A season of renewal

Life, death, regeneration. It’s the perennial changing of the seasons. Summer flowers lose their vibrance and wither in the cool air of autumn. Leaves fall and cover the ground, decay and are repurposed as nutrients for the earth. Autumn days resignMy favorite tree their warmth to the longer nights of winter. The heartbeat of the natural world slows, as living things make themselves scarce as the winter sun, in silent preparation for the new life of spring.

Just as the natural world goes through death and regeneration in the changing of the seasons, we must endure death in order to experience the fullness of life.

It’s part of the redemption process – it’s the gospel story. It’s our story. A fresh start. Spiritual maturity. New creation. Call it what you will – but death isn’t clean, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It can be, however, very dark and very scary. Death, by its very nature, is painful and leaves its marks – its scars. The deeper death dives into our beings, the more it hurts and feels like, well… death.

And this is the crazy part: we have to choose to die. We have to accept the fact that 1) we can’t control what happens to us in this life, and 2) that there is a better, fuller life inside of us, waiting to be born. But it’s really, really tough to let go and give up control completely. Historically speaking, we humans have put a pretty high premium on gaining and maintaining control and power.

Too often, instead of accepting our own death as part of this process, we try to fix something that’s broken in our lives, whatever it is, to make it good again – non-toxic and healthy and life-giving. We will even try to control and fix other people to avoid losing the life we have; or, perhaps more accurately, the life we think we want or need. But this need for control is based on our deepest and darkest fears. It’s these fears that keep us from experiencing true joy, hope and love in our lives. Our fears will always drive us into a dead-end.

What really must be fixed is us. And not only fixed, but transformed. Reborn. Recreated. To live in faith, not out of fear. This takes a huge amount of courage, and an ongoing commitment to trust God with the results.

I should know.

Over the past several months, I’ve experienced death and resurrection firsthand, and it’s been by far the most challenging season of my life (refer to some of my prior posts for examples). In the midst of the greatest pain I’ve ever known, with nearly lifeless breath I called out to God to hold me, fix me, mold me, and to use me. I’ve never been so, at once, hopeful and terrified for the future. I guess that’s faith.

And so God chose to love me unconditionally through family and friends who have encouraged me and prayed for me; not to mention a few who walked with me through the darkest times, in the midst of their own struggles and vulnerability, without whom I dare not imagine where I might be today. The gift of this new life is not only my deeper sense of joy and hope, but that I am more able now than ever before to share and experience my life with the people I love.

I may always be a work in progress – continually struggling to give up complete control and accepting the deaths I have yet to face in my life. But no matter in which season I find myself, I know that I am never too far from love, and that new life is on the horizon. And for that I am eternally grateful.

- TC

Anyway

Who am I gonna be today?

Will you hear what I have to say?

Or will I listen to the doubt and shame

and run away from all my pain?

Could you love me anyway?

Wanna believe what you keep saying

Listen to your voice when I can’t see,

when I can’t live the words I sing

Can I give you my all, my everything?

Cuz’ you love me anyway

You take me as I am

Just as I am

How can I be holy?

Hold out your hand again

I still don’t understand

what it means to be holy

Born to the flesh, to life and death

Risen high and glorified,

eternal hunger satisfied

One with each other,

we walk together, you and I

Dark hallway and door

Sliding locks

This empty hall, the cracking floor

your breaking heart – the lock, the door

You let yourself get in too deep

you never asked to be set free

Lost in your fears,

your dreams, your plans

behind a veil, she took your hand

both tried your best to play the parts

but fear betrays conflicted hearts

Life isn’t easy, clean or nice

Love is pain and it’s sacrifice

Love is a war – nothing is fair

you run, you fall – you’re in repair

Pray Hope will call on Joy, her friend

Beauty and light radiate again

the heart will heal,

love will endure

Just slide the lock…. open the door

soul chasing

daylight abandons without warning

darkness all around, keep running

you’re gonna be okay

we’re gonna be okay

it’s not easy moving forward

without a glimpse of what’s ahead

moonlight piercing through the darkness

reviving souls – the quick, the dead

we’re gonna be okay

not alone tonight

yea we’re gonna be okay

we’re gonna be okay

eyes adjusting to the night

chasing souls in the moonlight

reveal the ground beneath you

another step towards the truth

you’re gonna to be okay

not alone tonight

yea you’re gonna be okay

you’re gonna be okay

love remains

earth sinking under my feet

mountains ebb below the sea

I’m blind, I’m lost now – won’t you speak?

joy takes flight with sister peace

 my strength is gone, I’m all alone

I yearn for you – please call me home

pull me in and hold my heart

your love remains when my world is falling apart

calm this storm, the pain, my soul

I’ve been too weak to let it go

from my knees I cry for you

my still, my dark, my solitude

my hope I ache for you alone

I hear my name, I’m running home

hold me close, you have my heart

your love remains when my world is falling apart

Joy & Pain

You say you want to be heard

For your soul to shine

You say you want to be known

And find meaning in your life

Always searching for a sign

It’s not what you can get or earn, or gain

Look inside and you’ll find

Love is two parts joy and two parts pain

Learn to live and give yourself

Open your heart, your eyes and mind

Time can heal, or that clock just may drive you insane

Those hands, they don’t stop moving

Then love runs to meet you in the pain

And those arms, they don’t stop holding

They won’t stop holding you

Love is the reason you’re alive