I Sing Because I'm Free

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You, Lord, are my lamp

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The greatest present given to me 

was not found beneath a tree 

a much more precious gift, you see- 

one that brought back memories 

In Granny’s garage, to my delight

nestled atop a fridge that night

I found an old, old antique light 

and it was precious to my sight! 

This was our first Christmas without Granny.  My aunt lives in Granny’s house, but it will forever be “Granny’s house” to me.  Even though she isn’t there, memories of her are everywhere.

We had Christmas dinner at “Granny’s house”, and I couldn’t help but wonder- were we going to talk about Granny at all?  I figured everyone else was thinking about her and missing her, too.  One of my aunts gave my mom a beautifully framed picture of Granny.  When I saw it, it was as if Granny was sitting in that same recliner in the next room.

One of my aunts asked my sister and I if we wanted to go into the garage to look through some of Granny’s things that they were getting rid of.  We walked out into the garage, and sifted through a few boxes of odds and ends.  I saw a couple of oil lamps in one box, which reminded me of my favorite lamp that used to rest on the dresser in the back bedroom.  This is where my sister and I slept when we spent the nights at Granny and Papa’s house.

As a kid, I was afraid of the dark. One of my earliest memories is of me being in a crib.  I can picture myself looking through the crib slats, watching the lights go out and then watching the door to my room close.  I would cry because I was afraid of the dark.  I can remember always being afraid of the dark- especially when I slept in a different place.

But not at Granny’s house! 

On those special overnight trips to Granny’s, I couldn’t wait to see that special lamp light up the room when I went to sleep!  It had a beautiful gold hued glass globe around the top, and the black base had cut-outs of stars, which glowed when it was turned on.

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That lamp made me look forward to sleeping over at Granny’s house.  It shined light in the darkness and somehow made my Granny’s house seem magical!

As I remembered that old lamp, I looked across the garage to where the old fridge sat. There it was, clear as day- resting right on top. I didn’t even know that lamp still existed!  I asked my aunt if I could have it, and after she checked to see if it was ok- she said it was fine for me to have it.

I couldn’t wait to get the lamp home and clean it up!  I washed the hurricane glass and the globe, and then found a bulb to put inside.  The off/on switch was broken, but as soon as I plugged it in, it came right on!

And just like flipping that “on” switch, then came back all the memories of being a kid at Granny’s house.  Granny may be gone, but her light shines on…

You, Lord, are my lamp;
    the Lord turns my darkness into light.  2 Samuel 22:29

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it’s the little things

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it’s the little things 

reminding me- 

Emmanuel

He’s here with me 

The girls are maturing by the day, and I can hardly keep up with their changing likes and dislikes.  In fact, just yesterday I lamented that this is the first year neither of them asked for a single American Girl doll accessory  or”toy” for Christmas.

  Gone are those special moments when they would crawl into Santa’s lap and take sweet pictures.  And much to my chagrin- gone are the days of fighting those crowded toy store lines trying to get them the hottest toys of the season.  (that I DON’T miss!!)

As I got into my van yesterday morning I was feeling a little melancholy thinking of how much they have grown, and a part of me longed to hear their giddy little girl giggles.

But then I looked up, and I saw my windows were covered in frost from the previous chilly night. The frost glistened in the sunlight and I saw a cross- clear as day- a “frosty” cross, I’ll call it 🙂

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And He reminded me again what the real meaning of CHRISTmas is all about.

There is no giggle, no toy, no present under the tree that could ever compare to the joy He has already given me.  And the longing in my heart will only ever be satisfied by more of Him.  

In the simplest of ways He shows me that He is here.

