It's the end of January when I read the words of a friend and they wash right over this wounded and weary soul like a balm. She pens Hope into a three-part harmony, points us straight to the God Who's always the same, the God Who's always with us, the God Who's always I AM.
And who doesn't need to hear that sung out strong and sure when the years have brought so much change and loss and the rearrangement of a whole life?
Maybe it's the closing lines of that first piece that lodge the deepest, leave me standing still and silent while all the world rushes past.
Because I'm the woman who battles chronic illness day in and day out, the woman whose weakness is the only thing that never changes at all. And aren't I always weighed down by this one fear--that everyone who sees my weakness will name me Worthless?...only weakness draws all eyes
to Your radiant strength...
Or maybe the real truth is this--that I've seen my own weakness and I've already named myself Worthless?
I've wrestled for long years with an illness that ravages and a weakness that finds me grasping about for something, anything at all to give back to the world, some way to leave His mark on a life. And I've come far and I've grown much, but there are still these days when I can't understand how this life of mine can be worth anything at all.
So when I see those words etched in black and white, I'm brought to my knees and I feel it deep that I've got to stop believing the lies. I've got to stop calling out the names I can't take back--even on those days when it really does feel as if there's nothing left to give.
Because maybe this is the real truth worth knowing--that everything we aren't, it points all eyes to the God Who Is. Maybe weakness doesn't leave us empty and worthless at all. Maybe it just leaves us open, these glass vases full of scars and broken places. And when He pours His Love and Light right into us, He flows on through and waters the world with Himself.
But this truth, it isn't easy to live when the days press in hard, and I know I've got to choose it with my whole being, hammer it in with every bit of strength I've got left.
So I ask it quiet, unsure--maybe I can take these words of a friend and build them into something I can't forget? She answers with a resounding Yes and I might be a little excited to begin but I wonder, too, what I've really gotten myself into.
Because this is the story of the God Who was and is and always will be. This is the story of the wounding and the healing, the heartache and the hope. And I struggle for months to find a way to tell this story that's bigger than all of us.
But it comes out of nowhere on a Saturday morning and maybe I don't know how the idea's born but I do know Who. And what's scribbled down on a half-sheet of paper in the beginning of April, it becomes something wholly other by the end of May. It becomes 24 square feet of canvas covered in paint and tears and pieces of a life.
It becomes this one woman's choice to believe what seems impossible Truth--that I am His and I am Loved and there's no weakness that can ever take away the worth of who He's made me to be.
Later this week (hopefully), I'll be posting more pictures of this enormous project and writing the story of the long labor from which it was born. Many, many thanks to my dear friend Christina who inspired me with her writing and graciously allowed me to incorporate her poetry into my creation.