adoring him in the sadness

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

when i was planning gregg’s funeral i knew, without a doubt, what song i wanted played at the completion of the service. you know, the declaration if you will,  as i walked out with the girls. while the devastation of death wrecked my heart. while the finality of his battle with that monster, aka cancer, began to sink in more & more each day was present, i knew in my heart that HIS promises are true. and i needed to hear those words. i needed those words to remind me that he is indeed the giver of immortal gladness even on the days where sin & sadness cloud the sun. november 6th, 1996 weeks before christmas i needed the dark of doubt driven away. i needed to be filled with the light of day. even if tear filled and lonely.

the scripture says that the lord inhabits the praises of his people. psalm 22.3.

inhabit: live in. occupy. dwell. settle. reside in.

so basically a sacrifice of praise. a sacrifice of choosing to praise him in the storm. to lift broken beaten down hands & hearts to him, no matter what the devastation going on around is, he comes. he dwells. he is there with us in the pain. emmanuel.

emmanuel: god with us.  god with you.

with you on the normal days when the biggest stress is what too cook for dinner. usually with the luxury of a full pantry and if not, money to pay a bill at kroger. with you on your wedding day & the birth of your babies. praise him! with you on vacations and with you on thousands of good days.

with you as you leave the funeral of your once healthy husband. with you in a cancer treatment room. with you as you receive div0rce papers. with you at the graveside and while you watch the news. with you while you raise holy broken hands and wearily offer a sacrifice of praise.

last night i came home from a session. i wearily climbed in to bed and told dan how awesome our god is & how thankful i am for allowing me what is truly an honor and privilege to photograph basically strangers, quickly becoming friends, and their stories. and i get paid for it. bless. ( i have a sweet one for you coming soon. ) so i was perusing instagram ( my guilty pleasure) when i stumbled upon kara’s page. i spent an hour reading post after post. i woke early this morning & spent hours reading her story.  ironically while i read this one, my latest christmas obsession rend collective’s campfire christmas Joyful Joyful played over the computer speakers. word after word after honest painful word she offers up holy broken hearted hands of praise in the storm. you know the world isn’t surprised when we’re all I LOVE JESUS on those good days. when count your joys name them one by one is easy. but what about when cancer ( or whatever crisis it is) invades organ after organ. what does I LOVE JESUS look like when you’re frail and vulnerable. i tell you what it looks like.

“I’m going to open my Bible, and I’m going to hunt down the grace, the peace, the source of what living- true living really is.

It’s not the absence of this pain, it’s not the presence of normal.

It’s the ability and strength that I covet so desperately. It’s Jesus. He is who I need.

But I also know He’s not disappointed in my wrestling, weary heart this morning. He will show me, once again, that he is enough.” kara tippetts.

did you catch that? he’s not disappointed when we wrestle. or have a weary heart. he is not disappointed–he is near. he is near to the broken hearted. he was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. oh he is with you alright. he was there. he knows the deepest grief.  and did you catch the other? peace. not the absence of pain nor is it the presence of normal.

banner-bus

have mercy. my heart so often thinks peace is the presence of a normal day. you know the one with the biggest stress is a freakin dinner plan. whatever. how i get this wrong so often. oh friends, may we know & treasure in our hearts the gift that a normal day is. it’s a gift. and i’m not knocking ( not for a moment) the blessing him that is counting our joys…on those gifted days. don’t hear me wrong. i’m just saying that the world isn’t wowed when we’re all woop woop on the good. the world watches how someone that professes to love jesus does it when they’re wrecked. spent. broken and devastated.

so after a week of perusing pinterest & decorated homes i felt i needed to share this. who cares how my table is set if my heart is empty and without hope. what have i left you with if all i gave you was a source for bottle brush trees. i want to you to know the source of peace in the sadness. i want you to know that if your heart is heavy and nary a bough of holly is decked. if your chrismtas will be spent grieving loss, he is with you. when you’re joyful joyful adoration of him is from a broken heart, he is with you. with you. emmanuel. our god is still with us.

