Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Music that speaks to our souls

Over the past three days I have had conversations with several friends and experienced the power of music.

1) At my parents house I put on "Take my Life" by Chris Tomlin and "Sweetly Broken" by Jeremy Riddle. Shiloah had just woken up from a nap and I was dancing around the living room. For some reason I love dancing in my parents big open room. Its fun, energizing, and connecting to God in some way. Shiloah wasn't quite sure what I was doing at first, but then she got up and did a turn and then crawled back onto my mom's lap. It was precious. I pray that one day she will experience the soothing words that I do.

2) I recently burned a few CD's for a friend and when I drove back into Raleigh, she shared with me some of her favorites. We have an amazing band at our church and she explained her longing for them to make a CD that she could have. I would totally buy one and listen to it regularly if I had it. A recent fav is "Song of Hope" by the Robbie Seay Band. We had fun laughing and singing and connecting with God and each other through worship. Awesome!!!

3) Yesterday, I was over at Kim's house and we were talking about our longing for grace. Its so hard to receive it. I have a lot of shame that I still carry. I am thankful that I can lay it down. But, it takes reminders and the Holy Spirit to bring me to a place where I can. She shared with me "Mighty is the power of the cross" by Chris Tomlin. We just sat there and soaked in the words. Thank you for sharing that with me!

4) This morning I was doing yoga and listening to my mix of music. Two more grace filled songs soothed my soul. "Broken Cisterns" and "Adore and Tremble" by Daniel Renstrom.

I wish I could load them all here for you to listen to, but I haven't figured that out yet. So, if you have time or want to, the lyrics combined with the instruments speak in ways that I can't describe to my soul. I hope they offer you hope, peace, and joy as well.


Shannon Smith said...

You could try using Mux Tape. I've never used it, but I'm sure you could figure it out.

Kim Smith said...

You're welcome, Traci! Our talk yesterday was exactly what I needed. Your friendship is good for my soul. I'm so glad that I could share one of my favorite songs with you!

chewie said...

It's probably just me, but I'm hung up on your #3... and I hear it from a lot of people who struggle w/ their past. (not that you necc. do). How much of that "shame" and "carrying" do you think is a result of living in a church culture which prizes perfection (or close to it)? It's hard for me to picture the diciples walking around w/ Jesus feeling much shame or guilt. Maybe I'm wrong. I imagine they were themselves. What is it about our faith that doesn't let people just be? Is it that relentless desire to be better than you were? There's nothing wrong w/ self-improvement, but I wonder if it gets taken too far. I've been thinking about this stuff lately as I've analyzed my friendships and my life. Anyway Traci, you're one of the genuinely nicest people I know... if you carry anything around, it should be your energy, your smile and the eagerness for the future. F the rest!

traci said...


thank you for your kind words. I don't think its just you... there are a lot of messages that I have taken in over the years that have fed into my desire to be perfect, some of them from the churches and christian groups I have been a part of, some of them from my family, some of them from some place dark inside of myself, some from culture at large...

i felt for a long time that I had to keep a smile on my face and not admit that I still had negative feelings (like shame or guilt or fear or self hatred or anger)... now I know that I can admit them and be cleansed from them. It took a lot of therapy for me to even admit that I had those places inside of me...

I thought I was over it, but there are still areas of my life where I still feel that I have to somehow earn God's favor because of something I did wrong years ago. (that s totally un biblical)

I have been asking God to help me experience his grace in all areas of my life. Actually this past month has been one of the best times for God to speak that to my soul.

Thank you for your encouragement.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Chewie (and your response to him)..gosh that whole thing hit home for me tonight.

Also, every time I thank God for having you in my life (which is quite often:) ), I am thankful for the WHOLE of you, not just the parts of you that are energetic and cheerful and nice, but how real and open and honest and gracious and deep and reflective and direct and compassionate you are, all at once. Thank you for just being you, Traci.

Love ya!

chewie said...

When we lived in the 'burg and we were developing some friendships, there was one couple we started hanging out w/ on a regular basis, often into the late hours. When we didn't know each other that well, I would wake up the next morning wondering "did I say something stupid?" or "oh, man, I can't believe we did that" and I would fire off an email the next day saying I was sorry for this or that. And my friend S would always shoot back right away "we're friends... you don't have to apologize for anything". Not only did she shut me up w/ the apologies, she showed me that she truely loved me/us for who we were. That's stood for me as a better example of what it means to live out being a Christian than anything. And one could make great arguments for why I had sinned and why I needed forgiveness and accountability groups. But for me, that would have led to a fabricated over-wrought "friendship" based on mutual behavior rather than the beautifully open and honest friendship we share with those friends. Friends like that never make you feel any of those things.

I know that, like anything, that can get taken to an extreme to disasterous results; however, I refuse to limit myself to mediocrity because of fear. My thoughts lately are aimed at surrounding my life with the freedom to be and to live, as God intended.

Your friend Julie is right to celebrate all of you - the good, the bad, the ugly... it's what makes each of us who we are. When our friends embrace that, we have an easier time embracing ourselves. When our friends (and culture, and society, and church, etc.) constantly push and needle us into certain behaviors we become insecure and dissatisfied in the name of self-improvement.

Anonymous said...

chewie- i don't know you..but i like you!!! traci's mom

traci said...

chewie-- i believe you stumbled onto something... there is a sense of unconditional love and grace that God extends to us that it seems like your friends extended to you... i am learning to live in that space more an more. thanks for encouraging me to do that!

chewie said...

btw, Traci's mom, in case you ever check this link again... we've met at church a couple of times. I'm one half of the Blacksburg couple! Someday I hope to be neighbors w/ you again.