Wild Hymn II: All Days Sacred

 

 

I tiptoed through this process. I wanted to share the old songs with my crew, my people.It’ s what I do. This’ll be effortless. But each time, a stone wall came up and a new song came out.  I kept thinking… This isn’t ideal. I can’t sing today a song I wrote yesterday. How pretentious. It’s not tried and true. It’s not practiced up. It’s not “legitimate.”  Maybe it’s not the “RIGHT” one to sing….I mean,   my personality is about to crash into this sacred space, and I’m not sure it’s going to fit.

 

And then I would see it…  it would happen, like a fresh air coming in the room, better, unique, special, precisely because it was that “song of today” …. like manna, that expires.

 

Being inspired to trust your authentic expression in whatever form it comes, is a rare thing in a loud world of conformity. (I’m not talking just about music of course.)  And it’s not just conformity, but fear because of past conflicts of what happened when our personality crashed into someone else’s! Can I get an amen?   We start to hold back/push down, or get fed up and bitter and say, “To [beep] with it!  I’m [full force] going to stop dealing with other people! “   I like to go to the piano and hide sometimes. Just being honest.

 

In the overwhelm of  overconnectedness, we keep it all at bay with our pre-set expectations and post-produced image, shutting out  the authentic expression of today.

We are reaching for the past or impatient about the future, never thinking that the best of life could be in how

 

God wants to meet with us today. Today? Today is a bust. It’s half-gone.  It’s just not the right time.  Just not feelin’ it.  

We have so many reasons to not believe that what the infinite God is pulsing through our limited hearts to give to the world is appropriate, enough.  I hope this project inspires you to re-think that! His voice in your heart…today, moving you to express that thing, that thought…today.

If today’s expires, there’s more manna tomorrow.  Pick it up and eat it. Jesus said, “I am the manna.” 

He is the mind and heart of TODAY.  What we seek is here TODAY.  His voice in our ear we need to hear is.. TODAY.

These are the rhema songs of the past year.  The “sing a new song” songs. The “I want to connect with God right NOW, not relying on yesterday’s song to do that.” The  “All days sacred” songs.

I can’t wait to share them with you.

iTunes / Apple Music

Spotify

Google play: 

CDS: 

YouTube:

 

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tori polariod question

 

{I’ve reached out to my friend, Tori Dodds, and asked if I could feature her photography for this project.} 

 

Wild Hymn Journal: Trail

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

Behind “Trail”

I  was having an epiphany in my crisis ramblings to my husband. “That’s why people should live next to grandma! Somebody gotta help rock this baby to sleep while I clean up the dinner dishes. No wonder my life doesn’t work in this day and age with everyone living so far away from each other.”

I was on the right track, but my crisis got deeper.

It seems to me that the important moments in life are the most secretive. Yeah, we hear it said,  “the real you is who you are when no one is looking,” but even more than that – the real stuff of life is what you have in your heart at the end of the day that no one sees but you.

When discouragement has knocked you down, fear has you in a rut of setback after setback, or just plain ignorance has you in a fog, in the quiet at home, life is worth living for the few treasures that you still have: knowing you’re forgiven, knowing that God has brought friendships into your life in which you have both given and received, knowing you went for something even if you failed.

We don’t have much patience to look deep into our piles of clutter and mess to discover if “those treasures” (above) are standing the test of time.

Instead, we let our surroundings tell us whether or not our lives are valuable or worthwhile and dwell on memories. And when we feel like they are all we have, we wrap them around us and hide.

My mom died when I was 29. I miss her, and I’ve often feel like I had a right to a pity party. Going through the hardest decade of my life so far (raising small kids) I have often felt like, how am I supposed to do this without her?

One day in a prayerful fit of despair,  I huffed and puffed through gritted teeth the wretched but honest thoughts of my heart, “If my mom were here, she’d buy me a set of dishes that matched; she’d haul me to Hobby Lobby’s 40% off day to get a picture for that wall; she’d give me all  her towels because she’d want to buy new ones.”

