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Burning heart

I sometimes listen to Christian radio and the announcers have a habit of picking a word for the year. It's supposed to help give vision and motivation. I have to tell you that I thought it was kind of stupid and cliché at first. Then, I picked a word. Actually, I picked two words: burning heart. This is what I am asking God for and pursuing in my life in 2015.

Before you get excited and pick a word or words of your own, please let me tell you that God is already beginning to answer my prayers and His responses seem to be adding chaos to my life. God seems to have interpreted my prayer a bit differently than I had intended.

I prayed, "God, I want to have a burning heart. Cause my heart to burn and be fully alive this year."

I think He heard, "God, please find every area in my life where I am hiding because of fear, pretending to be someone I am not because I am sure that the real me will be rejected, and living in a numb state because letting hope live in my heart feels too risky. Please go to these areas with your resurrection power and shine your brilliant light right into their darkness until every one of those painful places enters into my conscious awareness and begs for wholeness and healing. Take no mind for my comfort, pride or convenience. Just bring my heart back to life."

I had piano crisis last night that exposed the tenderness I am feeling as God is poking and prodding things in my soul. I was already wrestling with condemnation and disappointment in myself for not practicing at all during the week. Then, as I stumbled through the two songs I am working on and they sounded nothing like what they are supposed to sound like, I became convinced that I am worthless at piano. Like ripples on a lake move out from where a stone falls in, fears of being worthless escalated all around me until I began to question everything about my worth.

God moved into view right around that time. Ben started affirming me and reminding me of what is true. He talked about joy and how God wanted to encounter my fearful, hurting heart. The verse of the day for my Bible reading was James 1:2-3 talking about counting difficult things as joy. This morning, I was reading a post from by Jon Bloom that was all about joy and "what to do when you don't feel like doing it at all". He said:

The pattern in everything is this: the greater joys are obtained through struggle and difficulty and pain--things you  must force yourself to do when you don't feel like it--while brief, unsatisfying, and often destructive joys are as inviting as couch cushions...Understood this way, each thing we don't feel like doing, great or small, becomes an invitation from God to follow in the faithful footsteps of his Son, "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2 and John Bloom at

Finally, Kelly, my piano teacher, affirmed that my feelings of exasperation are valid because I am used to communicating expressively and articulately. My current piano skills cannot offer that level of expression and its OK for me to feel sad and frustrated about that. However, there is great hope for me to improve and it is possible for me to develop that ability to express what I am thinking and feeling through music. In order to do that, I need to accept my smallness and feelings of frustration as I press on through practice over time and grow into greater musical ability.

This is what I plan to do in playing the piano, in my process of becoming whole through relationship with Jesus and in every other area of my life that feels achy and dark right now.

Still Counting Gifts:

  • #1054: I just completed my first Tuesday night practice! (Apparently playing the same day that you have your lesson helps seal it into your brain. I'm giving it a try.)
  • #1055: Being a part of my dad's surprise for my mom. He bought her a topaz ring and honored her for being a Proverbs 31 woman. We got to watch and rise up and bless her.
  • #1056: I've been running again and trying to get my 3 mile run back
  • #1057: Finally starting to read a book that I borrowed over three years ago: Living From the Heart Jesus Gave You. (Chapter 1 is already so good that I can't wait to read more!)
  • #1058: The gift of time when I wake up early
  • #1059: Discovering how to spend free time away from TV and electronic devices
  • #1060: Making dinner with friends last week
  • #1061: The best funeral that I have ever attended, how glorious and beautiful they made Jesus look and how excited I felt for eternity afterwards
  • #1062: Dreaming with Ben, both the familiar and the new
  • #1063: Getting back to writing for 10 minutes each morning, two days in a row


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