when the building gets in the way

IMG_0081

There once was a place where we’d go 

to take in a heavenly show 

but that marvelous sight 

has been blocked by the height 

of a building- causing me so much woe ;( 

For the last (almost) 16 years, my husband and I would drive into Charlottesville and park in a special spot to watch the sunset- A busy parking lot with a million dollar view. There are two park benches that overlook the city with a perfect view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  This has been our “spot” for years, and I have lost count of how many times we have gone there together to worship God’s creation.

Hsw%7NokRCSlfiMdswI5Lw

In this spot, we have bonded over talks about our kids, reminisced about our past, dreamed about our future… and we have praised God for His many blessings. In this spot, we have gone over all the crazy “God” things that happened to cause us to move to Charlottesville all those years ago.  I remember the first time I drove down route 250 heading into Charlottesville- it was as if God told me I was home.

And now a rather large church building has changed the skyline where we used to sit to watch the sunset.  Kind of ironic that a building for people to worship God has physically gotten in the way of the view of what makes this city so beautiful.

But that has got me to thinking…

Has a building gotten in your way? 

D47CCF94-2753-499F-81DD-D9E2310292DC_1_201_a

Now that the church building is closed due to the pandemic, I see how a building has gotten in the way of being the “church”.

So much of the church has been focused one one goal-  Sunday mornings!

But now that we are unable to use the building to gather, I see how narrow minded my view of  “church” at times had become.

Over these last 6 weeks, our world has drastically changed- but I can see how resilient the church has become- and it’s inspiring!

-I see pastors of all denominations and all ages putting themselves out there on social media- making videos, sharing devotionals, encouraging people, actually BEING the church- and reaching far more people!

-I see people donating food to food banks, making face masks for healthcare workers, delivering groceries, generously supporting small businesses and helping one another.

-I see people being more intentional in their relationships- writing and mailing cards, actually having phone conversations, texting, FaceTiming, and even Zoom-ing.

-I see countless churches offering online worship services- making worship accessible to everyone at anytime!

-I see people not waiting until Sunday morning to “have” church, but people BEING the church every day!

And I have hope.

Maybe this is what Church was supposed to look like all along.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

1 Corinthians 3:16

Your constant love is better than life itself…Psalm 63

IMG_0657O God, you are my God,
    and I long for you.
My whole being desires you;
    like a dry, worn-out, and waterless land,
    my soul is thirsty for you.

IMG_0656
Let me see you in the sanctuary;
    let me see how mighty and glorious you are.
 Your constant love is better than life itself,
    and so I will praise you.

IMG_0662
 I will give you thanks as long as I live;
    I will raise my hands to you in prayer.
 My soul will feast and be satisfied,
    and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.

Psalm 63

IMG_0667

childhood dreams

photo 5 My oldest “dreamer”- looking out over the sea

i had to catch 

my breath, as i

gazed into 

your azure eyes-

a thousand times

i dreamed of you 

and all my hopes

you would out-do 

i remember well- 

the very first day

i gently rocked 

your cries away

i held you close 

and breathed you in 

that was the moment

i could never begin

to imagine life

without you

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires Psalm 37:4

With great joy, I am watching my girls grow into independent young ladies. While they are still young in many ways, at times they impress me with their insight and words of wisdom.  Recently, they asked me what I used to want to be when I grew up.  I told them I dreamed of doing all sorts of things- a news reporter, a singer, a mother, a teacher…

Katie’s eyes lit up, and with a smile-she said “You know what, Mom?  You ARE all those things!”  

I thought about it for a second. I have a teaching degree in music, I’ve taught voice and piano lesson, and now I am a worship pastor….but a reporter?  Surely I was missing something

Puzzled, I said “Well, I’ve never been a news reporter.” 

“Sure you are!  You do the announcements at church, “ Katie answered me matter of factly. 

I smiled at her.  Sometimes kids have the coolest way of seeing things, and they have the ability to shed light on our lives in ways we never could. Not in a thousand years would I have thought that yes– He did, in fact, allow all of my childhood dreams come true…

it’s all about perspective!

 Open my eyes to see…   Psalm 119:18

The Peace of Jesus

IMG_3119

when strife comes my way

all I have to say is “yes”

to His perfect peace

  Sometimes I can feel the storms brewing between my two girls.  You know the warning signs… their talking gets a little faster, the volume becomes slightly elevated and higher in pitch…a door slams, and then the yelling ensues.  I can sense the changing winds, and sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any way for me to stop the inevitable storms from taking over my house.

And then I hear-

 “Mom!!!!!”

The three of us were busy getting the house in tip top shape, and these little storms kept brewing.  I went from one room to the other, aiding each daughter with their chores.  Having played referee one too many times, I was quickly reaching the end of my rope.

And then Jesus found me.

I had knelt down on the dining room floor to go through a random box of junk, and this little bookmark jumped into my hands…

FullSizeRenderMy peace I give you. John 14:27

Right on time.  Just the moment I was getting ready to lose my cool- that’s when He reins me in- right back to Him.

I thought about all the times I am not resting in His peace- always because of my own doing.  Peace is a gift that so many times I chose not to unwrap- because my SELF gets in the way.  And the times I am most frustrated are when I have my own agenda in mind.

So, I left the dining room and my agenda right there.

I didn’t get everything checked off my “to-do” list, but I managed to complete the most important task of the day-

saying “yes” to peace

and saying “yes” to Him.

Hungry, I come to You

IMG_3139

Running on Dunkin’

at the end of my own strength

is where I find Him

After my morning cup o’love, I hesitantly got on the treadmill this morning. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I know it’s good for me-mentally, physically and emotionally.

Sometimes I forget that it is good for me spiritually, too.  Whenever I chose to make Him my focus, whatever I do becomes an act of worship! I began my pace slow and steady- and as my worship tunes played on, I began to feel fatigued.  I prayed for His strength to keep going.

What am I running towards?

“Hungry, I come to You, for I know You satisfy…”

I found myself singing as I ran. I could almost feel Him lifting my arms as the steady pounding of my feet rhythmically fell in time to the music. On that treadmill to nowhere, I was running- running to Him.

“I’m falling on my knees… offering all of me… Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for…”

On that treadmill to nowhere is where I shed tears of joy. With every breath I took in, I felt Him drawing closer to me, encouraging me every step of the way.  Happy tears and beads of sweat fell down my face as I continued to pick up my pace.  The moments when I realize I can’t do anything on my own- that’s exactly where He’s waiting to show me His strength.

Shout to God with joyful praise!  Psalm 47:1

I thought about all the times I feel the need to go somewhere so I can be alone and focus- when He is right here…Emmanuel- God With us.  Not only that- He is God In us!

He is always choosing to be with us. And to think- He gives us the choice to choose Him…and the moment we do, He is right there. We don’t ever have to go anywhere to find Him-

He is always right here, right now.

His gift to us-

He is always present, always ready to fill our cups!

Shout to God with joyful praise!  Psalm 47:1

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”  Matthew 1:23