Time and Tide Go Washing by...

Starfish (click to listen)

Hearing this song always stirs up deep feelings in me. A sense of peace, longing, lightness, and a sadness which is hard to find the reason for. These feelings are so different, yet they mix around inside me to form something completely new which I have no name for.

Usually when this song comes around on my mp3 player, I skip over it because I just don't want to think about all the memories and nostalgia that comes along with it. But tonight I let it continue. When I hear this song, I always am reminded of my friend who introduced the song to me. We were talking about the song, and she was sharing how she hates the feeling of life flying by. She wishes that she could have the attitude like the song says, "Tide and time go washing by... and you don't even care."

I'm sad when I hear this song, because it reminds me of how far away I am from her (locationally). Reminds me of things I feel that are ending; longings I have that I cannot explain.

Separation. Endings. Longing. All these words are painful. But they're a good kind of pain almost. Like the pain you get when you're getting a massage and the massage therapist is working on a particularily sore or stiff muscle. It hurts, but you know that's only because it's making it better.

Separation hurts, but the reason it hurts is because it's making it better. Do I really believe that? Can I truly say "Yes, this hurts, but I also know that it is serving a better purpose in my life?" Can I actually believe that the sadness I may feel is only temporary, and actually serves to highlight God's glory & meaning for my life?

These are the questions I was asking myself as I was writing this blog post. Thankfully, I was interrupted at this point by the strains of my cell phone's ringtone. It was that very same friend.

God has a way of putting things in your path just exactly when you need them, doesn't he? He guided my friend to call me at just that moment when I was asking myself those questions (and feeling like the only answer I could truly say to them was "no"). He nudged me to be real with her, and then gave her just the right words to say to me.

And you know what I find? It's okay to be sad. God meant for us to feel the pain of separation and loneliness and sorrow and heartache and whatever other pain that's in our life. But there's a purpose for it, and that's what I'm holding on to. How could God use our lives to glorify Him if they were all sunshine and roses? Only in the sorrow and sadness do we have real need to hold on to Him. Only then can we realize full dependence on Him.
And only after the night comes the morning - with the sunshine of overwhelming joy and delight.
This is what I'm holding on to -- no matter how time and tide go washing by.

Just to let you know, I am writing a post answering all of your interesting questions you asked in my last post, but this was just what was on my heart this evening and I thought I would share.


Don't Think I've Left

...because I haven't!

Yes, I know I've been quite sporadic in my posts (though my awesome guest bloggers certainly made up for it!), and rather distant in my replies & upkeep recently. I'm finally starting to get into a routine here at college, and so for now at least, the phase of guest bloggers and absent Melody is ended. :)

Hopefully I will get a post up soon about how college is treating me and some of the amazing things I've been learning. For now I will just say - God is so good to me through it all! As long as I stay disciplined and focused on Him, He leads my path and guards my way so clearly it's amazing.

I do want to ask you - what questions do you have for me regarding college life? It can be about anything: how the food is, when I get to bed (well.... maybe we'll skip that question), what piano pieces I'm learning... anything you're curious about!

I also want to ask you - how do you all like the new comment system? I really want to know your honest answers, since obviously y'all are the ones using it (or you should be... hint hint). ;) Is it awkward... not as nice... better... or what? Why I originally decided to switch was because I wanted to have a way for people who aren't on blogger to comment. But I'm not so sure if it's worth the switch. So please let me know what you all think!

Also, my blogoversary is in 3 days! I'm really surprised it has come up so quickly - and that my blog has come so far in such a short amount of time! I'm still cooking up what to do for that, so stay tuned. :)

I love you all bunches and am so glad you read my blog. May you all have a blessed day, and be filled to all fullness with Christ.


Breaking Up (Guest Post)

It happens way too fast and I see it far too often.

One summer afternoon, someone wanted to talk.  So we sat down.  I listened to everything.  It was a story far too familiar. The same guy who had been through ripping apart three girls' hearts had set his attention to the next.  His looks had every girl fall for him.  He covered his facade with a smile. 

"He's different now.. It's not the same.  I think he's serious now.  He did this and this and this.  He calls now. He really cares now".

