I Sing Because I'm Free

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Give me words

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

There’s nothing like looking out over the ocean to make you feel so small and to bring life back into perspective. That He would create this vast expanse of water, one that ebbs and flows each day like clockwork is simply mind boggling.It is a great reminder to me that all the little things that tend to weigh me down really are so insignificant in the light of eternity.

I have been consumed by the “little things” lately, and I have allowed fears to set in. He woke me up again early this morning and began giving me a “pep-talk”.  

I am afraid of simple things- like not having the right words to say, being misunderstood, and not being bold enough.  He reminded me of Moses and just how inadequate he felt for his task.  As I read Exodus 3 this morning, I saw just how patient and understanding our Lord is. Moses asked God but what if… and over and over- He reassures him. 

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute?Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4

It is when I feel at my weakest that I see Him working the greatest. Even more than the simple fear of inadequacy lies the fear of being disobedient- of not doing what He asks of me.  

There is nothing as wonderful as having my Father wake me up to encourage me. And as He directed me to read these words in Exodus this morning, it was as if He spoke them directly to me- 

Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let me take a selfie

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Sunrise at OBX

 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.  

Psalm 113:3

As I pulled out my phone and turned on the camera, one of my daughters says, “Mom, they all look the same…”  

“Yeah, they kinda do,” another informs me.  

*sigh*

That got me to thinking about why I take these “same” pictures of the sky scape.  

I guess these pictures look alike because God is unchanging, yet he’s always revealing different aspects of Himself to us.  So in each picture I see a subtle new facet of God’s awesomeness, things we can only notice because of the Holy Spirit that He places inside each one of us.  

And as I look up to heaven, I converse with Him. Pictures are one dimensional and fail to capture the “heart” or the feeling of His presence as I pray, confess, listen…worship, and yes- gaze with wonder at His magnificent creation.  Each picture I take while I’m on a walk is like a God-selfie.  They might all look the same to some, but I can remember the heart to heart I had with Him in each of these moments… 

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Sunrise at OBX

And let’s face it, (pun intended) when we take all these “selfies” of ourselves, don’t we always look like the same person?  Picture after picture, we may make subtle changes in our appearance, but our true self doesn’t change.  

And while the colors light up the sky, I wait in the quiet to hear Him, and to see Him.  

As a musician, my heart longs for instruments and voices in perfect harmony- but the silence is just as beautiful.  The sky is like His orchestra- clouds and light colliding and forming perfect symphonic pictures…leaving me silenced-

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Sunset at OBX

 and listening for His voice… and standing in awe- that He would meet me here. Each and every time. Taking these photos is like capturing a glimpse of Him.   

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Sunset at OBX

They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs;

You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. – Psalm 65:8 

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#ScarecrowSwag

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I think you may find

I’m one of a kind-

a scarecrow with swagger  

and style

I don’t point to be rude

So don’t mind my ‘tude-

Just keepin’ the mischief

away for awhile

 I went on a retreat this past weekend and found this awesome scarecrow. I have yet to meet a scarecrow with such style… he brought a smile to my face!

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You are the One

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Well, it feels like yesterday 

I heard a knock upon my door

you caught me by surprise

but I knew what you came for

my heart skipped a beat

in that moment you swept me

off my feet

I knew you were the one

you were the one

So you asked me on a date

and I said I would, I would

And I knew it in my heart

you were good, you were good

And time stood still and He 

showed me you and I were 

meant to be 

I knew you were the one

you were the one

Well, that first date you and I

talked endlessly sitting side by side

we dreamed a thousand dreams

as we bonded over ice cream

we philosophized 

with stars shinning in our eyes

I knew you were the one

you were the one

all I know is I’d 

be a mess

without you by my side

I know you are the one

you are the one

20 years ago today, my husband and I went on our first date.  All the moments of that evening are etched in my memory…in fact, I remember it more clearly than my wedding day.  I remember coming home that night and telling my mom that I was going to marry him someday.  At only 17, her words were “you better wait a while!!!”  

I wrote this song to celebrate our special day…the day The Lord whispered in my heart that he was the one.  

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

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You can’t hide under the umbrella forever

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 I love being a mom, but some days it breaks my heart.  

