Revival

Today was a bit surreal. I feel a bit like I’m living someone else’s life.

Being back in New York after my mom’s stroke, even though just for the weekend, it’s hard to believe that this was my life for almost six years. It feels so foreign after nearly three months of being home with my mom. And yet, how easy it is to slip back into the swing of things.

I had one of those catch-your-breath moments this morning. I flew in during this massive snow storm, and so the city looked like a replica of a traditional skyline snow globe. And when my Uber emerged from the tunnel into downtown Manhattan, I actually cried.

Yes, friends. I was that girl. Crying in the back of a black towncar. You would have thought I had just gotten kicked off of The Bachelor.


I don’t know, I was just so overtaken with emotion. I was swept up in the snow and the buildings and just…my city. I have missed New York so much.

There’s something about New York that really…it makes my spirit feel free. There’s this overwhelming air of possibility here. You can chase your wildest dreams. Be anyone you want to be. New York is where it happens. Conquer it, or it conquers you.


But for as enveloped in the literal snowy dream of Manhattan as I was, all day, I couldn’t help but keep thinking about my family back in Ohio. And I’ve honestly been so conflicted. Sitting here tonight, candles lit, glass of wine, looking out my window at the Empire State Building, and getting serenaded by sirens, my heart was wrestling with my mind.

I feel I am at a crossroads. New York pulls at my heart in ways that nowhere else can. It’s where I came into my own. Embraced who I am. And Whose I am. My best friends are here and so are my dreams. So are my possibilities.

And yet Ohio pulls at my heart in equally substantial ways. Ohio is family. Ohio is home. But Ohio is also pain. Significant remnants of a dark past that stirs up heartache and shame. And yet, also, healing salve that comes from helping foster healing in my mom’s recovery.

I’m here, and I miss Ohio. And in Ohio, I yearn for New York.

And frankly, I fear this is giving me gray hair.

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And how can I even be considering not living in Ohio? To be honest, I feel guilty even entertaining the idea

And well, I’ve now officially cried twice today.

During all of this back and forth and round and round my mind has been doing, I paused for a minute and heard a song lyric that really hit me.

Pandora had been on in the background, and for the first time all night, I had actually listened to a lyric, and this was it:

Are you hurting and broken within? Jesus is calling.

And I kind of did a double take…Um, yes Lord. I am both of those things right now. Apparently You are calling right now…Consider this your “read receipt.”

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My interest piqued, I decided to keep listening, and the very next song was called “My Revival.” It goes, “Jesus, You are my revival. Jesus on you I wait.”

You are my revival.

Revival.

I instantly thought of my mom during her stroke recovery. She is literally in a period of revival: body, mind and spirit. Chills went down my back. But for some reason, I was prompted to look up “revival” in the dictionary.

And underneath the first definition that pertained to my mom: (“The improvement of condition”) was another definition that really struck a chord with me

An instance of something becoming important again. A comeback, reestablishment, reappearance, reintroduction.

Double chills.

Could God be talking to me through Pandora!?

I’m not even being flip about that.

Jesus, on You I wait.

Coming back home would have so much fear attached to it. So many questions. Unknowns. Apprehensions.

I don’t know. I just. don’t. know.

I’m right back to where I started…on that dreadful merry-go-round of pros-and-cons, this’s-and-that’s.

Jesus on You I wait.

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I don’t have to decide what to do tonight. Or tomorrow. Or the day after that or that.

I just have to keep doing the next right thing and wait for Jesus.

Patience has never been my strong suit, but I do believe that I will know what to do. Jesus will gently guide me where I should be, and give my heart peace along the way.

Jesus, You are my revival. Jesus, on You I wait.

((Written last week in NYC))

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beautybeyondbones

BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

220 thoughts on “Revival

  1. Thanks so much for this. I literally am torn between Australia and America at this time, so I was so encouraged. I’m writing about this challenging season at pastorandrew.blog if you’re interested. Thanks again for sharing- very timely. – Andrew

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    1. Thanks Andrew. Oh gosh, My heart goes out to you. Not an easy decision. But I know that God will have you end up right where you’re supposed to be…that doesn’t make the discerning process any easier though. Hang in there. Praying for you 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Proverbs says there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. Do you have people that are trustworthy and wise and godly that you may ask, who know you well? I also pray and if it’s God, there is such incredible peace. If it’s not God, that otherworldly peace is absent. Those are things I’ve learned over the years and often forget in the middle of a tough decision. I think it’s awesome that you are waiting on Jesus to direct your path. Praying for you tonight.
    What a blessing you are to your family.

