this only do I seek

One thing I have asked from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple- Psalm 27:4

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living- Psalm 27:13

Then Moses requested, “Please, let me see the dazzling light of your presence.”
-Exodus 33:18

For over a week now, Psalm 27:3 has been playing on repeat in my mind and heart. That has been my greatest desire- to see Him.

Not at some time in the future– but NOW- to be aware of His presence and to see how He is at work all the time, all around me.

It might sound a little strange, but I think a lot about heaven and what it will be like. I can’t even wrap my mind around it, but I know the joy I experience when I spend time in His presence… and to experience joy like that for eternity- well, that’s going to be nothing short of AMAZING!!

But you know what else I’ve been thinking about? How desperately I want EVERYONE I know to experience that same joy.

So I need to keep an ear out for His voice,

and an eye out for whomever He puts in my path,

and I’ve gotta be prayed up when I see them-

so He will tell me what to say.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect- 1 Peter 3:15


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

 

trust me

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It was an unusual evening.

I happened to be all alone, and usually I relish those quiet times, but on this particular day, I needed to get out of the house.  I was in a dog fight, wrestling with my own thoughts…

So I decided to make it a “date”- me and God.

I got into my car, and it just happened to be twilight- my favorite time of day!  I drove aimlessly around in search of God’s beauty.  Funny enough, my husband texted me earlier that day with this message- “Wow! Spring has sprung this morning!”, so I made a point to look for the visible changes as I drove around.  I finally settled on a spot and parked the car.

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I prayed a lot.  I asked Him lots of questions… why questions, what if questions… and I very much felt like a little girl asking my parents lots of worrisome things that don’t  need answering.

I remember how I used to try to get out of practicing piano as a kid.  I hated playing those boring songs over and over and over.  Why do I have to keep doing this? It seemed so pointless.  And yet, every time I wanted to quit- my parents said no.  Honestly, I didn’t want to quit- I just wanted to pass over all the practice to get to the good part… I wanted to play something real, something that moved me!

Oh, if I had known then what He would be using all those hours of practice for- well it might have scared me out of playing at all!   The fact that He chooses to use me to lead worship every week is very humbling.  It’s nothing short of a miracle, actually.  I am forgetful, clumsy, not a technically great piano player…. but I am willing… and I praise the Lord EVERY DAY for all He has done in my life!

Sometimes waiting is hard.  Waiting for an answer, for a door to open, for a door to close… to win the lottery (just kidding!!!!)… but in the waiting is where He is fine-tuning our skills, and that’s where our faith in Him grows stronger. 

As I sat in the van that night, an overwhelming peace came over me. I pictured myself sitting in His giant lap with His arms wrapped around me tight.

And suddenly all those thoughts I had wrestled with instantly melted into His one big, beautiful answer-

just trust me! 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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a psalm

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I love you Lord, for You are everything to me. 

You are my Protector, my Provider, my Life-giver

my Song Singer, my Joy, and my Redeemer!  

When my head hangs low, you lift it up

when I gaze behind, You shine light 

in front of me 

You mark my path

You pick up each foot, placing one in front of the other. 

It is not my strength, but Yours, Lord 

that keeps me going in the direction of Your path.  

When I see failure, You show me Your victory

When I see darkness, Your light leads me on 

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In our small group we have been going through the book of Psalms.  Being a music lover, the Psalms speak to my heart.  So many of these verses are found in old hymns, and even in the newer contemporary Christian songs.

After reading Psalm 18 one morning,  the Lord prompted me to write a psalm of my own- to praise Him for who He is to me, what He’s done, and what He continues to do in my life.

 Nearly half of the 150 Psalms are attributed to King David.  King David is one of my all-time favorites leaders in the Bible.  He is greatly flawed, yet he is described as a man after God’s own heart.  An imperfect man, yet perfectly in love with the Lord.

His story reminds me to-

constantly seek God’s will

to worship Him with all my heart

to trust Him at ALL times 

to remember what He has done in my life

and to praise Him at ALL times!   

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.  