One of the most difficult aspects of motherhood is re-living my own childhood through my daughters. The older they get, the more I see myself in them. One of them in particular is very sensitive- like me.  She wears her heart on her sleeve and always wants everything to be harmonious.  When anything is not as it should be- she is in turmoil.  

Some mornings I will wake up with a pit in my stomach- an uneasy feeling that I just can’t shake.  It doesn’t take long to remember whatever the situation is that is making me feel uneasy. Occasionally when this happens, I will go into “hiding”…take shelter in my home and spend time with my best friend- Jesus.  

When my girls got home from school the other day, it was clear that one of them wanted to go into “hiding”.  The day did not go as she had hoped.  We sat outside and chatted while I did yard work.  As I trimmed the the shrubs, my daughter grabbed a giant umbrella off our porch and proceeded to sit down in the grass and open it. The umbrella was so big, it nearly hid her whole body from me.  It could not have been a more beautiful day to be outside.  

“Mom, this is how I feel today,” my daughter said as she hung her head low.

“Oh, Baby… I know just what you mean… Even Momma has days like that.  I have many days when I feel like hiding under an umbrella, too.”

And as I talked to her, I realized that as she held that giant, black umbrella, the beauty of the sunshine was being blocked from her. 

“But you know what? You can’t hide under that giant umbrella forever.  You gotta get out from under it so His Son can shine on you!”

For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.  Psalm 30:5

And as I spoke these words to her, I realized that I, too, must get out from under my umbrella on those days I want to hide away.  It’s ok to take time away to re-charge…but too much time can lead to self-pity. We’ve gotta pack our pity party bags and leave them at the feet of Jesus…and trust the situation to Him.

Often when I choose to hide, I miss out on His blessings. Just maybe He wants to use you to be an umbrella for someone else today… but we have to put down our own, first…

 

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And after our heart-to-heart, that’s just what my girl did!  

But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat.   Isaiah 25:4

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Sometimes I think He wakes me up

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Sometimes I think He wakes me up 

at night

so I will pray

Due to time I failed to give Him

in the light of day

it’s true 

that when we seek His face

in time we’ll surely find

 peace that passes understanding

true calming of the mind

sometimes I think He wakes me up

at night

so I can see 

nothing but His face, His truth, 

His grace, His love for me.

sometimes I think He wakes me up

at night 

for deeper rest

as I worship Him in darkest hours 

in the quiet

I am blessed.

I remember waking in the wee hours of the morning to nurse my crying babies.  Those moments I held my daughters in my arms were so precious… even when I did not get much sleep.  While I know early on they needed to eat more frequently, I know that as they got older, their waking was solely to be comforted by their momma.  

I kept waking up last night…and I think it was solely to go to my Comforter.  I had so much on my mind, and I started doing that “thinking” thing again… you know, “thinking” instead of “praying”?  I found myself wide awake at 4am.  It was actually a wonderful thing.  I prayed and poured my heart out to Him- which is exactly what I should have done the previous evening- and failed to do.  

So this morning, He has reminded me that I am His precious child… and that He wants me to go to Him no matter what time of day it is… and to pray without ceasing.

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I find my rest in God alone. He is the One who saves me.  Psalm 62:1

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We Are the Church

Here’s the church…

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Here’s the steeple….

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Open the door….

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And here’s all the people!

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Remember doing this as a child?  I do…and I remember smiling at my little wiggly fingers as I turned my hands inside out.  

I also remember wanting to desperately be part of a church- part of a church where our lives intertwined… and we called each other “family”.  I didn’t have a “church home” growing up.  What I didn’t know back then was that church is not technically a building- we are His church.  We are His hands and feet… being Christ-like wherever we go… not just within the four walls of a church.

But what if instead of “going” to church we lived with the idea that we are “bringing church” with us- everywhere we go? We are His church.  

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.  Luke 11:33

I made a new friend the other day. I happen to have my girls with me, and they were seated at a table in a coffee shop. As I waited to order coffee, ahead of me in line stood a woman and her friend.  I love people watching and thinking about their lives… where they have been…where are they going….are they happy?  My thoughts wandered and then it was time for me to order.  I ordered my unusual usual drink, and stepped aside to wait for it.  The barista rattled off my unusual usual drink and to my surprise, the lady ahead of me in line reached for the same drink. 

“You ordered this, too?” I asked her.  

