Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blessed Assurance

That's an old hymn that I grew up singing in my (very) conservative Southern Baptist church.  As a kid in a conservative church, I never understood much about the Holy Spirit and, in fact, I still think I'm probably pretty clueless.  I didn't understand a lot of the scriptures nor did I understand or particularly care for some of the "weighty" hymns we sang or the messages given by our Pastor.  I sang them anyway and I read the Bible, anyway.  Like most kids who go to Sunday school, I memorized verses, regardless of how much they spoke to my soul.

As I grew up and matured, songs stuck with me, scriptures started having light shed on them and I cannot remember the last time I was at church (any church) with a message that didn't hit me in some way.  I devour all of it, in almost a greedy, gluttonous way.  And, I only say gluttonous because we're here to love other people and I think if you're struggling so much that you can only take, how can you be giving, right?

I'm going to be completely transparent here because those that know me will know if I try to sugarcoat things:  I can totally be a Sunday Christian.  I get caught up in the real world with my real struggles, my lack of discipline and my wounds from real life.  I have always said that if I could just live life at church, I'd be so good.  In reality, my true self, the one who yells and swears like a sailor and judges people and....I'll stop there because the picture only gets uglier....that part of me would eventually insist on being dealt with, one way or another.  Sin is no respecter of the building you are standing in.  I love more, yell less, judge less, you get the idea, than I did 10 years ago, but I am still a huge work in that, as it would appear, is painstakingly slow.

So, where does Blessed Assurance fit in?  I'll tell you.  Since I lost my son, I have found zero comfort in my praise and worship music.  I have never had that happen to me, since really sort of "discovering" it, about ten years ago.  It was more of a conviction thing, not that I'd never heard of it, but that's another long story.  Anyway, no matter what I've been walking through, I've been able to fall back on the songs I know and love to comfort me and praise God, even some of the old hymns, since I hear them differently than when I was a kid.  Right now, though, they almost make me mad.  I feel betrayed, deserted, totally and completely alone and trying to muster up worship, at best, makes me sort of resentful.

My spirit, though, knows better, which is why I had to blog today, even though I'd planned to take a break.  For the last 10-14 days, I've just been randomly having a couple lines from different songs pop into my head.  I can't get them out.  I sing or hum them out loud.  The same lines, over and over, until I run to a computer to remember what song I'm singing.  (My memory has been very fuzzy the last few weeks, so I rely on Google for a lot)

First, it was, "Nothing can take me away from you" followed by humming because I'd forgotten the next words and then, "Your love will never let me go."  Then, a couple of days ago, I started singing "I love I love, I love your presence."  I could remember nothing else except the words and the tune..  Turns out there aren't many words,  they just aren't necessary.  Here are the words:

In the glory of Your presence
I find rest for my soul
In the depths of Your love
I find peace
Makes me whole

I love, I love, I love Your presence
I love, I love, I love Your presence
I love, I love, I love You Jesus
I love, I love, I love Your presence

I am having trouble articulating what I want to say, but I know it's important because I know I'll need this later when, yet again, I forget what being comforted feels like and break down in despair.  I know someone needs it now.  I know I was supposed to come do this, but my brain is going so fast, my fingers cannot keep up.  If you look at the words to that song and put in a couple of lines from Blessed Assurance,
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!

And you add in nothing can take me away from me, your love will never let me you see the picture?  It's like all these  different  parts of these different songs go together.  Those words are to me for me.  While I do not have a song, I cannot find comfort, the Holy Spirit longs to comfort me and put words on my lips that my soul desperately needs to rememberIt's as if I'm being sung to and the revelation of that blew me away.  All those days, I missed it.  I went along with it, but I missed what was really happening and when the light was shining brightly on it, I sat there stunned.  I am still so blown away.  It is in the presence of that very thing, but SO.MUCH.BIGGER. that my sweet son now sits. 


  1. Well said, Mama. I know that I too, am forever reminding myself that I am a Christian In Progress...and that it is in our Brokenness, that His greatest work is done.

  2. As you know our beliefs are very different, but all I can say is WOOHOO, that was beautiful. I just love the insight into yourself that you have, it is one of the things that I love most about you. I love you!


  3. Hello my dear Friend who is Also in Progress! I know I've been quiet. I really have had nothing relevant or empathetic to say, because my blood runs cold at the very edge of the thought of emotionally walking in your shoes these last days. But I've been reading your blogs, and I've been feeling led to pray for you in very general terms, because even when I get to know some of the details, they're really only the details we can see and express, and obviously there's just SO much more... but God knows. And I've been feeling very drawn to keeping up with your blog, because I have walked some hard roads of my own and I want to share with you what's relevant and helpful and useful for building you back up. So this music thing is drawing me out. It's been a source of comfort and connection for me for many years. Until Nov 2011, when some really traumatic stuff happened for me. And I just couldn't bring myself to sing His praises anymore, because it felt like I was lying, and just going through the motions, the words would literally stick in my throat. That connection was lost, and there wasn't any comfort there anymore. I found myself mentally editing the words to the songs to go "I want to love, I long for your presence" instead. I eventually had to force myself to reconcile that it wasn't my job to sing His praises because I felt like it; it was my job to sing His praises because He is worthy no matter how I feel. For me, in this struggle, MONTHS went by like this. And I saw other people around me going on with their lives, and receiving healing of far more significant burdens than mine, and becoming victorious over monstrous struggles, and my only thought was "What's so wrong with me that God chooses to withhold His blessing from me?" (Which we all know is totally wrong thinking anyway). In no way am I suggesting anything to you other than you are not alone. Eventually, in His timing (which means, to me, "when I was ready"), a good friend stepped out on a limb and prayed with me, and delivered to me a message that He was calling me back to a spirit of worship and gratitude. And because I received it (I heard it go "BONG!" in my head, but these were MY circumstances, not yours!) I was released from that spirit of heaviness, and I was able to worship with a full heart again. So hang in there. It sounds so hollow, but all He has ever asked for is your everything. And if your everything today is just hanging onto the ledge with your peeling fingernails, then that's enough. I'm so glad to hear that you are starting to see His hands at work, and that you are able to recognize glimpses of His glory and His presence in your pain. Hang in there.

  4. Thank you for reading and your support, girls!

  5. As we too have recently lost our son your last paragraph I could have written myself...word for word. I pray your writing brings you as much comfort as reading it does for me. Thank you...keep writing; I will keep reading.
    My wish of Peace to you,

    1. I meant your Joy Cometh blog.

    2. I'm so sorry for your loss, Christine. My heart is heavy for you. I am still struggling with acceptance/denial in the same breath. It's as if my head needs acceptance, but my heart has to be in denial. I plan on writing for a good long while and I wish there weren't so many gaps in between my entries, but each time I write it takes a lot from me, emotionally. I do have a couple already ready to go, but waiting on the right time to post them and I have over an hour of recorded stuff on my phone that needs to be transcribed here. I pray for peace for us both...Lisa