Be Not Afraid

I know I’m filled to be emptied again…

As many of you know, Mike and I lived in Colorado last year.  We absolutely loved our time there.  Not only did we love Colorado itself — the awe-inspiring Rockies and the incredible sunshine, but we met some amazing people.  Moreover, it was a defining year for Mike and me.  It was our first year of marriage where we didn’t spend any significant time apart (our first year I moved home for a few months to care for and live with my Nana and our second I lived in a group home for people with disabilities for a few months), and actually being with each other all the time was wonderful, and what God knew we needed.  We grew so much in our relationship, and even more in our faith — in each other, in other people, and in God.

Part of what helped us grow so much in our faith was the time we spent with a wonderful church community.  I sang in a band at the youth mass and Mike helped out with the sound.  A dear friend led the music at mass and at one point asked me to sing a song called ,”Desert Song,” a worship song written by Brooke Fraser and sung in the Hillsong Church.  Over the year I spent in the band I sang it many times, and it meant so much to me as I went through different struggles-a few months of yearning to get pregnant, suffering a miscarriage, and then, finally struggling to accept that it was time for us to leave a place and people we had come to love in order to move to Washington, DC where Mike had a wonderful job opportunity and where wonderful family awaited us.

As I sang that song last  year, I knew how true the words, “I know I’m filled to be emptied again” were.  I knew, in the depths of my heart, as I was singing those words, that last year was a year I was being filled.  I could feel it.  Yet, all year I felt restless, and at times I even asked God, “What are you doing with me?”  I wanted a true purpose, and I was struggling to find one.  I felt as if I was serving God by being a good wife and hopefully somewhat, even in a small way, helping His people worship in church by singing in the church band, but I still felt as if I had more to give.  I spent months writing — sometimes just words, but also songs to God that no one but He heard, and I couldn’t help but wonder, “What is the point?”

I see now that God was preparing me.  Though I do not believe that God wills suffering, or that God caused me to get cancer, I believe that He is with me through all of this.  I believe that in my suffering, Jesus holds me, and that even when I felt purposeless last year, I was being given grace to carry me through what I now face.  I was being “filled to be emptied again”, and I must now sow the seed I received.

Last year, I began to write something in my journal, and it’s theme continued in the songs I was writing.  It was a message I had never written before, or if I had, I had never truly meant it.  I began to write the words of Mary, “Let thy will be done.”  I distinctly remember a moment when I looked back at the words I had just written in my journal and thought, “Wow, do I really mean this?” as well as, “Can I really say this to God and accept what it might mean?”  I don’t know how God is going to use me in this life.  I am scared sometimes to find out.  I don’t know if this cancer changes things or if God has always had this plan for me — these are questions I struggle with.  But I do know that last year God was filling my heart with a faith so strong that not even cancer can shake it (even though at 3 am when I am sick and afraid and feel alone cancer tries HARD to shake my faith, it doesn’t!)  I know I’m filled to be emptied again.  I am being emptied, perhaps more than I ever have been before.  Yet, I am continuously filled-by your love; by the love my family, friends, and even strangers are showering me with; and by my beautiful son.  And most importantly, through the love that surrounds me, I know that “God is my victory, and He is here.”

I’m including all the words to “Desert Song” so you can read them and I pray that they touch you in your lives as well.  I’m also including a link of me singing “Desert Song,” with the St. Francis Cabrini Band from Colorado if you’d like to hear it:

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is a God who provides

This is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
Of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flame

I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

This is my prayer in the battle
When triumph is still on it’s way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be emptied again
The seed I’ve received I will sow

To support Hillsong Church and purchase “Desert Song” and hear more of their beautiful worship music click here:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-is-our-god-live/id361942762

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4 comments

  1. sarah mazieka

    So beautiful ali!!! I pray for you every day and I know God will bring you through this and you will be home in no time watching your son grow. Lots of love -Sarah and Johnny

  2. Kristin Jeffery Payne

    Ali, I thank God that you still speak the truth and can praise God in this your time of need and being emptied! I was just reading Job the other day praying for you and a couple of other friends going through a hard time. I shared your blog with them and I hope it has encouraged them to turn to God and put their trust and confidence in him. I thank God that you can “put on the full armor of God” as you battle cancer, and that you can declare God your victory and that He is with you!

    • Kristin, it was so wonderful to hear from you! I can’t thank you enough for your encouraging words and for your heartfelt prayers. It means SO much to me. And I am so humbled by the thought that my blog has helped friends of yours!

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