How did I find my way to One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp? Truthfully I cannot quite piece together the journey. Perhaps it was a friend, a sister, a fellow daughter of the King that gave me direction. Perhaps it was the longing that led me to an online bookstore, where the keys I touched brought me to the place I needed to be. In truth, it was the Lover of my Soul drawing, beckoning, holding me near, inviting me to revel in His words, whispered time and time again, to the very depths of my heart.
Today I found a holy experience at my fingertips (www.aholyexperience.com). The words and pictures hold simplicity and joy, but the beauty that enraptured my soul was the music. I closed my eyes and surrendered. Being utterly filled, I allowed the heart of God to cradle places that were unknown even to myself. Places only He can embrace. As the notes trilled I reveled in His touch- the breath of God, here…surrounding me, teaching me to know Him and trust Him for who He longs to be in and through and for me.
It was not always this way. Over time, stress and struggle and loss stifled my song. Perhaps I allowed it, or perhaps I was simply engulfed,for life as I knew was coming to an end. I had not the strength to protect that which He formed in me when I was lovingly woven together. (Psalm 139) That is a story to be read elsewhere, but here and now I will say that slowly but surely my song was battered and scarred and torn, over time--and I resisted with all the strength I knew. Until that moment when it was shattered and ground into pieces. Suddenly the word forever seemed like a cage, a place of anguish, a haunted never rather than the hope of always. I wondered, would I ever sing again? I could not see beyond the pain, yet I held to hope. Or rather, He held me.
And now, years after diagnoses that I thought would destroy my world, I have found restoration. Hope. And yes, even joy. My song is returning- and the key to unlocking what has been closed off (and tightly guarded) is eucharisteo- life giving gratitude. A conscious effort to see beauty amidst storms.
Have you ever smelled the rain coming? That scent characterizes my life. The scent before the rain seems to be the presence of God; the rain itself, the cleansing that I so desire. The rainbows are the promise that He will be with me. Yet, the song is not just found in the rainbow. The song begins with the scent of rain, continues through the showers, through the deluge, even through the mist that that conceals the steps in front of me. The song is part of His sustenance. I want to learn to hear it when life sprinkles and when life pours. And no matter what is pouring in, I desire that what is poured out is my own aria of eucharisteo.