Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lent, Gray Days, and 10,000 Reasons

These seasons of lent sneak up on me. Last year was a rough one, leaving Adam to ask me to NOT pray for him during Lent this year.

Can you feel it? The gray? I do. 

It's been a stripping away. Each season removing more than the last. It's left me raw and broken. This Lent? This is no different. And as my understanding of this season grows, so does the hurt, the distance. It feels like the veil has been lowered and there is not light shining through.

Friday evening it all piled heavy on my chest - my lungs forcing each breath. And with each painful inhale and exhale I wiped away tears, shut my laptop, closed down Twitter, and stepped away.

This weekend, I almost stopped writing. I wanted to delete my blog and burn down the internet. Throw out the computer. All I needed was my family, some candles, and to bake bread.

This weekend I felt the bitter cold and it scared me. My heart was feeling all sorts of hurt. The kinds you know are irrational, really, but it all mounded up. Perceived slights tore at my already fragile heart and I just wanted to curl up and hide. The knowing, the feeling, the wondering if there is any point to sharing words....there are so many writers out there with bigger thoughts and more carefully crafted words. Maybe I should just go back to my journal and escape it all. At least there, I won't feel unworthy.....

But somewhere between there and here, I found a patch of peace. Here I have pitched my tent and laid out my altar, my ebeneezer.  The land feels small and isolated. It is ravished with winds that threaten and rains that promise to wash me away. Yet this place remains my safety, my refuge.

On Sunday morning I peeked into the worship service and caught the end of the last song, Matt Redman's "10,000 Reasons." And the layers of ice around my heart began to melt. Peace began to seep in as a balm to my dry, cracked soul as I watched the church declare each word of the song with clapping and cheers, hands raised, voices soaring. 


I've spent too many years not fully trusting God and I am exhausted. I am tired of my feelings being tied to my perception of God's movement in my life. When I don't see Him move, I sense displeasure. 

Why is that my default? 

In that place on Sunday morning, as I stood in the back of the sanctuary, leaning against the textured wallpaper, feet planted solidly on the ground, I stopped needing to know the why's and the where's and the how's. For here I was certain of God's vast love for me. Here, even in the dark season of Lent, where I don't see the light, I can feel the warmth. And this warmth is life-giving and sustaining. 

I'm going to stay here, on my small island, but there is always room for you too. 

Matt Redman with "10,000 Reasons"


  1. To keep singing - that is the bravest and best thing.
    Of course, I want to quit pretty much every other day. :)
    Let's keep singing, shall we?

  2. My dear, I would like to join you. I won't bring the tres leches poision ;-) Promise. I was working out the other day and it is often then when I get spoken to.

    I remembered a person saying to me - "You don't want it?" And me responding, "No! I want something better." And in my mind I heard myself sigh and my head drop. How many times did I say to God, "No, I don't want it." Because I was expecting something better - certainly different than what I have now. This life I am living now is not what I envisioned, and not AT ALL the place I thought I would be led to in the second half of my life. I haven't seen God working. Just feeling the ice cold effects of abandonment.

    I often reflect and can't believe all that I have walked through. I find myself saying, "I don't want this!!" And questioning..."All this [crap happening] for this??? God, seriously???". I have put myself in a corner far away from God because I don't like what He has allowed. Or even what He has done.

    But I realize I am in a special place. A place where there is no more fear. No more worry.My life has been whittled down to it's bare bones, and there is purity and just this here moment. I feel my soul beginning to open, and my eyes seeing the truth. And I don't like what I used to have (mostly the people) because it was not real. God is showing me what is real.

    I am grateful for us growing closer.

    I get the wanting to shut the blog down. Such an introvert thing to do :-) As one who has - I tell you - don't. These feelings too shall pass.

  3. this is beautiful Brenna... i love how open you are as you share your feelings and thoughts.. somehow, your writing always strike a chord within me. And please don't ever stop writing! It's true you are pouring yourself out there for all to see with your posts; but don't let others responses or lack of them influence you. (i go through those same feeling with my art & can get very discouraged if i don't get the feedback or sales that i'd like) but we cannot let the external
    keep us from using the gifts that God has given us. Keep using your talent in faith and then watch God use it!

  4. I too am on the prowl for anything that looks like HOPE today. THANKS for this Brenna...it feels like hope for the very tired and gray!

  5. a good friend of mine and I were discussing the other day about sometimes when we want to write, we question if we have anything new or worthwhile to say. she told me that one of her professors said that kind of self doubt tends to be a bigger issue for women. So I guess all I am really trying to say is "YES," I know exactly what you mean. And YES, your words are worthy to be spoken.

  6. This is vulnerable and lovely brokenness, Brenna. I have often pondered shutting down my blog and moving on. There are so many writers who are so much more gifted than I. Why keep doing it? Why continue to struggle with my heart as it seeks affirmation in comments and shares?

    I often come back to this sense that God seems to have led me here, so I will continue to follow. It's not often easy, and it is often emotional. But there's a holiness to it all, even when it infuriates me.

    I am glad you found peace, and that you will keep on singing.

    (Did you see my post about feeling God's absence? I couldn't help but think of it as I read your feelings here. http://www.everydayawe.com/the-thirst-for-gods-presence/. I just want you to know that you are not alone in experiencing those feelings.)