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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Deep Exhale


Lent comes,

Comes in the midst of the mess I'm partway out of

But still struggling with.

Less than I used to, I hope?

Lent comes

And I bow low

And struggle to keep these vows I made,

Things I've promised myself I'd do for months,

Things I decided to do the day after the season started,

Things I knew I couldn't do,

But to know that I have promised

Helps me to try.

Lent comes

And I come face-to-face

With this mess I am

That's become so clear to me in these past weeks,

The sin I'm still tempted to,

The stains deeper than I can see,

The ashes to ashes and dust to dust,

And I try to fast

And I crave

And I'm tempted,

And I tell myself that I have vowed

And I have promised

And do I -

Do I love you so little?

I know it's so little compared to what You deserve,

Know the wanderings and faithlessness of my heart,

And I am so sick

To just force myself to confront who I am again,

To know that I don't love You enough,

That I do this because I want to love You more -

More than all these things I've been clinging to,

More than thoughts,

More than food,

More than self.

And to look at who I am

And know that You would choose me,

That You would die for me,

That Your blood and Your Righteousness is enough -

Enough to cover all my stains,

Stains running deeper than I know -

And Your Love and Your Grace is enough -

Enough to fall on for the hundred thousandth time,

Because I am not enough,

Because I will never be enough,

Because I can't fix my own messes,

Can't change my own heart,

Can't love You.

But You can make me love you.

You can melt the heart of stone,

You can cleanse and renew and restore,

You

Bring

Change -

And it's that change I'm hoping for,

That hope I'm clinging to,

That You are working and sanctifying in ways I can't see,

Opening my eyes to who I am and who You are,

And life with You is this continual going deeper -

Even when I think I've surfaced.

Lent comes,

And I bow low,

And You put this desire in my heart

To be low

And live low,

For it's only when we go lower

That we find our desperate need for You

And cling to You all the more,

Hunger for You all the more.

Lent comes,

And I bend over keys,

Press them down,

And exhale deep,

Singing out the truth of the words,

Satisfied but never done,

Never done with You -

And I hunger all the more.

Lent comes,

And I remember what this season is,

What it's meant for,

What it's been to me,

And I look to the end -

The heart of the Gospel, he said -

That the graves are opened,

That the dead come to life,

That every debt is paid,

And I am not enough,

But He is enough,

And I can exhale long and deep,

Knowing that,

As much as I want to obey Him perfectly,

I can't,

And I don't have to.

He's done it all.

He's paid it all.

Grace.

It's all Grace.


So Saturday didn't quite happen,

But the excitement's still here!

(For me, at least.)

After a couple of weeks of forgetfulness

And not trying hard enough,

I remembered

And put this first.

Tuesday night,

The day before Ash Wednesday,

Just about one year after all this began,

I reached 3,000!

In the middle of a beautiful passage, too!

Let me share this with you:

Psalm 65

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 65

For the director of music. A psalm of David. A song.

Praise awaits you, our God, in Zion;
    to you our vows will be fulfilled.
You who answer prayer,
    to you all people will come.
When we were overwhelmed by sins,
    you forgave our transgressions.
Blessed are those you choose
    and bring near to live in your courts!
We are filled with the good things of your house,
    of your holy temple.
You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.

So good to know that this is our God!!!!!

So,

Still seeking to know Him,

Still hungering for Him,

Reasons 2956-3130 today,

Bowing low in awe of an Awesome God!

Counting:

