There is much to be removed,
so much that has grown in the wrong way,
so much that has hardened into permanent architecture.
And some are branches that can be burned,
while others are walls too high and thick for merely fire
but beating,
ripping away,
crumbling structures I grew safe behind.

O, more grace.

And in Your light I see their gnarly shapes,
protruding ugly fingers that grasp to conquer more,
always more,
never satisfied to possess pieces of me
but wanting the whole.
And I plead with You to come in deeper,
before I am consumed by nothing but what I have allowed to consume me,
and rescue me.
O jealous and gentle God,
whose every blow reminds me that You are good,
let emptiness reign but for a little while.
Fill all where You have removed with Yourself.

O, more grace!

I can stand only because I know You are not finished
until I look like You.
May I not beg for it to stop,
the pounding in my ears from being hammered into Your likeness,
but instead cling to the sound of Your assurance
that You are answering me,
saving me,
fighting for me.

O, more grace.


Praise in Pain

To those of you in pain, I've learned something pretty important.

Time does not heal.

Entering another relationship does not heal.

Finding new friends, throwing yourself into work, picking up a new hobby - does not heal.

Perhaps all those things are aids, just as NyQuil doesn't take my cold away, but I hate facing a sick night without the temporary relief it brings.
I am sad and hurting. God, save me and protect me. I will praise God in a song and will honor him by giving thanks. - Psalm 69:29-30 NCV
Praising God in pain does not change the situation, it changes you.

Praising God in pain acknowledges that God is good, God is faithful, God is wise, and God is strong, despite the circumstances.

Praising God in pain professes that you trust Him; it affirms that your hope is in Him and Him alone. And hope in God is the only hope that will never disappoint (Isaiah 49:23).

Praising God in pain reveals a deeper level of gratitude, one that is built on who God is, not on everything that is going right in your life. 

A heart that is grateful is much quicker to heal than a heart that is bitter.
Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. - 1 Peter 1:6-7 MSG