The Avett Brothers just released a new album, so I’m all twisted up in new melodies and lyrics— wrestling with what it means to live open, as a believer, as a mother and a woman, in this world which seems to have gone stark raving mad.

Open-Ended Life?  Is is even possible?  Desirable?  Shouldn’t we protect ourselves and cling to whatever we can?

It’s surely not our natural stance to live open, in reception.   We like to hunker down. We like to hover over our stuff and our rights and our part.

The posture of grabbing is not the same as the posture of receiving, but we’re all way better at the former.

We shroud our lives up all tight and hope no one takes note of what we’re covering. But, the breath of Grace will find a way to seep in and start a fire,  that burns it all down. He will exchange His open-ended life for our shriveled up, closed up lives.

And we’ll finally be free. Free to love and serve and give, without the weight and the stench of the grave clothes.

Free, like Mary, to be the bearer of the Gift, in a world that is dying for redemption.

She said to the angel, “I am the handmaiden of the Lord.  Let it be to me according to Your word.”

 “Let it be to me”……this is the stance of faith.  This is what it means to receive everything from God’s loving hand, whether it makes sense or is popular or even seems to be for my good.

 Those words ring out through the ages as Mary’s song, her Magnificat, her quiet yes, in world that’s always grabbing for its own part, tearing in violence to keep something for itself.

The sin of Adam, which ushered in our suffering and death will be answered by Christ, the suffering Savior, whose kingdom is born in you, through the obedience and the quiet yes of a young girl from Nazareth.  It must have seemed like no time to her that the linens she wrapped her baby in became his grave clothes.  And just like Mary, the shroud that covered you in your dying with Him—the shroud where you still hide your sin and death, where you try to squirrel away something for yourself—will become the swaddling clothes with which you offer your gifts to the world. He’s still working miracles of resurrection in us everyday.

The yes cry of the mother of God would break her heart into a thousand pieces.  Mary, who gave birth in agony, who nursed Christ at her breast and followed His path until it lead Him to the cross, where she saw him beaten beyond recognition, the one who cared for His crucified body when He died, then suffered the unthinkable loss of both her sons so that the kingdom of God might be born in us all.  Mary’s fiat, her “Let it be to me as you have said,”  becomes our anthem too, our broken hallelujah.

This gift, this Christ child, growing in you will break your heart and yet, it will be the means of your healing. It will wreck you and then be the very path to your of your salvation.  His body broken will become the bread at His table, where He, Himself will be the pascal Lamb.  There, He will join His flesh to your flesh and you will enter into the mysteries of true communion with your Father.  There, He nourishes you so that you may rise up from the table, and feed His sheep.

You, my sisters and brothers, are the handmaiden of the Lord.

Christ is the Gift, and we kneel, hands open, to receive Him and we marvel at how He graciously uses us to bear this Gift to others.

Your song is not a diatribe so that you can be right.

It’s not a rallying cry, where we grab for what seems to have been taken from us.

This is not your song anymore.  This is His song. Your life is His life and when you give it away to Him, he will hide you and keep you safe.

 It’s a hands open, heart shattered,  broken hallelujah.  

Sing , my friend,  the song of redemption—His one and only song, so that the kingdom of God might be born in the hearts of men.

(Don’t worry about your voice.  He’ll drown you out. I’m pretty sure he sounds like Scott Avett, only better!)

24 comments on “Open Ended Life”

  1. What a great thought with which to start my day … thank you for sharing your beautiful gift of words and what you’re learning through His Word. I love how you describe Mary’s “quiet yes.” And, the breath of Grace always finds its way in. Let it be to me, indeed.

  2. Lately it seems I’ve been struggling in a battle between the joys of the every day and the news from a world that yes, seems to “have gone stark raving mad.” I catch myself reading and watching and filling up on the awful, the terrible and the sin-filled ways of man until my light is dimmed. And then, thankfully, there’s a ray of sunshine from the heavens, a bit of silly laughter from a child, or even the brilliance an autumn scene — and I’m yanked out of the gloom and back into the reality that I can do all things through Him. And yes, I’m strengthened, blessed and thankful that my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love. Thank you for this reminder. Thank you for fortifying my heart and soul for whatever today brings. I am determined to live with love and smile in the midst of this hands open, heart-shattered, broken hallelujah. God bless you, Edie.

