Runaway. Advent Pursuit. Advent Rescue. And a giveaway

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Runaway

The Runaway Bunny was a favorite of both my girls when they were younger. Above is a photo of the well worn board book I now keep in their trunk of childhood treasures. Hundreds of times over I whispered the sweet story of the little rabbit trying oh so hard to flee from his mother. His persistence was ever answered by her patient pursuit of love no matter how far he ran or how deeply he hid.

Several years ago on a dark and frigid night I attended an intimate Christa Wells concert at a tiny stone church in Akron. I was not well and should have been in bed, but Christa’s music had been a lifeline of truth for me, and I needed to be close to her gift, meet her face to face and thank her. Performing with her was Jess Ray, an indie artist I’d never heard of before. I was sitting just feet away from the strum of her simple guitar and liquid voice infused with a hint of scratchy LP grit. I was completely taken in by a new song she had written around the framework of the children’s story I knew by heart. Her lyrics stripped me bare. On my way out I met Jess, and I asked her how I could find this song. I needed the words. I needed the music. She told me it wasn’t recorded yet. She had timidly played it for our huddled community that night. I came home and scribbled what I could remember in my journal. One line stood out. “I will leave behind the ninety-nine, oh that you’ll be mine.” Jess eventually recorded “Runaway” on her album titled Sentimental Creatures. It soothes on my peace playlist every night as I fight for rest in my pain.

Listen to it now.

I’ve been running hard.
I’ve been hiding.
There have even been moments I’ve made up in my mind I don’t want to be by His side.
I’ve been stomping and screaming.
I’ve been beating on His chest, because I just don’t understand.

Still, He is here.
Pursuing me.
Searching east to west.
Reminding me.

I will never see the bottom of His storehouse of love.
No choice I make,
No path I take will change His mind.
He will love me.
He will teach me to love Him again.

Listen again.

Sunday was the first night of Advent, but today, December 1st, is when we begin our walk and worship. Since 2010 our family has been celebrating Advent not just with weekly readings and candles but nightly ones using Caleb Voskamp’s handcrafted Cradle to Cross wreath. His rustic way of light takes us on a journey beginning with Advent and continuing through the Lenten season to the Resurrection of Christ. I think we bought one of the first 50 he made. Last year we added Ann Voskamp’s treasure of a book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, a telling of the Biblical narratives from the Garden of Eden to the birth of our Savior leading us to His indescribable gift of salvation. In the mornings during my own quiet time I read and meditate on Advent poetry and reflections including worn editions of Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, WinterSong: Christmas Readings from my dear Luci and Madeleine and Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation from Luci. It is my favorite time of year for almost none of the reasons or feelings we are told or sold to celebrate. I have never needed the sacred discipline more than I do now.

I am plunging back into a grueling round of plasmapheresis treatments tomorrow. I will have a new port placed in the morning and head to dialysis for the first round. Over the next ten days I will have five rounds with days off in between to rest. I am too weary to remind you here of my complicated diagnosis, debilitating symptoms, past risks and rewards and why I’m doing this again now. I’m simply asking you to please pray for me. I know this works. I also know each time we access my main artery the odds of something happening increase. I’ve waited this long between treatments to try and let my venous system heal. I feel horrible during this process, particularly the evening after the pheresis. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to do it outpatient and locally, but it is a double edged sword. I need to be in bed and resting when I’m not at the hospital. This never happens as it should. In April, the last time I had treatments, there were complications, and I was hospitalized. Please pray for my husband. He took me today for an appointment with the overseeing physician and for labs. He told me he feels like he’s been kicked in the gut over and over again. Please pray for my girls. They are old enough to understand their mama will never be truly well. This is not an illness we get through or conquer but rather a way of living for all of us.

The past few weeks I have been increasingly frantic. My neuropsych symptoms war with my physical fatigue and the demons of infection cross my brain barrier and whisper lies about what my life is worth.

I’ve been running hard.
I’ve been hiding.
There have even been moments I’ve made up in my mind I don’t want to be by His side.
I’ve been stomping and screaming.
I’ve been beating on His chest, because I just don’t understand.

Still, He is here.
Pursuing me.
Searching east to west.
Reminding me.

I will never see the bottom of His storehouse of love.
No choice I make,
No path I take will change His mind.
He will love me.
He will teach me to love Him again.

He left the ninety-nine to search me and know me.
It is an Advent rescue of a runaway.
Friends, this is the Gospel.
He came to seek and save.
When everything else falls away I am safe in His arms, and He is rejoicing over me.

“So He told them this parable, saying, ‘What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.'”–Luke 15:3-5

First Day of Christmas Giveaway
Tell me about a time you ran away. How did God pursue you and bring you back into the fold? I am giving away a copy of Jess Ray’s Sentimental Creatures in my first of twelve days of Christmas giving. Share this beautiful song with someone on social media and comment here to be entered. I will randomly choose a winner on December 12th. Stay tuned for new posts with more giveaway goodies! Blessings to you and yours as you begin your Advent journey.

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3 Comments on Runaway. Advent Pursuit. Advent Rescue. And a giveaway

  1. Gina Weeks
    December 1, 2015 at 10:27 pm (2 years ago)

    Your words always touch the deepest place of my heart and soul. I am praying for you — especially tomorrow as you go in to start this newest round of treatments. Much love for you.

    Gina ❤️

    Reply
    • Gina Weeks
      December 1, 2015 at 10:29 pm (2 years ago)

      The Lord pursued me when I was left hopeless and helpless as a single mom — when we lost our business — and especially now as I face uncertain days with my health struggles. He is faithful and He pursues us, always. — g ❤️

      Reply
  2. Lisa Romie
    December 1, 2015 at 11:28 pm (2 years ago)

    I ran away from hope. Hope that I was normal The crazy me wanted to hide from the hope of a normal life. I ran not knowing that the real me was there the whole time. I just had to realize that it was not in the perfect house or the perfect marriage or having perfect children. God saw me as I was. I ran back to him and now I am whole again.

    Reply

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