Open Palms

Lately I’ve felt as though I am always surrounded. Surrounded by inescapable expectations, stress, fear of failure. It follows me wherever I go, leaving me feeling trapped. I feel relieved being able to articulate it now, but for so long I wasn’t couldn’t fully understand and grasp what I was feeling and why I was feeling it. I had grown used to suppressing feelings and sad thoughts always (any enneagram type 7s out there?). All of this brokenness I feel does NOT jive with my 7 like desires to always feel peace and happiness. This realization that my heart is rooted in brokenness and aching for validation, was hard.

I love to play guitar and lead worship, and I love to write music. Sometimes as a Christian, it can be hard to find Contemporary Christian music that feels new and unique. However, Kings Kaleidoscope is unlike any Christian band I’ve ever heard. Their music is raw, honest, and real. They write about pain, anxiety, depression, racism, and division. Weaved in each lyric is the grace of Jesus and how God can move through it all. In the song “A Prayer,” Chad Garner writes about his struggle with anxiety and feeling so far from God. The song starts with these lyrics of pain and fear.

Will I fall or will I misstep?
Will I fall or will I misstep?
Will I call you with my last breathe?
Will you be there for me after?
Will I waste inside the silence
Where the fear is vicious violent?
Wicked sinner thrown to lions
With no hope on the horizon
Will I fall or will I misstep?
Jesus, where are you?
Am I still beside you?

He is praying to God in a time of utter hopelessness, fear, and anxiety. His prayer is completely raw and honest, asking “Jesus, where are you? Am I still beside you?” The prayer is not poetic, it’s not thoughtful, it’s not patient. It’s aggressive and demanding and terrifying. Ultimately, it’s a prayer of real human vulnerability. I’m sure all of us have felt so far from the Lord in a delusion of lies from the enemy. These lies tell me I’m incapable and inadequate fill my head and blur my vision. I then realize my fists are closed and my sight is no longer clear.

We feel the pain and fear, however, in the song, we get to see how God responds to that. He says,

I'm right beside you! I feel what you feel!
And I'm here to hold you when death is too real!
You know, I died, too! I was terrified!
I gave myself for you! I was crucified
Because I love you! I love you, child!

The lyrics truly uncovers the grace Jesus pours over us. He continues to give us grace even when we run so far from him, even when we doubt and question him, and even when we are actively choosing to believe lies and sin. He meets us exactly where we are. That is the gospel. That is Jesus.

I’ve leaned into the lyrics of this song for many different hard seasons but in this one, I’m learning what it’s like to be completely vulnerable and real. Learning to pray prayers that feel unfinished and broken but are an overflow of the heart. I’m learning to check in on my heart, process those feelings, and then immediately give it to God, good or bad. I’m learning to open my palms to fully receive and accept his grace.

God created us as complex creatures, capable of feeling and sensing a whole range of emotions. Made in the image of our Creator, we can both grieve the wrongs of this world, and celebrate the sweetness of this life. Here’s to fully belonging to God, living in both vulnerability and pain but also joy and abundant life.

“Truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy” (John 16:20)

Kennedy Eldridge is a sophomore elementary education major and a TEFL minor from Columbus, GA. She loves concerts, coffee shop convos, road trips (specifically with the windows down, the sun shining, and music turned all the way up), and is always down for a coke icee. Kennedy also serves as a YoungLife leader at Rome High School. After Berry, she looks forward to teaching as it provides an incredible opportunity to help underprivileged kids know their worth and capability. 

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