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Only Jesus

It has been bitterly cold lately.

How cold is it?

So cold, that my semi-damp hair freezes in chunks when I walk the dogs!

So cold, that I think I have gotten a little bitter myself.

I really despise that about me. I see how easy it is for me come up with excuses for why I am in a bad mood. After it snowed a couple of weeks ago, I slipped and fell down the front porch stairs while holding a dog leash in each hand. My tailbone hit every step on the way down and then smacked against the icy asphalt. I laid there on the ice and cried because the pain was so bad. And there was no one home to help. Thankfully I didn’t break anything, but it left me in a lot of physical discomfort.

Sitting, standing, walking…getting in and out of the car… all the normal daily things I did brought me constant discomfort. It took a solid two weeks for me to be able to walk around without being in constant pain. I was GRATEFUL to wake up yesterday and hop right out of bed like my usual self!

But this morning, I see how easy it has been for me to allow myself to wallow in my own misery, and to make excuses for it. How quick I have been to complain and become frustrated with little things. How I have been snappy with my family and have thought of every excuse to justify my attitude.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5

What would Jesus say about my bad mood? I think He would tell me no one owes me anything for falling down those steps that day. I think He would tell me to be grateful that I wasn’t more severely injured. I think He would tell me to lean into Him more and not expect anything from other people. I think He would tell me how incredibly blessed I am.

Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past- Isaiah 43:18

He would tell me to stop focusing on my circumstances, and start focusing on Him.

The moment I begin worship and focus on Jesus- I am free from my selfish ways.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 3:13-14

Keep your eyes on the prize!

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He has made me glad

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I had someone recently tell me they were looking for a sign from God.  I told them that He is always faithful and will give them exactly what they need -in His perfect timing!

I know this because He has been so faithful to me.

With no stream in sight, lately I’ve felt like I am walking through a desert.  As someone who wears her heart on her sleeve at all times, I’ve cried more in the last week than I have in ages.  I HATE to cry.  Especially in front of people.  It is humiliating, embarrassing, and makes me feel weak. But sometimes I just can’t stop the tears from flowing, and I have stopped fighting it.

I arrived at church Sunday morning, and was sitting at the piano- praying and getting ready to begin our worship practice.  As I sat there, I got a text from a friend saying they were praying for me.  I responded, letting them know how much their prayers meant to me and to share with them that I had been feeling very “down” this past week.

As soon as did I hit “send” on my response, I saw someone enter the sanctuary- all smiles, and holding a flower.  I got up from the piano as she came to the stage.

“God told me to give this to you today!”  She had cut the bloom from her yard that morning.

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I cried- yes, again, lol–  but this time they were tears of joy!  It was a gladiola bloom.

“He has made me GLAD,” I said as I hugged her, and in that instant the joy of the Lord flooded my heart.

He is with us, and He shows up in the most wonderful ways!

And always right on time.

For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.  Psalm 92:4 

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Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

 

 

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Get your business done

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One of the first things I do every morning is take my dog outside.  We don’t have a fenced- in yard, so one of us takes him out on a leash at least 3 times a day.  This morning was not unlike most others- I was hoping it would be a quick step out the door, that my boy would get his business done, and I’d be back in the comfy confines of my homestead within minutes.

Not so.

In fact, I put so much confidence in my dog’s ability to get ‘er done quickly that I didn’t even put my shoes on.  He sniffed, and then proceeded to lick the dew off of every blade of grass.  He looked into the air and inhaled the aromas of the morning.  He was completely savoring and enjoying every second we were outside.  Not me.

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I, on the other hand- stepped on every rock and stick that happened to be underfoot. Impatiently, I muttered under my breath…come on!!  go potty!!”  I did everything I could to hurry him up.

After he took me around the perimeter of the yard twice, he led me across the street before finally getting his business done.  Ouch! I muttered as I tiptoed my bare feet across the rocky asphalt.

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As he took the time to find the perfect spot to relieve himself, the Lord impressed on me the importance of being intentional about getting our own “business” done…the things we do and the things we say.  To be purposeful with our words and actions and not rush through things.   To breathe in the air around us and be thoughtful about what we are doing and where we are going.  To take the time to prepare for whatever business we are going to take care of.

And to never leave the house without my shoes on again!

Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.  2 Timothy 4:2

*btw- if you need a laugh today, watch this…

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finish your own sentences

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While I am not slim by any means, I do try to take care of myself.  I watch what I eat and exercise at least 4-5 times a week.  My girls have joined me in this quest to be in the best shape we can be, and so the three of us- along with one of the girls’ friends- went to run/walk at a local track.

I was so proud of the girls!  They kept on going, even when they got tired.  They commented that they stopped before they had wanted to.  But you showed up-I told them in my best “Jillian Michaels” voice… I’m proud of you!

As I ran, I passed by two elderly ladies.  They seemed quite surprised that a girl of my size was running, and I could tell that each time I passed them they made comments about me. I know I don’t look like an athlete or anything, but I am healthy.  The last lap I heard them say “That girl in front of us- that girl with those big wide hips…”

Fortunately, that was all I heard before I was out of ear shot of their comment.  Usually, that’s all it takes to get me in a bad mood… to discourage me from working out in front of other people.  Honestly, I didn’t know how they finished that sentence, but I had a feeling it was not positive.  But 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ!  As I kept running, He told me to finish it…

And so as I jogged along, He brought to mind all of the things that I’ve accomplished, and all I have to be thankful for…

 this girl with those big, wide hips-

-is BLESSED to be ALIVE and have breath in her lungs and legs to RUN with

-has given birth to two awesome, amazing girls

-lost over 100 lbs before I had my children

-loves her curves… because that’s the way He made me

-is trying to set a good example for her girls by taking the best care of her body that she can

-got a college degree and worked multiple jobs to pay for it (and I’m STILL paying those loans!!)

-knows where to find her SELF-WORTH…. in CHRIST ALONE!

-has a stronger walk with the Lord than ever before

You- yes, YOU,  are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Don’t let anyone else try to finish your sentence.  Give God that pen and let Him write it for you.  By His grace, He will turn it into something beautiful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end-  Ecclesiastes 3:11

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O Light of light, shine in!

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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!
 

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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!
 

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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.
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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.

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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

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