After our talk and a couple months later, I heard.  She was upset.  There were tears.  He was over.  The "us"  was gone.  And the victim had another heart torn.  

Over the years, I've seen him move on.  I don't see him but once every year around usually.  I was walking with a good friend of mine through the crowds last month.  There he was again.  Surrounded by a group of girls.  He was always flashing another smile.  It made me sick.  

I couldn't believe anyone could be so blind.  How can each one of them give their hearts to a guy would just throw it away?  Could anyone see the stories before?

I felt angry.  I wanted to go over and slug him.   Then.... I realized this is us

We come to God about the world:  "But, God!! It's different now.  It's not the same thing like it was before.  It's fine." We give a speech.  We're ready to defend everything for our heart.

He says, "Listen.  It will tear you up.  Listen to me!  Don't follow your heart! Don't follow the world! This isn't what you want!" 

But, we run after it anyway.  We think we are in love.  We think everything is great.  Then the split happens.  We get hurt.  

We come back with tears. "God, where were you?  Did you care?  Why did this happen?" 

And just as we are sitting there crying - the world is already gone, setting after the next victim.
I'm not just talking about boyfriend-girlfriend split-ups. 

I'm not even talking about the world. 
I'm talking about us. 
Somehow along the way, we kind of forget that our hearts aren't bulletproof.  We somehow think we can be our own heroes.  We fall for the fake smiles of the world.  We jump before we know it.  Then, we get hurt.  It happens so fast. 

We jump and fall before we look.  Then, the fall happens.  We get hurt.  Sometimes, we just get away with some bruises and bumps.  Others come out with broken bones.  Then we wake up and think, "Woah!  Wait a minute..."

So many times, we think we can convince ourselves by saying in our heads, "I don't care.  This won't happen to me."

Then, your heart says, "Well, stupid.  You do care."  

I'm urging you brothers and sisters to guard your hearts.  Don't follow the world.  I'm in the battle with you!  Keep Fighting.  The world is watching. 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- Romans 12:1-2

Jessica is the author of this post and from the blog Far From Perfect!  She enjoys photography, writing, spending time with her family and friends, as well as learning more how to serve the LORD of her heart.


Sing, Praise, and Bless the Lord (Guest Post)

Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
~Psalm 96:1-3

A boy sits under a low, scrubby tree during the heat of the day. The sheep he is tending are scattered in the field’s few other patches of shade, lying still and waiting for the heat to break. But the boy is thinking of a very different place. A few hours ago with his sheep he passed through a river valley, where the grass was sweet and the water cool. Seeing his sheep well fed and watered, his heart was moved in praise to God, and out of his spontaneous gratitude he started humming a song. Now, waiting for the heat to pass, he plucks the gut strings on the lyre he made and crafts a hymn about God’s provision for him. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul...


I imagined this scene reflecting on David, once a shepherd, later a king, always a poet. In writing Psalm 23 he used his own experience as a shepherd as a metaphor for God’s loving care of him and turned his prayer into a song of praise.

God’s people have always expressed their praise and prayer in song—Moses and his sister Miriam sing of God’s deliverance in Exodus 15; Mary and Zechariah sing of God’s faithfulness in Luke 1; Psalms is a whole book devoted to songs, both of praise and anguish, need and provision.

What is it about singing? Why have God’s people always held it to be important? These are questions I muse often. I don’t have all the answers, only some thoughts, and the experience of singing itself.

First, singing involves the whole person: it's physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. When the Holy Spirit enables us to sing wholeheartedly to God it focuses us on worshiping Him; it helps us toward glorifying Him with our whole selves.

Second, singing usually involves words; it can speak a message, voice a prayer, and proclaim truth. What we may not realize is that singing truthful words impacts us as much as those who hear us.

Third, singing is often (though not always or necessarily) done in company—and when voices are unified it can be a powerful sign of unity of heart and belief. How many different occasions in history can you think of when an oppressed people kindled their hope and rebellion in song? In the same way, singing truth (words from the Bible, for instance) helps bring God's people together.

