I Sing Because I'm Free

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

O Light of light, shine in!

IMG_1306

O Light of light, shine in!
Cast out this night of sin,
Create true day within:
O Light of light, shine in!IMG_1321

O Light, all light excelling,
Make my heart Thy dwelling;
O Joy, all grief dispelling,
To my poor heart come in!IMG_1287

O Joy of joys, come in!
End Thou this grief of sin,
Create calm peace within:
O Joy of joys, come in!
 

IMG_1291

O Life of life, pour in!
Expel this death of sin,
Awake true life within:
O Life of life, pour in!IMG_1292

O Love of love, flow in!
This hateful root of sin
Deal with, renew, within:
O Love of love, flow in!
 

IMG_1297

O Heaven of heavens, descend!
This cloudy curtain rend,
And all earth’s turmoil end:
O Heaven of heavens, descend!IMG_1299

My God and Lord, O come!
  Of joys the Joy and Sum,
Make in this heart Thy home:
  My God and Lord, O come!  

*Lyrics by Horatius Bonar(1808-1889)

The weather this week has been amazing!  Spring is FINALLY sprung and so have the vibrant colors of the season.  The other day I walked my favorite trail with a couple of friends.
IMG_1322

The sun was so bright, I borrowed a friend’s hat to protect my eyes.  Even with the hat, I found myself looking down at the ground to keep from squinting.  I began to get a headache and felt sick to my stomach as I watched the wooden slats beneath my feet moving back and forth.

IMG_1313

I can’t remember ever experiencing “motion sickness” from walking!  But the odd thing was that the moment I mentioned it, my friend said she, too, felt that same way.

IMG_1287“We must stop looking down and keep looking forward, ” spoke my wise friend! 

A simple statement, but a profound reminder to keep my eyes fixed on the path ahead, and not the ground.

And maybe a pair of sunglasses wouldn’t hurt next time 🙂

Let your eyes look straight ahead;
    fix your gaze directly before you.
 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
    and be steadfast in all your ways. Proverbs 4:25-26

Advertisements
9 Comments »

no servant is greater than his master

IMG_1185

I had a profound experience last year during Holy Week.

After a day filled with many obstacles, I decided to wash my cares away in the nail salon.  Honestly, I was ‘not fit for human consumption” at that point.  That’s my fancy way of saying I had a bad attitude! When I walked into the salon and saw a young girl begin to fill the foot bath with hot water, I immediately had negative thoughts.

She probably doesn’t even know what she’s doing! I’m going to be wasting my time and money today. And then she’s going to do such a bad job, I’ll probably have to paint my toenails all over again when I get home!

She sat at my feet and had the most beautiful smile. She was pleasant, and despite my silence, she continued to make small talk.  I was convicted the moment she opened her mouth.  I had already sized her up and had not been acting very Christ-like…even though I hadn’t said a word.  You know- He hears what we say, but He hears what we are thinking, too!

So I began to think about this girl instead of my own problems, and started to chat with her. I asked her where she was from, how long she had been doing nails… all the usual small talk.

And then she asked me what I did for a living.

*gulp*

I told her I was a minister and shared with her the various things I did at church.

And then I knew why God had me there that day.

She opened up about her faith and shared with me some of her struggles and trials. I could see the conviction on her face as she told me that she didn’t go to church much.  You don’t have to go to church to follow Jesus, I said to her.

IMG_1179

we are ALL on a journey!

I’ve been where you are, I said to her.

I asked her if she had any questions and she did.  Lots of them. I simply shared with her my testimony- how I felt empty and void of any joy in my life.  I prayed earnestly one day and pleaded with God- If You are who You say You are- I need to see You!  And shortly after that prayer, He led me to start reading the Bible and praying daily.  I just went through the motions at first, but didn’t give up.  The more I did these things, the more real He became. She listened to every word.

As we shared this beautiful moment, I was humbly reminded of Jesus and how He washed His disciples’ feet-

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.-  John 13:12-17

God humbled me that day.

No servant is greater than his master.  

I thank God for His grace, for how He  continues to humble me, and for how He teaches me these huge life lessons in the most extraordinary ways.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!  Philippians 2:8

IMG_1018

A recent sunset…reminding me of the cross 

13 Comments »

when my heart is overwhelmed

IMG_5287

From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety

Psalm 61:2

I heard other moms say it would happen, but I didn’t see it coming.  My girls have been my whole world for the last 13 years, but it seems like overnight they have started wanting to do things without me.

We went to a Christian concert last weekend.  I was so excited to go with them!  When we got into the arena, we found some good seats and I sat between the girls.  As the bands came on stage, each one encouraged the audience to clap, dance, and raise their hands.

I was all in… meaning ALL IN to groovin’ down at the concert, until my oldest daughter said “umm… could you please not to that?  And can you switch seats?”  Not only did they NOT want me to make a fool of myself, but they didn’t want me sitting beside them either.  I switched seats with my other daughter so that they were together with their friend.

