As a pre-teen, I used to sit on my old piano bench and play away my thoughts on the keys. It was therapeutic to let melancholy chords ring while melodies ran through my head. Creating music made me feel alive!
I remember the first time I shared a piano piece I wrote with my piano teacher. I was nervous, but proud of the song I had created.
I played with hesitation- desperately wanting my teacher’s approval. When I finished, the first thing he said was that I should try this chord instead of that chord …and surely it would sound better if I did it this way instead. Lots of criticism followed.
I was crushed. I remember thinking surely if I had wanted it that way, I would have already written it that way!
That one moment had a huge impact on me.For many years, I felt like what I created didn’t have value, wasn’t good enough.
But here’s the thing-we all have a song to sing. How boring it would be if all songs had the same chords and melodies. How bland music would be if we all had the same voice.
Let Him create something NEW in you- and then pour it out as an offering for His glory!
My hubby and I began watching a series on Netflix recently called Manifest. We were hooked from the beginning, as the storyline is very intriguing and the series offers lots of twists and turns.
One of the main themes of the series is Romans 8:28- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. This is a verse I quote often, because it’s an encouragement that we are called to follow and seek Him in all things, and a reminder that we can trust He has a greater purpose at work than what we are able to see with our own eyes. We can completely trust that even when we are in a BAD situation, that somehow He is going to use it for His good.
In the show, the survivors of the 5 year plane disappearance hear voices, later referred to “callings”. These callings will at times bring survivors together to solve a puzzle… always leading them to help someone in need and miraculously these callings connect to each other in deeply personal ways with the characters. This is one of the best ways I have seen my walk with Jesus displayed on a screen… and probably one of the easiest ways to describe what it feels like for me to hear that “small whisper” of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with Jesus each day.
Just the other day, I went to a local senior living community to do a worship service in the middle of the week. Honestly, it’s one of the highlights of the week for me. I play and sing a few hymns with the residents, we pray, and I share a short devotional and then close with another song and prayer. It fills my heart with great joy to see the residents clapping, singing, and experiencing the blessing that is corporate worship. When I leave, I always feel like I have made a difference in their lives for Jesus.
And this past week- it was the walk to my car where I heard the “small whisper”.
There are outdoor patio areas for the residents to sit outside of their rooms on the ground floor. It happened to be raining that day as I was heading out to my car. I spotted a lady who was all done up- she looked like Elizabeth Taylor and was strikingly beautiful. She held a book in her hand and was gazing out over the parking lot watching the rain fall.
As clear as day, I felt the Lord telling me to go and speak to her.
I said hi as I approached her and she greeted me.
“Isn’t it just heavenly listening to the rain?” she said to me.
Listening to the rain is one of my favorite things to do. We chatted for just a moment, and then I invited her to join me next week for our time of worship.
“Oh, I’m a life-long atheist,” she replied.
And what struck me was her tone- she was not timid or shy about what she believed, but was confident and proud of her declaration.
I smiled and told her I loved her and would welcome her to join us.
I thought about her statement that the sound of the rain was heavenly.
I think about heaven a lot.
Even our greatest, most pleasurable moments here on earth will pale in comparison to the place He has prepared for us, and I want this special lady to see that place one day.
Romans 8:28… ALL THINGS work together for good. Who knows- maybe I will never see her again. Maybe the Lord simply used me to plant a tiny mustard seed in her heart.
But just maybe I will see her next week for worship!
We planted a baby magnolia tree in our yard several years ago. My husband was gifted it by someone at his work, and we had been thinking of planting something in the center of our circular driveway for some time – so it was the perfect addition to our yard.
Well, knowing my lack of gardening skills, I followed the instructional pamphlet to the t. I watered it with exactly the amount it said, and as often as was instructed -and I couldn’t wait to watch it grow and bloom. After all, magnolia blooms have the most wonderful fragrance.