She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”  Matthew 1:23

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Brick by Brick

What do you think of me?
Wonder what do you see?
When I open up and let you in.
Fearing what you might say.
Afraid you’ll run away
If I open up and let you in
So brick by brick I build up walls
Till I cannot see at all
Take those walls and tear them down
every wall I’ve build around
me
Take those walls and tear them down
tear them down
let those walls come tumbling down
let those walls come tumbling down
Feeling like I can’t breathe
Thoughts like a movie screen
They’re paralyzing me
And I wish I could make it stop
I wish I could turn it off
Jesus is the only thing saving me
‘Cause brick by brick I build up walls
Till I cannot see at all

This is a song I wrote recently about praying for Jesus to help me STOP those anxious thoughts that run through my head.  When I was a kid, I was always worried about what other people thought of me. I was so afraid that people wouldn’t accept me that I didn’t even try to make friends.  It was easier to build up walls around myself than it was to be “me” and allow people into my life.

And even as an adult, I still struggle with wanting to put up walls to protect myself- because sometimes letting people “in” is scary. But it is so worth it!

I am so thankful for the many friends He has brought into my life.

He continually helps me to put my hope and trust in Him and in no other person- because people WILL let you down!  He is helping me love everyone-

even those…

who don’t like the Christmas movie Elf (gasp!!)

who don’t like dogs 

who voted differently than I did in the presidential election

who don’t look or think the same way I do 

who don’t share my interests 

even those who don’t love me back

And by His grace, He can help us see each other- and even ourselves– through His eyes.   Loving other people doesn’t mean we won’t be hurt at times, but that is what He calls us to do. And that all begins with letting Jesus into our hearts and allowing Him to tear down those walls we create to separate us.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

John 4:7-11

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Deep in December it’s nice to remember…

Back in my college days, we sang a beautiful song called “Try to Remember” from the musical The Fantasticks. It’s such a lovely song, with a melancholy melody and lyrics that sing all on their own.  I woke up thinking of this song and remembering what happened to me this past Sunday…

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After I finished leading the music for the worship service, I sat down in between my husband and my daughters.  There’s something so special about sitting with my family in church- it felt like heaven!

I admit that I was more focused on the presence of the Lord than I was on the sermon that morning. But the most wonderful thing happened- I started to remember last December and how absolutely miserable I was.  For the last 12 years I have been dealing with allergies.  My symptoms started off pretty minor, and I would lose my voice for a few weeks in the first few years.  And then each year my symptoms increased- as did the amount of time I was plagued with a cough and laryngitis.  And unfortunately, these symptoms have always been the worst during the Christmas and Easter seasons- which are the BUSIEST times of the year for anyone involved in music ministry!

Last year around this time,  I remember feeling so defeated.  I even questioned if He really wanted me to keep singing for Him.  I am embarrassed to admit that there were many Sundays after church when I cried- feeling like I had let Him down, feeling like I embarrassed myself (by something I said, or by my voice cracking…).  I am embarrassed to say this because it made worship all about ME and not Him!

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After lots of prayer and encouragement from my Christian friends, I resolved to worship and praise Him- even if!  Even if my voice was gone, even if my cracking, coughing, weak voice would embarrass me- I would STILL sing His praises and be obedient to sing!

Well, after the Christmas season last year, I decided to finally visit an allergy doctor.  After going through the testing, he determined that I was having reactions to nearly all of the 60 environmental things I was tested for.  After trying other medications to help alleviate my cough and other symptoms, I decided to try immunotherapy- allergy shots.

I have been doing them since May, and I have FINALLY reached the “maintenance” phase.  It has been a long process, and it’s been quite time consuming- 2 visits each week, 3 shots each time.  I have prayed and prayed that this would help and that I was not wasting all this time!

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But Sunday, as I sat there with my family in the service- He reminded me of all that He has done for me over this last year.  He has taught me so much about worship… how my skills and talents are useless without His power. How being an “instrument” is not for other people to pat me on the back, but to glorify Him!  And usually by September, the coughing begins…but praise the Lord- the cough is almost non-existent!  I am so grateful and thankful!  I wanted to stand up and shout on Sunday when He reminded me of what I felt like last year compared to now!

So whatever trial you are going through- no matter how big or small it is- try to remember all the things He has brought you through, and keep on praising Him!

 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  James 1:12

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