I Sing Because I'm Free

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trust me

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It was an unusual evening.

I happened to be all alone, and usually I relish those quiet times, but on this particular day, I needed to get out of the house.  I was in a dog fight, wrestling with my own thoughts…

So I decided to make it a “date”- me and God.

I got into my car, and it just happened to be twilight- my favorite time of day!  I drove aimlessly around in search of God’s beauty.  Funny enough, my husband texted me earlier that day with this message- “Wow! Spring has sprung this morning!”, so I made a point to look for the visible changes as I drove around.  I finally settled on a spot and parked the car.

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I prayed a lot.  I asked Him lots of questions… why questions, what if questions… and I very much felt like a little girl asking my parents lots of worrisome things that don’t  need answering.

I remember how I used to try to get out of practicing piano as a kid.  I hated playing those boring songs over and over and over.  Why do I have to keep doing this? It seemed so pointless.  And yet, every time I wanted to quit- my parents said no.  Honestly, I didn’t want to quit- I just wanted to pass over all the practice to get to the good part… I wanted to play something real, something that moved me!

Oh, if I had known then what He would be using all those hours of practice for- well it might have scared me out of playing at all!   The fact that He chooses to use me to lead worship every week is very humbling.  It’s nothing short of a miracle, actually.  I am forgetful, clumsy, not a technically great piano player…. but I am willing… and I praise the Lord EVERY DAY for all He has done in my life!

Sometimes waiting is hard.  Waiting for an answer, for a door to open, for a door to close… to win the lottery (just kidding!!!!)… but in the waiting is where He is fine-tuning our skills, and that’s where our faith in Him grows stronger. 

As I sat in the van that night, an overwhelming peace came over me. I pictured myself sitting in His giant lap with His arms wrapped around me tight.

And suddenly all those thoughts I had wrestled with instantly melted into His one big, beautiful answer-

just trust me! 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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Built for a King

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He is working-

moving and shaping

changing and growing

cultivating, crafting

He’s transforming

You 

into something magnificent

a beautiful building-

something He sees

worthy

of Living

in…

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

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stayin’ alive

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I basked in their peak today

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rose petals unfurled

all the way

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oh how I wish

I could make them stay

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alive

for even just

one

more

day

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My hubby brought home these lovely peaches roses for me last week to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.  They were the same color as the roses I held on our wedding day.  They were so lovely, and I wanted to take a few pics of them before they wilted…

ah, ha, ha, ha stayin’ alive!

I bet you’re singing that song now 😉

Which reminded me of something my youngest daughter showed me recently…

She came running in the room, snickering, to show me what she had pinned on Pinterest-

“Mom- this is TOTALLY you!”

Now, I could have been TOTALLY offended, but instead I laughed.  Both of my girls crack me up.  They are becoming more teenager-ish by the hour.

I actually did LOL at that one…because I do LOVE taking pictures!  Of practically everything!  

So, maybe I’m not a “professional” photographer- but while I may not make a single cent,  I am paid in full in the joy it brings me to capture beautiful things and moments on camera!  Just the other day I was looking at pictures on my phone and happened to scroll through over a year’s worth of pictures, and I was so grateful for every single moment I was reminded of.  Even my youngest daughter’s numerous crazy selfies brought a smile to my face!

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And you know what is so special about looking back at all the pictures we take?  It’s not about how we looked in them, or where they were… it’s about who we were with and how we felt during those moments.

And these flowers, well they are going in the trash soon…but when I see these rose pics I will remember the love I felt for my hubby as he ran up the stairs to surprise me that morning last week.  Priceless! 

So whatever hobbies bring you joy- even if you aren’t the greatest at it- keep on doing what you love!