I admit- I was a tad bit sad, but I was grateful to have the experience of being there with them.  I sat for most of the concert as I watched the girls and their friend sing and dance and jump around.

And then towards the end, the Newsboys sang the song “We Believe”.

I had tears in my eyes as I watched the three of them sing with all their hearts, arms raised and eyes closed- like no one was watching them.

We believe in God the Father , we believe in Jesus Christ, we believe in the Holy Spirit , and He’s given us new life. We believe in the crucifixion, we believe that He conquered death, we believe in the resurrection,  and He’s coming back again.  We believe .

Watching my girls actually worship was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.  Almost every Sunday, I am not sitting with my family during the worship service- I am at the piano leading worship. I think because it’s “Mommy” leading the singing at church, my girls are more hesitant to join in.  But not in that stadium!  It overwhelmed me to see that they knew every word to these songs and to see that they really do love to sing!

IMG_5283

And then yesterday, as we listened to the sermon- my daughter motioned for me to hand her my phone.  I shook my head no,  and then she batted her long lashed puppy-dog eyes at me.

I reluctantly handed it over, and I watched as she moved her thumbs at lightning speed.  I didn’t have a clue what she was doing until she handed me my phone back 30 seconds later.

This was the screen saver that she put on it-

IMG_1174

My heart was overwhelmed.

God continues to nudge me to plant seeds- even when my girls don’t seem to be listening.

 Even when they act like I embarrass them.

Even when what I say isn’t what they want to hear.

That little screen saver was His way of reassuring me-

they’re  listening.  

It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.  

Isaiah 55:11

6 Comments »

less of me

sometimes my passion turns to pride 

my vision blurred by my own eyes 

I need more of You 

and less of me

I’m quick to doubt, easy to shake 

ruled by emotions that I can’t fake 

I need more of You 

and less of me 

less of me and more of You 

take these hands and take these feet 

use them as you choose 

I need less of me and more of You 

sometimes my thoughts get in my way 

distract me from Your voice each day 

I need more of You  

and less of me 

forgive me for my wandering 

take my life as an offering 

I need more of You 

and less of me 

I wrote this song a few days ago.  Sometimes I am ashamed at how easy it is for me to get my eyes off of Jesus.  The cure for what ails me is always more of Him. And the moment I open my heart and allow Him to rule me instead of my emotions- He brings everything back into perspective.  When I make the conscious choice to worship– He is faithful to bring my focus back to where it needs to be- on Him.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30

14 Comments »

hurry up and wait

IMG_1088

I am not a patient person.

In fact, I am so NOT patient that I won’t order stuff online because I want it NOW!  But God has been speaking to me about being more patient and waiting on Him.

We bought our house almost 12 years ago, and along with our new home- we also had brand new appliances.  These appliances have held up pretty well- except for the fridge.  It still looks good from the outside, but inside it is totally falling apart.  The shelves in the door have broken off- leaving almost no storage in the door, the ice maker has been broken for years, and the water dispenser no longer works either.  And honestly, it doesn’t make sense to fix these things because it just isn’t cost efficient.

Knowing we need a new fridge, I have looked around for the past few years, and I knew what I wanted next- a french door fridge with the pull out freezer on the bottom.  I love the look of it-  and being tall, I argued that I will do a lot less bending down since the fridge part is on the top!

But it’s  $1000 more than the standard kind that we have.  It doesn’t make sense to spend so much more on that one! My practical husband said this to me many times.

So for over a year, we have exchanged emails of pictures of refrigerators- all ending with the same answer from both of us.

The one I want is way too expensive… and I don’t want to settle for something that I don’t really like.

And as we had lunch on our anniversary, I told my husband that I would wait until our fridge completely died before I got a new one.  Just what if the Lord blessed us with some floor model that has been ridiculously marked down?  I was willing to wait and hold out for the one I wanted.  

Well guess what happened…

He sent me a text that very same evening.  Check your email.  

A stainless steel, french door fridge with a freezer drawer on the bottom… for nearly the SAME price as the standard ones he has shown me over the last year.

IMG_1102

I’m so excited!  And I just can’t hide it! 

Once I had made the resolve to WAIT- no matter how long it took– He blessed us with just the right one.

Whatever you are waiting for… whether it’s for someTHING or for a situation to be resolved, or whatever it may be– hold tight to Him and keep waiting…

 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!  

Psalm 27:13-14

IMG_1090

 

16 Comments »

Don’t let the good stuff pass you by

IMG_1064

savor each moment

don’t let the good stuff pass by

take joy in small things!! 

We met for a quick lunch date today to celebrate our 19th  wedding anniversary.  I can’t believe how fast the years are going by.  I got married at 19… and now have been married for half of my life.  And it has definitely been the best half 🙂

I thought I knew what I wanted to order, but then my hubby suggested we get the crab dip and pita chips.

