I Sing Because I'm Free

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Amazing Grace (House of the Rising Son)

Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
When we’ve been there, ten thousand years
bright shining as the son 
we’ve no less days, to sing God’s praise
than when we first begun 
Several years ago, one of my friends from church mentioned that we should try singing the words of Amazing Grace to the tune of House of the Rising Son.  I sat down at the piano the other evening and that conversation from years ago came to mind…I finally tried it 🙂
I will sing a new song to You, O God;
Upon a harp of ten strings
I will sing praises to You
–  Psalm 144:9
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All In

excuses wearing thin

tired of hiding in my sin

Your Spirit stirring from within

I’m all in

no more wasting time

with this fleeting life of mine

I’m signing on the dotted line

I’m all in

I’m all in

head over heels

I’m all in

wanna give my life

for something real

I’m all in

sold out for You

I’m all in

I’m living proof

no more scattered thoughts

I’m clinging to the cross

everything I count as loss

I’m all in

knowing what is true

want to honor You in all I do

fall helplessly in love with You

I’m all in

Last Sunday, as I played the piano at church, I watched  two people come forward to receive the Lord and embrace the cross of Christ at the close of the service.  It was a powerful, beautiful moment!  All of the congregation was invited to join them at the cross, and we came together and prayed as a “family”-  brothers and sisters in Christ.

That night, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I thought about what it means to embrace the cross- to be “all in” for Him.   I wrote this song that night as I thought of the two courageous people who stepped forward to “embrace the cross”, and also reflected on my own moment of surrender.

I thought of all the times I felt quickened in my spirit to go to the altar to pray, to raise my hand, to publicly declare my need for Him… and I held back for so long.  But there comes a moment when you can’t hold back any longer.

And once you go “all in”- it becomes a daily decision… daily seeking Him, laying down your own will and desires for His.  Acknowledging that His ways and thoughts are far better than yours could ever be.

Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ  and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death…

Philippians 3:8-10

 

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The Holly and The Ivy

“The Holly and the Ivy”
The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown 
The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Saviour
From the rising of the sun
Unto the going down of the same
The Lord’s name is to be praised 
The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good
The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.
From the rising of the sun
Unto the going down of the same 
The Lord’s name is to be praised
I have always loved this old Christmas carol!  The beautiful sing-song melody, combined with the lyric’s rich symbolism have always intrigued me.  I added a chorus to it and changed up the accompaniment. 
Hope you enjoy- 
and Merry Christmas!
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD’S name is to be praised. 
Psalm 113:3
https://youtu.be/eO2tdXC9C5g
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Steadfast I Walk

every day’s 

another battle 

trying my best 

staying in that saddle 

everywhere I look I see

another roadblock staring at me 

but steadfast I walk with You

I will not be moved 

even though I might be shaken 

I will trust in you 

I’ll never be forsaken 

even when I cannot see 

keep me on the path 

in front of me 

steadfast I walk with You 

even when it seems 

like nothings changing 

help me stay the course 

never wavering 

doesn’t matter how fast the pace 

slow and steady wins the race 

steadfast I walk with You  

I wrote the song Steadfast recently as I prayed for the Lord to help me keep my eyes on Him.  It’s not always easy to stay on the right path because there is temptation all around us.  As most of you know that are reading this- one of my biggest temptations is food.

I have always wanted a healthy relationship with food.  I wish I didn’t have to think about it, but unfortunately we HAVE to eat every day, so there’s no avoiding that one!  And even though I make good choices, for years I have seen no physical changes- despite calorie counting and exercising.  I loathe counting calories, and I have done it for years.  Even the days when I didn’t actually record my calories, I would still keep a running tally in my head.

But today I am praising the Lord and giving Him VICTORY for FREEDOM from this struggle.  It has been since New Year’s Eve- almost 2 months now that I have finally found something that is working for me!  It’s called Trim Healthy Mama and heres’s a link to their website- http://www.trimhealthymama.com.  It’s not a “diet”- it’s a different way of eating for life.  And PRAISE THE LORD- I have found food freedom! No more counting, no more thinking of food as a reward or punishment…just sticking to the plan and focusing on Him!

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  John 8:36

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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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a heart like you

Burn bright in my life
Burn away the things I hold tight
Give me eyes to see
Your kingdom the way You want it to be
What can be worth more than You?
What do I have I wouldn’t lose
If it means You and I look more alike?
That’s what I choose

I’d give up the world to find my soul
Pour out my life, give You control
I just want to be what You want me to be
I just want a heart that’s true
A heart like You (a heart like You)
I just want a heart like You (a heart like You)

As Your ways take shape
All my guilt and shame start to fade
And Your love takes their place
I become a well of Your grace, Your grace

I’d give up the world to find my soul
Pour out my life, give You control
I just want to be what You want me to be
I just want a heart that’s true
A heart like You (a heart like You)
I just want a heart like You (a heart like You)

I don’t mind the price it costs
I will count all I have as loss
When this fades away, what’s true remains
What can be worth more than You?
What do I have I wouldn’t lose?

by Love and the Outcome

 This song has become one of my favorites!  Click here  to see my cover of “A Heart Like You”.

