I open my Book to look for words for a blessing but quickly have to turn the page. I am unable to handle the black ink spelling out Galatians 6:7.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
I cannot bear the words. These are not words of blessing for me. For they were used time and time again as a way to control and shame. I have to take God’s own words to Him and cry out for help. His story, His song, is meant for freedom. But it has been abused.
We have been abused.
I don’t know when I stumbled upon her blog. The first time I dismissed the posts as being rants from a slightly-angry, perhaps even bitter, girl who can’t move beyond her past.
However, within a short amount of time, I found my way back. One times, two times, even three.
Soon, I realized that the words found on these electronic pages are me. I may be the slightly-angry, perhaps even bitter sometimes, girl with a past full of hurt.
My story is not Esther’s story. But I know what she is saying. As if I am about to take my part in a chorus where I know what comes next. I know the words because I lived them. I know the tune and the tone because I have practiced them over and over in my head.
I know something else. I know there is a wrestling that comes with finding new words and new tunes. I know that there can be freedom to sing and to mess up too. It’s called practice. One is not perfect from the first measure.
And there are others joining this new chorus. There are others taking the hymns and the verses played over and over in our heads, who are changing the tune. Some of it just a bit. Other times we’re rewriting with barely a trace of the original song there.
We are stepping up to the high risers, just a bit closer to our God, who has been there all along. It’s just now we can see Him.
We are standing side by side.
We are shouting when it is necessary. From the bell towers, with the potential to ring. We know we were once locked there. Now we have some of the keys.
We are shedding those awful, frumpy choir robes. The ones that helped us conform. The ones that protected our modesty. Because apparently that was their job. They gave us the robes. We are leaving them on the steps as we take our true places in the church. Sometimes it is in the pulpit, when we were told to stay in the nursery.
Our voices grow louder. Others can hear it in the hills.
We say come. Sing with all you have, in your own way, in your own timing. It’s okay.
And there is prayer. Oh so much prayer in between the songs. When the music stops, we listen. We listen for the Savior, our true Director. And not the enemy.
We pray for healing. We pray for hope. We pray for one another.
We are together. One chorus. We will not go away. We will not be shamed. We will not grow quiet, unless The Director tells us to.
We hold hands sometimes. We walk in faith. We trust there is goodness in the words and the tune, always has been in His song, even when we didn’t know it.
We will take our places in the pews when it is necessary. Sometimes it’s the back row. And that is good too.
For all places in the Church are facing the same cross. We are fixed on Him. On His suffering. His own lamenting tune, growing into a chorus of hope. We gather bells. But we do not ring them. Not yet. For though we know there is a coda, we see the right repeat signs.
Some days we are back at the beginning. At least we know we can make it more than a measure.
And the music plays on. We are not deceived. We know there is a way forward. We are learning to live the Songwriter’s tempo. His rhythm. His way. We’re singing His words one note, one page at a time.
Dedicated to those who have the courage to begin singing the new tune. Here are the names of a few. I know there are others. Perhaps it is you.