Of music and musts and medicine…

The music flowed like medicine,   gently relaxing fingers
where my soul had become a fist closed tight.
Over my senses it came,  like springtime drifting through a window,
this invitation to the whole and small of me.
“Father,  I want you to hold me,”
the slow healing sound offered me words
to wrap around the lonesome inside.
“I want to rest in your arms today,”
sang someone who sounded tired like me.
Tired of hard trying and hiding
and making like I was fine.
Just fine.
There came a hush to my noise as the song ached low
and with it came permission here to be not quite fine at all.

“Hold me,”  I sang to this presence who enfolded me in a way that felt protective.
Here I sensed protection from judgement,  from evaluation,
from every driving, pushing, accusing thing i’d ever run from.
  Here was a love to run to,
and my voice dropped whisper-low as I sang the words,
“I bring all my cares and I lay them at your feet.”

This moved across my tender places so hard that I drew my breath in sharp
and let it go slow,
slow as a lifetime.
Here,  with this benevolent being,  this gently-there presence,
were no musts about another something else to do.
There was nothing here to earn.  No performance allowed.
And I heaved a tearful relief,  exhausted from effort,
from failure,
and from being angry over the notion that I had to try.

And so I began to show up to the music,
to meet with God there,
and so great was the peace of this place that I wondered whether I could ever
be moved to fear again.
Because this Love wasn’t impressed with me.
Nor un-impressed.
This freedom from evaluation felt delicious to me.

“I’m impressed” were words I’d learned to pocket
like tokens of my worth.
This had come with a hefty side of insecurity
because being impressive is such a random spark-of-brilliance kind of thing.
You never know when it will fire
or just leave you standing in the dark.
And I was tired of feeling exposed and having to hustle to cover myself.

Yet here I was,
all splayed out and weepy and unraveled and felt somehow safer still.
This began to heal the all of me
from every little bit of un-love I would ever know.
The relief swelled up inside and ran down my cheeks.
Here was a door only open,
a Love always there.

In those awkward places of pain,
those anxious parts that didn’t seem anywhere to belong,
in every tender, posing,  hard, off-putting,
game-playing,  humiliated place,
God was in the music and rocked me safe
in arms of Love.

“I feel your arms holding me,  I’m not alone.”
– Brian Doerksen

“The real ‘work’ of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice
that says good things about me,
to gently push aside and silence the many voices that question goodness
and trust that I will hear the voice of blessing.”
– Henry Nouwen


  1. Elephant's Child on April 8, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I am so very glad that you found love, acceptance, comfort…

    • jennifer on April 10, 2017 at 6:32 am

      Thanks, Sue:) I appreciate you and your kind words.
      Just so much:)

  2. Julia on April 8, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    A beautiful place to be when we find out that God loves us,just the ay we are, with scars and bruises.
    Have a lovely week Jennifer.

    • jennifer on April 10, 2017 at 6:31 am

      It is beautiful, isn’t it, Julia.
      Something I’ve danced a lifetime around and with and from:)
      Still dancing…..
      Big joy to you,

  3. Kathy on April 9, 2017 at 7:13 am

    To be held in the palms of His hands… this is what I often envision. ✨ peace to you, Jenn.

    • jennifer on April 10, 2017 at 6:30 am

      Thanks, Kathy. Such a good and comforting picture.
      Peace and thanks,

  4. jeanie on April 9, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Oh Jennifer, how beautiful that you have found your safety, love, acceptance, comfort and joy in this wonderful discovery. I really have no words except gratitude for your words and what you have found.

    • jennifer on April 10, 2017 at 6:30 am

      Thanks, dear friend. This bite of my story was churning sometime in the mid-nineties.
      I appreciate your kind words and also the point toward clarifying my time-line here.
      I get so busy in the digging I forget to mention orienting details….thank you!
      Much goodness to you and your health,

  5. ladyfi on April 9, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Beautifully written with lovely photos. In this day of Instagram, it’s important to know that it’s okay to be not fine…

    • jennifer on April 10, 2017 at 6:25 am

      Isn’t it, though. I appreciate real and flawed more and more.
      It’s a challenge to me to keep showing up when I don’t feel fine.
      Something healing about finding love in that place.
      Thanks for your kind words, Fi.

