I Sing Because I'm Free

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art and worship

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I had my boundaries stretched this past week.  I love how God turns my thoughts upside down and takes me out of my comfort zone.  We all have ideas in our head about what it looks like when people are worshipping– whether we are engaged in the singing or intently focused on the pastor preaching the message during a Sunday morning service.

“Mom, do you think I could bring coloring pencils and color while the pastor is preaching?” my older daughter asked me this past week.  She explained that it is hard for her to focus, but that during her classes at school, she “doodles” and that it helps her listen better.

I admit- I didn’t know what to say at first, because she’s not so little anymore. I am ashamed to say that part of me worried about what other people might think if I allow my (almost) 13 year old to color during the service.  But, I love to doodle- and I can definitely say that it helps me to focus, too. So I told her she could- as long as she was discreet and as long as she sat beside me and LISTENED to the message.

After I finished the last song during the music part of the service, I sat down beside her.  She quietly took out her pencils and began to fill in the little patterns. I was mesmerized watching her, and part of my own creative brain longed to color with her! As the pastor led us to a time of prayer, I went back to the piano and played.  When we were finished, my daughter had already put away her things and was all smiles.

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My daughter’s colorful creation

I began to think- coloring with your hands isn’t all that different from me playing the piano.  During almost every prayer I am “doodling” on the piano keys (which I like to call “noodling” around).  And for me- that is absolutely worship!  I am praying silently as I am playing- and I always feel more connected to Him through the movement of my hands across the keys.

Afterwards, I quizzed her in the car.

“So, what was the message about?”

She remembered everything- even the three main points of the sermon.  Seeds had been planted- and for me, that’s the most important thing of all.

So, can art be a part of worship?  Absolutely. I think anything we do can be an act of worship- even coloring – if our mind and heart are focused on the Lord.

I’m proud of her for not worrying about what other people would think. And I’m a bit disappointed in myself for caring too much.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1  Corinthians 10:31

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I’m not a pirate, but I do wear a patch

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My girls and I… 7 years ago 

I dreamed the other night that I had another baby. It was one of those dreams that seemed so real. I was sitting in a nursery rocking a baby girl. The colors were muted gray- like I was in a still-frame picture. In the dream, I knew this was my third baby- a surprise.  I felt a flood of emotions- exactly how I felt all those years ago when I held my first baby.  A hormonal mess… and yet everything was perfect.

When I woke up, it hit me that I am no longer that same woman I was then.  I had a hysterectomy 2 years ago. After struggling for years with pain, unexplained bleeding, and extreme PMS- I tried everything I could to alleviate my growing list of symptoms.  What was once a week of misery slowly turned into non-stop discomfort.   After exhausting all other options, the only thing left was a hysterectomy.

We had decided years ago that we were finished having children.  Both of my pregnancies were difficult- both emotionally and physically.  I had unexplained bleeding throughout both pregnancies- leaving me in a state of constant worry and fear.  Pregnancy- the thing I dreamed of for so long- was not at all the joyful experience I had hoped for.  After being blessed with two healthy girls, we knew that our family was complete.

As strong as my desire was to have a baby all those years ago-I prayed for God to take away my desire to ever have a third one.  I knew I didn’t want to go through the stress of being pregnant again, and we felt that our family was complete.

So when my doctor approached me about having a hysterectomy, I prayed about it.  And one morning, I heard Him tell me “it’s time”…it was time for a fresh start.  It had gotten so bad that I had a hard time getting out of bed most days.  Pain, PMS, and an onslaught of other symptoms continued to snowball out of control.

The surgery was a success.  I was in some mild pain for a few weeks, but nothing I couldn’t manage. I also had my ovaries removed due to severe PMS, so I wear an estrogen patch.

The patch definitely has it’s downfalls. I am supposed to change it every 3rd and 4th day, wreaking havoc on my (already) forgetful brain.  If I am a day late changing my patch, I experience the same hormonal shifts that I did pre-surgery.  I have also noticed a difference between generic and name brand patches.  I have had to try a few in order to find one that worked for me.

I am 100%  happy with my decision to have had the surgery- even though I have some minimal challenges with using a patch.  It was definitely the best decision for me.

