I Sing Because I'm Free

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May the Glory Be Yours

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I had the privilege of sharing my testimony with a complete stranger recently.  I love how He orchestrates these ordinary situations to talk about what an extraordinary Savior He is!  So much of this young girl reminded me of myself years ago. She told me she believed in God, but that she didn’t go to church.  I told her that I used to say the same thing, until one day someone pointed out to me that even Satan believes in God.  You most certainly don’t have to go to a church to find Him- I found Him sitting alone in my room with a Bible in my lap.

I told her how I felt like there had to be more to being a Christian than just believing God existed.  So one day, I decided to pick up my Bible and I started reading… and then I committed to praying- something I hadn’t really ever done with any consistency.

And then it happened… over a period of days and weeks, I began to see this Living God that I had heard about. His Word seemed to come to life before my very eyes.  Instead of winding down and watching TV after I would put the kids to bed, I took out my Bible and read.  I loved seeing where He would lead me and what He would say to me each night as I read the Word.  I began praying and truly started to feel a connection to Him in a way I never thought was possible.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29

I wrote this song May The Glory Be Yours years ago, when I first began the journey of seeking and wanting to know more of Him.    It was a time of metamorphosis- feeling Him changing me and molding me… I felt like I was finally waking up from sleepwalking through life.  All the things I once thought were important paled in comparison to knowing Him and experiencing His presence in my life.

 Sometimes I think we can make it so complicated.  He gave me simple words to share with this young girl, and I could see a tiny spark in her eye.  I praise Him every day for His mercy and grace in my life- and for a wonderful opportunity to share the Good News with a new friend!

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all of your  strength, and with all of your mind.  Luke 10:27

“May the Glory Be Yours”

Every morning I wake

my thoughts turn to You

how You restore me and fill me

and make Your mercies new

I pray that there would be more of You

and less of me

and that Your will would be done in my life

how You’ve set me free!

So break me, and bend me,

Prepare me and send me

refine me, shine through me

I give myself to You.

And may I never forget, Lord, 

just what You’ve done

how You have saved and redeemed me

through the blood of Your Son

So break me, and bend me,

prepare me and send me

refine me, shine through me

I give my life to You

I put my trust in You alone

I give my life to You

may the glory be Yours and Yours alone.

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Sweet Surrender

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In order to bloom

we must shed 

our dead

leaves

and let them fall at His feet

in sweet

surrender

Like an onion, I feel Him peeling back layers and layers of my “self”… revealing His heart and His desires.  I can so easily get caught up in the moment and get all tangled up in my emotions… I can be soo happy!!!   and then the next moment so frustrated…or excited,  tired, helpless…

And sometimes I fail to remember that I am, in fact, NONE of these things…

I am His

And with each dead leaf that falls, with every moment of surrender- I feel released of the “self” I know all too well.

He must become greater; I must become less  John 3:30

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139

 

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Being Christ-like while accepting criticism

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Wouldn’t you rather be enjoying this view than doing housework?!

It was a gorgeous, warm day and I was dealing with an internal battle of epic proportions.

I have been busy lately- and when this happens, something’s gotta give.  Well, one of those “somethings” is housework. Housework is a bad word in my vocabulary.  I enjoy the finished product, but I have a hard time prioritizing the many things that need to happen in the correct order.  Because if you vacuum and then you dust- well, then you just have to vacuum all over again because now the floor has dust all over it.  See, it’s just a vicious cycle.  That is how my brain works- and that is why I do not devote a lot of time to cleaning.

So on this particular gorgeous day, as I sat in my recliner, I looked over at the dishes in the sink, and then looked over at the pile of clothes in the other recliner, and for a split second, I longed to be a more efficient housewife…

“I so wish that I were a better homemaker.”  I said, woefully.

My husband slowly turned to look at me, and sheepishly said, “Yeah, I’m not going to comment on that one!”  He was politely holding back his snickers.

Years ago, my feelings would have been hurt.  I really do try my best!  And for many years, I obsessed about cleaning.  But in reality, I am terrible at planning meals, food-shopping, doing dishes, laundry, cleaning… I freely admit this.  And you know what?  It’s ok.  I’m ok with it.  There are times I wish I was more efficient at these things, but I have let it go.  (and yes, I’m singing that stupid song in my head right now… “let it go…. let it gooooo….)

So instead of defending myself, instead of rattling off excuses or telling him how wrong he was, I gave him a sly smile.  He loves me anyway.  In spite of my messiness.

After I freely acknowledged my shortcomings as a homemaker, he says “well, what do you really want to do today?”  And do you know what happened next?  The very awesomest thing.  I didn’t answer him, and instead he answered for me.

