Flourish through fears song.

A place called Passion… Named after one of the most powerful words in the english dictionary is what I call home. I belong to a church of undeniable faith. Its walls speak a rare language of love despite previously belonging to and being abided by home depot, blue collar, hourly paid employees. Inside those walls, heartbeats come to life, lifestyles are radically changed, wrongs are righted, and strangers on shuttle buses become dear friends of accountability. Everything Passion City pours into is God breathed, especially one night a month.

The gathering called “The Grove” of a few hundred women inside the hallways of Passion that quickly turned into four thousand beautiful souls shuffling up and down the stairs of Cobb Energy Center, pouring hot chocolate in its hallways and eating cookies over Jesus talk is something to be raved about. Especially when stories become involved… Stories of distress, heartbreak, lonliness, loss and fear turned into something totally unexpected. Something like a beautiful willow providing shade to all the beings that sit relaxingly on its roots for rest. These stories that are meant to speak a loud noise of tearing, shattering hurt into the lives they manifest in are always turned into something ravishing. Yes there is hurt, but always… Always a reason for that hurt.

We are people of stories.

Our lives as God’s people are all just a tale He has scripted to be told. Those that are filled with heartache and lessons learned. Jesus himself told stories, parables to teach lessons and comfort people with words they needed to hear. That is exactly what last night consisted of, stories of unwavering truth in the lives of women.

One of six astounding tales that were spoken over the thousands of women that shook the walls with tears and sorrow turned into radiant hope rattled deep in my bones. She, out of all the women telling their life story, spoke words that penetrated my heart with a fever. Her words morphed a letter of hope my soul needed to hear. She spoke of a night her and her husband will never forget. A moment, a simple moment that changed their lives forever.

Its curious how one fleeting moment can cause a whole lifetime of chaos in fear. 

A doorbell ringing in the dark of night, one noise that rings into their memory for all their days. The turning of a doorknob opening their home to something she didn’t imagine would lead to gunshots going into her husbands chest as he displayed an act of love to protect his family from the people who came to take the possessions their home held. My whole core rattled to the words she spoke of how he laid on the cold floor helpless with blood pouring out of him speaking with what little strength he had Luke 23:34.

“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Crying out desperately for someone to help her husband as he cried to God in love to help the hearts who came to harm them, she ran through the streets of their neighborhood in fear. Hearing her pleas and screams for help, residing just a few street lamps down was the scruff faced neighbor she would soon discover was luckily a cop and a door down from him lived a war vet honored with a purple heart who specialized in on field battle wounds. Coincidence? I think not… Action was taken… Miracles happened… And her husband lived but sadly for months to come so did the fear that took a residence in her hearts chambers.

FEAR.

That word, as it rolled off her lips, slipped into my soul binding a kindred between her and I. I realized in that moment, that was it. The reason her story spoke so deeply into my heart was fear. No, I have never, and hope to never go through the terrible situation played out in their home. However, I have felt fear on a daily basis for quite a few long, grueling months in the past year. I know how loudly it can speak into my heart over what life holds for me and how I’m going to measure up to it.

Fear has a love song with words as captivating and powerful as the greats of lyric such as the Stevie Wonders and Whitney Houstons of this world.

Dancing into lives with a melody not easily forgotten. It can cripple with a vengeance. Poisoning souls into deep depression is its specialty. That desolate place has crept into my dim lit room in the dead of night many times. It sings its loudest in the hours where I’ve been all alone surrounded by dark stillness.

I have found this though…

Fear is what catapults us into Jesus.

In my most anxious and uneasy moments I reach for and learn through Him unlike any other times my heart beats through. Fear is crucial to our lives. Without it we would never know the bravery in our hearts we have to overcome it. Our strength is found in its bitter weakness. As it renders people inadequate to the situations seeming as tall as mountains… It also opens and provides an opportunity to laugh at its lies and sling in its face that we are exactly the opposite. We are sufficient with Jesus.

YOU are sufficient with Jesus.

Your fears love song can only be as loud as you let it be. The storyteller of The Grove allowed it to resonate in her heart only so long until her soul was opened to the fact that life was moving forward with a ticking pace wether she was on the beat or not. That’s when her story began intertwining with its happiness and purpose again. We have to flourish in the heartbeat of life despite fears song. It can take a deep a root in our soul that tatters the grand story it was placed there for in the first place… The story of surviving it with a revenge of joy. Lightly dance on its melody only so that it can advance you towards Jesus.

 “We have to be rooted in Jesus and His Word. Choose to flourish where we are planted. Walk in freedom and truly live and offer our lives as shade to people in our path.”

Wooden heart… Beat a little stronger.

 

The grain that was once anew is all the more revealed day by day, footstep by footstep, as the beings of heartbeats compress onto it’s splintered surface. Souls bustling with pacing strides rushing to surrounding buildings for the punctuated 8 A.M. open time that awaits their keychains brings a stress and strain on the boards that are the foundation of this little coffee shop abiding the corner of Washington Street. These square planks show much more than just lumber. A thousand hot coffee spills and crumbles of pumpkin spice cake covered and smothered with the grandest cream cheese frosting you could ever let mingle with your tastebuds cover its floors. All the while, brown, slouchy sofas, blue, velvet high back recliners and rustic tables have been drug to and fro inside of for redecoration creating divots and lacerations.

 

The wooden planks filling the millions of “best coffee in town” java shops throughout the distances have a certain kindred unlike any other to hearts. Hearts like mine, hearts like yours…hearts like every heart that has a still beat. Just as them, souls are compressed with the weight of the daily. The grind of the ongoing clock tick-tick-ticking with a fever relentless bustles through our beings rushing us forward into labor.

 

Our heart chambers have imprints of crumbles binding their walls. Shattered pieces of heartbreak cover our surface at moments. Fibs and flubs, pasts and mistakes spill into our depths leaving stains for the majorities to see in days and years to come. There’s a certain beauty to it all though, you know. The unwavering truth that with every weakness, there is a strength to be found. With the weathering, the scrapes and the scratches, the discoloration… they, the wood and the heartbeats alike, are brought to life.

 

God is teaching wooden hearts to be just that, lavishly grand when the world tells them they are not. 

To laugh and love and truly live in Him by being remodeled through heartbreak and strain is of pure gold. Sometimes it takes a hard look to realize that the wood surface of your being may seem battered through the distress it has seen but in reality, it has become its own. It has become an incandescent luminosity to the souls who look onto it and dance with the rhythm of its heartbeat.

 

You are a wooden soul. A heartbeat wearing your abrasions as a beauty, for that is what they truly are.