Friday, October 30, 2009

more good words

when my world is shaking
heaven stands
when my heart is breaking
i never leave your hands

I had caught a beautiful little song on the radio a few days ago. The artist's name though eluded me; I recognized the voice but couldn't place it and the station never identified her. Finally, though, I caught the song and the name of the artist and realized I knew it because I had downloaded her album months ago! (I don't know what's crazier--I liked a song on Christian radio or that they played something good.)

Through a Rabbit Room promotion, I listened to JJ Heller's CD Painted Red. This was months ago and I played it on my computer while I wrote and worked. But I forgot about it! (I'm so not used to the digital age! If I was cooler and more adept, I would post the song as well as the lyrics.) Heller has a bit of Sandra McCracken quality to her voice and a simple, acoustic sound to the instrumentation. Nothing is overly produced. Her voice and lyrics come through clear and unfiltered.

i have unanswered prayers
i have trouble i wish wasn't there
i have asked a thousand ways
that you would take my pain away
you would take my pain away
i am trying to understand
how walk this weary land
make the straight the paths that crooked lie
oh lord, before these feet of mine
oh lord, before these feet of mine
when you walked upon the earth
you healed the broken, lost, and hurt
i know you hate to see me cry
one day you will set all things right
yeah, one day you will set all things right
Amazing grace and providence, that this week, when I needed this words, I heard them and was reminded yet again, that the hands that shaped the world hold me as well.
So here you go, dear readers: JJ Heller has both the AP & Co Rabbit Room thumbs up and the AmyFlem seal of approval. And I'm going to burn a CD right now so I have it in my minivan--where God speaks to me often in silence and in song.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Often when one moves, physically, like we have done, one hears the well-intentioned question, "Are you settled?" I usually answer in the positive considering I had boxes unpacked within a week or so, pictures on the walls within a month, and even new paint in some rooms before the summer was over. I can find my way to the grocery store, Target and Home Depot, I'm beginning to navigate the mall, and I have my favorite restaurants already. We have a school and a church and friends. By all accounts, we are settled.

But I sort of dislike that term--settled. For me, it conjures up images of sediments and silt sinking in a glass, falling to the bottom, lying where they land. That's passive and defeating.

I prefer the question I was asked a few weeks ago: "How is your family adjusting?"

James begins his practical epistle, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" (1:2). According to my MacArthur Study Bible, the Greek for "trials" here means anything that interrupts your life. Like, say, a move halfway across the country?

Trials, various and diverse, interrupt our lives. They come without notice, they come when we don't want them, they just come. We are uncomfortable at the least. And, sometimes, the trial brings blinding, searing pain.

Adjust: from the Latin ad meaning "to" and juxtare meaning "close"--to put close to.

Adjust is a verb more active than simply settling. I am required to do something to "adjust." I will not be the same person once I have made adjustments. There is continuous tweaking, polishing, renovating of my heart. The trials I face illuminate the places in me that need the most change.

The result? Perseverance, a complete faith, maturity (James 1:3-4). My discomfort makes me dependent on Him. Adjustments put me closer to the One I look to. Adjustments in my posture, my position, my perspective shape me more and more like my Savior. In the potter's hand, the clay is molded and shaped into something both beautiful and useful. That can't be done without making more than a few adjustments.