  1. His love is better than life (Psalm 63:3)
  2. In His Name His people lift up their hands (Psalm 63:4)
  3. His people are fully satisfied in Him (Psalm 63:4)
  4. His people are fully satisfied in Him, as with the richest of foods (Psalm 63:4)
  5. The mouths of His people praise Him (Psalm 63:5)
  6. The mouths of His people praise Him with singing lips (Psalm 63:5)
  7. His people think of Him (Psalm 63:6)
  8. His people think of Him through the watches of the night (Psalm 63:6)
  9. His people sing in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 63:7)
  10. His people sing in the shadow of His wings because He is their help (Psalm 63:7)
  11. His people cling to Him (Psalm 63:8)
  12. His right hand upholds His people (Psalm 63:8)
  13. All who swear by Him will glory in Him (Psalm 63:11)
  14. He shoots the wicked down with arrows (Psalm 64:2-7)
  15. He shoots the wicked down with arrows, they will suddenly be struck down (Psalm 64:2-7)
  16. He turns the wicked's own tongues against them (Psalm 64:2-8)
  17. He turns the wicked's own tongues against them and brings them to ruin (Psalm 64:2-8)
  18. He turns the wicked's own tongues against them and brings them to ruin, all who see them will shake their heads in scorn (Psalm 64:2-8)
  19. All people will fear Him (Pslam 64:9)
  20. All people will proclaim His works (Psalm 64:9)
  21. All people will proclaim His works and ponder what he has done (Psalm 64:9)
  22. The righteous will rejoice in Him (Psalm 64:10)
  23. The righteous will take refuge in Him (Psalm 64:10)
  24. The upright in heart will glory in Him (Psalm 64:10)
  25. Praise awaits Him in Zion (Psalm 65:1)
  26. All people come to Him (Psalm 65:2)
  27. He forgives transgressions (Psalm 65:3)
  28. When people are overwhelmed by sins, He forgives their transgressions (Psalm 65:3)
  29. Those whom He chooses are blessed (Psalm 65:4)
  30. Those whom He chooses and brings near to live in His courts are blessed (Psalm 65:4)
  31. He fills His people with the good things of His house (Psalm 65:4)
  32. He fills His people with the good things of His house, His holy temple (Psalm 65:4)
  33. He answers His people with awesome deeds (Psalm 65:5)
  34. He answers His people with righteous deeds (Psalm 65:5)
  35. He is His people's Savior (Psalm 65:5)
  36. He is the hope of all the ends of the earth (Psalm 65:5)
  37. He is the hope of the farthest seas (Psalm 65:5)
  38. He formed the mountains by His power (Psalm 65:6)
  39. He formed the mountains by His power, having armed Himself with strength (Psalm 65:6)
  40. He stilled the roaring of the seas (Psalm 65:7)
  41. He stilled the roaring of the seas' waves (Psalm 65:7)
  42. He stilled the turmoil of the nations (Psalm 65:7)
  43. The whole earth is filled with awe at His wonders (Psalm 65:8)
  44. Where morning dawns, He calls forth songs of joy (Psalm 65:8)
  45. Where evening fades, He calls forth songs of joy (Psalm 65:8)
  46. He cares for the land (Psalm 65:9)
  47. He cares for the land and waters it (Psalm 65:9)
  48. He enriches the land abundantly (Psalm 65:9)
  49. His streams are filled with water (Psalm 65:9)
  50. His streams are filled with water to provide the people with grain (Psalm 65:9)
  51. His streams are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so He has ordained it (Psalm 65:9)
  52. He drenches the land's furrows (Psalm 65:9-10)
  53. He levels the land's ridges (Psalm 65:9-10)
  54. He softens the land with showers (Psalm 65:9-10)
  55. He blesses the land's crops (Psalm 65:9-10)
  56. He crowns the year with His bounty (Psalm 65:11)
  57. His carts overflow with abundance (Psalm 65:11)
  58. His deeds are awesome (Psalm 66:3)
  59. His power is so great (Psalm 66:3)
  60. His power is so great that His enemies cringe before Him (Psalm 66:3)
  61. All the earth bows down to Him (Psalm 66:4)
  62. All the earth sings praise to Him (Psalm 66:4)
  63. All the earth sings the praises of His Name (Psalm 66:4)
  64. He turned the sea into dry land (Psalm 66:6)
  65. His people passed through the waters on foot (Psalm 66:6)
  66. He rules forever by His power (Psalm 66:6)
  67. His eyes watch the nations (Psalm 66:6)
  68. He has preserved His people's lives (Psalm 66:9)
  69. He has kept His people's feet from slipping (Psalm 66:9)
  70. He has tested His people (Psalm 66:10)
  71. He has refined His people like silver (Psalm 66:10)
  72. He brought His people into prison (Psalm 66:11)
  73. He laid burdens on His people's backs (Psalm 66:11)
  74. He let people ride over His people's heads (Psalm 66:12)