 

~~~

 

many of you are probably already familiar with kara, if not, here are a few links for you. i promise you won’t leave “meeting” her without being changed.

kara

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mundane faithfulness blog

kara’s instagram

kara’s book, the hardest peace

 

December 8, 2014 - 12:27 pm

Peggy - Any book with Joni Eareckson Tada writing the foreword has got to be good!!! Thank you for sharing… your heart blesses daily. love you sweet friend. xoxo

December 8, 2014 - 2:15 pm

chrissi - ♥ thank you so much.

December 8, 2014 - 3:28 pm

Heidi @ Decor & More - Dear Paige, this is exactly why your blog is a must-read for me… I don’t comment often, but I never miss a post. Your style and photography is beyond breathtaking, but neither can hold a candle to your heart for Jesus and your willingness to share His Love with all that cross your path. May your day be as blessed as you’ve just made mine.
xo Heidi

December 8, 2014 - 5:33 pm

Wynne - I keep coming back to this. thank you for sharing. seriously, it’s exactly what I need to hear and exactly what I want to spill out to others. love you

December 8, 2014 - 7:39 pm

Michele - Dear Paige,
Beautifully written – thank you. This is exactly why I continue to visit. Yes, I was in awe over your table scape – more so the message that was sitting in each and every bowl, that I forgot to share, I’m sorry.
What I should share, is that it was you that has helped me better understand the “reason for the season”. Yesterday I halted decorating, to be in the moment and to experience what the day had to offer – spending unexpected time with friends and family. I have heard the message you share and have spent time each day with prayer and feel his love. You truly have helped me prepare the way. Thank you and God Bless.

December 8, 2014 - 9:01 pm

JuliaW - I felt blessed by your post. Thank you for sharing.

December 8, 2014 - 9:55 pm

Lemonade Makin Mama - Every part of me loves this. I haven’t walked this particular road but I’ve walked my own version of this wrestling season and I’m sure there are more to come in this life… I’m so grateful that God can “take it.” Love you friend.
S

December 8, 2014 - 10:26 pm

Kellie - I can’t remember how I stumbled upon her blog, but I am so humbled by her. As I read her Instagram today it struck me that I will miss her when her spirit leaves her cancer ridden body behind on this earth. I will miss finding reminders of how strong we can be in her strength, how faithful we can and should be in the struggle, to look for the positive…no matter how small it may be…and not only to look for it, but to hold onto it and be thankful for it. She is truly an inspiration. I find a peace in her blog and posts that I often find in yours. Thankful for this big world wide web.

December 9, 2014 - 8:15 pm

Linsey @ Bravehearted Beauty - Thanks for this, sweet Paige. I was tripping up a bit over all the Christmas home tours. Had to limit myself to the two or three whose hearts I know and love so well. Otherwise, I just feel the shame of not being in that place. So from the enemy! While some decked their halls, I scooped poop in a barn. But it did crazy good things to prepare my heart for Christmas. So good I had to write a whole post about it and am still not done processing! I love your heat. Love YOU!

December 10, 2014 - 3:42 pm

Ally - Thank you for this post! I lost my mom a year ago January from cancer at 52. This holiday season has been rough to say the least. I got through easter and birthdays but Christmas is it’s own nightmare right now. I needed the reminder of praise, I needed the reminder of His wish for us! Thank you for faithfully pouring out your heart!

December 11, 2014 - 1:42 pm

Heidi - Your pictures display beauty amongst hardships and heartache. Thank you for sharing. May you praise Him for His blessings this season.

December 12, 2014 - 4:06 pm

Jill - Thank you for this, sweet Paige. You amaze me.

December 12, 2014 - 8:18 pm

lisa baggett - Speechless………. I am awed by your heart and words……. we must remember in all things……. praise him our savior Jesus Christ. I know from the loss of my father, mother, & sister that there is beauty in ashes! My heart aches for my love ones….. the sick & the broken hearted. But I know there is greater glory than this imperfect world. Your words made me stop and reflect that I need to slow down and remember “I need thee every hour…….every breath I take”

March 9, 2015 - 3:13 am

Trivedi Effect - It is so important to work on making your mind work for you and not against you, because you see, in order for you: “to enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him