I Sing Because I'm Free

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Emptied to be Filled

  

Blessings abound

When I give what I’ve found

Emptied so I can be 

Filled

Each moment I find

Greater peace of mind

When I obey Him 

And follow His will 

Last spring I found an abundance of 4 leaf clovers. This year- not so much.  I found one a few weeks ago as I was talking with a friend in my driveway, and I gave it to her. 

Every day I take the same walk- always scanning clover patches as my dog sniffs and tarries. Usually I am talking to God and praying, but the other day I started thinking- where have all those clovers gone? Am I just not looking in the right place? Am I giving up too easily? It is easy to do things when you get immediate results. When you have to put time into it, well…sometimes it doesn’t seem worth the effort. 

But for some reason, I had to find one 4 leaf clover that morning. I searched, I talked to God, and when my dog was ready to move on, I tarried…and just the moment I felt like turning away- there it was! A beautiful, humongous 4 leaf clover- standing tall above the rest of them- like it had been planted there just for me.

As soon as I picked it, I saw an elderly man walking towards me.  Give him the clover! I heard a little voice within me say. What if he thinks I’m weird? I argued back. Just do it! You will regret it if you don’t! And like that, it was settled. 

As I continued walking, the elderly man approached me. “It’s a beautiful morning, isn’t it!” he greeted me.

“It sure is!” I smiled and extended my hand to give him the 4 leaf clover. “It’s going to be a great day,” I told him. “This is for you!” He grinned a child-like grin as he reached for the 4 leaf clover, and we parted ways. 

I glanced down at my feet, and much to my surprise- there was another 4 leaf clover waiting for me. Isn’t it funny that I would walk for weeks and not find a single one- but the minute I find one and give it away- He multiplies it?

When we empty ourselves- He fills us up again! 

And if you look for it as silver and search for it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.-Proverbs 2:4-5

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Alone in a crowd

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in a crowded room,

the only thing that mattered

was catching her eye

I felt so alone yesterday. 

It was the morning of my daughter’s end of the year awards assembly.  She told me to be there 15 minutes early- because she knows I have a tendency to be a tad behind schedule.  She’s a little “fashionista”, so I carefully chose one of her favorite dresses of mine to wear- just for her.  

I left the house 15 minutes earlier than I normally would have, so that I would get there early.  I got one of the last parking spots in front of the school and I hustled up to the front door.  As I approached the foyer, I noticed that there were clusters of people standing, waiting to get into the auditorium.  They were not yet ready to let us find a seat. 

I stood in the foyer and smiled as I watched all the other moms and dads.  Many of them had their own parents with them, and others were chatting with friends. They all seemed to be connected to one another.  As each new person entered the foyer, I could hear others call out to them- smiling and greeting their long lost friends.  

I didn’t see a single person I knew.  Not one!

My husband and I moved to a small community almost 11 years ago, and I consider myself to be a friendly person- but for some reason I have never felt like I “fit in”.  Many times in my life I have felt like an outsider, and today was one of them. 

In that moment, I longed to be in a place that was familiar- somewhere I had grown up all my life…where everyone knows everyone, a place where I feel “connected”… you know, like that “Cheers” theme song–  “Where everybody knows your name… And they’re always glad you came.”  And yes, I am singing this song now!

I longed to have a familiar face to sit with.  I thought about how great it would feel to have my mom with me, joking and being silly- cheering on our girl…or to have my sister beside me.  Or a childhood friend that I could identify with.  We would be cracking all sorts of childish jokes, like we were kids again.  

And then the time came to find a seat. I happened to see my neighbor, and I sat in her row.  

I scanned the crowd of children, hoping to see my Soph- and I spotted her in a matter of seconds.  I think us moms have a built-in GPS system for finding our off spring in a crowded room!   

