Exhale

Music is a huge part of my life, hence the large number of posts recently centered around specific songs.  I am a poet, and find comfort in working through my emotions in rhyming prose.  It would make sense that music would go along with that.  Sometimes just the right song comes on the radio at just the right time.  All I can do is laugh, cry, sing, ride the emotional roller coaster.

When I first started my relationship with Christ in February of last year I was eager to read anything I could get my hands on.  I had very little religious teaching to fall back on as I embarked on a new chapter in my life.  Yes, I went to church as a child and teenager, but they were churches that never really spoke to me.  I never took anything away from the message, and it was quickly forgotten as I left the church each Sunday morning.

So a year and half ago I was like a dry sponge searching for water.  I wanted to learn everything I could as quickly as I could.  One day I paid a visit to a Christian bookstore not far from my radio station.  As I was waiting to pay for my book purchases I heard a song playing over the store stereo system.  It was “Need You Know” by Plumb.  I fell in love with that song right then and there.  The chorus was everything I had been feeling in the weeks since accepting Christ into my heart.

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

(lyrics courtesy of www.klove.com)

The life I had been living did not magically disappear the moment I opened myself to Christ.  It was still there, and I was learning how to put it behind me.  People involved with that life did not like the changes that were going on in me.  It was a battle with them and with myself.  I sang that song over and over and over again.  Because of God I made it through.

There are still times though when life fights against me.  There are moments when I feel so far away from God, like He has forgotten all about me.  There are moments when I am frustrated and all I can do it cry.  Yet I am incapable of sharing how I feel with others.  When I try to talk my voice finds itself silent.  Too many years of people telling me “I’ll give you something to cry about,” and “there is nothing wrong with you,” have led me to building a dam and holding everything in.

This past Sunday night was one of those moments when the dam was up and nothing could get through.  My pastor could see that something needed to come out.  His wife even reminded me that nothing would leave the group, everything I said would stay there.

Its okay
To not be okay
This is a safe place
This is a safe place
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be ashamed
There’s still hope here
There’s still hope
No matter what you’ve done
Or who you are
Everyone is welcome
In His arms

“it’s okay to not be okay.  This is a safe place.”  I have waited for almost 40 years to hear that.  And once the words started coming out, as broken and disjointed as they were, the dam had been opened.  Not every thought that had been held back came out that night, but the negativity that had been festering those thoughts had been cut short.  By opening myself up I had allowed a fresh breath to come in, a new perspective to change the warped perception I can created for myself.  I breathed in the new and exhaled the old, and as I drove home that night I felt mentally clean for the first time in a long time.

Just let go
Let His love wrap around you
And hold you close
Get lost in the surrender
Breathe it in, until your heart breaks
And exhale, exhale

(lyrics courtesy of www.klove.com)

My pastor recently said something that really his a chord with many in attendance for that Sunday morning message, “It’s okay to not be okay.  It’s not okay to stay that way.”  Yes, everyone has times of trouble, when the world seems to be completely turned against you, but eventually you just have to take a deep breath and exhale.  Give it to God and let him do his work in you and in your life, and exhale.

Until next time . . .

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