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    1. Thank you so much Constance. I really appreciate your prayers and support. Yes, I have a wonderful support system full of really great friends. I have a lot to be thankful for. And you’re right. I’ll feel that peace when it’s right. Hugs and love xox

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So touching! Sometimes we really just need to keep still and listen. The Lord’s got you. Prayers for your mom’s smooth and fast recovery! ❤️ You are blessed!

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  4. God is everywhere, so I don’t doubt He spoke to you through Pandora. When I saw your pic with the sunglasses I thought you literally taped “revival” to them and I was like “dang that’s hardcore” and then I was like “hardcore photo editing….” 😂 New York really is the city of possibility. I entertained the idea of moving there once but people there area little too hardcore for me 😂 I’m too shy and they lose their patience with me.

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    1. hahah oh my gosh that’s funny about the sunglasses. nope! just good old iPhone magic 🙂 hehe I wish I was that hardcore! can you imagine ?? lol Anywho, I think if it’s in the cards, you should give NYC a shot – even just for a season. It’ll give you a brand new perspective on things, and it truly brings out the best in people! Thanks so much for stopping by, girlie! Hope you’re having a great weekend! big big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! You know I probably will end up in NYC at some point. I see that happening. Life is ever-changing. 🙂

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  5. Jesus speaks to us in a multitude of ways: through others, music, nature, TV shows (Yes), Pandora too. We sometimes limit our limitless God. His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways, not ours either.

    Isn’t that amazing? I enjoyed reading this. You’re young and apparently able to travel. So it would seem to me that you can enjoy both worlds at different times. I am a New Yorker so I understand the tug the city can have: the 24-hour conveniences, the international community, the opportunities, Central Park, The Pizza 🙂 – I could go on and on. Enjoy your youth. Time slips away from us.

    The Holy Spirit will guide you if He needs you in a certain situation. After forty years of being a believer, several near-death experiences and the way the Lord kept in the midst of horrific suffering (some of which I still go through), I have learned that within our Savior lies so much beauty, mercy, and grace.

    Your post inspired me!

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    1. Hi Nancy! Oh good! I’m so glad this hit home with you! Yes! He will use any medium necessary to connect and get through to His children! That’s really great advice. thank you 🙂 I think you’re right – there is so much beauty mercy and grate with Jesus! love that! hugs to you xox

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  6. I tend to be a watcher of people, and I’m always amazed at how much faith you put in God and put in Jesus. Having been raised as a Catholic, I understand doctrine very well..but faith? I fear faith will always evade me. Sometimes I feel like I push my will over things in life, sometimes I feel like I take on other people’s will for me; but discerning the will of God or any higher power, I never seem to understand. I pray. I pray and I pray…
    …but I seem to hear nothing.
    So, I watch others and try to find my way.

    You are inspirational and I belI’ve you will find some peace and serinity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too, I love people watching. Thank you so much. I am seriously so touched. Yeah I always struggle with trying to figure out what the heck God wants me to do with my life. But I’ve just got to trust that He won’t let me go astray. That’s what let’s me sleep anyways. Haha hugs to you xox

      Liked by 1 person

  7. New York City made me nostalgic, as did Cuzco, Peru. I returned to Cuzco, but I never returned to New York City. The longings were there, for sure. I think what I was really longing for was THE PAIN. The pain that certain people of these places had overcome–a level of pain and suffering unknown to the community I grew up in. Once I reached it, too, the nostalgia left. I never knew my core until I had to SEARCH for it. I never knew my strength until I had to BOLSTER it under continual buffetings. Probably something in New York is trying to tell you who you really are. I’m probably wrong, though, so don’t take my word for it. You might want to corroborate that with several other sources before you ever trust anything. Even a Pandora song. Question everyting.

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    1. Even a pandora song – hah. How interesting. I’ve ever been to Peru, but it sounds like it really reached a specific part of your soul. You’re right, you don’t know your strength until you need to be strong:) Hugs and love xox

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      1. Yes, Peru, I have mixed feelings about Peru, kinda like a neighbor’s dog that bites and shows no remorse, but keeps coming back to be cuddled.