Realizing that it only spirals downward to wish her back, I had nothing left to do but draw upon the promises of God. My cries turned to declarations that day. “Lord, I am not going to go there, because if I do there’s no coming back. She’s not coming back from the dead now.  You are good and good to me, and you will send SEVEN (more than enough) women who will see me and love me and treat me just like my mom did! I will not lack for anything!”

And what do you think happened? That year, one very special woman began to come to my house … DAILY. She’d say that her prayer was to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and He would tell her to come to my house every day.  She loaded my fridge, bought me storage containers, bought me dresses for events…like a mother to me.  She’d rock my baby while I made dinner in the corner in my living room just as I had been imagining and thinking.  She’d come to the door and say, “Yoo hooo,” in the very tone my mother had always done. She was a very specific gift from the Lord to me. Everything I spoke in that desperate prayer came through her during one of the most stressful periods of my life, the year after baby number 3.

I am not alone.

When I cried out to God and called upon his promise to be all in all, to meet every need. Specifically. He answered me with his Body.

Understanding that God is with us, believing and not doubting so that we will draw upon the well of resources He has provided is not an easy revelation. In Christ, the fullness of God is in my spirit, but by faith, we are able to experience it “in the flesh” for real!

No matter how lonely the trail or hard the terrain… we

are.

not

alone!

Trail

On a long dark forgotten trail
Oh I found the tree of life
Dusty broken lost and lonely there
But I felt so alive

A few towns, find a city there
No one cares or knows my name
Stop awhile raise a family there
But this world is not my home

Help me understand

You are my home in this world

I am not alone in this world

On a long dark forgotten trail
Oh a shell of life is gone
Growing up now I know, I am not alone

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

 

 

 

Wild Hymn Journal: Rose of Sharon

Wild Hymn Journal: Secret Place (Cry)

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

Behind “Secret Place (Cry)”

In a wretched argument with my husband, I had screamed, “Good luck! You have 30 days!” as I slammed the door and lay down. I won’t even go into the details of that crisis, because I’ve already shared too much, but I was in a vortex of despair and couldn’t get out. Of course, I believed it was all his fault, and he had to fix it. After 12 years of marriage, we were weary of the same old arguments, and I was trying to find my footing in a freefall.

That evening, some old friends came over for dessert, (not knowing about our conflict) telling us out a counselor that they had told us about before. Suddenly, the words were life to me.  I played it cool, but I had to have it.  

The mp3 files.

Via Dropbox.

TONIGHT!

(He had offered, and I was so thankful.)

That night I put the earbuds in and began to listen to this teacher/pastor/counselor say, “If you will give me 30 days.”

Y’all…

He continued his words which began to slowly pull me out of my vortex. A discussion where theology and neurology and psychology and meditation and New Convenant Jesus teaching merge.

It is one thing to praying in the spirit, even groan in the spirit, but this was a different kind of time of prayer.

You know the mystery:  the fullness of Christ dwells in me in my spirit, but I have a soul that gets tangled up and not in agreement with that all-powerful provision and truth in my spirit (which is Christs united with mine in “unbroken fellowship”).

Where does God’s spirit flow into my consciousness so that it is revealed and expressed and enjoyed in my body/flesh.  That transformation from the inside out.

That secret place where we connect with the Lord not externally, because He is not outside. He is outside, but also within in the exchanged life, the communal life.

After those 30 days, the vortex was gone, and I could breathe and when I laid my hands on the keys to make music… this is one of the songs that came out from that sacred mysterious place of connecting with God.

Secret Place

I know
You know
Even more than I do

And I can
you can
Even more than I do

Tell it to my heart
I know
And you know
and I know it–It’s just the way goes
That’s the way it goes

Tell it to my heart
And you know and I’ll know
And I know it

That’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes

What tears cry
Groans don’t lie

I’m there
And you there
Even more than I know
Your spirit
And my soul
Meet in my heart

Tell it to my heart
And I know
And you’ll know
I know it–that’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes

Meet in my heart
Where you are
And I am
And I know it–that’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes

What tears cry
Groans don’t lie

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

 

Wild Hymn Journal: Take Me Away

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

Behind “Rose of Sharon”

On the song, “Take Me Away”

One of the paradoxes of life is that you have to pull away from people and places to keep perspective, yet you have to stay connected to people and places in order to be rooted in the love of companionship. That waxing and waning. That coming and going is like the chapters of life weaving in and out of clarity and confusion.

