I Sing Because I'm Free

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Light exposes darkness….and unwanted critters

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Light exposes the true character of everything  Ephesians 5:13

 The light coming from the moon was so bright the other night.  As I pulled into the driveway, I didn’t even need a porch light to get into my house.  The pathway leading to my door was perfectly illuminated by the moonlight.

Light exposes darkness.

We had a slight problem recently.  It seems that one of my fabulous thrift store furniture finds brought an unwanted guest into my home- roaches.  Yes, I shudder even typing the “r” word. It is no secret that they like the dark.  Is is any wonder that these detestable pests scamper at the first sign of light?  I crept into the kitchen many times in fear as I flipped on the light switch…fortunately I only saw one or two run for cover, but I knew there had to be more.

I could have left it alone, and kept spraying the one or two that I would see, but I knew if there were one or two, that there had to be more hiding- in my walls, cabinets, other tiny crevasses that harbored snug hiding places…

Which got me thinking- how many times have I tried to mask something that was happening on a deeper level in my personal life?  I can paint smiles on my face and stuff away feelings, but unless I go to God about all things, they will always be there, lurking in the darkness.

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.  Psalm 119:18

When I come to Him, just as I am, I don’t want to stay that way. I want Him to change me.  I want Him to disinfect every area of my heart that offends Him.  I don’t want any sin critters running rampant inside of me, I want them all gone!

It is so easy to make excuses for ourselves and to continue to mess up and do the same things again and again… but we don’t have to!  Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can be free from the things that are holding us down, keeping us from living a life of abundant joy and peace.  And praise the  Lord- my not-so-friendly critters are gone!!

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Fount of Many Blessings

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I count my blessings one by one

and think of all the times

I fail to see simplicity

in this blessed life of mine

a simple four leaf clover

a reminder of His grace

of His fount of many blessings

when I continually seek His face  

I woke up this morning with a feeling of discouragement.  I wanted to kick myself, because I have way too much to be thankful for, and I know it. Not to mention, it’s just way too gorgeous outside to not be smiling ear to ear!   So, I took the dog out and began praying, and thanking God for my many blessings.  I looked down and  saw the most ginormous four leaf clover today-

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I find them all the time- but this one was huge!  When I got home, I opened up a book where I had places other four leaf clovers, and I smiled as I looked at the song on the page- Come Thou Fount of Many Blessings.  One of my favorites. He most definitely is a Loving Father who is pouring out blessing after blessing. One who knows just how I’m feeling, and exactly what I needed to “fill my cup”.

And as I placed the clover into the book, I began to sing the song…

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Just like we have to tune our instruments, I needed to tune my heart to His. The more I sang, the louder my praises rang- and the more joyful I felt.  This song ran through my mind all day- as did the many things I am thankful for.  He is, indeed, pouring out a continuous fountain of blessings-

a loving husband and two wonderful girls

A beautiful home

a plethora of clothing to wear

more than enough food to eat

 many basic freedoms that I take for granted

When I focus on circumstances, on things, or people- it is easy to forget the many things I have to be thankful for.  It’s like looking into a field of green- and only seeing the weeds.  Sometimes I have to look a little harder for them- but those four leaf clovers are always there.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.  John 1:16

Lord, help me to tune my heart to Yours today!  Forgive me for focusing on circumstances and not on Your goodness.  You are making all things work together for good- and I trust in You completely.  Thank you for this day and for overflowing my heart with praise and thanksgiving for You!

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We all eventually leave the nest…

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:21

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One day old House Finch birds

I knew the day would come for these sweet babies to spread their wings and fly away.  It has been such a joy to watch them grow and hear their sweet singing every morning!  My girls considered naming them, but I warned them that they would only be in the nest for a short time.  They even asked if we could “keep” them.  I told them no, that they were meant to fly and be free.

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Two week old House Finch birds

We peeked in on them every day…and the speed at which they developed and grew feathers was simply amazing!  I kept telling the girls that any day they would be leaving.  And then yesterday, I had a sense that it was going to happen.

Momma and daddy perched themselves on the gutter atop my front porch, and I could hear them cheering the babies on!

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Mama and Daddy bird anxiously wait for their babies to fly!

And I could hear the baby birds fluttering their wings in the nest on our front door…I took my dog for a walk and then went onto the porch to peek at them- and lo and behold- the first baby peered up at me and flew for the first time!  Momma and Daddy bird were celebrating and flying all around- peeping continuously, and I found myself smiling, and cheering right along with them!