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

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Steadfast I Walk

every day’s 

another battle 

trying my best 

staying in that saddle 

everywhere I look I see

another roadblock staring at me 

but steadfast I walk with You

I will not be moved 

even though I might be shaken 

I will trust in you 

I’ll never be forsaken 

even when I cannot see 

keep me on the path 

in front of me 

steadfast I walk with You 

even when it seems 

like nothings changing 

help me stay the course 

never wavering 

doesn’t matter how fast the pace 

slow and steady wins the race 

steadfast I walk with You  

I wrote the song Steadfast recently as I prayed for the Lord to help me keep my eyes on Him.  It’s not always easy to stay on the right path because there is temptation all around us.  As most of you know that are reading this- one of my biggest temptations is food.

I have always wanted a healthy relationship with food.  I wish I didn’t have to think about it, but unfortunately we HAVE to eat every day, so there’s no avoiding that one!  And even though I make good choices, for years I have seen no physical changes- despite calorie counting and exercising.  I loathe counting calories, and I have done it for years.  Even the days when I didn’t actually record my calories, I would still keep a running tally in my head.

But today I am praising the Lord and giving Him VICTORY for FREEDOM from this struggle.  It has been since New Year’s Eve- almost 2 months now that I have finally found something that is working for me!  It’s called Trim Healthy Mama and heres’s a link to their website- http://www.trimhealthymama.com.  It’s not a “diet”- it’s a different way of eating for life.  And PRAISE THE LORD- I have found food freedom! No more counting, no more thinking of food as a reward or punishment…just sticking to the plan and focusing on Him!

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36

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dream a little dream

 

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I woke up the other morning with JOY just flowing through my veins!  I mean, I was so excited, I couldn’t contain it!  I had the most amazing dream- it was one of those dreams that was so real, it was being in a movie!  I literally sat up in my bed and cheered- “Woohooo!!!”

The hubs was already awake, so I went into the living room to share the excitement with him, lol.

“Oh.My.GOODNESS!  I had the BEST dream EVER”, I tell my husband.

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Now, mind you, he’s not a morning person… so he smiled and said not now.  Go write it down and tell me all about it later.  He handed me a few pieces of paper from the printer and a pen and I sat down and tried to write fast enough to capture all the juicy details.

About 10 minutes later, he turned around to me and said are you STILL writing?!

Yep!  Almost done!

I won’t bore you with all the nitty-gritty details of my dream, but the main focus was that I had found something special that belonged to a stranger.  I tracked down the stranger and was about to give them this item, and then I lost it while I was in the mall.  I prayed and prayed that I would find it, and I had all sorts of shoppers and salespeople looking for it.

I remember the feeling of expectation I had in the dream- I just KNEW I was going to find this thing!  And sure enough, I did!  I was so overjoyed that I jumped up and down and raised both arms in the air and shouted “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord!”

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And that’s how I woke up that morning!  I was on cloud nine!  I wanted to jump up and down and tell the whole world how much I loved the Lord.

But the coolest thing happened to me that day-  I had that feeling of joy inside me ALL DAY LONG! I started thinking about how awesome it would be to wake up praising the Lord like that EVERY DAY- simply because we have another day to enjoy life!

Life’s all about perspective.

How different our lives would be if we saw every moment as an opportunity to praise the Lord!

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.  Psalm 34

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a psalm

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I love you Lord, for You are everything to me. 

You are my Protector, my Provider, my Life-giver

my Song Singer, my Joy, and my Redeemer!  

When my head hangs low, you lift it up

when I gaze behind, You shine light 

in front of me 

You mark my path

You pick up each foot, placing one in front of the other. 

It is not my strength, but Yours, Lord 

that keeps me going in the direction of Your path.  

When I see failure, You show me Your victory

When I see darkness, Your light leads me on 

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In our small group we have been going through the book of Psalms.  Being a music lover, the Psalms speak to my heart.  So many of these verses are found in old hymns, and even in the newer contemporary Christian songs.

After reading Psalm 18 one morning,  the Lord prompted me to write a psalm of my own- to praise Him for who He is to me, what He’s done, and what He continues to do in my life.

 Nearly half of the 150 Psalms are attributed to King David.  King David is one of my all-time favorites leaders in the Bible.  He is greatly flawed, yet he is described as a man after God’s own heart.  An imperfect man, yet perfectly in love with the Lord.

