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Your Name is Power

I took the steps back over the ice carefully.  Nice and easy.  No sudden movements, no looking to the right or the left or even forward.  Just down.  The sun glared off of my driveway turned ice rink.  I had already gotten my annual falling on the ice move out of the way. No need for a repeat, thanks.  

I’m not a risk taker.  I’m just not.  I’ve never broken a bone, because you won’t see me climbing anything that high or running too fast or hurling myself off a bridge.  I’m not a daredevil.  I play it safe.  I don’t take huge chances.  

I don’t set myself up to get hurt.  Or to fail.

So, imagine how hard it is to want to be brave when you have very little to be brave through?  It’s not courage if you’re not scared, right?  How do you grow, how do you stretch, how do you flex the army inside your heart... if you never chance?  There’s wild and whimsical inside of us. I feel it strong, the mystery of the One greater than anyone, anything else... living in me.

A light inside a dark house of skin and bones.

In the past couple of years especially, I have been testing the waters of bravery.  I’ve been tip-toeing across a sheet of ice, step by step, moving me closer to Him.  Closer to who He has always intended me to be.  It is always one stepping stone after another.  Sometimes it’s ocean waves beneath the balls of your foot.  Sometimes it’s a dirt road.  Sometimes it’s a sheet of winter, glacier-shining ice.

... And sometimes it’s a song.

A couple weeks ago, I felt my heart squeeze tight on a dream.  A simple one, really.  Sing a song I love, to the body of believers that I love, for the God I love.  It was a secret dream.  Tucked down in the bottom drawer of my spirit. I didn’t talk about it.  I didn’t ask for it.  I didn’t share it on Instagram.  It just held steady, right there under a blanket of quiet.  A space where wishes remain just that. 

Wednesday night choir practice ends and everyone scatters home in the dark and the cold.  I go back to gather my things, prep the room quickly for Sunday morning.  Our worship arts pastor, my boss, walks by, commenting that he totally forgot that the always soloist for a song we do was unavailable for that coming Sunday.  I fiddled with my keys, adjusted my purse on my shoulder.  From bottom drawer to top and then spilling out of my mouth, I swallowed around it, whispered as he passed, “Maybe I could do it?”  He kept walking and then stopped at the entrance to the sanctuary.  

“Come out here and sing it right now for me.”  

And I did and I was terrified, elated.. and grateful.  I walked out of my church that evening in disbelief.  This was happening.  Sunday was coming.  And something held hidden and quiet for forever was brought into reality. Because He loves me.  He loves you.

Sometimes we just want God to show up.  That’s what we say.  I want a God with skin on.  I want someone here to hold me and fix it and wipe away these tears that won’t stop.  We want to know we’re not alone.  We want to know the ache, the journey, the curse, the disease, the shadows, the dreams... that it’s all... seen.  We want to know and be known.

As I turned onto the road home, the next song to sing me home was Matthew West’s, “More”.  When I was in my twenties and single and apartment-dwelling and often feeling alone and stuck, that melody was at the top of the charts.  And every time I’d drive home from work exhausted from trying to fix a few wrongs for a few people, it would be playing.  A reminder that He loves me more.

I start practicing and practicing from all day Thursday into Friday.  And after copious amounts of tea to calm the shredded vocal chords, in the afternoon is when I realize that the version I’ve been killing myself over is not the one we’ll sing.  I listen to our version and felt overwhelming despair.  Anger, almost.  “I can’t do that!”  Terror squeezed out hope,... and even some of His love.  All I could see was the impossibility.  I don’t have that kind of voice. I can’t sing like that. I’ll never, ever, ever sing like that!  It felt like a cruel joke. Here you go, sing the song you’ve always wanted to sing - but now struggle and be unable to pull it off.

I felt like a total fool for hoping.  An idiot for stepping outside of my comfort zone.  

I sank myself into a tub of lavender and turned on beautiful music.  I was too stuck to cry and so I just stared at the flickering flame of a candle.  “God, I don’t think I can do this.  No, I know I can’t.”  The flame danced against my breath.  

And that’s when He showed me... it wasn’t my job to light up the sky.  It wasn’t my job to even set myself on fire. The impossibility of it made me smile.  If I’m a wick in wax, the last thing I can do is reach out and grab a match.  If any light comes,... it is given.

It was only... only ever... just my job... to burn.

Could I believe and trust that He’d hold me together, like the glass around that fragile wax and that gentle but fierce flame?  I read about Moses that night to my boys.  The struggle against his own inabilities, his inadequacies...

“God, I can’t talk like that!”, the man with the staff says to the God in the flames.  

And I realized that it wasn’t about what I could do or what I couldn’t. It wasn’t about what I could feasibly vocally achieve... or not.  The last thing it was about was judgement or a performance.  Did I believe that I could stand there, hold a microphone and trust Him to hold me together?  Could I trust Him to give me a song and a voice that would honor Him?

Could I believe and trust that my only responsibility was simply to burn?  

I nodded to my bedroom ceiling, to the Heavens, to the Unseen, before tucking myself in bed the night before.  Yes.  Yes, I could do that. I could believe and trust and set myself, leave myself, securely in His hands.  

The morning dawns and I’m so full of joy I can’t stand it. My skin was the only thing keeping me in one piece.  My only task... to go out there, place my sacrifice, my offering, at His feet, before His people in His tabernacle... and burst it all into holy flames.  It was honor.  For someone who has kept her voice nearly speechless for so long, to be able to stand and speak before her Creator?  To proclaim His greatness, His majesty, His truth... His return to scoop us all up and take us Home?

I don’t remember voices or lights or how I sounded in the  stage monitors.  All I remember is raising my hands.  All I remember is smiling straight up to the lights above and declaring that there is, without a doubt, with no question, no other besides Him.  That His very name is power.  That it is very breath.  That it is living water to our dry, straining throats.  And it’s a mystery.  A mystery how He comes to us.  How He always, always shows up.

How He reaches down and sets fire to just one more lone candle in the dark...

"And all You ever wanted...
Only me, on my knees, singing,
holy, holy... and somehow all
that matters now is
You are holy, holy..."
~  N i c h o l e   N o r d e m a n


  1. "A space where wishes remain just that." "Terror sqeezed out hope, ... ... and even some of His Love." " If any light comes, ... it is given." " ... ... ... my only responsibility was simply to burn."
    Thank you,
    Thank you

    1. Thank you for your comment! <3 I'm grateful that something I said here resonated with you!

  2. i needed this, thank you as always for sharing your heart and being honest that your own flame has it's moments of flickering doubt as well. <3

    1. <3 Thank you for relating! BURN ON! xoxo


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