And the look she gave me was priceless.  No longer did I feel alone.  She flashed her mega-watt smile and waved.  I caught her eye about a hundred times in the next 5 minutes and we made silly faces at each other. Her moment finally came to march across that stage, and I was so proud of her for making honor roll all year! The smile Soph flashed me was proof of how proud she was that I was there for her.  

As I sat there watching all those children and all those families, God reminded me- be content.  

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5

Maybe He has us here, sowing roots, so my girls and their children will have that very thing I have always longed for- a sense of community… and I am realizing He is still working on me to be content with everything I have and with everything I have not.

And once again, He reminds me how MUCH I have to be thankful for!  

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extending hands of grace

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Sunrise on my morning walk

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

As I do most mornings, I leashed my dog up and headed out for a walk.  It was sunny and mild- the perfect spring morning.  As I was walking, I took notice of a police car heading in my direction, which I perceived to be going faster than the speed limit.

I immediately defaulted to judging- thinking negative thoughts about him, based on nothing more than the thought that he *may* have been going slightly faster than usual, with no other cars in sight.

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I continued walking and began to cross the street.  I glanced behind me and noticed the cop car had turned around and was driving towards me on my side of the street.  I crossed the street and kept walking.  The cop pulled up beside me and motioned for me to come to his car.

Great!  Immediately my mind wandered to the millions of things he could be stopping me for- and not one of those thoughts was a positive one.

God ever so gently showed me the err of my ways as I saw the cop extend his hand of grace to me-

“Here you go!”  The cop smiled and handed me a larger than normal dog biscuit.  “I just wanted you to have this.  Hope you have a great day!”

And in that instant I realized how guilty I was- of judging him, of thinking he was not there to help me- but to reprimand me for something.  Honestly- I didn’t even know if he had been going above the speed limit, but in my split-second judgement of him, I had already sized him up- stereotyped him as someone who thought he was “above the law”,  looking to pull someone over.

But God wants us to see others through His eyes of Love and Grace. Apart from Him, I fail miserably at doing this.  Instead of thinking the worst about someone, we need to put our hope in Him always and expect Him to show us the good in others.

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12

And as far as I have come on this walk with Him- in His wonderful, loving way- He shows me just how much further I have to go.

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.  Psalm 119:18

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My walking buddy and his “treat” from the cop

   

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There’s always a silver lining

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silver-lined clouds on a beautiful day

a blessing is found 

when our praises abound

As we worship Him- He is refining

He shines on us grace 

When we seek His face

He alone is our silver lining

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He knows every care

when our words aren’t there

there’s never a reason for hiding

His Son intercedes

He knows all our needs

He alone is our silver lining

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

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Not Done With Me Yet

 

 

Not Done With Me Yet

Just a girl when I came to Christ

didn’t know how to live my life

 I lived every day the same as before

but one day I knew there had to be more

Your grace reached down and touched my heart

that’s when you gave me a brand new start

oh, You keep transforming me and making me new

every day I grow in grace when I look to You

oh Lord, help me to turn from my sin

and to turn to you again and again 

oh no, you’re not done, not done with me yet

no no 

you’re not done, not done with me yet

I used to made my plans, followed my dreams

but self-determination’s not what it seems

when I looked to You,  you opened my eyes

opened doors for me, and to my surprise

you took my everyday and you took my mundane

infused it with joy and I praise Your Name

You keep changing me and making me new

each day I grow in grace when I look to you

Oh Lord, help me to turn from my sin

and to turn to You again and again.

You’re not done, not done with me yet

no, no

You’re not done, not done with me yet

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

We are all a “work in progress”.  Philippians 1:6 says that he will continue to work in me… I wrote this song as I thought about how grateful I am that He is a grace-filled God and that every day is a new day to grow in His grace!  He is teaching me and showing me things I need to do better on every single day.  I am not the same today as I was yesterday, and my prayer is that He continues to change me… into someone who has more love, more joy, more peace, more patience

and these things only by daily dying to “self” and turning to Him.

He’s not done with me yet! 

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