I Sing Because I'm Free

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

The “LBD”

fullsizeoutput_237a

The little black dress-

How could I have known?

All the times He’d used it

to make Himself

known!

The LBD

I think it’s time

to keep bringing it out

of this closet of mine!

Mondays are usually days I use to “TCB”- take care of business… to do all the things that went un-done over the weekend.  Today was unusual, as I was singing for a funeral and also had errands to run. I had thought about bringing a change of clothes, but didn’t think I’d have enough time to stop before the funeral to change into my dress.  So to save time, I left the house wearing my black dress.  It was slightly unusual for me to be dressed up on a Monday, but I decided to just go with it.

I wondered if anyone would notice what I was wearing-

and boy did they ever!

fullsizeoutput_2378

My first stop was the car place.  My car was due for an oil change, so I brought it to one of my go-to places.  Sure enough, the lady who usually waits on me asked me why I was all dressed up.  I “get to” sing for a funeral today, I told her.

Oh, I’m so sorry…

And that’s how most people respond.

Oh no- it is one of the greatest blessings that I “get to” sing about Jesus to a family who is grieving, I told her. There is nothing that brings me more joy than singing and being able to share His Word in such a special way with people.  For the Christ-follower, death is not the end… it’s the BEGINNING of eternal life with Him!  And that is something to celebrate!  

Then she tells me how much she needs to be in church.  Pray for me, she says.  I ended up having a short conversation with her, which ended with an invitation for her to join me at church this coming Sunday.

In fact, that was the first of many God-centered conversations I had while I was running errands.  I ended up inviting multiple people to my church, I got to talk about Jesus, and death, and funerals- all sorts of taboo subjects with random people today.   Why? All because I wore a black dress.

It’s amazing to me how He shows up in the little things.  And to think- I almost brought a change of clothes with me!   

I didn’t even have to try to make conversations with these people! He did it all for me.  I wanted to share all of this with you NOT to pat myself on the back, but just to show you that He’s not looking for the greatest, brightest, most talented people to use…

all He needs is someone who is willing.

Willing to say yes, to be obedient- to WHATEVER He wants! 

And today- all He wanted me to do was wear a black dress!

fullsizeoutput_2374

be prepared in season and out of season…2 Timothy 4:2 

 

Advertisements
5 Comments »

being “present”

FullSizeRender

The moment I seek

and desire His presence-

I find He is near

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.  Isaiah 55:6

Twilight is my favorite time of day.  It is a time of two-fold expectation for me- expecting to see something beautiful in the sky, and it’s also a time to have a momentary heart-to-heart chat with my Heavenly Father.

Speaking of heart-to-heart chats,  I have been lamenting over how those chats with my daughters are fewer and farther between now that they are getting older.

FullSizeRender

The girls woke me up early the other day with one request- to watch a movie with them.  Honestly, it wasn’t a movie that I had any desire to watch, but I thought about how seldom they ask me to do things with them now.

“Momma- NO laptop and NO phone!  You have to sit and pay attention!”

I smiled and secretly loved the fact that they wanted my undivided attention. So I obliged- I put away every electronic device and set aside every thought that was not pertinent to the task as hand.

FullSizeRender

Surprisingly, I enjoyed watching the movie.  Mostly it was because I knew how much my girls wanted me to sit with them and experience the very same joy that they have when they put themselves into the movie’s fantasy world. But the greatest joy for me was watching their smiles, the way they looked back at me to see if I laughed when they did…and knowing that they wanted to feel connected to me through this shared experience.

FullSizeRender

The verse above reminds me that when we seek to be in His presence, we know He is already with us.  As my girls are getting more independent, I find them asking to spend time with me less…and only coming to me when they need something.

But it made me think about all the times I do that very same thing with the Lord…only going to Him in prayer when I have a need- when my greatest need is to continually be in His presence.

He desires my constant fellowship with Him- reminding me that when my girls are truly seeking to spend time with me- all I need to do is to be present.

Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.

1 Chronicles 16:11

4 Comments »

counting the cost

fullsizeoutput_1f39In search of solitude

I walk fullsizeoutput_1f3b

and to myself I softly

I talk

fullsizeoutput_1f3a

the talking soon becomes

a song

fullsizeoutput_1f38

and then I hum it

all

day

long!

