The Tenth Day of Christmas

The Tenth Day of Christmas

This morning, the song & hymn line-up at church* was chock full of songs I love. Because several of them aren’t commonly known, I thought I’d share three with you guys today.

The basic theme of all of the song we sang this morning is one I love and struggle with and am learning all over again: we are each of us too big a train wreck for us to fix, but God is in the business of turning train wrecks into trophies of grace. These are wonderful songs for people who have come to the end of themselves.

And of course, I’ve included commentary, because, hey, this is me we’re talking about.

Come to Jesus by Mindy Smith – I’ve been putting this on mixes for more than 10 years, because sometimes your soul needs a desperate lullaby to remind you to rest like a baby in the arms of Jesus.

Can’t Help Myself by Sandra McCracken – This song is from a few years ago – before the Psalms album came out (which, y’all, is so good you should go buy it right now) – but is a really cool precursor to that album, because it follows the pattern of so many Davidic psalms, where David voices his thoughts and feelings about life being hard and then responds to his own self by reminding himself of Who God is and what God says about him. My favorite part (besides the “I can’t help myself” stuff, which I think is really helpful to repeat over and over, especially if you happen to be a perfectionist like myself) is the last verse: “I trust the Lord, my soul and all that is in me; I trust the Light to show my darkest parts. I pray the Spirit will be strong and mighty – a fool would keep his secrets in his heart.” I mean, isn’t that so deadly to our inclination to hide what is sinful and broken in ourselves from God?

For All the Saints, Indelible Grace style – I absolutely love this song. We started singing it in RUF in college, and it’s one of those rich hymns that takes you all the way to glory. I really love the last verse, but there are LOTS of verses, so I don’t blame our Worship Arts dude for ending at verse 5 or 6 or whatever it is (well, I try not to), and he does it so well – with a huge drum buildup at the end of the previous verse that ushers in the breathtakingly beautiful scene the hymn-writer (William How) describes for us of Jesus coming back to earth and the saints rising, victorious in His righteousness, from the dead. It’s fantastic.

The hardest thing to believe – and the most important – when you’re just having a really hard time in the grittiness of life is that Jesus really does make all things new. I kind of want to spend this year living like a person who knows 1. she will be resurrected 2. to live forever 3. in her (glorified) body 4. enjoying and glorifying God forever 5. with the rest of God’s people and all His creation. I’m not into New Year’s Resolutions or choosing a word for the year or anything like that, but I think this is something I’m gonna see if I can focus on this year. It seems like the kind of thing I should know down to my bones, you know?


* So I just want you to marvel with me for a moment that somehow our brand new church plant, which today held it’s 20th ever service, wound up landing the url citychurch.org. I still can’t believe it. To quote the 1995 BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series,”I am all astonishment.”

 

The Eighth Day of Christmas

The Eighth Day of Christmas

I hope you all had at least as much fun ringing in the New Year as we did last night when we completely forgot to pay attention to the time because we were so caught up in our current favorite board game, Pandemic. I’d never played a collaborative game before we got this (twas on sale at Target), and WE LOVE IT.

We didn’t register for Pandemic, but we did register for Carcassonne, and we’re so glad we did. We thought it would be nice to have a game that’s easy to play with just two, and based on reviews, we thought Carcassonne was a good bet, given how much we both like Settlers of Catan. (Playing Settlers with two requires all this extra work and it’s, for all you Scott Westerfield/Uglies fans, “crazy-making.”) Carcassonne has about 40 bajillion expansions, and it wasn’t long before we dropped cash on this beauty because we were so enamored. Date nights at home sometimes look like dinner and strategy games, I’m not gonna lie. The married life is pretty glamorous, y’all.

 

One thing I want to do on this blog is honest reviews of wedding registry items – what we use, how we’re learning to use it, etc. So consider this the first installment. Two-player board games are totally worthy of the registry. 

The Sixth Day of Christmas (because I skipped the fifth)

The Sixth Day of Christmas (because I skipped the fifth)

So here’s the thing about endometriosis/PCOS/pelvic pain – at least the way it manifests in my life –  it totally derails your plans sometimes.

If I could have picked something to be an advocate for, I would have had one hell of a list to choose from. Black Lives Matter. Ending abortion. Adoption. Good theology. Good theology of sex among Christian women (especially single Christian women – purity culture has had its drawbacks). The sufficiency of Scripture. Discipling women. Mission work with Bedouins. Freeing people from slavery. Streetwalking with Jesus. Making dangerous streets safe again.

Instead, I get to talk about disorders and diseases of the female reproductive system.

Now, don’t get me wrong, those other things matter to me a great deal. Hopefully I will be able to help on some of these fronts at least. I can write about them a lot – and I’m sure I will. But with my illnesses, I feel that I bear responsibility for raising awareness and talking about what it’s like to live with chronic pain. I’m trying to figure out how to value Jesus in

This isn’t what expected 31 to look like for me. But here it is. And you know, it’s beautiful, even in its brokenness.

The Third Day of Christmas

The Third Day of Christmas

Today’s post is a PSA. Are you ready for this?

The “X” in Xmas is not an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas. Well, perhaps some people use it with that in mind, but the joke’s on them, because X in this case is the Greek letter chi, which is the first letter in Christ and often was used on its own, or with the rho (which looks like a P in our alphabet, thus XP), to reference Christ. When I was a seminary student, I used X all the time in my notes.

So next time you see “Xmas,” spaz thou not.