“Why don’t you just go for a walk?”

True love.

No, he didn’t list all of the house things that weren’t done.  He didn’t complain that we have no clean dishes or clothes.  He told me to do something for me.

Lord knows that I am far from perfect.  And a perfect homemaker- I’ll never be.  But in that moment, I was perfectly ok with that fact, and perfectly in love with my husband… and thankful for a God who’s grace is sufficient for me to complete any task I am not qualified to accomplish.

And those 3 miles I walked were heaven-sent!  It truly was just the thing I needed to jump start my chores.  As I walked in the warm sun, I prayed, I sang along to my worship tunes, and I might have even danced a little…

Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD!  Psalm 150:6

He is slowly teaching me that it is ok to not be so great at some things… and that I don’t have to beat myself up about it, either.  I shouldn’t use it as an excuse to feel bad about myself, or to not try to be better- but to draw closer to my Father for strength and guidance in all things.  My Heavenly Father loves me in spite of all my flaws and imperfections.

God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way.  He wants you to be just like Jesus.  – Max Lucado

Lord, help me to be more like You!  Help me to have balance in my life and to to know when to let go.  Help me to see my short-comings as opportunities for You to mold and shape me into who You created me to be.   

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Dance for Joy

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Sometimes I wanna

just stop everything …and dance

dance like King David

If only….I wonder if I would get any stares if I just all of a sudden busted out my cool dance moves in random places?  My best furry-friend does this all the time, and I must admit that I am a bit jealous… He isn’t worried about whether or not the people driving by are watching him, he doesn’t care who’s yard it is, or who might be standing outside watching.  He doesn’t care if we’re in a hurry, or what the temperature is outside.  When he feels like it, he just throws himself on the ground and dances- tongue out and all.

“In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . . but among these maids you’re so worried about, I’ll be honored no end.”  2 Samuel 6:21-22

Tomorrow is the celebration of Easter- He is Risen!  With each passing year, as I walk closer with Him- this day becomes even sweeter to celebrate!  I want to worship like King David- to dance with joy before my Heavenly Father!  To sing His praises and dance all day long…at church,  in my car, in the grocery store, walking through the neighborhood… no matter where I go, or who happens to be watching…

So if you catch a glimpse of me tomorrow and worry that I might embarrass myself with all my cool dance moves, not worries- I’m  dancing for joy because He is risen, indeed!!

Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.  

Psalm 149:3

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New Life

 

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The lovely nest found on my front door today!

Signs of new life everywhere

Spring ushers in winter’s rest

A Surprise

New life right at my door-

a perfectly crafted bird’s nest!

A warm spring morning prompted me to take a stroll through the neighborhood.

As I walked along, I looked for signs of spring- signs of new life buzzing around me.  It’s not hard to see it.  One good sniff and you can smell the pollen in the air, see the pear tree flower buds blowing in the breeze, and watch the kelly green leaves sprouting on tree branches. Birds are alive and well- singing their symphony for all to hear.  It is a wonderful time of expectation- expecting the beautiful things that spring ushers in.

As my dog stopped to sniff the ground, I looked down at my feet and saw a patch of clovers.  I remembered how much I love looking for 4 leaf clovers! I took a closer look, and lo and behold- I found a 5 leaf clover!  What a special blessing to start the day!  I used to lie in the grass for entire afternoons as a kid searching for 4 leaf clovers… and 5 leaf ones are definitely a treasured find!

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Another beautiful sign of spring and new life…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  

2 Corinthians 5:17

The Lord has had me thinking about being a “new creation”- and what that looks like as a Christ follower.  Am I living a life that represents the hope of the resurrected Jesus?  And I started thinking about signs of new life in me…. do people see Him in me?  His Hope? Peace? Joy?  In my countenance, my words and actions?  In the very way I am living out my life- do they see Christ in me?Am I a sign of His New Life- His Spirit at work in me?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

He is always at work…doing a new thing. Am I surrendering to Him at all times and allowing Him to continuously work in me?

After a day of  contemplating signs of new life, I found the most wonderful sign of new life-a baby bird’s nest nestled in the basket on my front door! In 17 years of marriage, I don’t recall ever having a bird’s nest around my home…and to find this at the start of Holy Week… God is most certainly in the little details!

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!  In wisdom you have made them all.  The earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24

But the best news of all is that He is risen!  His Spirit is alive and well- living in each of us.  The old has passed away and the new has already come.  And He is making us new each day!

Lord, may I live my life out in such a way that people see the Hope of Jesus in me. May I surrender each day to You and allow You to bring new seasons into my life.   I want to  be in the center  of Your will and serve You in all I do!