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The last two babies wait for their turn to fly away

These babies would have not survived if my friend and I had not put them back into the nest that had fallen off my door.  And here they were-only two weeks later-  ready to spread their wings and fly!  I went on about my day, and when I returned home that afternoon, they were all gone.

All this made me think about what it will be like when my own daughters leave my “nest”.  Life is flying by at lightening speed.  It seems like just yesterday I brought my first baby home from the hospital. One day, Lord willing,  I will watch both of my girls graduate … and hopefully get married… and have their own babies…oh, I can hardly bear to think of them growing up, but it’s happening right before my very eyes! I can’t even imagine what it will feel like to let them go- to watch my girls spread their wings and fly.  And like a farmer, planting seeds- I pray that someday the Good Lord will reap a harvest of fruit in the lives of my children.  And I will right there with them- cheering from the sidelines as they “fly”.  Just like Momma and Daddy bird!

“but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 

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It was good

 

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Serenity and crashing sounds

upon the sand, the two are found

 fleeing  from busy-ness

I lay upon the sand to rest 

and simply be- no need to do

I worship at the sight of You

at the wonders of Your living sea- 

its sound brings peace, tranquility 

O God of wondrous delight

time with You makes all things right!

It seems as if time stands still when I am gazing out into the ocean.  I took this picture yesterday as I walked on the boardwalk at the beach.  The clouds looked as if the heavens were shining down, radiating off the ocean.  It was a most spectacular day!

My friend and I took a short trip to the ocean to get away and relax.  It was so beautiful, we could have stayed there all day…hours went by… and for the first time in ages, I did absolutely nothing.  I didn’t have my phone.  I didn’t think about things I needed to do when I got home, I didn’t do any planning, and did not have a single thought or worry on my mind. Zip.  Nada.  Nothing.  The sounds of the ocean quickly silenced every noise in my head, and I felt nothing but peace.

 I am realizing that I need to be more intentional about turning my brain “off”… and more intentional about just being in His presence.  Not looking for a message, or a song idea… not looking for what He will  teach me or do for me… but just simply spending time worshiping Him for who He is- my wonderful Creator!

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  Colossians 1:16

Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.  God called the dry land earth and the gathering of the waters He called the seas; and God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:9-10

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Be careful what you wish for

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Be careful what you wish for

’cause you just may realize

the very thing that you desire

may be your slow demise

Silence can be golden

But when found, I quickly see

the thing I truly long for

is fellowship with family

My husband asked me after church what I’d like to do with the rest of our day.. Mother’s Day.  Honestly, I didn’t want to do anything.  He had been away for a week with work, had just returned that morning, and I was simply relieved that he was home.

“My plan is to have no plan!”  I told him.

I have found through the years that having a “plan” often leads to disappointment.  Because when you have a “plan”, there’s always a chance for it to change.  And then our “plans” don’t always live up to our expectations. So, to avoid disappointment, I like to throw caution to the wind and leave all the big plans to the Big Man upstairs- and then to my husband for the other things.

So after lunch in town we headed home.

“What would you really like to do today?”  my husband asks me.

And the first thing I thought of was walking the Monticello Trail- a beautiful (almost) 4 mile hike near the historic home of Thomas Jefferson.

“Well, you know the kids won’t want to do that!”  He says as he smiles.  “Why don’t you just go by yourself?”

And that’s what I did.

I find myself longing for quiet.  That is always the first thing that comes to mind when asked what I would like to do- anything that gives me peace and quiet.  It doesn’t really matter what it is- I want to be alone with my thoughts so I can think.  Sometimes the noises of life take over my brain and I can’t seem to quiet them long enough to have a complete thought.

So I got myself ready and drove to the trail.  The sky was brilliant blue, and the weather perfect.  As I walked, I saw young mommas with babies… older mommas with their big kids… husbands and wives holding hands as they strolled along…families laying on blankets reading books, throwing frisbees… it seemed that everyone I saw was with their loved ones.

And here I was, FINALLY alone… with my thoughts…

And all I could think about was my family- spending the previous day with my mom and granny. We didn’t do anything special- but we were together.

And I remembered all the times I brought the girls as babies to this very trail… and huffed and puffed as I pushed one in a stroller and carried the other in a backpack. It was tough, but the accomplishment was amazing!  We were making memories.

I remembered one of the early dates my husband and I had when we went to Williamsburg.  We packed a picnic lunch and walked the beautiful lawn of William and Mary.  Learning about one another and experiencing the beauty of His creation- together!