But for some reason, after having that dream the other night- it hit me that I will never again feel those flutters in my belly… that I will never again nurse a baby… and after mourning the loss of something I had long ago made final in my heart and mind- I finally felt closure on that chapter in my life.

A simple dream awakened within me all the lovely things I had forgotten about my babies, allowing me to finally come to terms with a new stage in my momma journey-

the TEEN years!

My oldest will be 13 in a couple of weeks, and I’m buckling up for this bumpy new ride!

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my soon-to-be teenager!

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and my youngest 🙂 

Children are a gift from the Lord;
    they are a reward from him.  

Psalm 127:3

 

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Walk in Love… a song I wrote based on Ephesians 5:1

“Walk in Love”

walked into the grocery store

took a glance and thought no more

of the man with the vacant eyes staring at me

Until I left the store I saw 

a duffle bag of change and he called,

“Ma’am, do you think you could help me?” 

Holy Spirit be my guide

help me put aside my pride 

and live a life of Love –

take these feet of mine, one step at a time 

help me stay in line

help me walk in love 

everywhere I go, help me always show

Your light, let it glow 

help me walk in love  

I didn’t have much time that day 

I met a lady, felt led to pray 

as she shared the weight

of her story 

Hadn’t been to church in a while 

overwhelmed with life, still she smiled

 about Jesus and His glory 

Lord, open up my eyes to see

More of You and less of me

God is continuing to stretch me and take me out of my comfort zone.  I saw a man standing outside of a local store and he stood there with a blank stare.  I noticed him right away, but I kept on walking and went inside the store.  I got my things and as soon as I exited the store, I saw him crouched down against the brick building.  He was huddled up and had a duffle bag beside him.  He looked up and asked me if I could help him.  His duffle bag was full of change- so full, I don’t know how he could even lift it by himself!

Now, I don’t always give money to everyone who asks- only when I know the Lord is prompting me to do it. This was one of those times.  I happened to have some change and gave it to him.  I stepped into another store for just a few minutes and when I came out, I looked for the man and he was nowhere to be found.

Now, I know I wasn’t in there for more than 2-3 minutes, and there was no way he lifted that big ole bag and left that quickly.  I even drove around the parking lot to look for him. There was no explanation for how he had left so quickly.  But I was so glad I had stopped to help him because I knew that if I had not been obedient to do so, I would have regretted it.

Everything about my walk with Him revolves around obedience- to do all the little things He asks of me.

like stopping to help a stranger

or to pray with someone

or to write this song and share it with you 🙂 

 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.       Ephesians 5:1

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loved

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While I love taking photos, I have never liked having my own picture taken.  My hair is never right, my smile looks fake, and the angle is never flattering.  But I experienced something this past weekend that had a profound impact on the way I saw a picture of myself.

The Sunday service had just finished, and I began tidying up the stage. A couple of ladies- whom I love dearly- came to the edge of the stage to chat with me. Trying to be lady-like, I knelt down to talk with them and sat with my legs tucked behind me.

We chatted about life and how our weeks had been, and then out of the blue, one of them said to the other-

“Quick!  Get your phone out and take a picture!”

“A picture of what?” I asked, confused.

“A picture of YOU!”

I thought it was a weird request.  Why in the world would she- out of the clear blue-want to take my picture?

And in that moment, I felt the Lord answer me-

because she loves you

“Don’t change a thing!  Just keep sitting like you are.”

So I continued to sit just as I had been, while they took my picture. I noticed my husband walking back into the sanctuary, and he began walking up towards us.  I started to laugh thinking about how odd this impromptu photo session must have seemed.

“Don’t move!”

And I sat as still as I could while they moved around to find the best lighting.

“Aww… see?  I knew it was going to be a good one!” They showed me the photo on their phone, and for one of the first times, I didn’t notice all those little flaws about myself that I usually do.

 I saw something very different-

I saw someone who felt loved.

Someone who felt worthy of having their picture taken.

It was such a sweet, sincere moment-  a simple, loving gesture that I will not forget.

I am so thankful to have this photo to always remind me that

I am

loved.

Let love be genuine.  

Romans 12:9

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I am loved.  And so are YOU!!! 

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