It’s the little things in life that make the
The constant trickling of the Colorado River dug
into rock and, little by little, formed the great expanse of the Grand Canyon.
A child sets her small fingers on the piano for the
first time. They are too weak to pull the piano’s true strong voice out of its
wooden frame. But, little by little, day after day, the accumulation of years
of practice, and a performer is born.
It’s the one white lie. We convince ourselves that
it was necessary; no big deal. Each day passes, and each lie falls easier from
our lips. And before we know it, we have a cavern full of rotting secrets
devouring us from the inside out.
Last week, I found myself sitting in a place I’ve
sat hundreds of times. The church’s lights were dimmed. I sang the worship
songs. I prayed. I lifted my hands to God. I listened to the sermon. I sat down
to listen to the closing song, and then I realized something.
A part of my heart was missing. A part of me had
There was no life-changing event that caused a part
of me to disappear; no great wall of grief that had laid its claim. But, little
by little- with each passing challenge and disappointment – a piece of me had
I can remember the dream that was placed so
strongly in me. As a child, I would dance while singing at the top of my lungs
in the shower, in the car, in my bedroom, in my living room. I would stand in
front of my parents’ television screen under the constant tutelage of the
greatest singers in The Sound of Music, Annie, and My
Fair Lady. My family believed in me and invested their limited funds in my
lessons. My music teachers believed in me and sent me off to university with
confidence. And, somewhere in the midst of attempting to force my voice into the corset of an opera or not having enough confidence to bounce
back after a harsh review, audition, or recital – I let the dream die.
After graduation from university, I was silent. My
car's radio was silent. My shower was filled only with the sound of water bouncing off of
ceramic. My piano gathered dust; untouched. I told myself that I was just
tired; that I needed a break after years of being locked away in practice rooms.
But, little by little, a decade passed by.
That was the first time I let a part of my heart
slip away. Then it just got easier.
I started to dream of a life outside of formal
ministry or missions. Little by little, I convinced myself that I had other
gifts that were not being used. I was trapped. I was made for something more. I
could certainly love God and serve Him without being this extreme. Why was I
being consumed by my husband’s calling to minister overseas?
Sadness settled in, and little by little, so unnoticed, I gave a piece of myself away.
After publishing my book, I Am There: Armenia, I was determined
to continue writing. I would find a literary agent for my newly completed children’s book.
I would blog. I would grow as a writer. Two years passed and my blog following
dwindled as I convinced myself that I was too tired, too sad, too busy to write. The
little spare time I did have was consumed by trying to find some sort of
relaxation in the corridors of the internet, facebook or instagram. And another
part of my dream vanished.
I am an excellent specimen of a Christian. I am
mostly patient; try to be kind and generous. I know how to act and serve. I listen to peoples’ stories and I pray
for them while on long walks early in the morning or late at night. That had
always been enough. It worked in America. It worked for nearly a decade in
But, there I sat – three rows back in a church
sanctuary full of Estonian people. And I realized that my first love had been
stolen from me. It was God that met me as a fourteen year old girl – swinging
on my front porch swing at midnight – praying that He would somehow save
me from the grip of anorexia. A dream was born amidst the back and forth motion
of that swing – I began to truly believe in God. I sang and my spirit felt as if God
picked up my exhausted heart and nestled me in His gigantic, fatherly lap.
It was the dream of serving God that helped me to
look confidently into the eyes of my high school counselors and teachers as
they smirked at me when I said I wanted to enter the Christian ministry. They
believed I was made for more. I believed I was made for God.
It was a dream that brought me to Tallinn- sitting in a café,
reaching across the table to grab the hand of a beautiful Estonian friend; standing with her and loving her through the fiercest battle of her life. My hope was not that she would become a religious
rule-follower, but that through our friendship, she would discover the complete
peace that is found nestled in the lap of God.
And as each dream silently disintegrated,
discontentment took its place. I became blind to the light in my life – an
adoring husband, happy children, a beautiful home, faithful friends, and the
opportunity to use everything I am for God.
When I die, I can’t take an elegant home or a flashy BMW with me. My degrees will eventually be stacked in an attic chest and
discarded by some distant relative who doesn’t even recognize my name. My
success or notoriety will not help me battle the deadly clutches of cancer. My
years of struggle to be good enough, hard-working enough, fit enough will disappear as my body and mind fade with age.
What remains? Not even the loving arms of my husband, nor family can accompany
me along the journey as I pass over to the other side of life. At that moment,
it’s me and God. And, when I stand before the Creator of everything, who knew
me in such great detail, who sees the hidden corridors of my soul, I don’t want
Him to see a part of it crumbling and stolen.
I want to climb up in His lap – as I’ve
envisioned dozens of times –
and have Him see me as whole, full
of dreams, and completely His.
**As I was pondering the concept of this blog and walking around Tallinn, I heard this song on my iPhone. It was perfect. I stopped, stood and just listened to the perfection of the words. Click HERE to hear "Broken Vessels" by United Pursuit - Hillsong. I look forward to leading this song over the next few weeks at Focus Church/ Fookus Kogudus.**