the best is yet to come

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Time keeps ticking away, and some days I wanna hit the “pause” button.

In a few short weeks, we will have been in our home for 15 years.  I can’t even wrap my mind around that!  When we first moved here, my oldest was a baby, and we didn’t have my youngest until the next summer.  I had my life all planned out- I’d teach lessons for a few years and then we would move back to our hometown…

and then that didn’t happen.

I always felt like I was waiting for the next move, or the next big thing.  Little did I know- that big thing for me was God calling me into ministry- right here! And what a blessing it has been to follow Him and serve Him- even when “following Him” means staying put.

But I keep thinking about how quickly these 15 years have gone… and how quickly my girls will be grown.  This mom can’t bear the thought of all the changes that will happen in the next few years!

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I have found myself CONSTANTLY saying “I can’t believe how fast these years are going by…”  I recently joked with my husband that this is how I begin all of my conversations with him.

And then the other day- I leashed the dogs up to take them outside, and as I stepped off of each stair of our front porch- I heard the creaking of weathered wood and saw the rusty nails.  Again, I began to think of all the years I carried my babies up those stairs- and how even the front porch has aged!

And in a split second, I felt the Lord nudge me and He whispered-

Stop looking behind you- there’s SO MUCH for you to look forward to.  

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It was a brief moment, but one that has shifted this nostalgic mindset of mine!

He is always doing something NEW…

and if this momma is so busy lamenting and thinking about the past-

I might miss it 🙂

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,  Nor have entered into the heart of man

The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9 

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He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him. — Psalm 40:3

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all things are becoming NEW

Seasons come

and seasons go 

but they always cycle back 

you know?

An old skill resurrected- 

I’ll teach 

new lives

for my heart to reach! 

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I am super excited to do something old today… well, I mean NEW!

When I got out of college, I began teaching music in public school. I loved my job, but I knew it would only be for a “season”. Once I knew I was expecting our first daughter, I wanted to be at home with her. I started teaching voice and piano lessons in my home and it worked out perfectly for a season while my girls were little… and then as the girls got older and began going to school, the afternoon/evening schedule became harder for our family. What a blessing it was that once I decided to not take on any new students, gradually they moved on to other things. I was on staff part time at church, and as my responsibilities increased there- my students decreased until I had none.

It has been nearly 7 years since I have taught voice and piano lessons, and for some strange reason I have wanted to start to teach again. I love pouring my musical passion into others and helping to cultivate their skills. I love watching those “aha” moments when your students really grasp a new concept, reach a new level in their musical understanding… and I LOVE recitals! Watching students grow and bloom and become more confident is the most amazing thing! My goal in teaching is not to make the next musical prodigy- but to make them fall in love with the craft of making music!

I recently reached out to a local music studio and they happened to be in need of a voice teacher. It’s only 10 minutes from my house and I am going to teach one afternoon a week. The set up is perfect for me. The girls are in high school and are self sufficient now and another blessing- I don’t have to keep my whole house clean (like I did when I taught in my home!) Woohoo!! And while I am still on staff and work part time at church, I can easily add an afternoon of teaching to my schedule.

So today is my day 1-and all of my time slots are filled! I have 7 voice students and one piano student, and I can’t wait to meet them today 🙂

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are becoming new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

seek me and find me

fullsizeoutput_1d19This is my “life-verse”.

When I was in my early 30’s, I experienced something life-changing.  I had been going to church steadily for a couple of years, and was doing my best to be a “good” person.

But I found myself in a place of complete discontentment.  Everything looked perfect from the outside, but inside, I felt like the dreams I had were slipping away… I wanted to move back to my hometown… I made all sorts of plans about my career and what I wanted to do, and none of those plans involved remaining in Charlottesville.

With every passing day, I grew more frustrated.

Finally, when I realized that the plans I had made weren’t going to come to fruition, I waved my white flag.

One evening I begged God to change my heart. I was sick and tired of being miserable, and oddly enough,  I was compelled to open the Bible and began to read.  I literally sat in my bed and flipped it open and read the first page it landed on.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” – Philippians 4:11-12 

I didn’t know who Paul was, but something in me wanted to know more. 

I said- “God, if you can make Paul content, won’t you do that for me?”  It seemed like a simple enough request.  Could you make me content right where I am?  And would you help me to let go of  my own desires?  

And from that moment on, I started reading the Word and praying daily.  Little by little, I began to see Him work in my heart and life.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

 I handed my pen over to Him- so He could write the story of my life.

And 10 short years later, I can honestly say-

His plans are far better than mine could have ever been!

