seeds

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This past Sunday, as I sat down at the keyboard on the stage at church, I noticed something on the keys.  There was some kind of seed resting on middle C.  A sunflower seed perhaps?

The strange thing is- I NEVER eat on the stage at church, and don’t recall seeing anyone else eat either.  I usually play the piano, but for the past 3 weeks or so, I have been using the keyboard to lead worship.

So where this seed came from is a complete mystery!

But it was a great reminder that morning to keep the faith.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. – Matthew 17:20 

We have to continue to fix our eyes on Jesus, moment by moment, and believe that things WILL get better!

And any obstacles you are facing today-

He may not REMOVE them,

but He WILL see you THROUGH them!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

 

good things come…

Isn’t it funny how some days don’t seem to start off on the right foot…and then by the end of the day, you look back and see how it was one of the very best days?

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The gorgeous moon at the end of my day! 

I woke up one day with a feeling of dread.  There were several things I had to do, and some days “adulting” is hard work, lol!  But there is an undeniable feeling like I’ve conquered the world when those tasks are accomplished!  I set aside my “feelings” and got right to getting my business done.

Around lunchtime that day, I stopped in to see someone who was in the hospital.  After the visit, I meandered through the lobby and heard the sounds of Christmas Carols being played on the grand piano.  I decided to sit for a few minutes to take in the music.  So often I am the one playing the piano- and it was so nice to be on the other end and to be able to appreciate this lady’s musical gift.  After a few songs,  the Lord prompted me to go into the cafe to get a cup of coffee.  It was a little strange for me to do- since I had JUST had a cup, but I got up and got into the line.  An older gentleman was ahead of me in the line, and he turned around to me and said this-

“I’ve been here a looooong time… and I want to warn you- this lady isn’t very fast.”  He smiled as he said it- so I could tell he wasn’t in a big hurry.

I said to him- “What’s that saying- good things come to those who wait?  Hopefully whatever we’re getting will be worth the wait!”

He asked me if I worked at the hospital, and I told him no- that I was visiting someone.  I told him I was a pastor and shared with him the various things I do at my church.  He then said he was here with his wife, who had lots of health issues. They used to go to church but recently stopped attending.  We had the nicest conversation and like that- the line had dwindled and he made his purchase.

I paid for my cup of coffee and saw the gentleman sitting with his wife just outside of the coffee shop.  I walked over to them and I introduced myself to his beautiful wife.  You would have never known she was sick.  She was stunning- I would even say she was glowing that day.

“Would you mind if I prayed for you?”  I asked the lady.

“I would love that.”

I knelt down and put my arms around them both and prayed.  I watched them reach for each others hands.  They were holding their hands so tightly together that I could see them shaking.

It was such a beautiful moment.

The carols being played on the piano across the room… people passing by… couples sitting in the cafe…

and you know who else was present?

Jesus.

Good things will always come when we walk with Jesus.

He Himself IS GOOD and He is always up to something good around us-

if we will keep our eyes open!

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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When I have no songs

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Sunset from our last night of vacation…

when I have no songs

I turn to the Song-Giver

who sings over me

A most peculiar thing happens to me sometimes – I lose my singing mojo. I have always loved music, and I pretty much sing my way through the ENTIRE day… I mean that EVERY SINGLE THING reminds me of a song, and then that song plays in my head like a sound track- a hodge podge of worship songs, hymns, ’80’s and ’90’s pop music… mixed with musical numbers and showtunes… and classical. But lately, I haven’t had the energy to sing.  All songs sound the same and even the sound of my own voice makes me cringe. So, I knew it was time for me to take a music break.

And it was the PERFECT TIME for my family and I to go on a vacation! I have been praying for God to give me passion for singing again- and a passion to make music.  I have prayed and recited Zephaniah 3:17 over and over these past couple of weeks… God, I need You to sing joyful songs over me… I need You to quiet me with Your love…

 About halfway through our vacation, I prayed for Him to give me a song to sing. Without giving it a second thought, I began singing the song 10,000 Reasonsover and over. As I walked each morning, as I laid on the beach… every moment He inspired me to sing- that was the only song that came. But I finally felt like singing again!

Since we were still out of town on Sunday, it was the perfect opportunity for me to visit a different church. I had been looking forward to going to this church all week!!  I am so blessed to be on staff at our church and to lead our worship ministry, but being able to visit another church during our vacation and just worship was a wonderful experience for me.

I stood in the sanctuary as the singing floated in the air. I watched with joy as the worship team on the stage poured their hearts out to God. I closed my eyes and just let Him sing over me.

And then they began to sing Mighty to Save.  Wouldn’t you know that the very scripture I have been praying for the last two weeks is in this song!  It was as if God had put that song in that service just for me.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

It soon came time for the offering and I sat and bowed my head as the pastor prayed.  I felt my heart race as I heard the beginning chords of the next song…

“Bless the Lord, O my soul…”

I had to smile-  10,000 Reasons- the only song He had put on my heart to sing ALL WEEK while I was away…Out of all the thousands of songs they could have sang that morning- what are the chances of a coincidence like that happening?!

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you- Matthew 7:7

Not only does He sing over me– He fills me, renews me, loves me…and He meets me in the most magnificent ways!  He is so faithful to meet our every need!  He even answered my simple prayer of giving me a song to sing… He is Mighty to Save and I praise Him for loving me enough to always meet me where I’m at.

When I have no songs… He is faithful to put a new song in my heart!

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

extending hands of grace

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Sunrise on my morning walk

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

As I do most mornings, I leashed my dog up and headed out for a walk.  It was sunny and mild- the perfect spring morning.  As I was walking, I took notice of a police car heading in my direction, which I perceived to be going faster than the speed limit.

