Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beuaty Will Rise

Warning...long and gratutitouse post follows. Come back another time if you're not up for it. I'll understand. Really!

My personal devotion time today was extremely personal and beautifully intimate. I always hesitate to try to share those kinds of things because God is so specific with us as His children when He draws near and pulls us close. He’s often so specific that I wonder if we can really ever fully understand the things He teaches someone else. Having said that though, my time with Him this morning was profound for me and I can’t help but try to share something of what it meant.

Okay, so I’m a mildly obsessed Steven Curtis Chapman (and family) fan. You really can’t blame me if you know my story. His music has literally been playing in the background and often even the foreground of most of my adult life’s biggest moments. God has used his music to minister to my heart in ways only God and I will ever really understand. But will you bear with me if I try to share just some of what He’s done?
I didn’t realize at my wedding what the words “I will be here when the laughter turns to crying through the winning, losing and trying” would mean to me now that “the mirror tells us we’re (17 years) older ” instead of just 17 years old. But I loved the song and it was powerful even before it was understood.

Later when my cousin and lifelong friend passed away leaving behind a beautifully fragile wife and two incredible children I questioned God at length. I couldn’t begin to understand how this could possibly be meant for anyone’s good. He quieted my heart with the title track of Steven’s Speechless cd. Words like “ I say so many things. Trying to figure you out. But as mercy opens my eyes… my words are stolen away by this breath taking view of your grace.” And “His strength is perfect when our strength is gone” assured me that Maria and the kids would be given what they needed in their sorrow.

Just a year later we lost our precious son, Tristan and the words of With Hope reminded us of the theme God was weaving through our lives and making so real to us that day. “And never have I known anything so hard to understand. Never have I questioned more the wisdom of God’s plan. But through the veil of tears I hear the Father smile and say “Well done.” We know our goodbye is not the end. We can grieve with Hope ‘cuz we believe with Hope. There’s a place where we’ll see your face again.” Just a few months later Declaration came out and every single song on that album seemed as though God had written the words just for me and imprinted their meaning deep within my heart. Those songs and I journeyed for years together and still do today as I process still what it meant to lose my son.

A few years passed and we found ourselves in the throws of adoption. We were looking forward to baptizing our daughters when Steven sang in person, what seemed like a concert made just for them at Life Light that year. When he introduced “When Love Takes you In”, the very song I’d wanted sung at their baptism later that month the tears began to fall so quickly. “When Love takes you in and says you belong here. The loneliness ends and a new life begins. And this love. It will not let you go. Cuz there’s nothing that could ever cause this love to lose it’s hold.” My daughters were in my arms and whatever we were struggling through in that moment slipped away as I was reminded of the way God’s adoptive love was circling us all.

I went through a major surgery not long after that. As I sat through tests and procedures I often had them play my Declaration cd for me. “God is God” became my anthem during the surgery and lengthy recovery time that followed. “I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting.” What a wonderful reminder on those days when my little part was looking pretty dark.

My dad died a few years ago and there was just a lot of personal processing that needed to take place. I was starting to feel a little picked on by a God I knew held only love for me. I was little bit edgy in how I approached Him but Bring it On helped me find my voice. “Bring it on. Let the trouble come. Let the Hard Rain fall. Bring it on. Cuz I’m not gonna run from the very thing that will drive me closer to you.”

Our newest trial is in dealing with the plummets of the livestock markets. Financial strain seems to threaten more than just our pocket books, but this new cd reminds me that “Jesus Will Meet me There.”

See.. I have a reason to be mildly obsessed. I told you so.

Anyway all of this background to bring you to my moment alone with God this morning. I had purchased the new SCC cd and decided to spend my time with God reading the words and the lengthy explanations Steven gave as background to the music on the cd jacket. My heart broke for the Chapman family when they lost they’re precious Maria last year. I wasn’t prepared for how powerfully God would work through this latest cd, even though I knew the newest work would be deeply moving. Songs like “Just Have to Wait” and “Spring is Coming” not to mention “Heaven is the Face” and “I will Trust You” brought me back to my own loss and laid me open before the throne of heaven today. I was reminded in the rawness of this mornings encounter with Christ of the depth of grief. But this music was so INCREDIBLY laced with Hope that it brought me to a new level of healing. To identify with such loss and such Hope all at once was almost too much to bear. The kind of emotion a new realization of God’s truth brings with it can be overwhelming. There’s a line that haunts me still as even now I listen to the music play softly in the background, “ Well I can’t wait to hear your mama laugh the way that only you can make her laugh when you get silly. And I can’t wait to SEE you in her arms and know the wound so deep inside her heart is healed for good.” And “I can’t wait to watch your brother’s face when he can finally SEE with his own eyes that everything’s okay”... Loss and guilt…and Hope.

I sat in the stillness this morning realizing again and anew how powerfully personal and specific God has been in His dealings with me. I’m thankful for the beautiful Biblically based music SCC churns out with each new album. It’s no wonder those words bring such depth and healing. They come straight from the heart of God. Only He could offer those kinds of promises.

I’m so sorry that the Chapman’s have had so much to suffer, but I’m praying it reaches many hearts the way it has mine. I think God wants little Maria to have lots of company up there in her “Big, big house with lots and lots of rooms.” And I’m hoping she’s met a little boy named Tristan. It seems they might have a connection only heaven would understand.

Okay, I warned you. Thanks for letting me spill on and on today. I appreciate your being here.

Now, I'd love to hear about how God's been highly specific for you.


patty said...

Words can't begin to convey how thankful I am that He speaks to you again and again in ways that no one else could. I love you & praise Him for the blessing that is you. love, me

patty said...

You know, I keep thinking about it...this post & your life & how it's a privilege to share it. I also keep thinking about something Brenda said a few years ago when she was describing you. She said you'd learn how to "lean hard". Your leaning hard has impacted thousands of lives, Cherie, whether you realize it or not. Just thought I should tell you...

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Hi Beautiful Heart,

Beauty Rises in you... right here.

So much pain you've had, and yet, in the ashes, you and He have uncovered beauty.

This gets me: ... "realizing again and anew how powerfully personal and specific God has been in His dealings with me."

Only someone walking in the Light could see that.

You reflect Him well, my friend. You reflect Him well.

*Thank you.*

Faith Imagined said...


You've got me crying on this end of the monitor!

Your losses have been so profound. I can't even imagine, but I can see through your words that God has supplied you with His grace every time. He is AWESOME!

I like how you weaved in the music. I don't think Christians realize how important meditating (pondering, thinking, listening) to Christian music is. It is a life-line for me!

I remember I was in a really bad mood one day and I was making a bunch of decisions based on my mood. I listened to a Christian song, and my mood vanished and I was saved from skipping out on what God had planned for me!

Paul and Silas sang while in jail to lift their spirits. Thank you for reminding me of the power of music and sharing how God has been so sweet to you.