I Sing Because I'm Free

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I thought I was the only one…

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We all need friends.

Friends who know the real  “you”- the good, bad, and the ugly.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I just had to get out of the house.  Away from the dishes, piles of laundry, the never ending to-do list…and the raging thoughts that run rampant through my head… I had so many things I needed to get done, I couldn’t remember half of them, and I couldn’t get myself motivate to do anything.

I grabbed my car keys and bid farewell to my dog, and all the while I didn’t have a clue where I was going to go.

I prayed- in that sort of groaning, exasperated sighing kind of way.  As I drove down the street, He brought a  friend to mind- one I hadn’t talked to in months.

I grabbed my cell phone and was preparing to leave her a long, rambling message like we often do for one another.  And then a miracle happened- I heard her voice.  “Ahh… it’s Julia” she exclaimed in her most dramatic Spanish accent.

My mood was already better, and I hadn’t even said a single word.

And we talked.  About life, marriage, the pursuit of happiness, mamma guilt, saggy old-lady skin, how we’re getting older by the day and sometimes don’t know how to deal with it… and how even though it might seem like we have it “all together”- we still feel like little kids who are holding onto dreams. It was comforting to know that my friend knew just what I was feeling.

She said something to me on the phone that day that resonated with me-

we need to be invisible.

our SELF wants to be acknowledged in worldly ways.

but we must become invisible so He can shine through us.

He must become greater, I must become less- John 3:30

There is something special about picking up the phone and having the person on the other end know exactly what you are thinking and feeling before you even utter a word.

My friend said just what I needed to hear- once again showing me the beautiful way He works through others to speak truth into our lives.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

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walking in the rain

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walking in the rain

is always more loverly

when you walk with friends 

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walking in the rain 

all that is ordinary

glows with morning dew

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music to my ears

percussive pitter patter

of drip drops on leaves

I had planned to meet a friend to go walking yesterday.  What I hadn’t planned on was rain. In fact, if I had- I would have definitely come up with an alternative plan!  When I saw the dreary day, I briefly considered canceling our walk to stay dry indoors.  But I thought about how many times we decide NOT do something just because of a little rain. It’s not like we’re going to melt or anything… in fact, I kind of enjoy being out in the rain.  So, I decided if my friend showed up- well, I was game for a walk in the rain, too!

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Sure enough, she was ready and waiting to join me.

The weather was perfect for a walk…well, only if you’re not afraid of a little rain on your parade!  The air was damp and cool, but surprisingly there were many others out walking- soaking up the late summer morning.  I especially loved the crow that was perched on the tippy top of this tree in the picture above. He certainly had a “bird’s eye view” of God’s Creation.  While most of us are running for cover from the rain- here he is, cheerfully cawing and keeping watch over the trail.

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My friend and I chatted and listened to the sounds all around us.  Being out in the rain was refreshing- and so peaceful.  There was something about walking in the rain that made me feel more alive than ever. 

So, don’t let a little rain stop you from your walk 🙂

“Some people feel the rain- others just get wet”  – Roger Miller 

God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”  Psalm 29 (Msg)

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Self-Worth

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My husband called me the other day to say hi while he was at work.

“Are you enjoying your day at home?” he asked me.

Well, to be honest, I wasn’t at home at all.  “Umm.. yes…” He must have heard the hesitation in my voice, because he laughed and asked me where I was.

“I’m just leaving church, and then I’m going here and there…”  I continued to rattle off the things I wanted to get done before the girls got home that day.  I had intended on staying home all day, but as I often do- I began to feel guilty about taking a day off and decided to take care of a few things.

I continued giving him the checklist of all the things I had done so far…”and before I left the house, I ran the dishwasher and got a load of clothes going.  Oh-and I gave the dog a bath.” I admit, I was pretty proud of all the stuff I had crammed into that short time span.

I waited on the other end of the phone for his verbal “pat on the back”,  but it didn’t come.

“You know, it really is ok for you to not be doing something.”

I was speechless.

Because deep down, I am really not ok with doing nothing.

I feel guilty.

For many years my self worth was found in the things I did.  The more I did, the more I felt worthy as a person… and worthy of being loved. I honestly still struggle with this.

But my self-worth is not found in what I do

or in the number on the scale

or in the amount of my paycheck

or in the approval of others

Saving is all His idea, and all His work.  All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!

