I used to write songs as a way of soothing my soul’s sorrow. At school, I would hide away in a piano room, pen and pad in hand. At home, I’d sleep with my keyboard, writing songs into the wee hours of the night. In college, I would skip meals and cut classes to spend hours in the music annex, letting my songs echo off the empty walls that held me there.
I would write the words my heart needed to hear, the words that I hoped God would say if He were sitting across from me at a cafe, drinking His coffee or whatever herbal tea He likes best. But, these days, writing songs doesn’t come easy. My kids call me constantly, my voice isn’t as strong as it used to be, and life shouts demands with its to-dos and to-bes.
I recently received a health diagnosis, just four days after leaving my job. I thought I was stepping into a season of creativity and certainty. But now every day is a wondering and every moment is a seeking. I cannot tell if the small, quiet voice within is me or if it is, in fact, God telling me where to go and what to do. In this waiting, in this season of silence and seeking and shattering, it feels like everything is slowly falling apart. The routines and structures that once held me together have altogether come undone. Direction disorients and vision evades me.
Life, as I know it, is changing. And rightfully so. My children are growing — they are hungry for food and desperate to learn more, live more. My beloved body is broken and needs new ways of holding all that I am and healing. My values are disentangling, revealing their true depth and, therefore, their true desires — all authentic and unapologetic. Our house, the borrowed walls that we call home, is two sizes too small to carry the developing story that my family is becoming.
We, I, spin through the days bursting out of the seams, spilling wild and wide out of the containers that once held us. And it is messy, and there are no baskets or tidy corners to keep things as they should be, and we are in this limbo, this thin in-between, and we are so desperate to hear the Spirit say that all of this change is good.
That everything and everyone will be okay.
All I want for this thin in-between, this space of figuring things out, is to know that I am not failing my kids. I desperately want to know and believe that the things dying off are not causing destruction, that God is in all of this — every newly paved path and lost dream.
I abide, seeking out a single word, a single scripture verse to cling to. And then, a familiar melody comes to mind. A simple refrain that I wrote years back:
When you fall apart, you are falling into grace,
Can’t you see, how He holds us up, how He holds us into place.
The lyrics linger in my mind, and I try to think back to when and why I wrote this song. Try as I may, I cannot recall the season of life that I was in. But, this I can recall: it really is true. God holds us up, and He also holds us into place. He does this, even when all that we know shatters in and around us. Even while we are falling apart, we are falling into grace. Even while life is crumbling in ways that we cannot comprehend or control, His love for us still proves to be all that we need.
He holds us when we are in the deepest abyss where it is dark and the path before us is unknown and unseen. He holds us when we are afraid and unsure of where our next paycheck will come from. There is nothing too broken, nothing too beyond fixing for His hands. There isn’t a puzzle that cannot be put back together in and through His power. There is nothing too heavy for His heart, there is nothing too hard for Him to work out with His holy plan.
There is no depth too deep, no spiraling or shattering that will separate us from His loving hands. There is no circumstance too confusing, no pantry that He cannot fill with His provision, no broken body that He does not see, no song He cannot sustain with grace. Through community, through His word, through thanksgiving, through miracles, through mundane moments, through His holy hands at work in and through our lives.
This is one song we can always be sure to sing — He will hold us up and He will hold our lives into place. No matter what shatters, no matter what surrounds us, He is good and He will ever guide us into His goodness.