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  8. Wow. Praying that your decision becomes more clear for you. Perhaps there is a parallel between your mother’s recovery and yours? I don’t know you directly, but can certainly understand the difficulty in “going home”–which, we can do, but it is never the same, and that is probably a good thing. We wouldn’t grow otherwise. Your faith has gotten you this far, and He will not fail you. Of THAT I am sure…
    And no, you were not being flippant. He definitely uses whatever is around us to get our attention!

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  9. Hi Caralyn, Waiting on the Lord is always a good strategy. I spent the better part of my life going with the flow, opening the doors God put in front of me. And I can tell you He always took care of me. He will never allow you to be taken from His hand. I know your decision will lead to peace and hope.

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  10. You’re dominant redemptive gift (RG) is deposited in to this city. New York has a redemptive gift of Exhorter. Read Romans 12:4-7.
    It is the 4th gift. take all of the 7’s across the bible and you will see your RG helix and you’re full and complete spiritual DNA code.
    This gift is rooted in time. It is your battle ground as well as you’re strongest characteristic. Much to learn and discover.
    Can e- mail files about this gift and how to break out of many limiting spiritual aspects of this RG as well as others if led?

    Can link to the founder given this revelation he is at Sapphire Leadership Group.

    gu

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      1. It is a part of an overall message we were graced in from Jesus called the church Awakening message. This message was given to an apostle by Jesus who Jesus than sent to us from Uganda. Have an outline of one of the 128 outlines which illustrate just the elements of building the glorious church- one he is coming back for. One of the the foundational elements are on these gifts. coolspiritnlioinsden@hotmail if you are led to receive this basic outline which will deepen and widen the scope of who you are and how he has destined( gifted) you to live out your life
        \

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  11. Enjoyed reading your story. I can relate. I’ve returned from California to New York (home) on several occasions and been overwhelmed with the same joy you described. I also believe that Jesus was speaking to your heart through the song. Trust he is with you. Personally, if you don’t mind, I would give your dreams, and hope for New York, new beginnings, new friends, a chance to see what becomes of it because it would be sad for you to have regrets and/or to always wonder what could have been. Home will always be home, and always be there for you, as will your family. By all means be there for your mom in every way possible. Visit often! Give the love she needs to help in the healing process. Still, don’t lose yourself, especially to guilt, but thrive where you are, wherever you are. New York may be that place. Best of luck. 🙂

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    1. Thanks so much Dellymari. I’m so glad you could relate. That’s great advice. Home will always be home. so very true. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’re finding peace in your changing locations too 🙂 big hugs to you xox

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Love this.. “I’m here, and I miss Ohio. And in Ohio, I yearn for New York.” I kind of feel the same way about Portland and Rwanda.

    It also reminds me of Paul where he writes in Philippians 1:23-24, “But I am hard-pressed between the two. I have the desire to leave [this world] and be with Christ, for that is far, far better; yet to remain in my body is more necessary and essential for your sake.”

    Keep doing your thing my friend! The world needs your narrative. G

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  13. Possible way to dissect it all – Which one is more your comfort zone? Ohio or New York? Where are you in life right now – do you need to be in that comfort zone or challenge yourself? No right or wrong answers here of course – nor will it be easy to answer (especially the 1st question). But hopefully, it might help shed some light as to what you want to do/where you want to be. Maybe there’s even a 3rd option – go elsewhere?

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    1. That is really a great exercise to do. and to be honest, i don’t know if I can boil it down to that just yet. lots of complexities, given my mom’s stroke recovery. one day at a time for now, but i will definitely be reflecting on that. thank you so much. big hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I love, love, love Come to The Altar! It’s one of my favorite songs…that entire CD is LIFE!

    But back to your post – Jesus speaks to us in ways we can understand and in the moments we need Him to speak. And yes, revival also has a component of death. For revival to occur, death had to precede it. Before a seed can spout, it must be buried in something (dying) and break forth (brokenness) and push through to be seen and bloom (revived).

    It is part of the process, the growth process: for you, your mom, and your family. The Lord directs all of our paths, even when our feet feel unsure…he will broaden the path beneath us (Psalm 18:36). Trust in the Lord and do not lean to your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and HE will direct your paths. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will bring it to pass. (Psalm 37:5). All we have to do is trust and obey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, that’s funny Adrienne! I just got back to reading posts after a break of many weeks, and who should happen to be here just before me?

      I agree with you. My family is reading a series on the nature of God, and how important it is to really KNOW Him to trust Him. Without that unmistakable encounter with His amazing love, it’s hard to trust Him and His thinking and ways.

