Because He Lives

Pink Flowers

“But greater still the calm assurance, that child can face uncertain days because He lives…”

A couple of weeks ago, I was leading worship through song during a typical Sunday morning service at my church, Church on the Way. Nothing really out of the ordinary happened that morning, but I do remember feeling a little less sure of myself during all of rehearsal and through most of the beginning of the service. I have mornings like that- where I just don’t have the confidence, and there’s usually no reason I can nail down other than regular human insecurity. I’ve grown to appreciate these mornings, because those are the days I’m reminded of where my source of gifting, confidence and overall hope comes from. And because that source is God, I’m humbly assured that it is more than ok if I get up there just as I am and sing, even if I can’t bring myself to feel great by the time that 5 minute timer goes off. It’s ultimately not about about how I feel, even though feelings are certainly allowed to be involved. I don’t have to try to set them aside to be someone else for twenty minutes though, and I don’t have to over indulge in my feelings and project that onto everyone else; I’ve been guilty of both. But I can find rest, somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, that God is worthy of the worship that flows His way out of the truths I sing, no matter how good or bad they come out, and that we are to sing those truths as the body of Christ.

The last song in the set for that morning was “Because He Lives.” You know the one… “because he lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives, all fear is gone…” I don’t ever remember singing the full song growing up, but the chorus from it was often used at the end of the sermon, the benediction if you will, as we were all instructed to hold hands across the aisle and sing together. It was set to the tempo and time of an irish drinking song, and as children we’d sway our arms back and forth, as if holding an invisible pint of beer.

I re-discovered the song sometime at the beginning of last year, and found the verses to be very useful and captivating, and brought it into our pool of songs for church. I’ve cried a few times singing it, because I’ve always had other people in my mind during the second and third verses, depending on the season and who was suffering.

But, on this particular Sunday a few weeks ago, as we sang the line “But greater still, the calm assurance, that child can face uncertain days because He lives…” I was all of a sudden struck with the reality that this line not only described other people, but it described me. In the few seconds it took to sing that line, the reality of my childhood that I’ve been coming to terms with over the past three years flooded my mind, and I was overcome with not just clarity, but overwhelming gratefulness.

You guys, I’ve buried a lot of my childhood in the sand. As some of you have read my words over the past years, you know that I’ve slowly been sifting through that sand and digging up my childhood and the memories/pain that come with it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been sitting somewhere, whether at home or anywhere else, and a memory I hadn’t thought of in over two decades or a memory I didn’t know I had, comes rushing into my vision. I’ve had desperate moments where I’ve angrily looked up at the ceiling, wondering when God was going to stop the conveyor belt of memories from tumbling into my life. I’ve struggled with feeling that he’s cruel, that he’s put too much on me to work through. I’ve often asked the question, “What is the purpose of all of this?” The easy and half-truth answer is that He’s had me remember and work through things so that I can relate to and help others do the same. And while I believe that’s true, that’s also a cheap answer to me. Is that all?

Singing that line, with all of that reality coming back to me at the same time, I felt God saying “This is why I’ve let you suffer through your memories. All of that stuff you went through- I got you through that because I was and am and will forever be alive. I’m convincing you that I love you, and I’m not going to let you forget it.”

The beautifully devastating weight of that, all in just a few seconds, left me no where to go but to release it through sobs. And I did. I sobbed on that stage in front of everyone, and I couldn’t stop. The best thing happened though- my brothers and sisters kept singing. They sang the whole third verse and into the chorus and we ended together. I cried and they sang, and they led me. A few times I tried to sing again, but I was met with more tears.

I share that, not to point at this sweet moment I had with my church, and leave it at mere sentiment. I share that because as the body took over and continued to sing, I was deeply reminded that I am completely unnecessary. And as I felt that creep in while I sobbed giant, ridiculous tears of gratefulness, I was met with relief.

I am nothing, and He is everything. I deserve death, yet he boisterously showers me with life. It’s never how I expect it, yet it’s always better than what I thought it would be. This child certainly faced many an uncertain day, but He was there inside every moment of it and He’s gotten me here to this moment.

Life is worth the living, just because He lives.

