I Sing Because I'm Free

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Self-Acceptance…and a song I wrote about it

“Playing Dress-Up”

She’s watching everything I do 

“Mom I want to be like you”

she wants to paint her face like me 

I swore I’d put aside

the things I see in the mirror that I despise

I’d look at myself through my Father’s eyes

but who am I kidding? 

I catch my own self 

trying to fit a mold never made for me

trying to change the things I see

with my eyes

such a hypocrite, I talk a good talk

but when push comes to shove

can I walk the walk? 

cause deep down I’m still a little girl

playing dress-up 

with those lines on my face 

I drew lines in the sand 

cause I don’t want my girls

giving into the world’s demands

trying to be a size 

He never made her to be

trying to look like a Barbie Doll fantasy

instead of the masterpiece

He made her to be 

Recently, I told my husband that I hated the lines on my face.  I didn’t even notice what I was doing as I said it.

“Stop criticizing God’s masterpiece!”  my husband said to me.

Instead of accepting myself, I have tried to hide, cover-up, and change the way I look for years. My flaws have screamed at me when I look in the mirror.

Even though I have struggled with this, I’ve always thought that I’ve done a good job hiding this from my daughters.  I tell them to be themselves, to not worry about what other people think about what they wear and how their hair looks.  They are beautiful, and they don’t need to change a thing.

But the other day, as I was getting ready, I was putting on my make-up and my (almost) 10 year old was standing with me, watching my every move.

“Momma- can you curl my lashes?  I want you to put some make-up on my face!”

“Baby, you are gorgeous without any of that.”

“But why do you do it then?”

Good question… one I didn’t have an easy answer for.  To feel better about myself… To hide the dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep…to look pretty.

vanity, vanity… all is vanity

And then I thought about all those mornings I try on garment after garment, and while I don’t usually give a voice to my thoughts- those negative, self-deprecating thoughts are still there… and my girls are watching me.

I need to practice what I preach. Because deep down, I am still a little girl wanting to live up to something I am not… and it is time to embrace who I am.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

1 Peter 3:3-4

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Nothing is wasted

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A shoe box transformed into a perfect refrigerator

I went to the playroom one day

I looked at the junk in dismay

what’s up with this trash

that my children have stashed?

Calgon, please take me away! 

I went into my girls’ playroom the other day and I was completely disgusted.  There was not a single square foot that wasn’t covered in junk.  Barbies, clothes, furniture, scraps of material, papers, newspapers, cardboard… the list of junk went on and on.  I took the trash can and began to fill it. My youngest daughter immediately heard what I was doing and threw herself onto the heaps of trash.

She cried and pleaded with me not to throw the stuff away.

When I looked around, I saw nothing but bits of trash and junk, but my daughter saw endless possibilities.  She saw unmade furniture, scraps of fabric that she was going to make into dresses… and boxes- lots of boxes- to be transformed into the most magnificent Barbie appliances and bunk beds!

I glanced over at my girls’ hand-made doll house (out of boxes) and really looked at the contents inside. I have to be honest- I was pretty impressed with their creativity.  It’s not that they don’t have store-bought things to play with…they just prefer to create things.

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perfectly crafted Barbie bunk-beds

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A bathroom… complete with a satin shower curtain, commode, and decorative sink

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dining room table with table cloth…and a few pets

I sat there and really took in their creations.  Isn’t that what God does with us?  He takes us and our limited resources and He turns them into something extraordinary!  When I see a shoe box, I wonder how fast I can put it into the trash- my girls see a shoe box and they think of how they can transform it.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8-9

We can’t even fathom the good things God can create with the “junk” in our own lives…when we commit every part of ourselves and every circumstance into His hands- He has a way of creating something beautiful out of us.

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my daughters’ perfectly crafted, home-made Barbie house

 With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. 1 Corinthians 15:58

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Two Years and still singing

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A little bird on a wire singing praises…

there once was a bird on a wire

he looked as though he’d never tire

he sang his sweet song

praised the Lord all day long

the sounds of creation inspire!

If you really knew me, you’d know that I get bored of things very easily. Last week was the two year anniversary of starting this blog- which is quite an accomplishment for myself.  Routine is not something I am good at, and routines often make me feel like a bird in a cage.

But I have found freedom in the routine of coming here to write- because God is good,  He is faithful, and He is always teaching me something… 

My youngest daughter came to me last evening to ask me a question.  I noticed that her eyes were welled up with tears.

“Why are you crying, babe?” I asked her.

“I cry when I sing, momma.”

“What were you singing?”  I asked her.

“A song I made up.”  She smiled and gave me the most earnest look.

“Will you sing it for me?”  She shook her head no.  “Please? Pretty please?”  Again, she shook her head no.

I let it go- even though I wanted to hear her song more than anything at that moment. She sat at my computer and began playing a game. I sat at the piano behind her and began playing worship songs.

I sang quietly as I played.  “Beautiful One, I love…Beautiful One, I adore…” and ever so softly, I heard her little voice sing in unison with mine. She couldn’t resist joining me, and hearing her sing made me cry.