I was compelled the other day to stop and walk on the trail.  There was a green glow about the trees, and the birds serenaded me as I began to walk.

As I walked, I realized another victory He has given me!  For years, I have been in bondage… a “slave” to numbers- numbers on the scale, the number of calories I consume at each meal, or the number of calories I burn while exercising.  I would track them on my cute little phone app all day long.  I was a slave to that app.  And then there were days when I would take a break from tracking the numbers- and yet I would STILL keep a running tally in my brain.

But since Dec 31, I have stopped “counting”.  Cold turkey.  This was one of the things I had prayed to be free from, and praise the Lord I am finally FREE!

So as I walked, I realized that I wasn’t clutching my phone…and  I wasn’t trying to beat my best walking time…and I hadn’t set a goal for distance or calories burned. I was just walking to walk, and it was wonderful!

I no longer need the validation of a magical number to find my self-worth.

I have Him and He is all that I need.

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12 

2 Comments »

holding on

IMG_0345

My girls aren’t little anymore.

Overnight, it seems like the playroom has become a museum- frozen back in a time when the girls pretend played for hours on end with their Barbie dolls.  Doll clothing and toy pieces still litter the floor.

There’s a part of me that wants the playroom to stay that way forever so I can remember it all… their excited giggles, the singing, and the not-so-quiet sound of toys being tossed around.

I feel like my “mom life” is in a bit of a transition.  I don’t write about it as much as I used to, because those cute moments don’t come as often.  And as I watch my coming-of-age daughters try to navigate life, I’m still finding my own way as a mom.   It is WAY harder than I ever thought it would be.

I told the girls recently that they needed to clean the playroom and get rid of some of their dolls and toys.  We don’t need all that stuff down there anymore- I tried to reason with them.

But my oldest looked at me in utter disbelief…

IMG_4519

Mom!!  You are NOT giving away my whole childhood!  You just can’t do that! 

How long has it been since you actually played with those Barbies??  I tried to reason with her.

Umm… just a few weeks ago- she sheepishly admitted to me.   

And then I smiled. I might have even teared up a little bit.

Just when I thought I was having a hard time letting go of my girls being little girls– I see they’re not ready to let go either.

We’re all holding on.

Hold on to what is good-

1 Thessalonians 5:21

IMG_4234

“Sometimes you will never know the value of something,

until it becomes a memory.” – Dr Seuss 

Leave a comment »

trust me

IMG_5283

It was an unusual evening.

I happened to be all alone, and usually I relish those quiet times, but on this particular day, I needed to get out of the house.  I was in a dog fight, wrestling with my own thoughts…

So I decided to make it a “date”- me and God.

I got into my car, and it just happened to be twilight- my favorite time of day!  I drove aimlessly around in search of God’s beauty.  Funny enough, my husband texted me earlier that day with this message- “Wow! Spring has sprung this morning!”, so I made a point to look for the visible changes as I drove around.  I finally settled on a spot and parked the car.

IMG_4553

I prayed a lot.  I asked Him lots of questions… why questions, what if questions… and I very much felt like a little girl asking my parents lots of worrisome things that don’t  need answering.

I remember how I used to try to get out of practicing piano as a kid.  I hated playing those boring songs over and over and over.  Why do I have to keep doing this? It seemed so pointless.  And yet, every time I wanted to quit- my parents said no.  Honestly, I didn’t want to quit- I just wanted to pass over all the practice to get to the good part… I wanted to play something real, something that moved me!

Oh, if I had known then what He would be using all those hours of practice for- well it might have scared me out of playing at all!   The fact that He chooses to use me to lead worship every week is very humbling.  It’s nothing short of a miracle, actually.  I am forgetful, clumsy, not a technically great piano player…. but I am willing… and I praise the Lord EVERY DAY for all He has done in my life!

Sometimes waiting is hard.  Waiting for an answer, for a door to open, for a door to close… to win the lottery (just kidding!!!!)… but in the waiting is where He is fine-tuning our skills, and that’s where our faith in Him grows stronger. 

As I sat in the van that night, an overwhelming peace came over me. I pictured myself sitting in His giant lap with His arms wrapped around me tight.

