Come Away With Me . . .

      "Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening?" Isaiah 40:28a (Emphasis added.)

      Sometimes I feel so incredibly alone. How can someone like me, Miss Personality who's always running for Homecoming Queen, ever get lonely. Oh, but I can. Oh, but I do.
      So often I find myself isolated from the crowds, something I've never done before. I'm the life-of-the-party gal who makes "biffls" out of everyone she meets. The enemy will use past hurts to make me skittish, to make me question trust and a person's worthiness of it. He also makes me doubt myself. I don't feel pretty enough. I don't feel thin enough. I'm not stylish enough. By the time I'm finished not being enough, my poor self-esteem plummets to the earth faster than a fat kid running the required timed mile in P.E.
      It's been especially difficult here in a new place. I don't seem to fit. There's a certain fashion sense in Nashville. I got the memo, but I can't read the writing. I'm about 10 to 12 years older than my fellow students. Sometimes I'll eat my lunch in my car because I feel like an old worn out shoe that should probably just stay hidden under the bed and only come out for bug-squashing purposes.
      Oh, how wrong I am about my Father's greatest work, the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8). How utterly wrong we all are when we cave to these thoughts about ourselves that the enemy pierces into our hearts. He's wrong. We are created in the image of the Most High (Genesis 1:27) and He is beautiful (Psalm 27:4 and 90:17). We are precious to Him (Isaiah 43:4). We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
       I love Nashville. I think it's partly because it's new, but also because I know without any shadows of doubt that I'm right where Father wants me. Oh, to be so sweetly settled in His will . . . but still, I do shake from time to time.
       Music City isn't called such for the heck of it. This place is saturated with the world's universally impeccable language with which each individual soul identifies. It's overrun with music. It's perfectly bursting at the seams with strikingly dissonant chords and chaotic instrumentation, constantly pounding in my heart and my ears. My pulse thumps to the rhythms of this place. Even the winds blowing through the slowly changing leaves carry a symphony worthy of recognition. I feel God continually strumming the harmonies of life in this place. I was born to be here, even if only to listen.
      As you can imagine, it's hard to sit and wait in the midst of our own personal music playground, seemingly tailor-made for us. But we can wait. And we will wait. We're even slow to tell people we're musicians. We're not here for music. We're here for Jesus. Even typing that . . . there is such perfect peace. Yes, the music is His tool through us that He will use in His time. However, the current season is our healing season in which God is preparing our hearts for His ministry within them. While we've been at work for him for a long time, He's moving us to the next step. The music is there. It's ready. It's been ready. But our spirits . . . our hearts . . . our minds . . .  He is working miracles in them, stitching together broken pieces, and refining us both in His burning fire. As impurities are melted away, we will come out of the Refiner's fire shining brighter than any sun-reflected piece of glass . . . So bright you'll see His reflection rather than either one of ours. You won't even know it's us. We're more ready than we've ever been to sing our Father's praise, but now is the time to wait for Him to anoint our tongues with His searing coals and place His new song in our voices and fingers. We are growing in Him. We are finding His heart, the heart He has for His bride. We're discovering depths of love we never imagined, let alone fathomed, for our feeble and flawed human hearts could never hold the amount of love our Father has for us.
       In the midst of the loneliness I have been reminded that my God never leaves me or forsakes me time and time again (Deut. 31:6). He sends me little reminders every single day as I make new friends and open my heart to them. They're my brothers and sisters; and I'm not to fit in with them, but to fit together with them. There are many pieces to a jigsaw puzzle to make one big, beautiful picture. None of them are ever the same. They're shaped different. They hold a different, smaller part of the larger picture, and they all belong in varying places. So as with the Body of Christ. We are one big body with many different little parts (1 Cor. 12:12).
      Tonight I was listening to this amazing song Father sent me over the weekend. My anthem since I was in high school has been It Is Well. It's sheer musical perfection. Every word, every note. However, as I said, God sent me a new rendition of it by Bethel Worship out of California. I've had it on repeat as the Holy Spirit continues to speak to me while I write.
       Last Tuesday night at church our worship leader Henry responded the Spirit's move over the Body that night and said, "Whatever position you need to get into in order to deal with God, I feel like we should do that. Kneel, bow, get on your face, whatever so you can deal with God." Little did Henry know, but I had been standing there thinking to myself, God, I want to kneel before You. I am so ready to give this burden to You. Before I knew it, I was on the concrete floor of Rocketown, my hands grasping the Master's feet and freely handing Him my pain and the burdens that were weighting me down so low that I was dragging the ground, leaving a slug trail in the dry earth behind me.
       Matthew 11:28-31 was on my spiritual formations midterm the following Thursday. I had been studying it tirelessly. And now, a week later, I finally see that Jesus was waiting for me to listen  
to His voice in it. (I'm using The Message version because I love the translation of this verse):

       Brandi, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover you life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep  company with me and you'll learn to live freely." 

      Now, read it again and use your own name. Listen to Him speak to you. Don't just hear Him. Listen. Soak into your ears and heart the Father's calm and loving voice. His thunderous yet quiet timber that vibrates your core and brings life to the blood pumping through your veins. Feel His sweet Spirit rushing through yours as He longs for you to truly belong to Him.

      As I continued to listen to Bethel's It Is Well the joy of the Lord took over and I thought to myself, "Don't you know? Haven't you been listening?" He's here, Brandi. That's why it's well with your soul. One of the greatest verses for the broken is Isaiah 40:31: "they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles . . ." (NIV) But have you ever read the verses before the part where the weak soar like the strongest bird of the air?

27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
    or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
    He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
    He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
    And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
    gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
    young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
    They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
    they walk and don’t lag behind.
      I am confident that in this season that God isn't just sitting back and watching me struggle to understand. He gives me His peace. I close my eyes and press into His heart and trust in it. I have felt pain and wondered how I would ever move again. He was with me the whole time, holding the precious fragile pieces of my heart. I was reminded that His strength endures, not for one season, but for all of them. FOREVER. He KNOWS me. I was reminded that He stays. He is for eternity. He LASTS. When I dropped out He fed me from His cup of life and lifted up my head. I fly above the clouds with the Father of all creation where nothing can harm me, as I am safe in even the shadow of His wings. I can rest in Him, for it is well with my soul.  

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all 
It is well

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can't see
And this mountain that's in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him 
The waves and wind still know His name 

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul 



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