Out of the Deep

When I read Psalm 130, I immediately think of the song “Out of the Deep” from John Rutter’s Requiem.  Listen to it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO3qljQX09I

This song is utterly gorgeous.  My church choir has sung it multiple times, and I had the opportunity to choreograph and perform a dance to it as well.  When I performed the dance at church, I’m completely aware that my dancing skills were a little rusty.  But what I tried to emote as I was dancing was the sense of the shift in feeling from the first to the second stanza.  In the first, the writer is in pain, suffering, doesn’t know how he is going to make it through the pain she is facing.  But then, in the second stanza, he remembers that he is waiting for God.  And he realizes that God will always, always answer with forgiveness and love.  I remember when I was dancing that in this second half, I felt so much joy.  I couldn’t help but beam from ear to ear as I thought of God always being a refuge of mercy and love.  After the service, people came up to me and said that the expression on my face had inspired them.  I had just been thinking about feeling my own joy, but I was so happy that I could express that feeling to others too.  This Psalm writer shares with us all the pain and beauty of life, and ends with such confidence and trust in God’s love.

What is even more amazing about that second stanza is that the writer is still in the midst of pain when he expresses that utter trust in God.  Loving and trusting God is so easy when everything is going our way, when God’s blessings are showering down upon us. But how much more amazing is it to be right in the middle of tough times and still be able to feel the joy of God’s love?  That takes patience and trust that I don’t always have.  It makes the writer’s faith all the more beautiful.  And perhaps faith is most beautiful and inspiring when it is put to the test.

So as I think about Lent today, I’m going to remember the joy in that second stanza.  The joy that comes from utter trust in God, even when we are at rock bottom.  Every day of my life I have the chance to express that joy to others, just as I did in the dance.  I pray to God that He will help me not only feel the inner peace that comes from trusting Him, but that He will also help me find ways to show others the smile that His peace brings me.

Ash Wednesday: The Chance to Live in the Moment

Hello!  I have just started a blog; please read my About post to learn more about me. Even though my blog is barely set up, I just felt in my heart that I really wanted to be a part of an online Lenten community this year.  I stumbled across Elizabeth Esther and knew her idea was perfect! I’ve already been inspired by reading the comments to do as Annie did and write to 40 women during lent. I love that!
Today I thought I would share some of the reflections I’m having today. I am a mother to a sweet 4.5 month old daughter, and right now we are going through a rough time in terms of sleeping and napping. I find myself feeling impatient, thinking “when will she fall asleep?” Or “when should I lay her down in her crib?” Based on the research I do, I’m terrified that I’m ruining her for life by not getting her to sleep well. I am not living in the moment at all
Yet, when she was a newborn until about 2 months, before I read anything or was worried about what other people would do, I was very patient. I would pray some of the rosary before laying her down to sleep. She had mild reflux, so I would make sure to hold her upright after a feeding and I “timed” myself by praying the rosary. I just enjoyed my precious moments with her and never once worried that I was doing something wrong.
So why am I letting myself change, constantly worrying about what should happen next instead of enjoying what is happening now? I am lucky enough to be taking time off work and I have no other children. More than most people, I have so many chances to pray and reflect on God’s love. When I am breastfeeding or when I am rocking my daughter to sleep, I have the chance to enjoy the stillness. And I will not have these chances forever! I need to take the opportunities I have for prayer instead of trying to rush them. Yes, there are a million things to do. There are so many ideas I want to write about, but they can wait.
This Lenten season, I want to go back to how I was during the first 2 months. When I’m feeding her, I will just enjoy gazing at my baby instead of surfing the web on my phone. When I’m trying to get her to fall asleep, I will appreciate the chance I have to hold my daughter in my arms. And then I will pray, either the rosary or other prayers, before I lay her down.
I also plan in doing meditations I have in a book called Let Nothing Disturb You: A Journey to the Center of the Soul with Teresa of Avila. I really lived these meditations when I was trying to get pregnant and I think I will enjoy them now. There are only 30, so maybe the last ten days I’ll go back to my favorites.
Today, the main idea from the devotional book is: “A whole lifetime is short.  I cannot depend on anything that passes away.” This has a lot of meaning for me right now because I just handed in my resignation letter for my job so that I can stay home with my daughter. This is the best decision for my family, but I’m very scared about money and the future. Today’s message reminds me that money and job security don’t matter. They are worldly things that pass away. What matters is love. Love is eternal. A mother’s love certainly lasts forever. And God’s love is the meaning of everything. So I need to focus on the ways god has called me to love. He is guiding me and everything will be ok.