My Theme

Last night it happened again. She came in the night, shivering, and crawled in between us. She curled her body into mine and whispered her cold. In the dim light of our room, I saw Brian’s head lift off the pillow for a moment. I reached across sweet Bella who was already in her dreams again, and I found his hand, and we gripped each other with our daughter in between. Her head fell to my shoulder, and I breathed in the scent of her and tried to stop tears from falling. This is where I want to be. Cozy and snuggled and warm and safe.

In her book, The Hardest Peace, Kara Tippets describes it perfectly what she experiences with her own daughter… what I feel when Bella curls up with us in the night.

“But all she knows is the warmth of my touch, here, today and the kindness that greets her in her living…What she longs for is my closeness, my touch, my kindness to meet her each cold evening when she sneaks quietly into my bed to be near me.

She no longer asks for entrance next to me in the little hours of the night. She quietly enters by my feet and finds the warm curve in my back and returns to the comfort of her dreams next to her mama. Years will give her understanding like they gave me, but today, sitting next to my love is enough. The other day she proclaimed that she never wanted to leave my side, that I was always the warmth she liked best. I said nothing, only snuggled closer with a hope for more days. More and more days of loving her. I want her to look back and see herself a daughter of love.”

Yes, this is where I want to be.

Cozy and snuggled and warm and safe.

Life doesn’t feel very safe right now.

And as Satan comes in the night (I call 4:00 a.m. my “witching hour”) and whispers lies, the warmth and the safety dissipate into coldness and wrestling and fighting the lies that have stemmed from years ago…from growing up in a church that said that any suffering was punishment.

And Satan screams at me in the night…

“See, you have always loved beauty, beautiful things, fashion, trends… you have lost your beauty and your femininity is so scarred and marred. This is the punishment you deserve.”

“How many times do you make singing about yourself, your gifts, your talent, how you sound, instead of really worshiping? Now your voice is gone. This is the punishment you deserve.”

“See, you have made an idol of your family. You love being a mom and a wife more than you love anything else including God. They will lose their mom and wife. This is the punishment you deserve.”

“You are a Pharisee. You write this blog more for what people think of you than to bring honor to God. See, see how little you’ve written these past couple years… Your words have been stolen from you. This is the punishment you deserve.”

Oh, friends. I know this is not so. I know God doesn’t work this way. This is gospel-less thinking.

I remember sitting with our church counselor years ago, and asking him about suffering as punishment, trying to discern truth from the lies of my past. John looked outside at my children, ages five, three and one.

Do you love those children?
Oh, yes, So much it aches.

Did they sin this morning? Disobey you? Not listen to you?
Oh, yes. They do it every day.

Pick one.
What?

Pick one.
Pick one for what

Pick one to give cancer to as punishment.
Oh. my. stars. I would never…!

Exactly. And God’s love for you is so much greater than yours could ever be for your children.

Y’all, I need to tell myself this every single day. That the Gospel says my sins are covered. That Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life and died a sinner’s death to pay for my sins. All of them. He has borne my punishment. He has given me His righteousness.

That. Is the Gospel.

Years ago, Brian and I sang a duet of one of my favorite hymn re-writes during church, Red Mountain Music’s “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” I was humming it today, letting the words pour over me.

“And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.”

All their guilty stains.

All of them.

Not some of them. Not just the ones they remember to confess. Not just the ones they’ve “conquered”.

Every single stain of sin is gone because of Christ.

He bore the punishment.

That. Is the Gospel.

As I enter that PET scan on Tuesday, this will be the song echoing through my mind…

“E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme, and shall be till I die.”

My faith is small… not even a mustard seed it seems these days. But it sees the stream.

Redeeming love.

That is the Gospel.

That is the truth.

That is what I must cling to when the fiery darts sting, when fear paralyzes.

And I curl into this truth as Bella girl curls into us at night.

And today I find safety and warmth and peace.

Redeeming love.

My theme.

It shall be till I die.

I am a daughter of love.

7 responses to “My Theme”

  1. Angie, listen to “Embracing Accusation” by Shane & Shane.

    I’m praying for you tonight.

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  2. Angie, I could relate to this post more than you know. You wrote so beautifully. I am praying for you.

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  3. Oh, Friend, I hear your heart so clearly in these words. The battle you are engaged in daily is exhausting. Spiritual abuse is insidious. I know how it feels to be hacked away at by the misuse of the Sword of the Spirit. I am so grateful that you know the truth. The Gospel. My prayer for you is to feel it deeply. And no matter how the enemy tries to accuse you, you are MORE beautiful in the suffering. I am sorry it has to be this way. But I thought on Sunday as I saw you walk up the aisle, “She is so beautiful.” And as you reached out in your pain to another, it was only confirmed. Stand in the strength of the one who calls you beloved. Or I should say rest in that strength. Many prayers go with you today…

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  4. Angie, there is much beauty here in your retelling this part of your story. The Gospel shines brighter against the enemy of our souls’ accusations, your ongoing trial, your confession of weakness. When I read that part of Kara’s book, I thought of you and your daughter. As you nestle close to your Savior through all of this, I pray God’s love for you will be the most real thing in your life.

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  5. Oh, Ang. I have been thinking about you all day today and praying for you. Even in your own trials, you are able to see and savor Christ, and my prayer is that you will continue to do so. May you continue to feel God’s presence wrapped around you so that you can feel the warmth and the safety in God’s loving arms. I love you dearly, friend!

    ……..PS.. I still struggle with the same church idea of suffering as a punishment; I thank-you for the reminder that this is NOT true and that our punishment has already been paid for. This is a scar that will probably will always be there, but by God’s grace will hopefully fade in time. So, thank you again, for those reminders.

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  6. Oh Angie, I am praying for you.

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  7. Precious friend,
    There is no one else like you…even that fact angers the Acuser/the Prince of Darkness…causes him to lash out at you with even more lies of the past, trying to rekindle those fading embers.

    God’s love is so true and so vibrant…He has smothered the embers of those old lies…He has made you His daughter, made you His Valiant daughter…the words you write proclaim His truth, day in and day out, to all who falter and waver under the onslaught of lies.

    Thank you for expressing yourself in grace and truth, in frailty and honesty, in trust and love…helping us to raise our faces to the uplifter of our souls, and cling to Him in faith as we have before.

    I praise God for your sweet life my dear…Angie the Valiant.

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