And it took forEVER to see a flower. At first, there was just one or two. Then the next year there were a few more. And again, at the beginning of the summer it didn’t look like we were going to have any blooms. But after all the rain we have had these past couple of weeks, I looked out and saw not one or two, but a bunch of little flower buds!
It’s amazing how God created all these beautiful trees and plants, and they grow and bloom and reproduce without anyone or anything telling it what to do! It really is a miracle when you think about it!
And as I was out there this morning enjoying the blooms, God reminded me of all the days I saw nothing. All the while that tree was growing and faithful to do what it needed to do to produce the “fruit”.
Keep waiting to see the blooms.
Joy comes in the morning.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes inthe morning- Psalm 30:5
Owning two pianos, tuning them regularly can be quite costly. I have a pretty good ear and can tell when a note begins to sound “off”, so I decided to look up tuning kits to see how affordable they were. Much to my surprise, they were pretty inexpensive, so I purchased a piano tuning kit and couldn’t wait for my package to arrive. I mean- how hard could it be to tune a piano?!
My baby grand piano is nearly 100 years old, and has a couple of notes that are notoriously wonky. I love the quirks of owning an antique piano, but I have begun avoiding playing certain notes because they have become so incredibly out of tune- even an untrained ear could hear the somber sound.
The kit arrived on a Sunday afternoon (thanks, Amazon!) and it was like Christmas morning all over again! I watched a couple of videos on piano tuning ahead of time, so I knew a little bit about what I was in for.
I went right to the worst offender- my bass C note- notably the most played key on my piano. I opened the top of the piano and found the bolt that needed adjusting. I loaded a tuning app onto my phone and then placed the tuning wrench on the bolt and pulled it ever so slightly. It didn’t take much turning to change the pitch, but boy did I have to pull to get that bolt to move! A little to the left, a little to the right, and that C sang like a songbird!
But something peculiar happened.
As I played, I noticed that other notes were ever so slightly under pitch compared to the C… so I began tweaking a few more, then even more… until I began at the lowest note and started to work up.
Let me just say that this process was more difficult than I thought! My hands ached from gripping and pulling the tuning wrench, my back was sore from bending over the piano, and it took me hours. But it was totally worth it! And I have a completely new understanding and appreciation for piano technicians and the amount of skill it takes to do this for a living!
I kept thinking about how tuning a piano is so much like being “in tune” with the Holy Spirit. The more you begin to listen and adjust things in your life that are out of tune to Him, the more things you see that need adjusting. I’ll be honest- it is hard for me not to pull out that tuning fork every day to double check the pitches on the piano… but once I start tuning, it will reveal others that also need to be adjusted.
But that’s what our walk with Jesus is about… being in a constant state of tuning to Him.
Tuning our thoughts to His thoughts… our words to His Word… our heart to His.
I have been listening to a great online course on overthinking by Jon Acuff. In one of the sessions he talked about having empathy for others- as well as for yourself. He describes empathy as “caring about the things that the people you care about care about”.
This really resonates with me. My husband and my daughters all enjoy the Marvel Movies and like to “geek out” over the characters and story lines. I admit that this is something that I have had to work at caring about. It just wasn’t something I was exposed to or watched growing up. But because I love my family, I have learned to find joy in watching these movies with them, too.
We recently watched the Wandavision series on Disney Plus. At first, my hubby told me I wouldn’t enjoy it- so I didn’t need to watch it with him. And then I snuck downstairs one evening, sat on the couch, and was mesmerized by Wanda’s perfectly crafted sitcom world. Who doesn’t dream of having the perfect family like you see on tv?
I asked lots of questions -because although I have watched most of the Marvel movies, I can’t remember anything these days… and the more questions I asked, the more dots were connected.
Wanda had experienced so much personal loss that she created this entire fictional “bubble” for her make-believe family. She controlled every aspect of this world, down to everything that was said. Eventually she began to lose control, and by the end she realized that she couldn’t stay in that perfect bubble- and she said goodbye to her self-made life, causing her to deal with the personal grief and loss she has experienced.