“Yes!”  She said with a look of surprise.  

“Why, I guess that makes us coffee soul mates!”  I cheerfully said to her.  

And then the funniest thing happened…we began finishing each other’s sentences.  

“I always order soymilk….”

“…and it’s already so sweet…”

 “it doesn’t even need sugar!” we say at the same time…

and then it dawned on me that I knew her.  

“I know you!  You work at (one of my favorite stores)! 

And then we chatted like old friends. We formally introduced ourselves to each other and that was that.  

“Come see me soon!” She said as we finished our chat. 

“I’ll do that!”

I noticed my girls giving me funny looks from across the way as they watched us chatting.  When I walked over to them, one of them said, “Mom, why do you always have to talk to people?”  

“Because I like making new friends, honey. People need friends.” 

And I certainly don’t think it was a coincidence that I knew her, that we were in the same line together, and that we ordered the exact same drink. That sounds like a God-incident to me.   We are all connected in some way. He just used a good ole’ cup of joe to show me on this particular afternoon.  

People need friends.

And people need Jesus.  

I believe He’s always at work- placing people in our paths and on our hearts to reach out to.  Making small connections with people, building relationships for His purposes. And just maybe they might get to know a little about Jesus by getting to know you- through some small act of kindness, a smile, an encouraging word. Not that we shouldn’t invite people to come to church, but we need to be the church- to everyone we see… everywhere we go.  

 I want my girls to know that being part of His church is so much more than going to a place on a Sunday morning.  It’s so much more than just knowing and loving Jesus. It’s putting this love into action- He wants us to love people and to be His hands and feet… and it begins the moment we step outside those church doors. IMG_0345

Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words- Francis of Assisi  

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Running in the rain

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running through the storm

His grace, sufficient for me

falls like gentle rain

It was muggy and growing dark outside. I saw the dreary clouds overhead, but decided to chance it.  It hadn’t rained in a while- so maybe, just maybe, the sky might hold out long enough to take a short walk. I had a family friend tag along with me that evening. 

“Don’t you think it might rain?”  she asked me. 

“Nah, I think we’re safe.”  I reassured her.  

We chatted about simple things… how stormy the sky looked, how tired we were from a busy day, and how disappointed we were that there was no sunset to see due to the dark clouds.  

Halfway through with our walk, I looked up and saw this beam of color through the sky. We stopped for a moment to take it in, and in the blink of an eye, we felt tiny droplets of rain falling on our face.  I smiled and said ” Girl- we gotta run!!”  

And we giggled like children as we frolicked through the rain that evening.  It was so good to feel the rain falling on my skin, and to be smiling and laughing with my friend. When we started our walk, I never once worried about it raining on us. If I had thought about it too hard, I probably wouldn’t have gone…and then I would have missed out on being a kid again.

I thought about how happy we were in that moment. There are so many times that I want to run from “storms” in my life.  Run from things that scare me or intimidate me. Run from situations that may take me out of my comfort zone. I keep telling myself to think less and pray more.  Trust more.  As the rain fell, He reminded me that His grace will cover me in any storm He leads me to…and if He leads you to it, He will certainly lead you through it!  

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2 

Lord, help me to approach every impending “storm” with childlike faith… with complete dependence on You and Your sovereign hand to guide me through. Your grace is sufficient for me – and You are ALL I need!  

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Finally Free – a song about Baptism

Dying with You,rising again

leaving behind my body of sin

born in the Spirit and ready to live

accepting Your gift, and I’m ready to give 

I declare today to all the earth 

that I no longer live but Christ through me

and by His grace I have a second birth 

because He paid the price

I’m finally free

Lord find me worthy to suffer for You

to feel just a taste of what You went through

so I can stand with You when this life is done

Embraced by the Father, redeemed by the Son

Give me the boldness to stand by Your side

seeing my faith as nothing to hide

sharing with others Your mercy and grace

whenever Your time, Lord, wherever Your place 

About 5 years ago, my husband wrote these beautiful lyrics.  I put them to music and sang this at a special service where several people were baptized- including myself.  I had accepted Jesus as my Savior as a child, but had never been baptized before.

This song will always hold a special place in my heart.  It is wonderful to write songs with my husband, and even more awesome to know what He has done for all of us.   To God be the glory!

Because He paid the price, I’m finally free

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