me back.
He is the One who wills me to start back at One.
He is more than a dream come true. He is flesh and bones that I could never fathom with human creativity. He is the one who saves me from myself and strengthens me to live out His calling over my life.
And today, as weak and broken as this confession may be... I love you Lord. Thank you. My words and life are not enough. Yet You are much more than enough. You complete every incomplete circle. You bring us back through loving kindness and I am amazed. May I find You more and more beautiful as each dawn awakens. May You be the New Song on my heart and arm I strum all my days. Thank you, Lord. Thank you... :')