  3. Edie,
    Amen and Amen sister! That was said in my best Southern twang and straight from the depths of my heart. So beautifully written. Mary’s fiat, her Magnificat, I desire for that to be my anthem. Thank you for sharing these words and I thank our Mighty Lord for gifting you in this way, this has spoken to my soul.

  4. I’ve been playing those same melodies AND contemplating Advent — I just never thought to connect them! Love the way your mind works! (Also, the kids, hubs and I are headed to hear the Avetts Sunday in St. Francisville, La. Wish you could join us!)

    • I start to go to this quiet, deeper place when Advent is near. So glad to find a kindred.
      OH, I’d LOVE To see them again. They are so good live.
      Hope you have a blast. Hope they sing Open-Ended Life!
      (My mind is a scary place!)

  5. Beautiful, my friend…believing and trusting in Him, even when it doesn’t make sense. Yes, that is faith and living open ended…but still hard. Thankful redemption draweth nigh! <3 Cindy

  6. I am suddenly in a season of life that demands openness, reception, and availability more than ever before. I suppose truly it should always have been this way for me, so maybe it’s one of those hidden blessings.

    Edie I have been wanting to write about Mary and Martha all week. Hope you won’t mind me drawing some inspiration and citing this. (assuming I ever get around to it)

    Another beautiful post, thank you for sharing your wee hour-meditations!
    Love to you from Oklahoma!

  7. Beautifully state, Edie. Love from Texas. Your preppy Texas could roll right over into decor for Texas Independence Day in March ; )

  8. Hi Edie,

    I just stumbled upon your blog yesterday and have been devouring your words of grace!!!!! I am in this season of life where I see the GOOD God is allowing me to experience but I find no joy in it and I find no rest, frankly I feel a little bit punished and it doesn’t make sense. God is talking to my heart in stereo and I’m so thankful one of those places was your little corner of the internet. Thank you SO MUCH for all the encouraging posts you’ve written. I’m a new fan, but a big one!!! 🙂


  9. Thanks for sharing your mingled thoughts of truth in advent and Avett. My husband and I have been talking about these songs for the last few weeks and are swimming in the richness (and the banjos). This song in particular has brought discussion – “open-ended” as a good gospel thing as you expressed AND the wrong “open-ended” we’re taught from culture to not honor commitments, keep options open and not bearing with others. Great beauty in the words that bring depth of thought…as with the ‘Morning song’ or ‘Mourning song”. Thanks for continuing to talk about, present and encourage beauty in it’s many forms.

  10. Yes Edie! The Magnificat is my favorite of all! I had the words” my soul proclaims the greatness of The Lord” stenciled on a wall. What if all families were open in their lives? What if all said “yes” to God’s plan? We would have no need for the “life” arguments of the day! And then I wonder….what if Mary had said,”no”. She could have. Free will? How different the world could have been ?

    I can’t wait to start reading Ann’s book this Advent. This time of waiting is so powerful for me.

  11. Edie,

    I cannot thank you enough for your inspiring words and thoughts about life, love, and FAITH. I wanted to write a quick thank you and you are making a difference with your words. Inspiring….
    I also have to confess I am taking your quote from one of your posts last week. “We were together. I forget the rest.” Walt Whitman. It inspired me to write about my boys (bebes) and a big ole thank you for introducing those words to me!!!!!

  12. Thank you for those true and tried words. They were beautiful to hear. Your blog has been such an inspiration. As a mother of three little boys (2,3,5), even as I am surrounded by a crazed house that needs cleaning, haven’t showered, and perpetual sounds of their messes and play…this site can take me to that deeper place and refocus my thoughts and attitudes to the real purpose Christ has for me. I am also a nurse in an Emergency dept and so appreciate the reminder of that purpose with my patients and coworkers. In a world full of hurt and sin, there is so much joy and thankfulness that He is moving and molding me to be His servant and used for His Glory. So speak it lady! God is using you and your transparency has been a true blessing for me…thank you.


  13. Thank you! Thank you! Read this blog entry. Youtubed Avett Bros. Their web site mentioned show last night near my town. Went to show with family 2 hrs away. LOVED it! We’re all new fans! (Important: Was not advertised in my area. And, I’m several states away from you.) The power of your blog is amazing.🎶

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