So today I'm asking: Will you join God’s people and the hosts of angels, and raise your voice in song to God? What do you have to sing to God about?
Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. ~Psalm 95:1-7

Robin sings at home, at church, and in the car (which has seen some truly operatic moments). With the goal of glorifying God in her life, she studies music, the Bible, and writing, and hopes to be a church music director in the future. She believes the making of music offers many opportunities for lifting up the Gospel. She blogs as Edith at Observatory of the Quotidian


So Much More

I am being challenged and inspired so much in my classes, it's incredible. Though my classes are on many varied subjects (such as Spiritual Formation, Humanities, and Music Philosophy & Aesthetics) they all seem to be pointing to the same thing. I'm learning that there is so much more. So much more of God to experience, comprehend on some level, and praise Him for.

Such is the concept I'm studying in Humanities currently. We're talking about how God is the Creator and Originator of everything - and therefore we who are made in His image are also called to create. What really struck me is the idea that God is on a "higher level" than us - the fact that He is our Creator, and we are the created, living on a lower level of "reality" than Him. (I know this sounds kind of twisted - bear with me a moment and you'll see.)

For example, in my story "Rescue My Heart", I had a character who is an author. I, as the author of the story, knew things that she did not know. Yet she, as an author within the story, knows things that her characters don't know.

This is a beautiful metaphor for how we are in relation to God and to our own creations. Each one is on a different level - but even though we are on a lower level than God, He has designed us to know in a limited sense some of His level of thinking.

Can you see how that would just open up a whole new world? If God is on a higher level than we are, He is like the real thing, and we are like just a shadowy, blurry picture. There's so much more than this world... this life.. this existence. There's a type of beauty I've never experienced, a glory I cannot even fathom, a fulness I cannot even wish for because I can't even begin to understand how I can be filled.

Doesn't this bring you incredible joy as well as incredible longing?

Like I said earlier this evening,
"It's like walking into a sunset - you don't really know what's there, but you know that it's going to be beautiful."


Take a peek inside your journal (Guest Post)

The time was 1:00 a.m., and I was still sitting on the floor reading over every word I've ever written. Now, this is nearly 10 years worth of journaling, and as I read over all the years past, in the secret place of my heart that was recorded on paper, there was Someone who not only read my heart, but who showed me that He would turn those secret thoughts into treasure.

If you're reading this, then you know that our God knows everything about a person: hearts, minds, dreams, goals, passions. Out of these sacred things we think about, shows a loving God who not only loves, but cares.

Can I tell you something? Some of the writings I wrote in the past made no sense to me, as in, I don't remember certain things laid on my heart, or dreams I had dreamed up that I had recorded on paper. After looking over those writings, I realized that God paid attention to each one, and they came to pass. 

There were times I wrote about needing a friend. A Christian friend I could talk to and get encouragement from. There was a time I wrote about how much I wanted to write (like I am now) for Christ. Times I wrote about dreams and goals (some non-realistic) that I wanted to do one day. Some of the littlest things I had no intention of ever seeing happening. The thing was, I had completely forgotten about those desires.

I cannot say that everything I wanted to happen, happened. I'm saying that God took some insignificant dream, and used it for many ways:

one. He used it to teach me trust;
two. He blessed not only me, but others with it;
three. I was just plain blown away that He cared about those little dreams.

A few days ago while we were at an organic foods market, I was browsing around for a cheap chap stick. I could only find ones that were over $2.00 and I didn't really want to pay that much for one I would probably only use very little of. I prayed about it. It wasn't until the checkout line that I saw a lip balm under $2!

Yes, this story may seem simple and unimportant, but that's beside the point. The point is, that God cares and provides. He may not answer right away; He may not answer a "yes" at all (He does know what's best). But if you look for the little things that He does for you; the simple delights He brings your way; the small wonders, you'll be surprise later of how big they really were.

You're reading from an imperfect sinner when I say that you don't have to be a perfect person to be cared for by a wonderful God. You don't have to be a perfect person to enjoy these things. You just have to be willing to enjoy them.

This 16 year old dreamer lives an imperfect life in an imperfect world with her perfect Daddy who treats her like a princess! Amber loves her new aspiration for inspiration, and simple delights out of everyday life. Nothing brings more joy to her than to be outside when the sun goes down, letting the sweet breezes tickle each strand of hair. You can read Amber's blog, Taking Life One Step At A Time, here!

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