Day 56 – let my spirit sing sweetly for the love in Your eyes

On the real, Foy Vance is my boy. I put up a song by him two posts ago so this post isn’t really about him, but I just feel that he deserves some sort of recognition for how wonderful he is. Look him up. Buy his album. He’s wonderful.

So anyway, back to this challenge that has now been ongoing for nearly two years though it only comprises of 80 days.

Day 56 – a Song that Makes You Think About Space

Big concepts freak me out. The infinity of space is something that I am completely unable to wrap my head around, and thus it both terrifies and excites me. Another such concept is the vastness of the ocean, which doesn’t hold so much the excitement component as it does the terrifying one.

When I consider the impossible infinity of space, however, I cannot help but turn my thoughts to God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. So although you know my aversion to most worship music, today I leave you with a song of worship – a song of awe in the face of a great and mighty God.

Day 52 – if I was a basket filled with holes, then she was the sand I tried to hold

Day 52 – a Song Whose Lyrics You Have Used as a Facebook Status Update

Ok so first of all, I’m back with this. Music Mariel is back. I am back to impart my musical choices to you.

So let’s talk about Day 52. Facebook status? Really? I haven’t really done the whole lyrics-as-status thing since 2011 so how about instead of dredging that up I talk about the shirt I got in the mail today.

I’ve mentioned mewithoutYou and my love for them about a thousand times already and I’m mentioning it again now. I LOVE mewithoutYou. They will rank in my top 5 favourite bands FOREVER. They’re really good. A couple of weeks ago I was bored and I had some money [not usually a good combination, for anyone ever] so I went on their webstore and looked at merch. They have really rad merch. Not quite as rad as The Last Bison, who sell soap in their webstore, but rad nonetheless. So I ordered myself a shirt and promptly forgot about it

I just got back from my reading break yesterday [during which I was able to go to Colorado! Praise the Lord for that!], so today I checked my mailbox for the first time in over a week and lo and behold, there was a package in it! So I tore it open just before my next class started and pulled out a beautiful green shirt decorated with beautiful artwork depicting a scene from Paper Hangar, one of my favourite songs from Catch For Us The Foxes, and lyrics at the bottom.

“Scratched around the mouth of the glass,

‘My life is no longer mine’.”

WOW. So cool. My life is NO LONGER MINE. The song goes on to say [though not the shirt] “If they ask for the sign of the Father in you, tell them it’s movement, movement, movement and repose.”

WOW. WOW WOW WOW. I love mewithoutYou. I’m pretty stoked to wear this shirt tomorrow and ponder the idea that my life is no longer mine, but I have in fact surrendered it completely to the Lord [or, I strive to do so].

on breathing, or the lack thereof

I’ve been having trouble breathing for a week now. It’s maddening, this constant feeling of breathlessness — like I just ran up a flight of stairs. In the last couple of days I’ve been feeling lightheaded, like I might faint at any moment. I spend a lot of time sitting down, slightly hunched over. If my posture is too good I’ll start to cough, and that’ll lead to hyperventilation which in turn will lead to more coughing. There’s no winning in this cycle.

And oh, I’ve been to the doctor. I was diagnosed with pneumonia so I received pills and an inhaler in order to treat it, but it’s been four days now and I see no signs of retreating. The grand plans I have for semester break are at risk if my breathing doesn’t clear up — the air in Colorado is thinner than here so any problems will be exacerbated.

It’s awfully inconvenient. I thank God for teachers who are understanding of my illness and my resulting absences from their classes, but I wish to be in class. Even now my classmates are in Romans and I am here in my room, attempting and failing to control my breathing well enough to go back to class.

A girl in my hall is going through much the same thing and the other night we were both in her room, bemoaning our respective states of breathlessness. “I asked God to give me a verse,” she said, “and He gave me Psalm 150:6 — ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.’ Okay Lord, you have a sense of humour.”

We both laughed about the irony of such a verse given our present states. I don’t know if she’s thought any more on that verse but it has not left my mind.

The full passage is as follows:

“Praise the Lord.

Praise God in His sanctuary,
praise Him in His mighty heavens.
Praise Him for His acts of power,
praise Him for His surpassing greatness.
Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise Him with the harp and lyre,
praise Him with timbrel and dancing,
praise Him with the strings and pipe,
praise Him with the clash of cymbals,
praise Him with the resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.”

