"This is the best part - lying awake in the dark . . ."

Last night I just couldn't settle down.

There's this new coffee shop in town and I got a couple of gigs to play for them this fall. I set the dates for these performances before the baby was born. At that point I hadn't performed in several months and wanted to make sure that I had a few things set up . . . to force myself to get out there again after the baby.

So the first date arrived.

I got sick Monday (show was Saturday night) . . . then the baby got sick on Friday. Then our guitarist got sick on Saturday. Something in the universe didn't want us to play.

But my viola playing friend, Alan, said he'd still come play if I was still going to play (y'all pray that our guitarist is better for the next gig) . . . so we showed up, we set up, and we played at Wired Coffee Bar in Ooltewah, TN yesterday night. It was so much fun.

It was hard work getting ready, loading in the gear, putting on the face of a performer when the mom version of myself was torn up about a sick baby waiting for me at home. It was hard work singing songs I'd written for an audience of old and new faces. It was scary. But it was SO much fun.

And when we got home we found a happy baby waiting for us - a sick baby, but a happy baby. And well after midnight when the kid was asleep and my husband was asleep, I just sat there - looking at both of them and thinking about our life. And I was thankful.

I'm reading a Brennan Manning book called "Ruthless Trust" right now. He suggests that to be thankful is true trust in God. He suggests that thankfulness is an offering. Think about it: thanksgiving. Giving thanks.

We are thankful when we realize that what we have isn't deserved. It's not earned.

Last week I wrote about tough times and accepting all of life as a state of giftedness - not because all life experiences are good experiences, but because to "be" is better than not being at all.

Being alive involves fear, risk, and difficulty.

I love Jesus, but he didn't promise me an easy life. He didn't promise to solve all of my problems. He promised to teach me how to embrace a fulness of life that would lead me into the presence of God. 

The best part is the promise in John 1 - that the Word is the Light and that the Light has never been overcome by the darkness.

The best part is lying awake in the dark and knowing that the Light can't be overcome.

We did a cover of this song at the coffee shop last night.

"Love is not a victory march."

Life is not a victory march. It's a broken "hallelujah" - a praise from the everyday, the broken, the honest . . . 

I sang my songs and came home to hold my son yesterday. At the same time, a mother on the other side of the world was trying to escape an impossible situation and she was not welcomed anywhere. A father somewhere was doing the same. And someplace, one of those parents lost their child. A mother somewhere is not holding her baby tonight because a crossing to Greece ended badly.

It's a broken hallelujah from the broken people.

And the broken people, seeing each other and recognizing the breath of the living God in one another's lungs . . . do amazing things.

Friends, something in the universe wants us to turn back . . . wants us to give up on the dream of a full life. Something in the world wants us to be strangers to each other. Something out there wants us to be separated, alienated, and thankless. 

But the Light of all Life is shining out of the darkness and it causes us to recognize each other. It reminds us that all life is a gift, completely undeserved. It tells us, "Don't give up. Don't turn back. I will teach you how to live a life of light in the middle of the dark."

I look into the eyes of my little boy and I see all the hope of the future handed to me by other hopeful people. 

They had hope not because their lives were perfect, but because they recognized the breath of God animating this precious existence.

Yes. We see that there are mothers and fathers losing their children and there are masses of people living in fear. When we see it we don't turn around and go home. We welcome strangers. We send help. We go help. We raise our children to be hopeful and helpful. 

When all the broken people Hallelujah at the same time? The dark gets real quiet . . . because it knows it can't win.