From my small town West Texas upbringing, I went to college in the no-man’s land of New Mexico, which was a spacious breath of air I needed in that transition. What a different world, a different pace. I wanted to get away from the life I knew.  I don’t really know all of my motivations: I was afraid of only becoming the things that people clap for. The successes of high school were bittersweet because they were both very real and very not, to me. Because they launched me into a world where I could not bring the accolades with me. (What good is that? Like a quality-controlled dress rehearsal for a play that hasn’t been written yet.)

After college I landed back at home recalibrating again–my newfound independence having betrayed me. My desire for authenticity, connection with God, and peace about my future had tapped out my abilities to maintain an inner spiritual turmoil. I found myself not only incapable, but incapacitated by the struggle, spiritually drained–> physically drained.  Understanding the exchanged life in Christ was what saved me, literally. I discovered the joy of my salvation. In the most devastating, dependent circumstances—too sick to work–I had discovered my greatest treasure in Christ.

Soon after, getting my feet on the ground and getting my first real job, I met Zach. We got married, did music together and moved to Los Angeles where I assumed I was starting my true calling. It turned out that I was (spiritually speaking) just the 15-year old daughter of a king, learning to handle a horse and sword out in the back pasture, and I had yet to receive my first real assignment in life. I felt like I could do anything, but I realized I was embarrassingly only ….practicing. (This metaphor was a huge gift from the Lord to me when I was trying to understand “where I was in life” and … He answered my question.)

When we transitioned to Nashville, I thought I’d come so far, but I discovered I was (spiritually) at the beginning, the bottom of yet another mountain. As I began to plan a course of action, to reach the goals that we saw as our future, I discovered my first baby was on the way. In tears, I struggled with what I’ve called pre-partum depression, though after my first child was born, I cried for joy for weeks. Through that struggle of transitioning, I thought that submitting to a new rhythm would bring peace and harmony into my life.  But landing in a pile of dishes with toddlers around me was a much harder reality to face than I had expected.

But you know what dragged me out of that pit? Discovering that I’m not a victim to growing at the pace of circumstances. With the power of God inside, I can speak to my mountains and calm the storm in Jesus name.  Not metaphorically, but actually!

Take Me Away

You take me away with you
And I lose my way
Back roads and mountains and cities
And I find my way in you
I find my way
I go back to find my way
always in You

You are my mountain moving
You are my calm on the waves
You are my mountain beauty
I find my way always in You

So take me away with you
And I’ll lose my way
Back roads and mountains and cities
And I’ll find my way in you
I find my way
I go back to find my way
Always in you

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

{wild hymn journal} Does it really say, “Each one has a hymn?”

Does it really say, “each one has a hymn…” in 1 Corinthians 14:26

Ok. Let’s get specific here. This verse has been very important to me for a long time, and I hadn’t even connected it to my plan to record these wild hymns until I was deep in the process.

“When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” 1 Corinthians 14:26

Sitting still for an hour and hearing one man preach is usually how the gift of teaching is expressed in the Body of Christ. Sitting still for an hour and hearing one person (or group) sing is usually have a gift of songs is expressed in the Body of Christ. Sitting still and hearing one man encourage is usually how the gift of encouragement is expressed in the body of Christ. Ok, ok…

The scriptures go on to say that three or four should teach, three or four should speak in tongues…. WHAT?! You think, I’m not ready for all that stuff! Joni, what are you talking about!?

These are some of the defining things that the Lord has impressed upon Zach and I as our definitions of church fellowship continue to grow and change.

The point: In any group setting, many have something to offer. So, ok, maybe yours is not a song, but the essence is there. You have SOMETHING. Logistically not everyone can share, thus a distinction of “Let four or five….”, but it is a beautiful thing when there is space and time devoted to it.

Who allows for this in spiritual gatherings..or even friendly gatherings? The bold or confident people win, and the quiet people lose. I understand why it is hard logistically, but it is an important re-defining that needs to take place.

