“I am miles from where I was
It’s so far from where I want to be
With each step I learn to trust
The maker is still making me …”
– Jason Gray in “Becoming”
In September, I sat with on my counselor’s couch and told her about this idea of transformation being a process of order to disorder to reorder. I stole the concept from singer/songwriter Jason Gray who was inspired by Franciscan friar and author Richard Rohr’s idea and wrote some songs about it. On the heels of a hard year, these songs helped me make sense out of conflict, disappointment, loss, and grief. They helped me see how God was working even when my heart and head hurt.
These songs are part of a three-part project that’s being released in segments. The first set of songs – “Order” – has been out since September and I’ve been listening to it frequently. There is also a five-day devotional that goes along with the songs and spoke truth into my wounded soul. I can’t carry a tune and I haven’t played my clarinet since 1993, but other people’s songs have always marked my seasons and helped me along.
So, of course, I looked to see if Jason Gray was on tour. He didn’t have any dates near me, but not long after he posted on Instagram about wanting to schedule some small shows with him and his guitar. My mind started intertwining lots of ideas I had to make a concert part of a bigger fundraiser for our mission team that’s headed to Guatemala in April and needed to raise thousands of dollars to build two houses, visit about 20 families and help meet some of the physical needs, and distribute 50 wheelchairs. Jason Gray and I exchanged some emails and got a date on the calendar.
The date was last night, and this morning my heart is full.
My natural Enneagram One way is to think about how more seats could have been filled or more money raised, but I know God is asking me to unclench my fists and hold my palms wide open. It’s an ongoing conversation God and I have and one we’ll probably continuing having because Jesus saved me from my sins but he’s still saving me from my anxious ways.
Last night Jason talked about how our weaknesses are what make us safe places for each other. Then he sang about how the wounds are where the light gets in, trusting is a lot like falling, and sometimes the truth is hard to tell ourselves. He sang about how we’re all still becoming and being made new. He sang about how it’s good to be alive, even if we have to be reminded who we are.
Before the concert, we had a chili cook-off with 11 pots of chili from my friends, a silent auction of donations from other friends, and a bake sale my daughter and her best friend headed up. There were lots of ways to support our mission projects and these families in Guatemala we’ll get to serve, but, more importantly, there were many ways to be connected to one another. That’s where God does beautiful work.
Maybe it’s on a counselor’s couch, through the songs of a stranger who seems to understand, or while planning an event so a team of people can serve together, but we are at our best when we make room for each other – even when the brokenness is obvious and the wounds are far from healed.
Jason Gray opened his show with “Becoming” – one of those songs from the “Order” project. That’s my word this year. In 2020, I want to focus on becoming more like Christ, resting in real life knowing living surrendered is far more productive than controlling and clinching. Jason didn’t know that’s where I am, but he knew that’s where he’d been and trusted he wasn’t the only one.