I Sing Because I'm Free

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keep on going

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though the road

grows dark and gray 

keep traveling the onward way 

until the day our 

faith will become sight 

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always keeping Him in mind 

never stop to look behind 

steadfast, keep on walking 

towards the Light

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I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  

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The Sound of Grace

My 80 year old baby grand piano

Playing piano in front of people has always been a huge fear of mine.  I have horrible stage fright- always have.  My biggest fear is that my hands will freeze up and I will be the laughing stock of the room.  Yes, I have played many, many wrong notes over the years… but, thankfully,  He has never allowed me to make a complete fool of myself!

I had the honor of playing for a wedding this past weekend.  I opened my piano books and began playing some classical pieces as the attendees began to enter the sanctuary. As I played quietly, my mind wandered to the many hours I spent practicing as a little girl.  All that time I thought was being wasted… and now He uses it for so many awesome things. As I reminisced about my childhood, the sweetest thing happened- several of the young children who were in the wedding came onto the stage and started playing with me.  They ever-so-gently pressed the keys up high and down low on the piano, right in time with me- as my own hands played the classical tunes.  I admit that initially, I was frustrated- I was trying so hard to play the right notes and to not make mistakes- which requires a ton of concentration for me. But once I saw the joy on their little faces, I immediately let my frustrations go.

He reminds me that music is not just about playing right notes!  It’s about the heart.  

I continued to play, accompanied by the young children, and then I transitioned to “Amazing Grace”.  I didn’t have any sheet music for this one- I was simply worshipping… playing whatever He led me to play before the actual ceremony began.

Then the most awesome thing happened- one of the pretty little girls leaned over and whispered in my ear-

“That’s a beautiful one!”

 “Do you know this song?” I asked her.

“No.  But it is a beautiful one,”  she said again with her eyes shining.

Yes it is. There is nothing quiet like the sound of His grace.

There are no words to describe it.

He sings His grace over our lives in the most wonderful ways. Through giggling children,  innocent little fingers tickling the ivory piano keys, and through heart-felt words said by little ones.

His grace abounds!

“Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far? 2 Samuel 7:18

I am grateful for His grace and thankful that I get to serve Him in so many wonderful ways!  And to think of all those hours spent practicing at a piano as a little girl… I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Little moments like these bring me so much joy. I am thankful He sent those little children on the stage to remind me why I do what I do… He has not intended for me to play perfect notes- but to play with joy like a child.  He has blessed me beyond measure. If only I could tell those children how much they blessed me- and how He used them to relieve me of my “fears” of playing!

“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.”

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

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As the sun rises

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 as the sun rises

so does appreciation

for all He creates

At the moment, I am waving my white flag- surrendering my frustrations to Him.  Sometimes technology is our best friend- and other times it’s my worst enemy!  The latter description is what I am experiencing at the moment.  Instead of continuing to work on a project that is causing me undue frustration- I am choosing to step away from the desk and worship.  He created all things and surely He will give me guidance in His timing to complete this tech-savvy task.

So this morning, I am in awe of His beautiful sunrise, and I am in awe of everything He has blessed me with… including this computer (which at the moment is the source of my frustration).  He shows me time and time again that His ways are far better than mine, and that I can do NOTHING without His help!!

Lord, thank You for being patient with me.  So many times I try to jump in and do things on my own without asking for Your guidance. Thank you for reminding me that no task is too big or too small to bring to You for help!  

Worthy are You, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created  Revelation 4:11

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Standing Tall

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Standing tall- a radiant sunflower on a recent day trip

 Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong- 1 Corinthians 16:13

It’s the little things that make me smile.  Sunflowers are one of those things.  I can’t get enough of them.  A daydreamer at heart- I could stare at them all day if I’d let myself!  I remember seeing them when I was young, and wondering how on earth they could have such a huge, beautiful bloom and still stand so tall on such a thin stalk.

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God’s business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.  Psalm 11:7 (MSG)

I remember when I was in elementary school feeling self-conscious of how tall I was. Feeling like a giant, I often walked around with hunched shoulders, hoping it would allow me to fit in and not be noticed by others for my tallness. Standing tall meant that I would be standing out above the crowd- literally. It was during my adolescence that I took notice of sunflowers and how beautiful they are.  If they somehow had the strength to stand tall, certainly I could find it the strength to embrace my tallness and do the same.  I began to realize all the beautiful things I missed out on seeing by hunching and looking down all the time.

And one of the things I detested about myself as a child, I have grown to appreciate. I love being able to grab something off the top shelf for a friend, or a fellow shopper in the grocery store.  By His grace, I now stand tall for my faith in Christ. And I stand tall for my fast-growing daughters- who look up to me (literally and figuratively) and follow my example.

God’s business is putting things right; he loves getting the lines straight, Setting us straight. Once we’re standing tall, we can look him straight in the eye.  Psalm 11:7 (MSG)

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maybe just one more cup…

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Streaming sunlight beckons me

to sit and spend some time with Thee

one cup, two cups, maybe three

there’s always time for more coffee!