His story reminds me to-

constantly seek God’s will

to worship Him with all my heart

to trust Him at ALL times 

to remember what He has done in my life

and to praise Him at ALL times!   

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.  

Psalm 86:12
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lean on me

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The heavens unleashed a downpour around us as the girls and I sat waiting in the drive-thru line.  We were at Chick-fil-a, where everything is their pleasure!  I just love that place!  Not only are they uber pleasant, but their food is always awesome.

Anyway, back to my story…

We were sitting there and a tan sedan was trying to pull in between myself and the car in front of me to park in the handicap spot on the other side of my van.  I watched the car slowly pull into the space and park.  The gentleman took his time getting out of the car.

In the pouring rain, he opened the car door and tried to steady his wobbly feet.  My best guess was that he must have been in his late ’70’s or early ’80’s.  He slowly shuffled down the side of his car to the trunk.  The girls and I were quite curious as to what he was doing.  He was taking his time and the rain was really coming down hard at this point!  As we continued to pull forward in line, we turned to see what he was up to.

We watched him carefully take out a walker as he slowly shut the trunk of his car.  He pushed it to the other side and that’s when we saw him open the passenger side. There sat a beautiful lady, all dolled-up for a day out with her husband.  He took her hand and she turned and placed her own wobbly feet on the ground.  He helped her stand and handed her the walker.

I had tears as I watched this man stand in the pouring rain, holding the door for this lady and helping her to her feet.

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That’s what love is all about! I said to my girls through my tears.  Always putting your spouse first, because that’s what honors the Lord.  

We watched her maneuver the walker so that she could slide up the handicap ramp, and I watched as he rested his arm around her.

I thought to myself- doesn’t he need his own walker? And then I started to cry as I realized

he was leaning on her.

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Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home
They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one
As it was in the beginning, is now until the end
Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again
And there’s love
“There is love”- Noel Paul Stookey

 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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take the leap

This is Jack…

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He’s our newest rescue dog, and it has been a joy watching him come out of his “shell”.

Here’s his older brother, Remy-

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They had a little bit of a love/hate relationship in the beginning, but thankfully they are good buds now!

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It’s amazing how God uses these little furry guys to teach me about life.  We don’t know anything about Jack, other than he’s about 4 years old.  When we adopted him a couple of months ago,  he was scruffy and super skinny and looked like he had a rough start to life.

We’ve had the joy of watching him grow into a beautiful, healthy, loving boy in the last couple of months. One of the things I love most about Jack is his perseverance.

Ain’t no sofa high enough 

Ain’t no bed tall enough 

Ain’t no recliner wide enough 

to keep him away from you, baby! 

When Jack wants something, he is relentless.  He will stop at nothing to get a bite of whatever awesome snack we are eating.  When he want to jump up and give you his famous 10 second snuggle, it’s like he’s competing in the Olympics.  Those little legs leap as high as they possibly can, and sometimes he hits the mark.  Other times he falls short and misses…but he doesn’t let it stop him!

He keeps his eyes fixed on what he wants and he perseveres until he succeeds.

I have heard the song  “Crazy Faith” on the radio numerous times over the last few days…

“Lord, this scares me, yeah

But it’s gonna take crazy faith

So what if it costs me everything

I’m stepping out I’m taking the leap

of crazy faith”- John Waller 

I want to have faith like that.  I want to be able to take that “leap”  like Jack does- without any fear or doubt, knowing that it’s His strength that will get me through.  When we’re continually seeking Him and His will- He is always calling us to do something…asking us to go deeper- to depend on Him more.

So what are you waiting for?

Take the leap of faith and trust Him.

 God, help me to have crazy faith

 

 

 

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Lean in ’17

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I’m gettin’ lean in ’17

a lean that’s all encompassing 

I wanna be all I can be 

and represent my Lord and King 

through ALL things, help me to SING

It’s on Him I’m gonna LEAN! 

