October 11, 2016
I first heard it as the summer drew to a close, as I ordered my textbooks for my last year of college, and as the sunset came earlier and earlier.
I heard the still, small voice in my heart – and I thought I knew what He meant. I thought that He was preparing me for my new internship, for my last few exams, for my occupation on paperwork to change from Student to Social Worker.
But the changes He is whispering to my heart are so much bigger.
I realized it as some relationships faded and others grew stronger than they have ever been. I realized it as I sought community from friends of my past. I realized it as joy sprouted within my heart in unexpected places at unexpected times as God showed me the things in which He delights.
I realized it as I was pulled deeper and deeper into the Word and as I fell into Jesus’ heart so suddenly that I am still reeling from it.
And it is all good. And it is all hard.
Change, for me, is much like physical illness. In the same way that physical illness wears down my immune system and makes it easier for germs to enter my body, change wears down the guards around my heart and mind and makes it easier for unhealthy things to enter in.
When I am physically sick, I take extra precautions to protect myself from outside threats. I wash my hands more often than usual and I feed my body only nutritious food, like noodles and orange juice. I drink a lot of water.
When I am experiencing changes in my life, I take extra precautions to protect myself from outside threats. I read my Bible more than usual and I only listen to life-giving music, like NEEDTOBREATHE and Lauren Daigle. I drink a lot of the water that Jesus says becomes in me a spring welling up to eternal life.
When I’m writing, I’m very particular about what I listen to and what I read, because it gets inside, you know? I’m a little more permeable in seasons of writing, and so I want to choose stories and sounds that keep good company, that make me braver and wilder and more honest. — Shauna Niequist
She gets it.
When I’m experiencing changes in my life, everything gets inside so easily. The emotions are so much deeper and I find myself in tears of sadness from what used to be, of joy from what is to come, and of gratitude that He is with me still. I’m more permeable in seasons of change, and I want to choose books and music that encourages and loves me through.
My chicken noodle soup during this particular time of change has been very specific. I find myself reading the same stories over and over and replaying the same songs again and again because I cannot get over the messages they whisper to my soul. They’re too good to let go.
What are your stories and sounds you love when you are most permeable?
Here are some of mine:
Philippians (I cannot get over the ENTIRE BOOK) – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis – “When have you ever read a story of God’s great work that made a lot of sense, a story that didn’t seem a little over the top, a little impossible? Not often. Radical, extraordinary love just doesn’t make sense in a fallen world; that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. But it is the very nature of God … God is the same yesterday, today, and always … We want big things from God and then think it’s strange when He asks us to build an ark, or feed five thousand or march around a building for seven days with seven priests blowing trumpets made from rams’ horns … I serve the God who used Moses, a murderer, to part the Red Sea; a God who let Peter, who would deny Him, walk on water. A God who looks at me, in all my fallen weakness and says, ‘You can do the impossible.'”
How to Survive a Shipwreck by Jonathon Martin – “The bad news is that this shipwreck feels like death because you really may be dying. The bad news is that old and familiar things you love and that made you what you were are slowly passing away. The good news is you’re being born, and this drowning makes possible the moment when all things become new – most of all, you.”
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and will all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” And Jesus answers, “‘Do this and you will live.'”
My Story by Big Daddy Weave – “If I should speak, let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin. Of when justice was served and when mercy wins. Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in. Oh, to tell you my story is to tell of Him.”
Chain Breaker by Zach Williams – “If you’ve got pain, He’s a pain-taker. If you feel lost, He’s a way-maker. If you need freedom or saving, He’s a prison-shaking Savior. If you’ve got chains, He’s a chain-breaker.”
Dear Younger Me by MercyMe – “You are holy, you are righteous, you are one of the redeemed. Set apart, a brand new heart, you are free indeed. Every mountain, every valley, through each heartache you will see: every moment brings you closer to who you were meant to be.”
Stars by Skillet – “And still You come and You’re calling me by name.”
The God I Know by Love & The Outcome – “And then I threw my hands up, worries down. I remember when He showed me how to break up with my doubt. Once I was lost but now I’m found. No strings attached when He saved my soul. I want you know the God I know.”
Something Beautiful by NEEDTOBREATHE – “Hey now, this is my desire: consume me like a fire because I just want something beautiful to touch me. I know that I’m in reach because I am down on my knees. And I’m waiting for something beautiful for touch me.”
Wake by Hillsong – “You will never fade away, Your love is here to stay. By my side, in my life, shining through me everyday.”
Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin – “I know Who goes before me, I know Who stands behind. The God of angel armies is always by my side.”
Trust in You by Lauren Daigle – “When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move, when You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through, when You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You – I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.”