And all I could think about was getting back to my husband…and my girls…and holding his hand…

I walked to the top of the trail and snapped that picture of the mountain.  But what I wanted more than anything was for someone to be there to share it with me.  My husband, my girls, a friend…anyone that I love!

Because all that really matters in life is our relationships.  With Jesus, our spouses, children, parents, friends…

And as I began to head back down the trail, I picked up my pace. My speed-walk turned into a jog…and then I began to run faster and faster…because I couldn’t wait to get back home to the ones I love the most.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:13

 

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We all need a little help sometimes

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.   Matthew 6:26

It’s the little things that make me happy!   In a previous post , I shared how I found a bird’s nest on my front door.  My girls and I have been anxiously waiting for these little guys to hatch!  We peeked into the nest every day to see how these jelly-bean sized eggs were doing…

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I looked into the nest just as they were coming out of their shells!

I peeked a little while later, and they were soundly sleeping…

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and then the last one finally made his way out…

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And they all snuggled together…

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Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I awoke to a loud noise.  Thinking it was coming from my children’s room, I quickly went in and checked on them.  Everything seemed fine, so I went back to sleep.  When I got up to begin the morning routine, I glanced outside my front door to check on the bird’s nest.  Much to my dismay, I found the basket’s ribbon had come undone from the door, and the entire basket had fallen down onto the porch.  I looked at those tiny baby birds scattered on the porch, and didn’t know what to do.  I feared the worst. I got the girls out of bed and told them about the nest.  We looked outside and my oldest said “Mom,  one of them is moving!”  Sure enough, they were moving their little beaks ever so slowly.  A friend came over and helped me get them all back into the nest, and  fortunately- they all seemed to be ok. I prayed that their momma would come back and take care of them.  Before I knew it, I heard rustling on my front door!  Momma was back and I don’t think she has left their side.

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:2

I have a little bit of “momma bird” in me, too-  I like to think that I have everything under control.  We can build a happy home, plan and prepare for the day’s events, but sometimes our baskets get too heavy – and they come crashing down.  There was no way momma bird could have gotten those babies back into the nest without our help.  When my girls were babies I often felt overwhelmed.  It was hard for me to ask for help when I needed it.  Several years ago, I remember praying for God to help me.  My babysitter was sick and I had piano students coming to the house later that day. I didn’t know how it was going to work out- but I had peace in heart. My first student of the day happily babysat for me that afternoon. This was one of the first times I realized that God places special people in our paths to help us. I wouldn’t be half the momma I am without all the wonderful friends and family He has placed in my life!  It takes a village- and just like momma bird- we all need a little help sometimes!

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  Psalm 46:1

Lord, thank You for the sweet reminder to call on You, my Helper, for all things- no matter how big or small.  Thank you for Your faithfulness, and for allowing me to catch a glimpse of  Your magnificent creation!  You are, indeed, a Wonderful Maker!

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I think I think too much…

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 fleeting thoughts- like clouds

changing moment by moment

as the trees stand tall
 

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8

There are times when I think way too hard about things.  My husband gave me some good advice the other day-

“Don’t think about it- just do it!”

As soon as he said this, I began to think- that is so much easier said than done!  And then I quickly realized that I was, again, thinking about it and not doing it!

If I only took the same amount of time I lamented over a chore, or over doing something that was necessary but doesn’t necessarily make me happy- it would already be done! And all those dishes I loathe washing?   If I just got off my duff and did them, it would take a fraction of the time.  The fact of the matter is that my mind wants to rationalize why I should wait to do something… or why I shouldn’t even bother at all.

For instance- I have probably written twice as many blog posts that I have not hit the “publish” button on… why, you ask?  That’s a good question. Because I think about it instead of doing it.  And then I doubt myself.  And then I think- who cares what I’m thinking about?  I can talk myself out of doing absolutely anything!

But those are the very times I need to commit these thoughts to the One whose thoughts are higher than mine. The thing I fear the most is not being obedient to God because I am thinking too much and not praying enough.  I want to be obedient in the big and the small things. The more time I spend with Him, the more clearly I see what He is leading me to do each moment.

So I don’t need to think about it- I need to pray about it…

and then trust and obey!

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:9

Lord, I am so grateful for Your grace, and that Your thoughts are so much greater than mine could ever be!  Help me to commit my every thought- every concern, worry, fear- my every need to You in prayer.  You care about every detail of my life- even my fleeting thoughts… may I leave them all in Your hands today.  

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