I have just recently begun watching the show “This is Us” on NBC.  I’m a little bit behind the ball, but I’ve binge-watched almost the whole first season online, and it’s so, so good!  It’s the kind of show that you either love or hate.

This show wrecks me. Even the music makes me tear up.  But the character that I really connect with is Kate.  As a child, she is “chunky” and much of the storyline revolves around her becoming more self-conscious of her size.  Then as an adult, it shows her measuring every meal, obsessing over every calorie of everything she eats…exercising and doing all the right things- only to lose 1 lb.  Kate is charming and lovely, and yet all she can see is her size.

When I watch the show, it’s like seeing myself on the screen.  I religiously count all my calories, and then feel like a failure when I haven’t lost a pound.  Then I over-indulge during the holidays and feel like a failure when I’ve gained a pound (err…or two, lol)…the cycle never ends.

And now that my girls are entering the teen years, I try so hard to say and do the right things…

I say things like– Eat healthy so you can be HEALTHY, not THIN.  Exercise so you will feel good and feel good about yourself.  Wear clothes that fit you and flatter your curves.  Recognize that people come in all shapes and sizes, and embrace the body God gave you! You are beautiful!

But deep down, I fight those negative thoughts every single day.  I recently admitted this to someone close to me and told them that maybe this is my “cross”.  You know how Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him?  Well this love/hate relationship with food and my weight is just that- something that can either get me down every single day- or it’s something that He can use to keep me close to Him. Every moment I go to Him instead of turn to my own thoughts, well that’s another victory!

So I’m committing to getting LEAN in ’17!

I’m going to LEAN on HIM and NOT myself! 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

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You, Lord, are my lamp

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The greatest present given to me 

was not found beneath a tree 

a much more precious gift, you see- 

one that brought back memories 

In Granny’s garage, to my delight

nestled atop a fridge that night

I found an old, old antique light 

and it was precious to my sight! 

This was our first Christmas without Granny.  My aunt lives in Granny’s house, but it will forever be “Granny’s house” to me.  Even though she isn’t there, memories of her are everywhere.

We had Christmas dinner at “Granny’s house”, and I couldn’t help but wonder- were we going to talk about Granny at all?  I figured everyone else was thinking about her and missing her, too.  One of my aunts gave my mom a beautifully framed picture of Granny.  When I saw it, it was as if Granny was sitting in that same recliner in the next room.

One of my aunts asked my sister and I if we wanted to go into the garage to look through some of Granny’s things that they were getting rid of.  We walked out into the garage, and sifted through a few boxes of odds and ends.  I saw a couple of oil lamps in one box, which reminded me of my favorite lamp that used to rest on the dresser in the back bedroom.  This is where my sister and I slept when we spent the nights at Granny and Papa’s house.

As a kid, I was afraid of the dark. One of my earliest memories is of me being in a crib.  I can picture myself looking through the crib slats, watching the lights go out and then watching the door to my room close.  I would cry because I was afraid of the dark.  I can remember always being afraid of the dark- especially when I slept in a different place.

But not at Granny’s house! 

On those special overnight trips to Granny’s, I couldn’t wait to see that special lamp light up the room when I went to sleep!  It had a beautiful gold hued glass globe around the top, and the black base had cut-outs of stars, which glowed when it was turned on.

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That lamp made me look forward to sleeping over at Granny’s house.  It shined light in the darkness and somehow made my Granny’s house seem magical!

As I remembered that old lamp, I looked across the garage to where the old fridge sat. There it was, clear as day- resting right on top. I didn’t even know that lamp still existed!  I asked my aunt if I could have it, and after she checked to see if it was ok- she said it was fine for me to have it.

I couldn’t wait to get the lamp home and clean it up!  I washed the hurricane glass and the globe, and then found a bulb to put inside.  The off/on switch was broken, but as soon as I plugged it in, it came right on!

And just like flipping that “on” switch, then came back all the memories of being a kid at Granny’s house.  Granny may be gone, but her light shines on…

You, Lord, are my lamp;
    the Lord turns my darkness into light.  2 Samuel 22:29

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