  75. He brought His people to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:12)
  76. His people went through fire and water, but He brought His people to a place of abundance (Psalm 66:12)
  77. He does not listen to those who cherish sin in their hearts (Psalm 66:18)
  78. He has surely listened those those who do not cherish sin in their hearts (Psalm 66:18-19)
  79. He has surely listened those those who do not cherish sin in their hearts and heard their prayers (Psalm 66:18-19)
  80. He has not rejected His people's prayers (Psalm 66:20)
  81. He has not withheld His love from His people (Psalm 66:20)
  82. He rules the peoples with equity (Psalm 67:4)
  83. He guides the nations of the earth (Psalm 67:4)
  84. He blesses His people (Psalm 67:6)
  85. He rides on the clouds (Psalm 68:4)
  86. His name is the LORD (Psalm 68:4)
  87. He is a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5)
  88. He is a defender of widows (Psalm 68:5)
  89. He is a father to the fatherless in His holy dwelling (Psalm 68:5)
  90. He is a defender of widows in His holy dwelling (Psalm 68:5)
  91. He sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6)
  92. He leads out the prisoners with singing (Psalm 68:6)
  93. He goes out before His people (Psalm 68:7)
  94. He marches through the wilderness (Psalm 68:7)
  95. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes (Psalm 68:7-8)
  96. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes (Psalm 68:7-8)
  97. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain (Psalm 68:7-8)
  98. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain (Psalm 68:7-8)
  99. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  100. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  101. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  102. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain before Him (Psalm 68:7-8)
  103. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  104. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  105. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  106. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the One of Sainai (Psalm 68:7-8)
  107. When He goes out before His people, the earth shakes before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  108. When He marches through the wilderness, the earth shakes before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  109. When He goes out before His people, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  110. When He marches through the wilderness, the heavens pour down rain before Him, the God of Israel (Psalm 68:7-8)
  111. He gives abundant showers (Psalm 68:9)
  112. He refreshes His weary inheritance (Psalm 68:9)
  113. His people settle in the weary inheritance that He refreshed (Psalm 68:9-10)
  114. He has bounty (Psalm 68:10)
  115. From His bounty, He provides for the poor (Psalm 68:10)
  116. He announces the word (Psalm 68:11)
  117. He announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng (Psalm 68:11)
  118. Kings and armies flee in haste from Him (Psalm 68:12)
  119. Kings and armies flee in haste from Him, the women at home divide the plunder (Psalm 68:12)
  120. The wings of His people's doves are sheathed with silver (Psalm 68:14)
  121. The feathers of His people's doves are sheathed with shining gold (Psalm 68:14)
  122. He scatters the kings in the land (Psalm 68:14)
  123. When He scatters the kings in the land, it is like snow fallen on Mount Zalmon (Psalm 68:14)
  124. The mountains gaze in envy at the mountain where He chooses to reign (Psalm 68:15-16)
  125. The mountains gaze in envy at the mountain where He Himself will dwell forever (Psalm 68:15-16)
  126. His chariots are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands (Psalm 68:17)
  127. He has come from Sinai into His sanctuary (Psalm 68:17)
  128. He ascended on high (Psalm 68:18)
  129. When He ascended on high, He took many captives (Psalm 68:18)
  130. When He ascended on high, He received gifts from people (Psalm 68:18)
  131. When He ascended on high, He received gifts from people – even from the rebellious (Psalm 68:18)
  132. When He ascended on high, He received gifts from people – even from the rebellious – that He might dwell there (Psalm 68:18)
  133. He daily bears His people's burdens (Psalm 68:19)
  134. He is a God who saves (Psalm 68:20)
  135. From Him comes escape from death (Psalm 68:20)
  136. He will surely crush the heads of His enemies (Psalm 68:21)
  137. He will surely crush the hairy crowns of those who go on in their sins (Psalm 68:21)