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love. 

Psalm 59:16

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The more things change, the more they stay the same

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My girl walking on the Outer Banks

 daughter of mine 

walking on the shore

you’re no little girl anymore

 becoming a lady far too soon

and I’m afraid to blink

cause I might miss 

your little girl hugs and that little girl kiss

dare to dream big, daughter of mine

walking on the shore

you’re not a little girl

anymore…

This beauty warmed my heart tonight. 

After getting home late from church, my girls got ready for bed and began reading.  I went to tuck my youngest one in bed and pray with her, and she said “Momma, will you pick out an outfit for me to wear tomorrow?”  

Now, this is the ultimate privilege- having my daughter value my fashion-sense enough to want my input in what she wears.  So, naturally, knowing my youngest and her flair for the cray-cray fashion, I picked out two things that did not match.  

“Ewww…Mom! They don’t even go together!”  

So I pick out another completely different outfit- one that I actually liked.

“That’s more like it, Mom.”  

Weird.  She always likes things that clash.  But if that wasn’t weird enough, then my older one says she needs help, too…

“Mom, pick out my outfit for tomorrow, ok?”

“But honey- you never like what I pick out for you.”

“I know, but just pick out something, ok?” she asked as she rolled her eyes.  

And so I perused through her drawer and found a lovely green t-shirt and a pair of jeans that she painted herself. She is a t-shirt and jeans girl, just like me.  My oldest and I are so much alike, it blows my mind. Watching her grow into a lady often times feel like I’m re-living my own childhood. 

 “That looks good, Mom.”  

“But Mom, you know I’ll try to change what I wear in the morning, don’t you?” my daughter says.

“But Mom- don’t let me.” 

A simple statement- reminding me that my independent young lady still seeks “mommy’s” approval and guidance… 

My heart is full.  

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.   Isaiah 61:10

 

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Give me words

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

There’s nothing like looking out over the ocean to make you feel so small and to bring life back into perspective. That He would create this vast expanse of water, one that ebbs and flows each day like clockwork is simply mind boggling.It is a great reminder to me that all the little things that tend to weigh me down really are so insignificant in the light of eternity.

I have been consumed by the “little things” lately, and I have allowed fears to set in. He woke me up again early this morning and began giving me a “pep-talk”.  

I am afraid of simple things- like not having the right words to say, being misunderstood, and not being bold enough.  He reminded me of Moses and just how inadequate he felt for his task.  As I read Exodus 3 this morning, I saw just how patient and understanding our Lord is. Moses asked God but what if… and over and over- He reassures him. 

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute?Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4

It is when I feel at my weakest that I see Him working the greatest. Even more than the simple fear of inadequacy lies the fear of being disobedient- of not doing what He asks of me.  

There is nothing as wonderful as having my Father wake me up to encourage me. And as He directed me to read these words in Exodus this morning, it was as if He spoke them directly to me- 

Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let me take a selfie

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Sunrise at OBX

 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised.  

Psalm 113:3

As I pulled out my phone and turned on the camera, one of my daughters says, “Mom, they all look the same…”  

“Yeah, they kinda do,” another informs me.  

*sigh*

That got me to thinking about why I take these “same” pictures of the sky scape.  

I guess these pictures look alike because God is unchanging, yet he’s always revealing different aspects of Himself to us.  So in each picture I see a subtle new facet of God’s awesomeness, things we can only notice because of the Holy Spirit that He places inside each one of us.  

And as I look up to heaven, I converse with Him. Pictures are one dimensional and fail to capture the “heart” or the feeling of His presence as I pray, confess, listen…worship, and yes- gaze with wonder at His magnificent creation.  Each picture I take while I’m on a walk is like a God-selfie.  They might all look the same to some, but I can remember the heart to heart I had with Him in each of these moments… 

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Sunrise at OBX

And let’s face it, (pun intended) when we take all these “selfies” of ourselves, don’t we always look like the same person?  Picture after picture, we may make subtle changes in our appearance, but our true self doesn’t change.  

And while the colors light up the sky, I wait in the quiet to hear Him, and to see Him.  

As a musician, my heart longs for instruments and voices in perfect harmony- but the silence is just as beautiful.  The sky is like His orchestra- clouds and light colliding and forming perfect symphonic pictures…leaving me silenced-

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Sunset at OBX

 and listening for His voice… and standing in awe- that He would meet me here. Each and every time. Taking these photos is like capturing a glimpse of Him.   

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Sunset at OBX

They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs;

You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. – Psalm 65:8 

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#ScarecrowSwag

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I think you may find

I’m one of a kind-

a scarecrow with swagger  

and style

I don’t point to be rude

So don’t mind my ‘tude-

Just keepin’ the mischief

away for awhile

 I went on a retreat this past weekend and found this awesome scarecrow. I have yet to meet a scarecrow with such style… he brought a smile to my face!

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