All Things New

“All Things New”
I wish  
some things 
in my  life  
had been 
just a little  bit
 different 
when I take time to 
reminisce
wax poetic 
with my pen 
it’s then I see that He 
has made all things 
work for His good 
every little dash and line 
brush strokes 
with His hands of time 
He’s making all things new
every regret 
I’d like to forget- 
all things led me 
to You 
every day 
A new lesson learned 
touch the burner 
you will get 
burned 
forgive me Father 
for I have sinned 
a new creation 
then begins 
Now  I see that 
He has made all things 
Work for HIs good
“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43 
Now that I have two teenage daughters, I think a lot about my own teen years… the decisions I made, the things I did.  Now I can look back and see how He has taught me so many important lessons over the years from the not-so-great decisions I’ve made.  I am grateful for God’s grace, and how when we surrender our life to Him completely- he takes ALL THINGS, even our regrets- and uses them for His glory.

Restoration

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And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  

 1 Peter 5:10

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A little old house…

We were in search of some old wood to use to build a decorative wall for the stage of our church, and I happened to mention it at just the right time!  Someone very dear to me mentioned this little old house that was falling down on their property, and said that we could use this wood if we’d like.

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The house was over 100 years old-perched on top of a hill, nestled under some amazing trees…

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we removed nails and prepared the wooden boards to use for our project

So on a recent chilly morning,  we went up to that little hill

and began prying off the old orange wood.

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a tree of ginormous proportions

I thought about the people who had once called this little peace of heaven their “home”.  It may have been old and crumbling, but the view from this place is heavenly!

And that old wood still had a lot of life left in it!

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one of the mini walls we were in the process of constructing…

These old pieces of wood were falling down, worn and weathered from the elements.  And now we have repurposed them for our worship service!  They turned out so beautiful, even more special since they are from a dear friend- whom I say is more like family!

When we give our lives to Christ-

He restores us- He makes us new and uses us in ways we could never dream of!

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Being remade…and a song I wrote about it

 “Remade”

I used to live my life so unaware

I didn’t know You or that You’d care

About my thoughtless sin and casual lies

until the day You opened up my eyes

and the moment I knew what I’d done

the price had already been paid by Your Son

May I never forget what You’ve done

May I never forget who I was

before You changed me and made me new

You were there all along when I couldn’t see

By Your grace, You’ve remade me

Now that I know what You want from me

Help me, make me who I need to be

You know I can’t do this on my own

So I lay my burdens down before Your throne.

I give You everything that I am

I surrender to Your every plan.

And You’ve given me a reason to sing

Lord, I give You my everything.

A while back, I had lunch with a good friend who has known me for quite some time. Our lunch is what inspired me to write this song.  As we talked about our walks with Christ, she smiled at me and told me that she remembers a time when I said I rarely (if ever) opened my Bible.  My first thought was- me?! I immediately felt grieved in my spirit- that I could have ever been so flippant about my faith, about the One I am so passionate about now.  And then I thought about how important it is for me to remember…to remember what it was like to be the “old me”…

Because that is what helps me relate to people who are too busy to attend church- because I used to be, too. I remember thinking about praying far more often than I actually prayed.  And worship- well, I used to think that was just another word for church.

And I thought of how He took ahold of my life and everything that I had known- and changed me.  It wasn’t an overnight transformation by any means… but all of a sudden, I didn’t want to do the things I did before.  I stopped cursing.  I started listening to the Christian Radio.  When my heart was awakened to His Spirit, and His love- I couldn’t get enough of Him.

I had been a Christian all of my life, but I didn’t know what it meant to be a “Christ-follower” until I was an adult.  I thought that simply believing in God and being a good person was all there was to it.  I went to church occasionally but it was not much more than an event to wear my new dress and to sing happy songs.  I was missing a key component- relationship.  Then one day, He came into my life in a way that I will never forget.  He changed me, my desires- and all those things I once held dear paled in comparison to knowing Him.  He was no longer this far-off God of judgement and condemnation… He was my loving Father, speaking to me through His Spirit, through His Word and quietly telling me to let go of my life- and to give it to Him. I wanted  whatever His will was for me.  And slowly, little by little, the more I grew to love Him, the more I wanted to honor Him in everything I did.

May I never forget what You’ve done

May I never forget who I was

before You changed me and made me new

You were there all along when I couldn’t see

By Your grace, You’ve remade me

Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.  Colossians 3:10

Take Me As I Am

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Your love makes me want to be

the version of me that You see

filtered through the blood of Christ

and sanctified by sacrifice

So take me as I am 

make me something new

take my sins away

make me more like You

may Your will be done

let Your kingdom come

Help me find a better way

Cause I don’t want to throw away

the gift You gave me on the tree

by living my life just for me

You said that we could live like You

but all that I can seem to do

is fail just like I did before

Jesus, I want so much more

I don’t want to wait for heaven

I want fellowship right now

To claim the gift that I’ve been given

Jesus, help me, show me how

take me as I am 

make me something new

take my sins away

make me more like You

may Your will be done

let Your kingdom come

My husband wrote these lyrics and I wrote the music to this song. These words beautifully sum up our response to God’s amazing love. His loves compels us to want to live a life that glorifies Him and honors Him through our every thought, action, and deed- only made possible by seeking Him and living in fellowship with Him.  He takes us just as we are- but, praise God, He doesn’t leave us that way!  He continues to shape and mold us into His likeness-moment by moment.