  138. He will bring His people's foes from Bashan (Psalm 68:22-23)
  139. He will bring His people's foes from from the depths of the sea (Psalm 68:22-23)
  140. He will bring His people's foes from Bashan, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes (Psalm 68:22-23)
  141. He will bring His people's foes from from the depths of the sea, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes (Psalm 68:22-23)
    He will bring His people's foes from Bashan, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes while the tongues of their dogs have their share(Psalm 68:22-23)
  142. He will bring His people's foes from from the depths of the sea, that His people might wade in the blood of their foes while the tongues of their dogs have their share (Psalm 68:22-23)
  143. His procession comes into view (Psalm 68:24)
  144. His procession comes into view, His procession into the sanctuary (Psalm 68:24)
  145. He has shown His strength (Psalm 68:28)
  146. Cush will submit herself to Him (Psalm 68:31)
  147. He rides across the highest heavens (Psalm 68:33)
  148. He rides across the ancient heavens (Psalm 68:33)
  149. He thunders with mighty voice (Psalm 68:33)
  150. His majesty is over Israel (Psalm 68:34)
  151. His power is in the heavens (Psalm 68:34)
  152. He is awesome in His sanctuary (Psalm 68:35)
  153. He gives power and strength to His people (Psalm 68:35)
  154. He knows His people's folly (Psalm 69:5)
  155. His people's guilt is not hidden from Him (Psalm 69:5)
  156. His people endure scorn for His sake (Psalm 69:7)
  157. For His sake, shame covers His people's face (Psalm 69:7)
  158. His people are foreigners to their own families, for zeal for His house consumes them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  159. His people are strangers to their own mothers' children, for zeal for His house consumes them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  160. His people are foreigners to their own families, for the insults of those who insult Him fall on them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  161. His people are strangers to their own mothers' children, for the insults of those who insult Him fall on them them (Psalm 69:8-9)
  162. His people will praise His Name in song (Psalm 69:30)
  163. His people will glorify Him with thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30)
  164. He is more pleased with His people praising His Name in song than with an ox (Psalm 69:30-31)
  165. He is more pleased with His glorifying Him with thanksgiving than with an ox (Psalm 69:30-31)
  166. He is more pleased with His people praising His Name in song than with a bull with its horns and hooves (Psalm 69:30-31)
  167. He is more pleased with His glorifying Him with thanksgiving than with a bull with its horns and hooves (Psalm 69:30-31)
  168. He hears the needy (Psalm 69:33)
  169. He does not despise His captive people (Psalm 69:33)
  170. He will save Zion (Psalm 69:35)
  171. He will rebuild the cities of Judah (Psalm 69:35)
  172. His people will settle in the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35)
  173. His people will posses the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35)
  174. His children of His servants will inherit the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35-36)
  175. Those who love His Name will dwell in the places He has rebuilt (Psalm 69:35-36)
Did you see that first one?

His love is better than life!

Yes!!!

Such joy in this!

 
(Sylvia's already made it to - past - 10,000!  So amazing to think of who He is like this!)

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Counting in community:


 

4 comments:

kelli woodford said...

i love the refrain of this post, "lent comes."

so haunting, such a simple suggestion of holy creeping in.

and how He led your thoughts to stand firm on the peace that is your through the cross. oh, yes. Holy creeps in, indeed.

Christina said...

Bending low with you, because all is grace. Blessings!

Mary said...

Oh, thank you, Kelli! It's been the refrain of my life this past week, this holy creeping in - so beautiful how He does that!

Yes, always standing firm on that peace - the struggle's in knowing it's sin and that I shouldn't be doing it, desiring to want God more while holding tight to these idolatrous things. But He gives Grace. Always Grace. Such Grace!!!

Thank you, friend, and God bless!

Mary said...

Oh, yes, Christina! It really is all grace! Blessings to you, too, friend!

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