I admit- part of me wanted to object, because I have been trying to stay away from bread and carbs- but I obliged.

And they were the absolute best pita chips I have ever had.  Hands down.  And the dip was absolutely amazing!!  Babe- I’m so glad you love food as much as I do I told him as we enjoyed the feast laid out before us.

IMG_1066

Afterwards, we went to get coffee.  I usually order something completely boring.  No sugar, hold the whip cream.  The barista usually comments that I am no fun because of it.

Not today.

Hubby said get what you love today.  As I took the first sip of my iced caramel macchiato, I took in a huge swirl of caramel syrup.  My eyes were as big as saucers- oh.  my.  goodness… this is the best thing I have tasted in forever- I told my husband.

He smiled and gave me some great advice-

don’t let the good stuff pass you by.  

IMG_1067

And as he said that, God flashed before me all the good stuff I have to be thankful for.  There is so much good- far too much for me to ever dwell on anything else.  I am so grateful for my husband and for how different we are- how we perfectly compliment each other.

He is the peanut butter to my jelly.  The yin to my yang.  He is my lobster.

He is good stuff.

Today was a great reminder to appreciate all the good stuff in life… it’s there in abundance if we open our eyes, focus on Him at all times,  and take it in.

like bread

and caramel syrup 

and marriage

God is good and I am blessed! 

IMG_1074

22 Comments »

when you feel like hiding

IMG_1006

sometimes I want to stay inside 

and hide behind closed doors 

pull the covers up over my head 

and not deal with the world anymore 

IMG_1018on certain days,  I cannot think 

and words have no rhyme or reason

I can’t seem to remember anything 

and no- I’m not even teasing!! 

IMG_1014

but it’s when we’re  feeling most useless 

that His light comes shining through

when we share the moments of  brokenness 

is  when we hear “me, too!”

When I am a little grumpy, I joke that I am “not fit for human consumption”.  There are some days when I just don’t feel like myself.  I can’t put a finger on why, and no matter what I do-  sometimes I can’t shake that “off” feeling.

I was around a bunch of people this past week, and you know how others will ask you how you are doing?  Sometimes  we’ll say something generic-  like “I’m doing good!”… when we’re really not?  I had a few days like that this past week. Usually when I am feeling this way, I do everything I can to stay away from people.  I don’t even like to be around myself when I feel this way.  So why would anyone else want to be around me?!

But every time we are with others is another opportunity for Him to work through us and to use others to speak to us.

I opened up and told someone that I was having an “off” day, and I found instant connection.  They, too, were experiencing something similar. It helps when we can be transparent about our struggles, no matter how big or small they may be- and to know that there is nothing we have gone through that someone else has not experienced!

Sometimes we have to just keep running the race.  Even when we don’t feel up to the task.  When we feel less than qualified, it’s an even greater opportunity to lean on the Lord and draw upon His grace and His strength to do what we have to do.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.  Psalm 147

He doesn’t delight in our strength, but in our desire to fully rely on Him!

Here’s a video that was shared around Facebook recently… watch it and be encouraged that we have a Savior who knows our struggles and we are not alone in our journey!

6 Comments »

A baker’s dozen

Image

My oldest just turned 13.  I can hardly STAND it! A teenager *gasp*!!

I remember turning 13 like it was yesterday.

I was painfully shy and tall.  I wanted more than anything to hide from everyone and fade into the background.  But as I navigated those awkward years, I learned to stand tall.

IMG_0983

My oldest- hiding from me a she tries out her new bike. 

I see so much of myself in my oldest daughter. As soon as she sees a camera- she runs, turns her head, and does anything she can to hide her lovely face.

IMG_4272

Like her last band concert…I chuckled as I watched her slowly move the music stand with her foot until it blocked me from seeing her face as I sat in the audience.

IMG_2042

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I eventually found my “voice” and I stopped hiding. Singing in chorus was the one thing that gave me the confidence to be myself.  It was a place where I found community, friendship, and a group of peers that finally accepted me.  It was the first place where I wasn’t afraid to shine.

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
  Matthew 5:15

As a mom, it’s my job to stand tall and to help my girls find the things that they are good at!  It’s my job to encourage them and to help them be more self-confident- so they can find their unique “voice” and shine bright in this world.

And on those days when I am feeling less than confident, I know I can run straight into the arms of my Heavenly Father, for in my weakness He is strong!

FullSizeRender

My oldest… resting on her Daddy’s shoulders 🙂 

And when my girls need a little pep-talk,  I pray that God will equip me and give me the right words to point them to the Son-the ultimate source of my strength and light!

Keep me as the apple of the eye;

Hide me in the shadow of Your wings – Psalm 17:8

5 Comments »