What God means to Make of Your Stress

There were guitars this weekend.

There were guitars and a hymn and there were voices rising and raised hands, and who could help it?

Were the whole realm of nature mine, even this, the raised hands, the bowed head, the murmuring of thanks — it would be an offering far too small.

I had thought that.


I had thought that standing there worshiping with the guitars and strings. The empty space filling those guitars. The empty hands, released and raised.

The cries all rising.

It can startle: In the willing hands of the believing, the emptiness can sing. He means to fill our emptiness with song.

The way home, I had hummed quiet.

There were wounds this weekend. Sometime before bed, I say something off hand and he says nothing.

He doesn’t have to. I turn and can see it in his eyes and it’s so loud. Hollowness can have a language of its own.

Behind a closed bedroom door, he turns his back and I shake my head. Fling hands about confused. Ugly. Want to raise my voice. I get the irony of this — and irony, it can hurt like swung steel. What I don’t get is how he’s not getting me and I’m not getting him and how did we get here so fast?

The empty space, it’s between us.

All this dark chamber.


It was after the guitars had been put in their cases that morning, that someone had said it to me. Told me about strings and space.

About how to make music.

Music is made in stress. That a string pulled tight, it has to be plucked, it has to be stressed. Moved from it’s comfortable, resting position. The bending of the string, this induces stress. And as the string bends, as the string arches in stress, and then releases, it vibrates — and there is the offering.

This one clear note, high and long.

Stressed and empty and stretched right out, this is the space of song.

In stress, there can be song.

The resonance is in the surrender.

After the lights are turned out, I lay there in the dark, in this tight silence between us, remembering how the cries can rise.

Music could be here.

I ask and he speaks and I listen and try to echo back his heart, that I have heard him, and I turn to him, bend, move out of the comfortable position, out the rest of self-protection, and I reach for his hand and this bending, it’s a stretch, a stress — but where else can the songs be found?

In the dark emptiness, I find his and he squeezes my hand.

The resonance is always in the surrender.

The stress, the spaces right full of emptiness, these can be song makers. God means to make song out stress. Out of all this emptiness.

Maybe this is always how to make life-worship: He holds tight and He strums and I could surrender to the music of God.

I shift a bit closer and I’m retuned and returned and it’s there in the shadows, like a refrain — this sonorous offering of thanks.


An offering of thanksthe stress becoming this song #3167 – #3178 of One Thousand Gifts

worshiping with the women of Grace Fellowship this weekend

finding Sarah’s lost ringoh, thank you, Lord!

tulips in bloom on the table

Family Day today!

not letting the stars set until we get it worked out

the old man walking down the street with a bouquet of flowers

a son who says “It’s okay, Mom.”

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a quiet day playing with six kids

finding a wondrously crazy boy reading his Bible early

how even in our emptiness, He can make song

{Consider pausing music by clicking the slider directly under the header? If reading in a reader or via email, click here to view video? }
Unspeakable, unending thanks be to God…

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Take The JOY DARE for February— and Count 1000 Gifts in 2012 (maybe winning the NikonD90 camera would be a gift too?)

Thank-you is a word that can change you, your world — the whole world!

Share the joy?

oneThousandGifts-February{Download to print here}

{P.S.: Some were wondering where/how to chronicle their #1000gifts in 2012? Any way that works best for you:

in a private journal, with the free app, on your blog and join us in linking up here on the blog every Monday, on the free Year of Graces calendar, or on facebook or twitter (#1000gifts). I’ll be sharing thanks to God each day, Lord willing, on my personal facebook page and on the One Thousand Gifts facebook page — the community there is profoundly encouraging. You are more than welcome to join us! And yes, we will post a new Joy Dare Calendar here on the blog, the first of every month, Lord willing — you can use the Joy Dare Calendar for each month — or not at all.

The point is? Just count any 3 gifts a day — to count 1000 gifts in a year. That’s all. Any way that works for you! Just count your blessings!

And yes — we’ll be updating the blog with more information about the draw for the Nikond90 camera for those who complete the dare and count 1000 gifts in 2012! Open our eyes, Lord, Open our eyes! The Whole Earth is fully of Your Glory! }


Free Printables : 3 Ways to Find Joy this week

1. A Year of Graces {A Free 12 Month Gratitude Calendar} Click to print here
Picnik collagePicnik collage


2. Count all His Gifts Wherever You Are: {One Thousand Gifts Free App}:

Click here for the free #1000gifts app : The gift of joy for a friend? Print this card about the free app for a friend Picnik collage

3. 1 Paper = 1 Week of Joy
Tuck 1 sheet of paper in a pocket & jot down 7 gifts for 7 days:
(perfect booklet to cultivate the habit of the joy hunt for kids)

(folding instructions for booklet here)

Picnik collage


Join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts?

Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post.

Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!