      This gives so much value to all our experiences and circumstances because a deeply loving God is determining our steps, and I believe connecting with our feelings in God’s presence about our circumstances and being honest with Him is necessary and appreciated by God, as the Psalms will show! Hope you and your family are well.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. isn’t it such a great song?! thanks so much for this heartfelt response. i absolutely love that seed imagery. its so true, it’s in the breaking that we actually grow. Amen to that! it’s all about Trust! big hugs xox

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  15. Caralyn,

    I’ve caught up on all your posts after a lag of many weeks (was lying fallow with the blog, and pressed in on all sides at work; a strange feeling of freeze-frying).

    You have a knack of pulling the thoughts out of my head and putting your own words to them! I loved everything you wrote especially ‘Revival’ and ‘5 Things…’ Revival sounded so much like the things my daughter says in multiple ways when we talk about our future plans, but as you say so well, ‘Jesus, on you I wait.’
    Interestingly, how you look at New York was quite an eye-opener. I’ve never been there, so am no one to comment, however, I think my encounter with the city in books, songs and movies have been largely associated with pain (as is my life in New Delhi city), but in the last couple of weeks, what has been starting to come back in different ways, has been the danger of single stories (as embodied in a couple of excellent TED talks), and with this the danger of disconnecting with my daughter’s dreams and desires. Your post reminded me so much of her. It helped me to realise that I need to really HEAR her view of Delhi and see things a bit more from her viewpoint.

    Many more things you’ve written over the last few weeks have resonated strongly with my own life and experiences and it’s good to have time to read and reflect again. I took a day off from work today to ‘breathe’, and I’m going to start posting again, with God’s help.

    You and your family continue to be very much in our prayers (along with future Hub).

    Much love and regards to you and your family,
    Indi

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    1. Thanks so much Indi! I’m sorry things have been hectic for you lately! i’ll definitely keep you in my prayers for a respite from the chaos! oh gosh, I hope you and your family can get to NYC. it is really an incredible place. 100% worth the visit. aw, i’m glad this reminded you of your daughter and resonated with you personally. Thanks for your continued prayers. sending lots your way too. big hugs xox

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  16. I am the vine, you are the branches, you can do nothing without me….You are on the right track. Waiting is HARD but proves the promises.

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  17. This was my story for almost a year — the back and forth between Alabama and South Carolina to be with my Mom. Home became a “fluid” term. I don’t regret a minute of the back and forth — even though I’m in that “revival” stage you talked about right now since that season is now over. I know God is remaking me …re-establishing me. I continue to pray for my own personal emotional healing but …whew! — the Holy Spirit is speaking a LOT ! Thanks again for your honest, vulnerable posts. Enjoy every minute with your mama …and soak up some time for yourself to refresh when you can. God will continue establishing where you’re supposed to be on a daily basis :-), May there always be joy in the journey!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Joy. I am so moved by how peacefully you reflect on that season. that gives me great hope. and i will definitely keep you in prayers 🙂 I’m sending so much love and hugs xox

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Honestly, the 7 months of traveling back and forth and then going through the final days with my mom have left me very broken and struggling with agonizing anxiety. However, God is speaking to me in very powerful, intimate ways and that has been a precious time with my heavenly Father. God is remaking me and breaking chains that have been there for longer than I knew. I’m resting in His work. I’m learning to pray to trust Him more…then I know the peace will come. Thanks for your encouraging words. It’s how we all become a part of the beautiful story …the story God is writing for us. ❤

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  18. Hi BBB,

    I will be praying for you. Either way God has His plan for you whatever you decide. I pray you get peace and not stress.

    In Christ,

    Gary On Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 4:09 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “Today was a bit surreal. I feel a bit like I’m > living someone else’s life. Being back in New York after my mom’s stroke, > even though just for the weekend, it’s hard to believe that this was my > life for almost six years. It feels so foreign after nearly t” >

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  19. I get that. I grew up in Ohio, too, in Akron. I lived there 30 years before we moved south the second time. We were gone 34 years this last time we left. Then, last February my husband told me he wanted to retire and move back to Akron to take care of his parents. But, God prepared my heart for that. He said “go” so we went. We have been here nearly a year. His mom died 2 weeks before we got here, though. Still, his dad and step-mom are still here. So, we have been spending time with them and helping where we are needed.