And suddenly all those thoughts I had wrestled with instantly melted into His one big, beautiful answer-

just trust me! 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Related image

4 Comments »

Built for a King

IMG_2458

He is working-

moving and shaping

changing and growing

cultivating, crafting

He’s transforming

You 

into something magnificent

a beautiful building-

something He sees

worthy

of Living

in…

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

photo

10 Comments »

take the leap

This is Jack…

img_4124

He’s our newest rescue dog, and it has been a joy watching him come out of his “shell”.

Here’s his older brother, Remy-

img_4126

They had a little bit of a love/hate relationship in the beginning, but thankfully they are good buds now!

img_3680

 

It’s amazing how God uses these little furry guys to teach me about life.  We don’t know anything about Jack, other than he’s about 4 years old.  When we adopted him a couple of months ago,  he was scruffy and super skinny and looked like he had a rough start to life.

We’ve had the joy of watching him grow into a beautiful, healthy, loving boy in the last couple of months. One of the things I love most about Jack is his perseverance.

Ain’t no sofa high enough 

Ain’t no bed tall enough 

Ain’t no recliner wide enough 

to keep him away from you, baby! 

When Jack wants something, he is relentless.  He will stop at nothing to get a bite of whatever awesome snack we are eating.  When he want to jump up and give you his famous 10 second snuggle, it’s like he’s competing in the Olympics.  Those little legs leap as high as they possibly can, and sometimes he hits the mark.  Other times he falls short and misses…but he doesn’t let it stop him!

He keeps his eyes fixed on what he wants and he perseveres until he succeeds.

I have heard the song  “Crazy Faith” on the radio numerous times over the last few days…

“Lord, this scares me, yeah

But it’s gonna take crazy faith

So what if it costs me everything

I’m stepping out I’m taking the leap

of crazy faith”- John Waller 

I want to have faith like that.  I want to be able to take that “leap”  like Jack does- without any fear or doubt, knowing that it’s His strength that will get me through.  When we’re continually seeking Him and His will- He is always calling us to do something…asking us to go deeper- to depend on Him more.

So what are you waiting for?

Take the leap of faith and trust Him.

 God, help me to have crazy faith

 

 

 

1 Comment »

Lean in ’17

img_3967

I’m gettin’ lean in ’17

a lean that’s all encompassing 

I wanna be all I can be 

and represent my Lord and King 

through ALL things, help me to SING

It’s on Him I’m gonna LEAN! 

I have just recently begun watching the show “This is Us” on NBC.  I’m a little bit behind the ball, but I’ve binge-watched almost the whole first season online, and it’s so, so good!  It’s the kind of show that you either love or hate.

This show wrecks me. Even the music makes me tear up.  But the character that I really connect with is Kate.  As a child, she is “chunky” and much of the storyline revolves around her becoming more self-conscious of her size.  Then as an adult, it shows her measuring every meal, obsessing over every calorie of everything she eats…exercising and doing all the right things- only to lose 1 lb.  Kate is charming and lovely, and yet all she can see is her size.

When I watch the show, it’s like seeing myself on the screen.  I religiously count all my calories, and then feel like a failure when I haven’t lost a pound.  Then I over-indulge during the holidays and feel like a failure when I’ve gained a pound (err…or two, lol)…the cycle never ends.

And now that my girls are entering the teen years, I try so hard to say and do the right things…

I say things like– Eat healthy so you can be HEALTHY, not THIN.  Exercise so you will feel good and feel good about yourself.  Wear clothes that fit you and flatter your curves.  Recognize that people come in all shapes and sizes, and embrace the body God gave you! You are beautiful!

But deep down, I fight those negative thoughts every single day.  I recently admitted this to someone close to me and told them that maybe this is my “cross”.  You know how Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him?  Well this love/hate relationship with food and my weight is just that- something that can either get me down every single day- or it’s something that He can use to keep me close to Him. Every moment I go to Him instead of turn to my own thoughts, well that’s another victory!

So I’m committing to getting LEAN in ’17!

I’m going to LEAN on HIM and NOT myself! 

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

img_3951

4 Comments »

You, Lord, are my lamp

img_4085

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.

img_4088

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

img_4083

8 Comments »

it’s the little things

img_3917

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 🙂

img_3918

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

2 Comments »