Just let me encourage you, that even when no one is asking for it, and even when you don’t feel ready…. it’s always the right time to share the good news of Jesus’ redemption in all the forms that Christ’s love is made manifest through our lives.

Half done, half perfect, half ready… Good news is always right on time.

All of these things must be done! That means you.

Give me courage to speak up! To share what I have. To listen with an open heart. To find You in the very people I have rejected or deemed unimportant! All of who You are reaching me through the Body of Christ all around me.

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Read all of the {Wild Hymn Journal} here

To get updates and invitations for other rooms in Joni’s House, subscribe [yks-mailchimp-list id=”f23b6ab6ad” submit_text=”Keep me posted!”]

Wild Hymn Journal: Rose of Sharon

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

Behind “Rose of Sharon”

I don’t know if I can write this out…. without a video, because a fire lights up in me over stuff like this! I know how it is. We are lucky if after all these years we have more than a handful of scriptures that are locked in our hearts and experience by faith. But the older I have gotten, the idea of learning just one line of Scripture makes my skin crawl. If you have ever known spiritual deception and its destruction, you know what I mean. Spiritual confusion put me in a sick bed once, a pit that wrecked my life for a short time, and I see the answers that I was craving were there in black and white all along. And by them, through revelation by the holy spirit,  I was made well.

Jesus had already given me everything I was flailing to grasp by my own efforts. Jesus is the Living Word, but the scriptures explain spiritual realities in real terms. Untangling my twisted gospel is what lifted my heart out of the inner-striving which had led to the chronic fatigue syndrome that landed me in bed after college for a year. I looked to the scriptures. I knew my answer was there, but my spirit struggled with the message of grace. I was determined to BE the deserving daughter. He had alreaady made me so by His gift of Christ to me.

And you’ll have to forgive me for sounding like the former English teacher that I am…. but it’s REAL. It’s all there, but if someone can’t see that sentence in the context of its paragraph, the paragraph above and below it, its chapter, its book, and especially its placement in either the old or new covenant!? No wonder there are so many different interpretations … and sick minds. When it comes to the bible, it really does make a life-size difference.

You misunderstand words when you don’t know where they’re coming from.Romans 4-8 cannot be understood unless they are read together.And anything in Romans 8 should not be taken alone without an understanding of the structure of the chapter as a whole. Entire ways of life are dangerously built on isolated scriptures.

It’s so important to me that I am creating materials about it as we speak. We say we don’t have time for meaningful things, but yet we feed on fiction and Disney. We may call the Bible the most important book in the house, but we don’t know how to interact with it. It takes patience and study and instruction, and nobody wants to do that. But as a parent, the least I can do is give my children a taste of what a chapter is like over simply learning a line or verse.

I know that over their lifetime at least two of these passages in Isaiah 35 will be quoted to them over and over. They were to me. I never put them together. I only discovered it years later, when I discovered the true heart of Isaiah 35.

(1) The highway that even fools can’t miss.(verse 8) How can you mess up a gift? You can’t…unless you believe it is not a gift and determine to work for it. That is the power of the gospel. Understanding that EVERYTHING from God comes as a gift changes everything. The only way to mess it up is to believe it is obtained or sustained by our actions.

So at all times, as I look for the solid rock to put my foot on… it’s the road I can’t miss…the promise which HE sustains–not me. It’s the news that Jesus gives wisdom freely, healing freely, provision freely, forgiveness freely! It’s IN HIM.

(2) The other phrase from Isaiah 35 that I know my children will encounter countless times in their life is the poetic stream in the desert image (“Waters break forth in the wilderness,”) (verse 6), which suggests, “Don’t worry, refreshing water is on the way. Surely, He will make a way. Lord, make a way. …. but that old covenant promise has been fulfilled in Christ. God DID make a way. Jesus IS the Way! He is the stream in the desert. Now! Rivers of living water that flow out of the heart of a believer! We wait on so many things that Christ has ALREADY given us! We just have not understood and believed the truth about what He has ALREADY done and promised! So we do not receive, experience that peace, that reality.