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ-  Philippians 3:8

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace –  Acts 20:24

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship –Romans 12:1

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only love

 

I catch myself 

over and over again 

holding on to my anger, my judgement, 

my sin 

keeping score, putting up a fight 

but I’m desperately trying to do what’s right 

so take it all till all that’s left 

is only love 

only love 

take it all till all that’s left

is only love 

only love 

love keeps no records of wrongs- 

so You say 

but the pain is so strong

sometimes I pray 

for the memories to fade away 

until all thats left 

is love 

sometimes I look in the mirror 

and I see

my old self staring back at me  

so unworthy 

but how can I begin 

to love someone else 

if I can’t even love myself?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  

1 Corinthians 13

I wrote this song recently as I thought about what it means to really love unconditionally.  I am as guilty as anyone for hanging onto the past and allowing it to color the way I see people.  It is so hard to let go of past hurts and rejections- and even harder to truly love someone unconditionally when we still harbor those feelings.

My prayer is for Him to help me continue to let go and to see others- including myself– the way He sees us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

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less of me

sometimes my passion turns to pride 

my vision blurred by my own eyes 

I need more of You 

and less of me

I’m quick to doubt, easy to shake 

ruled by emotions that I can’t fake 

I need more of You 

and less of me 

less of me and more of You 

take these hands and take these feet 

use them as you choose 

I need less of me and more of You 

sometimes my thoughts get in my way 

distract me from Your voice each day 

I need more of You  

and less of me 

forgive me for my wandering 

take my life as an offering 

I need more of You 

and less of me 

I wrote this song a few days ago.  Sometimes I am ashamed at how easy it is for me to get my eyes off of Jesus.  The cure for what ails me is always more of Him. And the moment I open my heart and allow Him to rule me instead of my emotions- He brings everything back into perspective.  When I make the conscious choice to worship– He is faithful to bring my focus back to where it needs to be- on Him.

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30

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Walk in Love… a song I wrote based on Ephesians 5:1

“Walk in Love”

walked into the grocery store

took a glance and thought no more

of the man with the vacant eyes staring at me

Until I left the store I saw 

a duffle bag of change and he called,

“Ma’am, do you think you could help me?” 

Holy Spirit be my guide

help me put aside my pride 

and live a life of Love –

take these feet of mine, one step at a time 

help me stay in line

help me walk in love 

everywhere I go, help me always show

Your light, let it glow 

help me walk in love  

I didn’t have much time that day 

I met a lady, felt led to pray 

as she shared the weight

of her story 

Hadn’t been to church in a while 

overwhelmed with life, still she smiled

 about Jesus and His glory 

Lord, open up my eyes to see

More of You and less of me

God is continuing to stretch me and take me out of my comfort zone.  I saw a man standing outside of a local store and he stood there with a blank stare.  I noticed him right away, but I kept on walking and went inside the store.  I got my things and as soon as I exited the store, I saw him crouched down against the brick building.  He was huddled up and had a duffle bag beside him.  He looked up and asked me if I could help him.  His duffle bag was full of change- so full, I don’t know how he could even lift it by himself!

Now, I don’t always give money to everyone who asks- only when I know the Lord is prompting me to do it. This was one of those times.  I happened to have some change and gave it to him.  I stepped into another store for just a few minutes and when I came out, I looked for the man and he was nowhere to be found.

Now, I know I wasn’t in there for more than 2-3 minutes, and there was no way he lifted that big ole bag and left that quickly.  I even drove around the parking lot to look for him. There was no explanation for how he had left so quickly.  But I was so glad I had stopped to help him because I knew that if I had not been obedient to do so, I would have regretted it.

Everything about my walk with Him revolves around obedience- to do all the little things He asks of me.

like stopping to help a stranger

or to pray with someone

or to write this song and share it with you 🙂 

 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.       Ephesians 5:1

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Pedestals

Every time I turn around
Another one’s falling to the ground
Giving in to pride and sin
like dominos they tumble
and we watch their lives crumble

We put them on pedestals
nowhere to go but
down, down, down
We see them on the TV screen
But everything’s not what it seems
behind the scenes
There’s nowhere to go but
down, down, down

Everybody needs some grace
Some help to find a better place
But even when we start again
Sometimes we all stumble
It reminds us to be humble

CHORUS

Every praise belongs to Him
Whose name is sung by seraphim
‘Cause we all know that He will win
It’s the ending to His story
And we give Him all the glory

We can put Him on the pedestal
He’ll never let us down, down, down
And in the midst of stormy seas
We know that He will hear our please
if to our knees
Each day we fall down, down, down

My daughters absolutely adored the show 19 Kids and Counting.  They couldn’t wait to watch Jill and Jessa get married- and waited on pins and needles to see if their new baby would be a boy or a girl.  My girls even got to go see Jessa Seewald speak at a ladies’ conference and it was like a dream come true for them. It was so refreshing for me to know that there was a family in the spotlight who were living out their faith in such a public way.  The news came out about Josh Duggar the week after the girls and I went to see Jessa speak.  As heartbroken as I was to talk about the situation with them- it turned out to be a positive thing. It opened doors for some very important conversations and also gave them a real life example that no one is perfect- and we can’t always believe the things we see and hear on TV. We all make and we all need God’s grace… and there is no such thing as a “perfect family”.

When we put people on pedestals, they are bound to fall down.

Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates.   Matthew 23:8 (Msg)

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