We all need a little help sometimes

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.   Matthew 6:26

It’s the little things that make me happy!   In a previous post , I shared how I found a bird’s nest on my front door.  My girls and I have been anxiously waiting for these little guys to hatch!  We peeked into the nest every day to see how these jelly-bean sized eggs were doing…

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I looked into the nest just as they were coming out of their shells!

I peeked a little while later, and they were soundly sleeping…

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and then the last one finally made his way out…

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And they all snuggled together…

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Yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I awoke to a loud noise.  Thinking it was coming from my children’s room, I quickly went in and checked on them.  Everything seemed fine, so I went back to sleep.  When I got up to begin the morning routine, I glanced outside my front door to check on the bird’s nest.  Much to my dismay, I found the basket’s ribbon had come undone from the door, and the entire basket had fallen down onto the porch.  I looked at those tiny baby birds scattered on the porch, and didn’t know what to do.  I feared the worst. I got the girls out of bed and told them about the nest.  We looked outside and my oldest said “Mom,  one of them is moving!”  Sure enough, they were moving their little beaks ever so slowly.  A friend came over and helped me get them all back into the nest, and  fortunately- they all seemed to be ok. I prayed that their momma would come back and take care of them.  Before I knew it, I heard rustling on my front door!  Momma was back and I don’t think she has left their side.

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:2

I have a little bit of “momma bird” in me, too-  I like to think that I have everything under control.  We can build a happy home, plan and prepare for the day’s events, but sometimes our baskets get too heavy – and they come crashing down.  There was no way momma bird could have gotten those babies back into the nest without our help.  When my girls were babies I often felt overwhelmed.  It was hard for me to ask for help when I needed it.  Several years ago, I remember praying for God to help me.  My babysitter was sick and I had piano students coming to the house later that day. I didn’t know how it was going to work out- but I had peace in heart. My first student of the day happily babysat for me that afternoon. This was one of the first times I realized that God places special people in our paths to help us. I wouldn’t be half the momma I am without all the wonderful friends and family He has placed in my life!  It takes a village- and just like momma bird- we all need a little help sometimes!

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.  Psalm 46:1

Lord, thank You for the sweet reminder to call on You, my Helper, for all things- no matter how big or small.  Thank you for Your faithfulness, and for allowing me to catch a glimpse of  Your magnificent creation!  You are, indeed, a Wonderful Maker!

New Life

 

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The lovely nest found on my front door today!

Signs of new life everywhere

Spring ushers in winter’s rest

A Surprise

New life right at my door-

a perfectly crafted bird’s nest!

A warm spring morning prompted me to take a stroll through the neighborhood.

As I walked along, I looked for signs of spring- signs of new life buzzing around me.  It’s not hard to see it.  One good sniff and you can smell the pollen in the air, see the pear tree flower buds blowing in the breeze, and watch the kelly green leaves sprouting on tree branches. Birds are alive and well- singing their symphony for all to hear.  It is a wonderful time of expectation- expecting the beautiful things that spring ushers in.

As my dog stopped to sniff the ground, I looked down at my feet and saw a patch of clovers.  I remembered how much I love looking for 4 leaf clovers! I took a closer look, and lo and behold- I found a 5 leaf clover!  What a special blessing to start the day!  I used to lie in the grass for entire afternoons as a kid searching for 4 leaf clovers… and 5 leaf ones are definitely a treasured find!

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Another beautiful sign of spring and new life…

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  

2 Corinthians 5:17

The Lord has had me thinking about being a “new creation”- and what that looks like as a Christ follower.  Am I living a life that represents the hope of the resurrected Jesus?  And I started thinking about signs of new life in me…. do people see Him in me?  His Hope? Peace? Joy?  In my countenance, my words and actions?  In the very way I am living out my life- do they see Christ in me?Am I a sign of His New Life- His Spirit at work in me?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

He is always at work…doing a new thing. Am I surrendering to Him at all times and allowing Him to continuously work in me?

After a day of  contemplating signs of new life, I found the most wonderful sign of new life-a baby bird’s nest nestled in the basket on my front door! In 17 years of marriage, I don’t recall ever having a bird’s nest around my home…and to find this at the start of Holy Week… God is most certainly in the little details!

O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!  In wisdom you have made them all.  The earth is full of your creatures. Psalm 104:24

But the best news of all is that He is risen!  His Spirit is alive and well- living in each of us.  The old has passed away and the new has already come.  And He is making us new each day!

Lord, may I live my life out in such a way that people see the Hope of Jesus in me. May I surrender each day to You and allow You to bring new seasons into my life.   I want to  be in the center  of Your will and serve You in all I do!