Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gratitude: the key to a heart of worship?

Does my heart sing with gratitude all day long? Am I living fully alive? Do I want to? 

By the time we moved here to NYC  I was so covered in false truths, lies, deceptions, hiding behind religion, and just plain hiding... that I was near total suffocation, lacking spiritual oxygen and water.  

I begged God that I needed to encounter the Real Him, to Know HIM, and not some made up version of who He is. Not the God-in-a-box most churches find easier to be around. I want to know the fierce, the Loving God who is terrifying and amazing, attractive and too Holy to be near. I want to taste and see that He is good, and to Hunger and Thirst for Him alone. I want the real deal. Weary from pretending and not really knowing where I stand, weary from lacking authenticity. 

One of the first families I met here in Brooklyn used to live in Africa. They spoke of camping out in the jungle where they could hear lions roar at night the tents had no doors. 
Could I do that? 
God is way more beautiful and fierce than the lion. And since my life is eternal, why would I be so afraid? What exactly am I trying to keep safe? 

It all started being ripped from a comfortable place, kicking and screaming, only 1/2 open to this experience.  Having seemingly no rest or peace for years and years, I felt totally ill equipped to love and call this crazy place a home.  In the midst of being in AWE and what I felt like was a semi open heart to living here at that time, I sensed the negative places brewing, the bitterness, the not seeing the good and pointing out the ugly surrounding  this city and in my heart. 

Emotions I felt like I had no control over. Wouldn't everyone feel this way? no.  

More than10 years I have been praying with seemingly little results and changes on the inside. 

The deep seeded places. 
The places where tragedy struck at an early age, the places that others intentionally harmed me on purpose, even the places that I decided to harm myself, all these torn and ripped places that have kept me from living fully alive, living fully present, and living fully grateful.  

Gratitude. could it be the key?   
Little morsels of information have led me here.  It started with the move, then little details the door opening to attend In the Living Room, He is Life, He is Life, He is Life, and Art opens the windows of hearts... were for me the take home messages I felt Kenyon Adams proposed so worshipfully (amongst many other profound understandings of Art and Culture). 

An awakening of my senses started to happen when I received a gift of membership to the Natural History Museum. Little by little I started to notice more and more the tiny overlooked details, treasures discovered,  thankfulness filled as I would see the glory of God showcased in a butterflies wings or in the 1000's of precious stones and minerals, etc etc. 

Then just walking around this city, riding the train with people from all walks of life. My eyes see the beauty of God in each and every detail of each human. 

Recently I have been able to read a lot more than ever. I just purchased a book called How to be and Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. Immediately enthralled by what she proposed, seeming so simple, what others might see as time wasters, a whole new way for me to look at art making and life. Immediately after,  I have been reading Ann Voskamp's 1000 gifts. 
Today, while reading what she was saying it was like I could take a breath for the first time ever, and my eyes were opened. 

How much of a coincidence is it that I read these two books back to back? or that even one of Ann's examples of her thankfulness  was seeing seemingly meaningless details that pleased her in the moment, like the details of soap bubbles  (number 362. suds all color in sun) on top a glass and all the colors in the sun. 

{Didn't I just post an instagram picture of that exact same thing the other day!!!? } see below 

I am only in the middle of the book, but am so thankful for her struggle through this process of having gratitude for taking the time with conviction and commitment to write down and recognize the little 'loves' and little moments that she finds beautiful, and little details in life that she finds enjoyable and is thankful for. Looking forward to reading the pages ahead. And looking forward to my own journey of Gratitude ahead. 

That process for Ann Voskamp has ushered in a kind of newness and an open heart to love, worship,  beauty, feeling, and being alive that no other thing could do. Ann quotes several verses to back up what she has discovered about this process and her walk with Christ, so I will get those for you for sure! For now I need to go cook dinner!!

Dear Ann,  I have never once heard someone really acknowledge and explain so well what happens to a heart when tragedy strikes so early in life. As you explained in losing your little sister to a horrible accident that left the whole family with terrible grief for many years to come, how tempting it was for you, for the rest of your days to wake up and see only the holes in life and the things wrong and the things that seemed off or missing. I just want you to know that for my entire life, since my mother tragically died when I was 3,  this is what I have struggled with too, its just that, no one has connected those dots for me ever before until today.  

 Join me day by day. I am all in. Gratitude. 


Blest in Brooklyn. 

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