11:15. Coffee in hand, I find a seat in the auditorium and watch friends mill in across the room.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus…”

The refrain fills the auditorium. My friend is on stage, leading us in worship. I’d forgotten how amazing her voice is. It’s beautiful. The music is low, peaceful; we sing the words again and again and I find my thumping spirit slow and still.

Our songs wind their way through waiting & drawing close, on mountaintops and in valleys. Words of hope, words of encouragement.

“This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is a God who provides”

As we share communion, I meditate on what it means to break my body and pour my life out on behalf of the people around me. I feel weak. I wonder why God would choose to use us in his plan to redeem and restore the world.

Third Day

My friend is back on stage, singing a love song. I’ve got tears in my eyes. She is lost in awe; surrendered to what the Father is doing. There is a tenderness in her voice, and I can’t help but think of all that the Father has brought her through. All the pain & suffering in her life, and here she stands on stage singing,

“When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me…”

Emotion overcomes me. I desire to sing those words with the same tenderness she does, yet so often I feel far from it. I speak harshly to those around me; I act rashly. I desire mercy yet speak judgement. I am a bundle of paradoxes.

I’m thankful that there is grace; that I don’t have to live with regret…

If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns
violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves us
Oh, how He loves

And so I turn my eyes upon Jesus, thankful for my friend’s example. What are you thankful for today?