But the biggest dot that was connected for me was that I am so much like Wanda-
I desperately want to protect myself (and my loved ones) from being hurt.
And to do this, I try to control my own environment.
Self-realization is HUGE! Just recognizing our own tendencies opens doors to change.
What’s the remedy?
Moment by moment surrender. Allowing Him full control of my life and of everything around me. Not worrying about what others do or think- but simply resting in Him and trusting in Him in ALL things.
Isn’t it so cool how God uses something like a Marvel TV series as a mirror to reveal something inside of you?
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:13-14
This past Sunday, as I sat down at the keyboard on the stage at church, I noticed something on the keys. There was some kind of seed resting on middle C. A sunflower seed perhaps?
The strange thing is- I NEVER eat on the stage at church, and don’t recall seeing anyone else eat either. I usually play the piano, but for the past 3 weeks or so, I have been using the keyboard to lead worship.
So where this seed came from is a complete mystery!
But it was a great reminder that morning to keep the faith.
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17:20
We have to continue to fix our eyes on Jesus, moment by moment, and believe that things WILL get better!
And any obstacles you are facing today-
He may not REMOVE them,
but He WILL see you THROUGH them!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Just a few short weeks ago I was excitedly planning Easter festivities at church, my girls were anticipating their spring concerts and trips with band, and my hubby was gearing up for another busy tax season.
And then came Corona…
It seems like life as we know it has come to a screeching halt.
Alone with my thoughts, I have come to realize how many things I have taken for granted.
Like my trips to Starbucks for egg bites and flat whites…those weekly galavants to the thrift store to socialize with strangers and to get lost in my thoughts sifting through junk…meeting friends for lunch and coffee…having the house to myself throughout the week to clean and organize…. but of everything, having “church”- this is the biggest for me. I miss being able to hug my church family every week. I miss seeing all the smiling faces and being together in person to praise the Lord on Sundays.
And yet here we are- all going through this strange season together.
We’ve been stripped of everything that isn’t necessary for our survival.
And yet, even in the midst of uncertainty, I have peace.
In these “lean” times- may we lean into Him!
“Leaning on the Everlasting Arms”
What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way, leaning on the everlasting arms; O how bright the path grows from day to day, leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms.
As Joey from my favorite sitcom, Friends, would say-
“How YOU doin’?”
I have written lots of half posts but haven’t actually “published” one in a while.
It’s kind of funny, because we used to be so busy- with work, taking kids here there and everywhere, after school activities… in fact eating meals as a whole family was very rare for us- except for Sundays.
And then Corona came.
By the way- am I the only one that sings “My, my my, myyyyy Corona” (instead of Sharona)?! every time you hear that word?!
Ok, I gotta focus…
Anyway, I guess it’s sort of a blessing that life as we know it has come to a screeeeeching halt. Now all four of us are pretty much together- all.the.time.
I try not to lament and think about what if’s…but today I am sad for all the kiddos and everything they are missing out on in these coming weeks like:
all the musicals and plays that won’t debut
the spring band and chorus concerts that have been postponed or cancelled
the competitions that are cancelled
the spring trips that have been cancelled
the sporting games that won’t get played
every high school senior who may not go to prom
all the graduations that will be postponed
The list goes on and on.
And though life looks a little bit different right now, life goes on, too.
But I am also so thankful that I get a little taste of what life might be like if we were to”homeschool”-
-we get to sleep in every day
-our schedule is less rushed and more adaptable to what suits our family
-the girls are able to help more around the house and with preparing meals
-our dogs are in HEAVEN having everyone at home all the time
-we get to take long walks together and talk about life
-I get my daughters ALL TO MYSELF- a rarity for two busy high schoolers!
I have always been a “glass-half-full” person, so I’m going to make the choice to focus on all my blessings.
God is good.
All the time.
And I’m going to repeat this verse and believe it-
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27