Thursday, July 26, 2012

Seasons

A couple of weekends ago I had the most incredible experience and I am just now beginning to process all of the implications of my holy encounter.  I need to do some background painting before I tell my story... so you'll have to buckle up and travel with me through my chaotic internal monologue.  

I have a few songs that have been anthems for my life and it now occurs to me as I write that I know what another blog post will be... but I digress.  My soul language is poetry, set to silence and set to music.  It is how I interpret my world, express myself, integrate my understanding of truth.  It is the conduit through which I celebrate, grieve, suffer, rejoice, and worship.  It is where my passion gets sparked, my pain gets worked through, and my vision gets focused.  I have a cluster of voices that have greatly influenced my life direction and has greatly enriched my joyful times as well as my desert times.  

One of the voices that has travelled with me across at least a decade is Nichole Nordeman.  I first found her music through a youth ministry magazine that was helping youth workers to point teens to good music with a more hopeful message than some popular artists at the time.  This article likened her music to that of Fiona Apple.  Fiona is a gifted musician and her poetry is powerful...yet quite dark and when I listened to her music for long it evoked rage in me and so I could only listen to her music in small spurts.  (Now I feel I must insert my perspective of secular vs. "christian" music here... I believe truth is truth is truth.  I am not afraid or even skeptical of dark lyrics or exploring the darkness of our world through art, musical or any other form.  I do not use a marker of christian label or secular label to decide what is worthy art for me to experience.  Art that evokes hope and deeper connection is what I am drawn to regardless of labels.)  

So anyway, back to my point... so I was curious to find out about Nichole's music and when I listened to her first album I was amazed and deeply moved by her lyrics.  I believe her to be truly gifted and everything she has written through the years has deeply resonated with me.  We have travelled through our 20's and 30's on parallel paths, which is precisely what made this past weekend so rich a soil for my growth to be propelled.  

The seasons weekend was designed around these lyrics of hers... and more deeply around the truth weaved throughout the bible about the idea of the seasons of our lives... which is what I believe sparked Nichole to write these lyrics in the first place.



Every evening sky, an invitation
To trace the patterned stars
And early in July, a celebration
For freedom that is ours
And I notice You
In children’s games
In those who watch them from the shade
Every drop of sun is full of fun and wonder
You are summer
And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn
And everything in time and under heaven
Finally falls asleep
Wrapped in blankets white, all creation
Shivers underneath
And still I notice you
When branches crack
And in my breath on frosted glass
Even now in death, You open doors for life to enter
You are winter
And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green
So it is with You
And how You make me new
With every season’s change
And so it will be
As You are re-creating me
Summer, autumn, winter, spring

Nicole JohnsonDr. Curt Thompson, Nichole Nordeman, and Katherine and Jay Wolf wove a weekend of grace, intimacy, a deep soul work for us participants.  I am in a season of grieving dreams right now, and so it was so helpful to find myself sitting amongst these teachers who were genuinely sharing their stories.  Near the end of the weekend I got a chance to share a few moments with Nichole Nordeman, in fact Nicole Johnson sought me out to introduce me to the musician.  Nicole was the organizer of the weekend and never have I had someone be so kind to seek me out of the crowd like that.  Neither Nicole or Nichole had any idea how much healing their gestures would bring for me.  I fully intend to sit down and write each of them a note though... that is for sure.  

My friend from MOPS helped make a dream come true for me.  That gift was a kiss on the cheek from God reminding me that the common thread of my life was sewn throughout the weekend.  Yes I am still known, even in my mistakes and failures.  Yes I am still loved...no matter what.  And yes we are a body of believers and by intention we can hold each other up day by day.  We are all given a second, third, forth..one hundredth chance we just need to open ourselve up to that kind of healing.

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