As I listened to her, I was reminded that I am just like my daughter.  Who am I kidding?! I’m still afraid to share my thoughts and songs with others, but where there is fear- there is freedom in Christ. So often I write… and because I think it isn’t “good enough”- I don’t share it.  Just as I longed to hear my daughter’s song- there is someone longing to hear yours…and mine.

He inspires me to keep on creating, writing, and to keep on singing… for His glory! He wants us to share with others what He has done in our lives- and that’s always something worth writing about!

There is someone out there-even if it’s one person- who needs to hear your story and your song. He wants to use you, speak through you, and He wants to shine through your broken pieces- so that others may see Him!

In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
    and the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
    What can mere people do to me?  Psalm 118:5-6

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The Water’s Edge

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A little house on the sound of the Outer Banks…

 I dream of living

on the water’s edge

where my fears and faith are met

I dream of standing

on a ledge

where His strength is my safety net

I dream of leaving 

the water’s edge

to be in the center of His will

I dream of sailing 

beyond the edge

where His presence will calm me still.

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He paints a stunning sunset behind this little house every evening…

 While we were away last week on vacation, I was mesmerized by this little home perched in the sound. It’s one thing to build a house on the edge of the water, but to build it in the water??

But can you imagine- waking up every morning, surrounded by the sounds of the water? And going to sleep with the setting sun’s brilliant hues streaming through your picturesque windows?  I bet the whole house glows in the twilight.

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 Honestly, the thought of living in the water is a little scary to me.  About 10 years ago, I remember God very clearly asking me to do something.  When I tell you what it was- it’ll seem so silly… but for me it was terrifying.

During a worship service, the pastor asked us all to bow our heads and take the hand of the person next to us and pray silently.  I was at the end of my row, and I noticed an elderly gentleman in the row ahead of me.  There was no one beside him to grab his hand, and I clearly felt the Lord telling me to reach out and take his hand.

The ridiculousness that ensued in my head at that moment was just mind-boggling.  What if he thinks I’m strange?  or what if he doesn’t want to hold my hand?  what will my family think if I move to the next row to hold his hand?  why can’t I stop thinking about this when I’m supposed to be praying?!  

And like that, the prayer was over.  I didn’t pray- and I didn’t obey either.  It was such a simple request from Him… just hold his hand- let Him know that he is loved by ME…and I still remember the sinking pit in my stomach that I felt from NOT DOING that simple thing.

If only I could stop asking so many questions… if only I would stop being afraid of what might happen, of what someone else might think… I’m convinced that His blessings are so much greater than my fears could ever be.

So this little house reminded me that I don’t want to live on the edge of the water- but to live IN it- to follow Him and be in the center of His will at all times- pushing aside any fear I might have.

I want to live ALL IN!

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  John 8:12

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When I have no songs

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Sunset from our last night of vacation…

when I have no songs

I turn to the Song-Giver

who sings over me

A most peculiar thing happens to me sometimes – I lose my singing mojo. I have always loved music, and I pretty much sing my way through the ENTIRE day… I mean that EVERY SINGLE THING reminds me of a song, and then that song plays in my head like a sound track- a hodge podge of worship songs, hymns, ’80’s and ’90’s pop music… mixed with musical numbers and showtunes… and classical. But lately, I haven’t had the energy to sing.  All songs sound the same and even the sound of my own voice makes me cringe. So, I knew it was time for me to take a music break.

And it was the PERFECT TIME for my family and I to go on a vacation! I have been praying for God to give me passion for singing again- and a passion to make music.  I have prayed and recited Zephaniah 3:17 over and over these past couple of weeks… God, I need You to sing joyful songs over me… I need You to quiet me with Your love…

 About halfway through our vacation, I prayed for Him to give me a song to sing. Without giving it a second thought, I began singing the song 10,000 Reasonsover and over. As I walked each morning, as I laid on the beach… every moment He inspired me to sing- that was the only song that came. But I finally felt like singing again!

Since we were still out of town on Sunday, it was the perfect opportunity for me to visit a different church. I had been looking forward to going to this church all week!!  I am so blessed to be on staff at our church and to lead our worship ministry, but being able to visit another church during our vacation and just worship was a wonderful experience for me.

I stood in the sanctuary as the singing floated in the air. I watched with joy as the worship team on the stage poured their hearts out to God. I closed my eyes and just let Him sing over me.

And then they began to sing Mighty to Save.  Wouldn’t you know that the very scripture I have been praying for the last two weeks is in this song!  It was as if God had put that song in that service just for me.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

It soon came time for the offering and I sat and bowed my head as the pastor prayed.  I felt my heart race as I heard the beginning chords of the next song…

“Bless the Lord, O my soul…”

I had to smile-  10,000 Reasons- the only song He had put on my heart to sing ALL WEEK while I was away…Out of all the thousands of songs they could have sang that morning- what are the chances of a coincidence like that happening?!

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you- Matthew 7:7

Not only does He sing over me– He fills me, renews me, loves me…and He meets me in the most magnificent ways!  He is so faithful to meet our every need!  He even answered my simple prayer of giving me a song to sing… He is Mighty to Save and I praise Him for loving me enough to always meet me where I’m at.

When I have no songs… He is faithful to put a new song in my heart!

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in Him.  Psalm 40:3

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