 

 

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How Great Thou “Art”

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The beautiful sky that caught my eye today in Charlottesville

As if God Himself
took the brush
and painted in the sky
the swirling white
of clouds so bright
was beauty to my eye
That He would care
enough for us
to show His glory here
through His creation
speaking to us
always drawing near
His hand of grace
reaching out
He paints for all to see
the very hand
that crafts the sky-
His Spirit dwells in me.

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Siblin’s Day- our made-up holiday…and a song about it

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Two are better than one- Ephesians 4:9

I love my sister.

There is no person on earth that knows me like she does.  All we have to do is look at each other- and we crack up. We know what each other is thinking before we even utter a word. It’s like we can read each other’s mind…I love laughing with her and being silly.  Since I moved away (almost) 10 years ago, we don’t get to see each other too often- but when we do, it’s like no time has passed!  I am so blessed to have a sissy!  She visited me this past weekend-which happened to be the anniversary of a holiday we made up when I was in college- “Siblin’s Day”.   Funny enough, after we made this holiday up, a national day has been set aside to celebrate Siblings Day- and coincidentally, it  happens to fall right around our own- April 10th!

Ok- honestly? We just wanted a special day to buy each other cool gifts.  Because we know each other so well, I can think of oodles of neat things to get her. So, we settled on the first Sunday of April- unless it falls on Easter, and then it is the 2nd Sunday. That is our designated “Siblin’s Day” Holiday. And yes, when we say it, we emphasize the first syllable- sib-lin… not sib-ling

So here are the rules we established on our first Siblin’s Day-

1. We must pick a theme. It is way more fun to shop when you have a theme in mind. Our first theme was “butterflies”.

2. We must find a gift to fit in with our theme. I still remember the beautiful butterfly hair clip and butterfly garden book she gave me on our first Siblin’s Day…

3. Find a “Sib”. I know not everyone has a sibling, but we all have special friends that are like kindred spirits, you know? Those friendships are worth celebrating, too!

4. Trust your “Sib”…. so this was a silly rule. No, we didn’t really mean that we would trust each other with our lives or anything…this one was shallow... we trusted that we would find the perfect gift to brighten the other’s day.

And through the years, we have forgotten this date a few times… but nevertheless, I am thankful for my sister and for our special relationship.  Even as adults with our own children now, we still act like kids when we are together.

So- don’t delay! Pick your theme now and tell your Siblin’ you love them!

It’s Siblin’s Day- the greatest day of the year!

And yes, we made up a song years ago to celebrate this day….I hope this silly song brings you JOY!  My sister and I spent many years singing and making up songs together- what a blessing it was to be silly and sing with her again this weekend!  Thanks, Netty, for singing with me!  Happy Siblin’s Day!!!

It’s siblin’s day- the greatest day of the year! You find a theme… you find a gift… you find a “sib”… trust that sib… cause it’s siblin’s day- the greatest day of the year!  When I’m happy and when I’m sad.  When I’m lonely and when I’m mad.  My siblin’s always there for me-  ’cause she’ll always be my family!  It’s siblin’s day- the greatest day of the year!

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He is Faithful

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He is Faithful

He takes our time and endless demands

into His infinite goodness and limitless hands

turning our impossibilities

into His miraculous opportunities

to allow His work and Spirit to shine-

the glory is all His and none of it mine.

He is faithful.

I am humbled.

 One of my favorite devotional books is Streams in the Desert.  A line I once read from there has stuck with me-

Nothing blesses the one who prays as much as an offering of praise.- Streams in the Desert

Although our needs may be plenty, God is so much greater!  When we offer our praises to Him- through prayer or song, He has a remarkable way of changing the way we see things.  Our focus shifts from ourselves to Him… and He can take our struggles and things that seem impossible- and turn them into wonderful opportunities to show us His goodness.

There is so much to be thankful for today!  The coldest winter has finally given way to the warmth of springtime- and just in the nick of time for my girls to be out of school for Spring Break.  I walked outside yesterday to a symphony of birds singing- another sign that spring is here!   I praise Him for the sunshine.  I praise Him for making a way for the girls and I to have a last-minute lunch with my husband on his lunch break today.  There is always much to pray for- but the praises today are endless!

Here’s a song I wrote called “You Are Faithful”-

It is a song of praise- for His faithfulness and His goodness.

You are faithful, You are good.  You are awesome and magnificent and powerful. You are worthy of all praise and You are wonderful! You are the Prince of Peace and You are everything beautiful! You are faithful, You are good.

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