Laundry Life

Laundry

Last week my friend Melissa shared a meme on Facebook that said, “I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty mediocre at housekeeping.” As I read it, I pictured Melissa saying it and it made me laugh. But I also found it funny, BECAUSE IT’S TRUE (of me, not Melissa). I always think that I’m sufficient at cleaning and organizing until I go into a house that sparkles and shines, and then I’m soberly reminded that I’ve had the cleaning tendencies of a toddler. I can get it together enough when I know people are coming over, shoving things in places, but otherwise, I’ve not had the best housekeeping rep. But can I be honest? I don’t really care. Like, I just have never been that person to take their issues out on dirt and dishes and laundry; I’d rather eat cake and color in one of Abe’s coloring books.

However, I’ve noticed a slow incline in my housekeeping skills since we’ve bought our own house. The desire to take care of this place because it belongs to us is a real thing, and I don’t hate it. I even had a serious cleaning product high the other day when I scored a bunch of swiffer products on clearance. WHO AM I?

Has anyone else noticed the constant battle with laundry? Before we moved into this house, I was sooooooooo bad at getting laundry washed, dried, folded and put away in a timely and efficient manner. The only thing I was really good at when it came to laundry was getting it in the washing machine. I loved doing that part! But remembering to then move it to the dryer… well, I’d say 3 out of 5 loads had to be washed twice. I know, I know- big waste of detergent. Don’t judge me.

IF a load managed to make it to the dryer wet and smelling good, they’d get dried… and then they’d sit there for about a week. It was rare for a load of laundry to get moved to a laundry basket. If we needed underwear, we’d just go digging through the dryer to find a crinkled up pair. And if, by rare chance the dried load made it to a basket AND get folded…. well, it would all go back into the basket and then sit in there until pretty much every piece of clothing was eventually used.

And let’s not even talk about my clothing mountains.

So, I’d like to tell you that it’s gotten better because I simply grew up a little bit when we moved in, but I’d be lying. When we were moving in all of our stuff back in January, we discovered that our dryer would not fit through any of the doors of our house. At first, I kinda freaked out about it. HOW COULD WE POSSIBLE LIVE OUR LIVES WITHOUT A DRYER? HOW WOULD WE CARRY ON AS HUMANS?? WHYYYYYYYY?????

After my very dramatic, first-world fist shaking to the skies, I got it together and tried to figure out a solution, and then remembered: people used to hang up clothes before they had dryers. When I was little, my grandma didn’t have a dryer, and she hung up all of the clothes and linens on a line she had in the back yard. Eureka!

But then I thought, “how, uhh, does one build a clothing line?” My friend Melissa, the one who thinks she’s mediocre at housekeeping, has this fancy contraption in the back of her yard that is basically a modern clothing line. I asked her where she got it, and I found myself at Home Depot picking up the contraption for $30. A little cement at the bottom to keep it sturdy, and there we had it: an old fashioned dryer.

Laundry Contraption

I never thought I’d say this, but I love that thing so much. I mean, not like I love people. But I REALLY dig it. It has changed my whole laundry life. I don’t know how it’s revolutionized everything I’ve ever done with laundry, but I think it has helped me enjoy the mundane chore. I wash smaller loads, and I’ve only ever forgotten 2 loads in the washer since January. Hanging clothes and linens up is strangely satisfying, and I don’t really have a choice when it comes to leaving them outside; we live in Florida. It rains almost every day, so as soon as they are dry, I gather the stuff up, fold it on the spot and put it away. There’ve been a handful of times I’ve hung up a load and then an afternoon storm blows through before they’re dry, but all that means is an extra rinse. We’ve noticed that our clothes are lasting a lot longer, and we enjoy the sun-kissed smell mixed with the detergent. Every now and then a load sits in a laundry basket for a day or two, but I have completely done away with my terrible clothing mountain habit, so I like to get our clean clothes put away as soon as possible. We have a small drying rack that sits in our laundry room for underwear and socks to dry, because I don’t really feel like showing our neighborhood my panties. That’s weird.

Little by little, I feel like I’m growing up. Being an adult is hard, so I’m thankful that I’ve been able to get a grip on something that makes our lives a little less noisy.

Laundry: check.

What’s next? Maybe dusting. Nah, who am I kidding, I’ll never care about dusting.