  6. Lisa on April 10, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Listening within mired struggle, hope stretching far…
    I shared the beauty of your words with some who need sustenance to hear the sacred song.

    • jennifer on April 12, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      Hope stretching far. Such a beautiful picture.
      Loving you in the struggle and sitting with you silent
      with my hand understanding on yours.
      No rushes. Craftsmanship takes time.

  7. Robin aka on April 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Wrapping you in a big virtual hug. I love the Henry Nouwen quote.

    • jennifer on April 12, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Thanks, Robin:)
      I so appreciate your you-ness:)

  8. Susan on April 11, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    love the magic of music and of prayer and of friendship.

    • jennifer on April 12, 2017 at 7:17 pm

      me too, Susan.
      Some of my favorite words, those.
      Perfect cocktail:)

  9. Sharon Leaf on April 14, 2017 at 7:24 am

    “Here was a love to run to.” You found that place, that love. Me too! So glad!

    • jennifer on April 24, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Yes, lady traveler:)
      yes and smiles:)

  10. Louise Gallagher on April 14, 2017 at 7:45 am

    So beautiful.

    In that place where the only impression we have to make is to be who we are without having to make an impression — so much glory. so much grace.

    Be well my friend. You are impressively you.

    • jennifer on April 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Yes, known without assumption:)
      This is rest:)
      Thanks and cheers,

  11. Lucille on April 15, 2017 at 2:24 am

    What a lovely expression when we don’t
    Feel fine but have the revelation thAt we
    Are loved unconditionally!
    Only our Lord can reveal that to our souls
    And confort if we let Him, eve we insist
    On performance is Naturally unnatural
    But oh how freeing to just be who we
    Are as we fall into His everlasting arms .
    Your expressions are freeing to us all.

    • jennifer on April 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      To be who we are, loved always:)
      You say it so well:)
      Thanks, Lucille, and much joy to you there where you are.
      Big hugs,

  12. Joan Creasy on April 15, 2017 at 5:47 am

    How beautiful and poignant! Shalom personified……”No good thing is withheld.”
    You dug deep for this one and found an unlimited well of grace and love. So thankful for you and love you!

    • jennifer on April 24, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks, Mom:)
      I appreciate your generous words:)
      Always love,

  13. Lee Ann Garrett on April 19, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    Oh Jen this was so beautiful….My favorite place to be is exactly where and with who you described it to be. In HIS presence listening to Him. He always surprises me with an unconditional love and such a hug to my heart as he whispers to my soul how much he loves me and the unique special ways he has made me. As I know he does for you from the beautiful words and ways he speaks into you as you write. Your heart is such a blessing to me Jen. Thank you for the realness you always share.

    • jennifer on April 22, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Yes x a million:)
      Big hugs and much thanks,

  14. Barbara Shallue on April 19, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    It is such a relief to let go and let him take over, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing your beautiful story of Love.

    • jennifer on April 22, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Such a relief:)
      Thanks for coming by and encouraging, always, in that amazing way you have:)

  15. Dawn Burnside on May 4, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Your words truly move me. I am on my way to the beach a block away & I will sit & just be. I could read your beautiful stories & words about life, love & our Lord all day long. Thank you for starting my day off wanting to be silent & hear Him as I so deperately long to do.
    Sincerely, Dawn

    • jennifer on May 8, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      A beach a block away. Are you in heaven? What a gift:)
      Enjoy your sitting and being and that sweet presence.
      With you,

  16. james wrick on January 23, 2018 at 12:52 am

    Thanks for upload such kind of nice article i am happy to see your article.

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