    Yet, circumstances I won’t go into are leading us to question how long God would have us here. My heart has been pulled toward another city since 2012. I felt when we were on our way up here that this was more like a detour, but not our final destination. Lately, the draw toward this other city has been strong again. Yet, God keeps saying “wait.” He has a plan. And, he has his timing for everything he does. So, I am waiting on him for his direction and for his perfect timing. We are waiting together – my husband and I. But, I understood your plight of feeling drawn to one place while feeling maybe you belonged somewhere else. Sue

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  20. I literally needed this. I’m struggling with something similar. Recently got accepted into grad school at Houston . I’m from Ohio too ! haha. My mother and little sister are back home. I’m from Columbus they live in Cincy. and I’ve been away at cincy for 4 years. ( they’ve missed me so much) My little sister is in elementary school now and I feel so guilty bc I haven’t been able to do the things with her that most big sisters do with their litle sisters ( take her to ballet, ice cream dates, weekend trips, etc.) And now, with my acceptance into Houston I’m contemplating whether or not to go. I also got accepted into school in Ohio too. which would be cool bc I could be close to home. But I feel like I may be losing out on the opportunity to “come into my own” as well. O come to the alter and Revival are two of my FAVEEE songs. As soon as you wrote the lyrics to the first song my heart felt a chill. Currently learning to trust God and wait on him. I’m praying for you and your decision! His grace is sufficient . Even if we make a wrong choice/decision rest assured he’s faithful enough to get us back on track. All things for the good of those who love the lord, and are called according to his purpose. Be blessed love! -Iyesha

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    1. Hi Iyesha, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m sorry that you’re feeling that pull and can relate so personally. And thank you for your prayers. Know that I am praying for you too! My brother went away to college (wayyyyy out of state) when I was in third grade, so I just wanted to tell you, coming from the “little sister’s” perspective, that I did and still do look up to my brother so so much. And even though he went away to college, he was always in my life, and this was before Skype and FaceTime and everything. And in fact, I felt so proud to be his sister and was so happy that he was achieving his dreams and I cheered him on every step of the way. He was the quarterback for a big school out east, and so I gave a report to my class every week during football season about how his team did. And when he was home on breaks, he sometimes would come in and read out loud to the class during read-a-loud. And that special relationship continues to this day. So, I think it’s awesome that you want to be home with your sister. But I just want to encourage you that being a “good” older sister looks differently for different people. And your sister knows you love her. And if she’s anything like me, she’ll want you to reach for your dreams too 🙂 any who — I’m praying for you too! and if i overstepped at all, please excuse me! 🙂 sending big big hugs xox

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      1. This was perfect. Literally Almost cried haha .Just what I needed. thanks so much for the “little sister’s perspective” . You didnt overstep not one bit. Thanks so much love ❤

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  21. Thank for always liking my blog. As I read what you wrote here, I was thinking of Abraham who lives in tents in the promised land, never putting down a foundation because, even in the land God promised him and his descendants, he knew he was looking for a city the fountain and maker of which is God. I think that is another way of saying Jesus is our revival.

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  22. Henri Nouwen once wrote that “life is about the interruptions”. As a writer, and introvert, that was a hard thing to hear, but I realized how astute and true it is. The things we think are taking us away from “life” are the very life we seek.

    Most people think of what they would regret if they died, but I like to think of what I wouldn’t regret. What wouldn’t I regret? Loving other people, especially those most precious to me. Don’t get me wrong. I think I would be sad to never write my magnum opus, to find the words to change this world, even if for only one person. But I have never regretted giving my self, my time, my life to those I love — though I would also argue that writing, for me, is an act of loving others as I try to reach out to them, but I digress. A former youth pastor I interned for shared a cheesy yet brilliant acronym that has stuck with me over the years: J.O.Y. Simply put, if you put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last, you will find J.O.Y.

    In the end though, we are who we choose to be. God most certainly has a plan for our lives, but He has also given us free will to choose to follow His plan or our own. Which is phenomenally beautiful and terrifying. There is, of course, always the hope of… well, revival. Literally, “to live again”. God always offers us a new life if we should so choose.

    I guess the question you have to ask yourself is what matters to you? What would you NOT regret doing? Only you can answer that. But I would venture a guess that you already know the answer in your heart. Be still and I’m sure that you will hear it.

    P.S. Happy Easter.

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  23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” Galatians 5:22

    “Being strengthened with all power according to the might of his glory, that they may have all patience and patience with joy,” Colossians 1:11

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