Ephesians 2:8

We are worthy simply because we are His.

There’s nothing we can do to earn His grace or His love.

And after all these years of life, I still ponder this great mystery of His- that I am loved unconditionally

and that I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, too 🙂

Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.  

Ephesians 5:2

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Burning embers

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like burning embers 

 the daylight flickers and fades

calming the night sky

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This is where “church” is for me-

anywhere there is an open sky and and a grand view of nature…

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For many years, church was a place I went to spend time with God and to be filled up.  Church service was the only place I sang Christian songs, and the only time I earnestly prayed for much of my life.  I was a Sunday Christian.

Now I am overjoyed to be used by Him- to be serving Him and leading worship every week. It’s an awesome thing that now I “get to” serve and help lead others to worship and be “fed” after all those years of being a “consumer” of church…

but after a Sunday Service, I am often left feeling empty and completely drained.

So when I need to “recharge”, I spend time in nature… this is “going to church” for me now.

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Last Sunday evening I jumped into the car and found a perfect spot to worship.  I turned the radio up loud and sang as the colors glowed in the sky.  I felt a peace come over me, and every care I had faded away with the daylight.

And the intimate evening sunset “worship” service was spectacular 🙂

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,  for our

“God is a consuming fire.”  

Hebrews 12:28-29

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His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.

I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.  

Jeremiah 20:9

 

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When one door closes…

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I had the craziest thing happen today…

I drove my two daughters and my friend to the women’s 4 miler race this morning and I quickly parked the car.  Although it was early, we were eagerly anticipating the start of the race. As I got out of the car, I realized I didn’t have any pockets, so I carefully took the key off my key ring and I placed it safely inside my shirt.  Once everyone was out of the car and ready, I locked the doors and we got to where we needed to be.

The weather was perfect and spirits were high.  I ran over half of it, and beat my previous year’s time by more than 10 minutes!  Once we were all finished, we got some Gatorade, a  Panera bagel,  and headed back to the car.

When we reached my van,  I couldn’t believe it- my doors were unlocked!  Our purses were right in the front seats where everyone could see them, but thankfully everything was there.  I pulled out the key from my shirt, and my mouth dropped open- it wasn’t my car key- it was my house key!  How in the world had that happened?!  And not only did I have the wrong key- but somehow my van was unlocked after I had locked it.  I knew I had pressed the lock button in the van before I had closed the door before the race…

I don’t know how I had the wrong key AND left the door unlocked- but I am so, so thankful He made a way for us to get into the van AND that all of our stuff was safe and sound.  Just a little reminder that He really does work in mysterious ways!

God is good- all the time 🙂

I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close.  Revelation 3:8

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The beautiful sky this morning!

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“Come Undone”… a song I wrote about letting go and learning to worship

I’m standing on the wall 

will You catch me if I fall?

if I come undone for You?

I’m ready to let go 

of everything I know 

and come undone for You

I want to come undone

come undone for You 

strip away anything

hindering Your truth

I want to come undone

come undone for You

take away everything

that holds me back from You 

I raise my hands in praise 

in Your presence, I’m amazed

I come undone for You

I want the world to know I sing

because of You, my Risen King

I come undone for You

I recently wrote this song as I remembered the first time I let go and raised my hand in a worship service.

I fought it for so long.  Too worried about what others might think, I suppressed the desire to go forward to pray during an alter call, or do anything that might draw attention to me during a worship service. What if people think I am weak, or needy…or even crazy!

When my youngest was a baby, I would occasionally sing on the worship team.  One Sunday morning, I felt the overwhelming desire to raise my hand as I sang a song.  I felt my heart racing and knew I had to be obedient.  I couldn’t do it alone, so I reached out and grabbed the hand of my friend who was singing beside me.  It might have seemed strange to some, but not to her- she smiled at me as we held hands and sang praises to Him that day.  It felt like a weight had been lifted off of me as I worshipped without reservation, and focused on nothing but praising Him. It was one of the first times I felt His presence as I sang.

It took years for Him to “undo” all my preconceived ideas about “worship”- what I thought it should sound and look like. The day I grabbed my friend’s hand was when I began to let go of my own hang-ups and when I started to truly “worship”.  My heart’s desire is to know Him more intimately and to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

       For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.            John 4:24

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