I immediately defaulted to judging- thinking negative thoughts about him, based on nothing more than the thought that he *may* have been going slightly faster than usual, with no other cars in sight.

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I continued walking and began to cross the street.  I glanced behind me and noticed the cop car had turned around and was driving towards me on my side of the street.  I crossed the street and kept walking.  The cop pulled up beside me and motioned for me to come to his car.

Great!  Immediately my mind wandered to the millions of things he could be stopping me for- and not one of those thoughts was a positive one.

God ever so gently showed me the err of my ways as I saw the cop extend his hand of grace to me-

“Here you go!”  The cop smiled and handed me a larger than normal dog biscuit.  “I just wanted you to have this.  Hope you have a great day!”

And in that instant I realized how guilty I was- of judging him, of thinking he was not there to help me- but to reprimand me for something.  Honestly- I didn’t even know if he had been going above the speed limit, but in my split-second judgement of him, I had already sized him up- stereotyped him as someone who thought he was “above the law”,  looking to pull someone over.

But God wants us to see others through His eyes of Love and Grace. Apart from Him, I fail miserably at doing this.  Instead of thinking the worst about someone, we need to put our hope in Him always and expect Him to show us the good in others.

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12

And as far as I have come on this walk with Him- in His wonderful, loving way- He shows me just how much further I have to go.

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.  Psalm 119:18

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My walking buddy and his “treat” from the cop

   

Minding the Nudge

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Friday evening’s vibrant sunset

Steadfast keeping eyes on You

You never fail to see us through

our circumstance and mundane days

when we seek to walk Your ways 

So I mind each little nudge 

I listen and I do not budge

revealing purpose in due time

He knows best- Father of mine! 

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Sunset pic #2

It was a lovely evening.  One daughter at a sleepover, and the other one sitting at the dining room table playing a board game with a friend.  I was sitting with them, putting together a puzzle.  All was peaceful, and then my daughter jumped up and said we have to go outside and see the sunset!

We would have missed it if she had not been on the  lookout.

I find that’s true with my walk with Him as well. When I am seeking Him, when I “mind the nudge” to go and do what I feel in my heart He asks of me- He always shows up.  I woke up one morning last week, thinking about someone and praying for them. I didn’t know how to get in touch with this person, and for some reason, I couldn’t get them off my mind… so I kept on praying for them- every time He put that person on my heart.

The next morning, I had planned to take the girls out to eat brunch and do some shopping.  I had been in a funk for most of the week- for no reason in particular, other than I was coming down off the excitement of Holy Week and Easter.

So we woke up the next morning, and headed off to the restaurant to have breakfast. It was a gorgeous morning and we had such a good time people watching and chatting about girl stuff. After we ate, we headed off to do some shopping.  

Isn’t it funny how you can make your own plans, and then He reveals what His plan was all along?  All week I had intended to go to this place, and all week I had been praying for this one specific person- who I didn’t even know how to get in touch with.  And guess who was there shopping?  That very person who I had been praying for!

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Sunset pic #3

Now, I have lived here for (almost) 11 years, and I have never- not even once– seen this person in any store I have ever shopped in, that I can remember.  It was definitely a God- incident that I saw them there.  Teary eyed, I hugged them told them about how I had prayed for them all week… and God met us right there in the middle of the store.  His timing is perfect.

I thought back on the entire events leading up to that moment we saw one another.  Every little detail… that He put this person on my heart all week… and that He put me in the exact spot at just the right time that morning… it really is amazing to see how He orchestrates the events of our lives when we are minding those little nudges.

My walk with Him gets sweeter as the days go by.  He’s like that sunset-

some evenings we wait…

and wait…

and don’t see a thing.

And then other evenings, He aligns everything in perfect order and we catch a glimpse of Him.

He’s always there- we just have to be on the lookout!

 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

One day that’ll be me

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one day

we’ll look at our 

wrinkled skin 

our weathered lines

and wonder where 

the time has gone

One day 

we’ll remember 

the dreams of our past

and see the gift of our

present-

unwrapping 

and sharing

our memories-

one by 

one

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

We celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this past weekend.  It was a beautiful day- much like the day we got married. As we got out of our car for our lunch date, I noticed an elderly couple making their way up to the restaurant door.  He leaned on his walker and pushed it forward inch by inch. She followed closely behind him- watching to make sure he didn’t stumble.  Any other day, I might have sped up my walk to get to the door ahead of them.  Not that day.

“One day, that will be us,” I smiled as I told my husband.

Then just yesterday, I was with a friend in a coffee shop, and an elderly man came up to us. He was dressed nicely and had a pleasant way about him.  He was looking for a flier, and then began to talk to us. He told us he had been married for 61 years.  61 years!!

I couldn’t believe it-  because he didn’t look old enough to have been married that long.

“But, you couldn’t be more than 70,”  I said to him in protest. “There’s no way you could have been married that long!”

“Oh yes, I am 90 years old!”  He smiled, proud of the years he has experienced in this world.

“You want to know the hardest thing about being 90?”  His eyes were glistening as he spoke, and I leaned in close as he talked.

He clenched his fist and brought it up to his ear- as if he was holding a phone receiver.

“There’s no one for me to call anymore.  They’re all gone.”

My friend and I listened as he shared his random memories…of the passing of his wife, of friends who have experienced loss and hardship, and all I could think about was how important it is to be connected, to be present, and to take time out of our busy lives to listen.

Life, our memories, and our relationships are precious gifts- and our days here are numbered.

One day, that will be me.