(3) Then there is the healing issue. (Verse 5) “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”  As John needed to know before his death, Was Jesus really the promised Messiah? Jesus sent the answer (Luke 7:22). “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk.” Just as God has removed our sins which we experience by faith, he has removed our diseases (Isaiah 53/Psalms 103) which we also experience by faith. Healing came through Jesus, and now He lives in New Covenant reality IN US. As we rest firmly in these truths, the miracles of Jesus become everyday realities.

After praying for some aquaintances who were healed, they called me to pray for one friend’s aunt. When I arrived at the hospital, I thought I was praying for bed sores, but it had turned into terminal kidney failure. I was surrounded by strangers, and I did not know their background, but they had just asked me to pray. There was only one thing to say, “Lord, you said that you placed all sickness on Jesus, and that means that you bore this, and she doesn’t have to. So be it — in Jesus’ name.” I left after a few quick hellos and goodbyes.

She was completely and miraculously healed that day.

I hope that as you listen to Isaiah 35, you will consider these things as realities that are available to you and renew your mind to the FULL meaning of the scriptures in context. Ask Him Mark 16:20–to confim His Word to you with signs and wonders.  Let new understanding be written over the old lies of the heart which drive our emotions and actions in an endless spinning of waiting on God to do things He has already done. Take hold of the encouragement and move forward in faith. No longer doubting, no longer stuck! Thank you, God!

All {Wild Hymn Journal Posts}

Take Me Away

Secret Place (cry)

Trail

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon on YouTube

Read all of the {Wild Hymn Journal} here

To get updates and invitations for other rooms in Joni’s House, subscribe [yks-mailchimp-list id=”f23b6ab6ad” submit_text=”Keep me posted!”]

Wild Hymn {A Home Recording Project}

What's your song? Are you still singing? Do you feel uninvited? Unannounced? Unmade? Un-ready? What's your #wildhymn "...each of you has a hymn.." 1 Corinthians 14:26 iTunes: https://itun.es/us/yjRo9 Free on Bandcamp: http://goo.gl/YVBwc8 Wild Hymn Journal/Stories:joninichols.net/wild-hymn-journal Follow: http://soundcloud.com/joninichols Full story: http://joninichols.net/wild-hymn youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbM4Fvpjf8o Bonus Songs for purchase at http://goo.gl/YVBwc8
What’s your song? Are you still singing? Do you feel uninvited? Unannounced? Unmade? Un-ready? What’s your #wildhymn “…each of you has a hymn..” 1 Corinthians 14:26
i1 Corinthians 14:26

Links: iTunes / Bandcamp / Wild Hymn Journal /
youtube / Bonus Songs for purchase (Sold Out)

{Read the Wild Hymn Journal –behind each song}

Elsewhere

Oh, you know that back road path. The one no one wants to talk about, because everyone calls it “lost”, and yet it is your only way. It’s the path that the great writers only hint at between the lines of their greatest works when they just cannot quantify what caused them to arrive where they arrived.

I don’t know – it’s the space where my soul is growing, where you linger because The leaf just hasn’t unfolded yet. It’s where nothing and no one can find you, and you don’t need to be found.

“Where lunch will be weeds and heaven’s conversation,”I put it once.

There, yes, there, I recorded some songs on my old piano in the middle of a random August week.

To document and declare–I’m alive! The wilderness didn’t kill me. And the wild flowers are vase-worthy.

The great machine did not succeed in telling me I have no voice. Nor did the glamsuaries where songwriters became rockstars.

Here, I found the slow pace of growth. And everyday miracles. The nutritional value of locusts and honey. Where Jesus delivered the cream for my coffee – not metaphorical cream, but actual cream.

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Where prayer – laden kitchen table conversations produced overnight miracles – over and over and over. For me, yes, but better yet, for those I love.

Jesus is the abundant universe. I roamed the ends of the earth to rediscover Him.

And songs are for sharing.

My wild hymns.

Unsolicited, unrefined.

May we reconnect raw spirit to raw spirit and feel the rushing wind of God’s love, independent of the lush rug and lamp set up of today’s worship gurus and preaching goddesses.

Here in the dirt. Let’s have church.

——————————–

Wild: 1. (of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment.

{Read the Wild Hymn Journal –behind each song}

Here’s the journey of making the album: Read more