blank pages

You can always look at anything in two ways.

For instance, right now, I am staring at a blank screen as words subtly but surely fill the screen and a whirlwind of thoughts overflow onto the computer screen while my fingers try to make sense of the jumbling ideas inside of my head. Lines and lines of a page that needs to be filled in order to make something out of what I’m thinking or feeling, but instead I sit and stare and my heart is prone to wander.

Or, I can look at this blank page on a screen, and I can take a deep breath. I don’t know what is going to fill these lines. Better yet, what will fill the next sentence that I am about to write. To be completely honest, I have no plan for this post. I am just typing, writing, dreaming, hoping that it might just become something beautiful that I can look back on. I don’t know what the last sentence holds. But somehow, that’s okay, I don’t need to know. All I can do is keep writing until I get there, knowing that the adventure lies within the journey.

And then I stop and think. The way I feel about this blog post in this very moment is sometimes how I feel about life.

My life seems to be flashing in front of my eyes and spinning out of my control more than I can keep track of and at moments, it feels like I am merely staring at a blank page. A blank page filled with no words because I don’t have any. An unwritten space full of uncertainty and the unknown future. Thousands of things that I could say or do or feel but for some reason, all I can see is the blank screen. Filled with fear at times, with loneliness at another, or sometimes with doubt. And at the end of the day, I feel like one of those unlined journals that you get at the bookstore, the kind that smells like a brand new book when you open it up. Endless possibilities with no clue in the world where to begin.

Or I can look at life in a different way.

In the midst of the craziness and chaos that life can bring upon, there is a stillness and a peace that can be found. However, love, this peace doesn’t come from hundreds of intriguing words wrapped together in a beautiful, ornate package or a blog post filled top to bottom with rain droplets of wisdom and valuable treasures of advice. This serenity comes from trust. Trusting that the pages don’t need to be filled by yourself and trusting that the words will come as they come. And instead of striving for some perfect metaphor or awestricken analogy that will somehow make everything click, you just keep writing. Darling, some words will be harder to write than others, and some will come easier too. But you must have hope that the blank page is a picture of the calm in the midst of the raging sea. It is within the pages full of the blank spaces that He is writing your story.

It may not make sense all the time. There may be days that are filled with words and some that have none. But that is the simply the beauty of it, don’t you see?

Inside a blank page lies exhilarating opportunity, endless potential, captivating adventure, whimsical dreams, the mystery of the unknown. The most freeing thing in the world is to let go and just be. To stop trying to think of the right thing to say and to be on your knees in surrender. To admit that it is absolutely and one hundred percent impossible to always have it together all of the time. To allow yourself to be real with yourself and with people.

To trust in the God of the universe and all creation who knit together the inmost being and depths of your soul because the battle has been fought and victory has been won. And the story has already been written, darling.

Psalm 139:16 “In your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

There are always two ways.

You just have to keep writing, and leave the rest up to the Author.

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still waters

You know those moments where you’re just like, “my life is literally a song.”  And you are thinking of a specific song in your head. I had one of those moments today sitting in a coffee shop while the rain was pitter pattering down outside the window.  As I sat there, flipping through my old journal entries and remembering, all I could do in the moment was smile.  Smile because I finally feel like I am swimming in still waters once again.  Not treading water just trying to catch my breath or drowning simply waiting for my head to be above the surface, but swimming.

The song I thought of today was a song by Taylor Swift [shocker] called “Clean.”  The true meaning behind the song is talking about how she is clean from a relationship she had been in and how she woke up one morning finally feeling like she could breathe again.  She sings about the drought being the worst part, the time where no water was in sight and she still felt like a part of her was missing.  And then there is the chorus, “Rain came pouring down when I was drowning, that’s when I could finally breathe, and by morning, gone was any trace of you, I think I am finally clean.”  The reason I feel that this song describes my life is not because of a boy, but because of my depression.

I have been free from the depression that held me captive last year for almost eight months now, but for some reason, today I felt different.  Instead of praying, “thank You Jesus that I am free and for healing and for redemption.  But I pray…”, and then saying something that was still hard.  Or something I felt was broken and cracked inside and still needed fixing.  Of course, we as humans will always have something that needs to be fixed in us because sin is inevitable.  But for me, when I was fighting the battle of depression, it seemed more like an illness or an all-encompassing trap that I couldn’t seem to escape.  So today, I prayed, “thank You Jesus for how far I have come because of You.  Thank You for holding me together and for gluing back the pieces in my life that had fallen apart.  Thank you for fully healing my heart that had been broken.  Thank You that I can finally breathe, and that I am finally clean.

My eyes welled with tears as I read my journal and the ink filled pages brought me back to those moments of gut ridden loneliness, heart wrenching pain, and desperate cries out to my Savior.  The moments of weeping were marked by the tear stained prayers where the words were a little bit smudged.  Then there were moments of redemption and pure, beautiful joy and my tears turned into happy ones.  The pages written top to bottom with prayers I prayed in the darkest of nights that were answered in the radiance of the morning.  On December 26, 2015, just after the Lord so graciously healed me from the thief that overtook my identity, the thief of joy and life and all things good, I wrote these words in a prayer.

“Lord, I want to live my life forevermore believing TRUTH, walking in the LIGHT, living for your NAME, living a life of complete and utter surrender and abandon to You.  Awaken my heart and light a burning fire of passion for You.  I want to fall in love with You all over again.  I feel freer than I ever have before and I am overflowing with true joy on account of You.  Thank You that You call me Your daughter.  That I did absolutely nothing to deserve or earn Your love but yet, You freely give it to me.  Philippians 1:20-21 “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or death.  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  Life is such a beautiful and wonderful gift that You have blessed me with.  Thank You for the freedom that is found from believing in You and trusting in You and in what You say is true.”

Then I flipped forward to a prayer I wrote when I was at the beach in Galveston, watching the sun rise over the vast and breathtaking ocean on July 10, 2016.

“I am in awe of the term redemption…You redeemed me and saved my soul by grace.  You redeemed me from depression, thoughts of wanting to take my own life, deep insecurities, self hatred, isolation, darkness, and heartbreak and You have given me through Your faithfulness- joy, a love and passion for life, full knowledge of Whose I am, a love for who I am in You, community and people who love, uplift and encourage me daily by bringing me into the light.  You are mending my heart each second with contentment and You give me strength when I am weak.  I pray that I will bear my cross as I wait for the crown.  Jesus, I want my life on this earth, this temporary home, to be an echo of Your love and a reflection of the eternal and imperishable joy found in Jesus.  Thank You for today and beats in my heart and blood in my veins and breath in my lungs.  I’m loved by You, it’s who I am.  Meredith Rhoads McCown, daughter of the King, worthy and redeemed.  Lord, You are a good, good Father.”

And so He is.

You may feel as if you are swimming in still waters right now, as I do.  And for that in of itself, I rejoice with you!  That is something beautiful to take joy in and to praise Jesus for His abundant promises.  But darling, you may feel as if you are caught in the eye of a hurricane right now.  My heart breaks for you as I have been there where you are.  However, I rejoice with you, too.  Because I know that one day, you will be flipping through the tear stained, ink smeared pages in your journal like I did today, and you will start to cry like I am right now.  Your heart will flood with emotions of sadness and pain, but then emotions of joy and thankfulness will overcome them.  Just like the Lord will overcome the hurricane that has caused the crashing waves to swallow your beautiful self whole [Exodus 14:14].

Soon enough, your soul will be refreshed [Psalm 23:3] and your strength will be renewed [Isaiah 40:31] and you will remember yet again what it feels like to swim in a clear blue pond of still waters.

dance