I’ve always loved Psalm 150 because of its musical imagery, but since rereading it in more recent days I’ve come to love it for an entirely different reason.

“Praise Him for His acts of power, praise Him for His surpassing greatness.”

It can be so difficult to praise God in times of distress – be it sickness, worry, grief – it’s difficult to bring praise to God when we feel that we have nothing to praise Him for. But this Psalm lays out quite nicely for us a no-nonsense approach to praise – we praise God because He is worthy of praise. He is worthy of so much more than our weak human praise, but we will offer Him the best we can.

It doesn’t say “Praise the Lord because He keeps you healthy always.” It’s easy to praise God when everything goes our way. In fact, the danger of that is that our praise is not genuine, but is a sort of obligatory gratitude. But when everything is failing us – when nothing seems to be going our way, that is when our praise has the opportunity to be most genuine. I can see no good in the situation that I’m in now. I can’t breathe, I’m missing classes, I may not be able to go to Colorado.

But God is good regardless. We praise Him because His greatness surpasses all. We praise Him because He is powerful. However bleak my life seems right now, I praise God because He is great. I worship God because He is good. I praise Him because He has given me the very breath that I use to sing His praises, regardless of how weak that breath may be.

If my understanding of God’s goodness is dictated by my health, then my relationship with God is extremely one-sided and egotistical. God is good regardless of me.

Day 18 – I’ve got this feeling that today’s going to be my turning point!

Day 18 – the Song that Most Accurately Describes Your Mood Today

Lately I’ve been feeling incredibly mediocre in my faith. Lukewarm. Ironically enough I think it started when I came to Bible school – I honestly feel like my faith has been waning since then.

Last night there was an evening of worship that we as a drama class were required to go to. I was in no mood to go because I had a lot of homework and I haven’t enjoyed worship in a very long time. However, because it was a class requirement, I showed up with a bad attitude and all I was really thinking about was how much work I had yet to do that night. And then I got there…

…and it sucked. The worship didn’t suck. It was actually very good. The message didn’t suck. It was actually incredibly powerful but through it, God took ahold of my life – and THAT sucked.

To have next to nothing to do with God for over a month and suddenly have Him move very clearly and very powerfully in your life is not a pleasant experience. It HURTS. It is PAINFUL. God showed me things last night that I hadn’t even realized I’ve been struggling with for the past two months but now that they’re revealed to me I realize the stumbling blocks they’ve been in my life.

At one point, the man speaking told us to break into groups and pray with each other. The two girls on either side of me immediately angled their chairs in but I took mine out altogether and told them I was going to go pray by myself. I went and sat in a corner and put my head in my hands and started to weep. The message that evening had been about the parable of the sower and while I was listening to it, I was struck by the startling and horrible realization that I am the thorny ground. I receive the Word but my focus on worldly things rises up and chokes it out and while it’s choking that Word, it’s also choking me.

I prayed – really prayed, really brought my fears and insecurities before God, really talked to Him and really believed that He heard me – for the first time since September and it was so refreshing but so heart-wrenching. I told God that I’ve had no passion for Him since the summer. Worship through music doesn’t affect me the way it used to, in fact it doesn’t affect me at all. In the past month I’ve had no desire to serve God or spread His kingdom. That in itself was an awful, awful realization.

So last night I made a decision to recommit my life to God. I told Him quite plainly that whatever plans He has for my life, I’ll embrace them gladly. I’m done living this life of dead Christianity and I’m done having no passion for God. I don’t want to be salt that loses its saltiness and I don’t want to be a light that’s hidden under a basket.

I’m finished being lukewarm. I’m done with fronting my Christianity and posing as a warrior for God. I’m not a warrior. I’m a pathetic squire who wants to prove herself but runs away.

Last night I surrendered my life to God – not that I had ever lost my salvation, but I did lose my desire to serve God – and today I feel like crap. I’m in the worst possible mood. I feel sick. I want to crawl into bed and not talk to God and not talk to people and I KNOW this is the work of Satan and I know that today I need to spend a ridiculous amount of time in prayer and communion with God. If you think of it, pray for me. Pray that this commitment would stick and that I wouldn’t go back on the promise that I’ve made to God.

I’m leaving you with two songs today – the first, from my mood last night, the second, from my mood this morning.