Psalm 86:12
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Deep in December it’s nice to remember…

Back in my college days, we sang a beautiful song called “Try to Remember” from the musical The Fantasticks. It’s such a lovely song, with a melancholy melody and lyrics that sing all on their own.  I woke up thinking of this song and remembering what happened to me this past Sunday…

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After I finished leading the music for the worship service, I sat down in between my husband and my daughters.  There’s something so special about sitting with my family in church- it felt like heaven!

I admit that I was more focused on the presence of the Lord than I was on the sermon that morning. But the most wonderful thing happened- I started to remember last December and how absolutely miserable I was.  For the last 12 years I have been dealing with allergies.  My symptoms started off pretty minor, and I would lose my voice for a few weeks in the first few years.  And then each year my symptoms increased- as did the amount of time I was plagued with a cough and laryngitis.  And unfortunately, these symptoms have always been the worst during the Christmas and Easter seasons- which are the BUSIEST times of the year for anyone involved in music ministry!

Last year around this time,  I remember feeling so defeated.  I even questioned if He really wanted me to keep singing for Him.  I am embarrassed to admit that there were many Sundays after church when I cried- feeling like I had let Him down, feeling like I embarrassed myself (by something I said, or by my voice cracking…).  I am embarrassed to say this because it made worship all about ME and not Him!

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After lots of prayer and encouragement from my Christian friends, I resolved to worship and praise Him- even if!  Even if my voice was gone, even if my cracking, coughing, weak voice would embarrass me- I would STILL sing His praises and be obedient to sing!

Well, after the Christmas season last year, I decided to finally visit an allergy doctor.  After going through the testing, he determined that I was having reactions to nearly all of the 60 environmental things I was tested for.  After trying other medications to help alleviate my cough and other symptoms, I decided to try immunotherapy- allergy shots.

I have been doing them since May, and I have FINALLY reached the “maintenance” phase.  It has been a long process, and it’s been quite time consuming- 2 visits each week, 3 shots each time.  I have prayed and prayed that this would help and that I was not wasting all this time!

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But Sunday, as I sat there with my family in the service- He reminded me of all that He has done for me over this last year.  He has taught me so much about worship… how my skills and talents are useless without His power. How being an “instrument” is not for other people to pat me on the back, but to glorify Him!  And usually by September, the coughing begins…but praise the Lord- the cough is almost non-existent!  I am so grateful and thankful!  I wanted to stand up and shout on Sunday when He reminded me of what I felt like last year compared to now!

So whatever trial you are going through- no matter how big or small it is- try to remember all the things He has brought you through, and keep on praising Him!

 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.  James 1:12

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joy will come

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when every beam of light goes dim 

trust that you can rest in Him 

His light shines in darkness 

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when you cry out but not a word 

escapes your mouth- you still are heard 

His ears hear in darkness 

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when all that’s left to do is wait 

In Him joy comes, His love is great 

His voice speaks in darkness 

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Recently, I took the girls out shopping so they could find a birthday present for a friend.  You go to the toy section, I’ll be in electronics– I told them.

I remember how desperately I wanted to feel close to God, and how far away He seemed.

I was hoping to find a new worship CD to listen to in the car on the way home.  He so often speaks to me through music, and I searched and searched…but the CD selection in this store was dismal.  I couldn’t find a single one. I went to find the girls, we made our gift purchase, and I pushed the thought of finding new music out of my mind.

And then just days later- after our Sunday service, a wonderful lady who loves the Lord came up to me as I was walking out to my van.  Here- someone gave me these, and I thought you’d like to have them.  She handed me a gift bag with several CD’s in them.

I dropped my husband off at work the other morning, and as I looked down in my van, I saw that same gift bag that had been handed to me days before.  I had forgotten about it, but felt compelled to look inside on this particular morning.  I grabbed a cd out of the bag and popped it into my cd player. The first words I heard were these-

I’m here to meet with you
come and meet with me
I’m here to find you
reveal yourself to me

As I wait, you make me strong
As I long, draw me to your arms
As I stand and sing your praise
You come, you come and you fill this place
Won’t you come, Won’t you come and fill this place

As I listened, God revealed Himself to me.  I cried tears of joy as I remembered the week I had before and how far away God had seemed to me.  In that moment as I listened to the CD, He brought to mind the day I wandered through that store- searching for music, wanting so desperately to be near Him…and then the picture of the lady from our church came to mind- how she smiled and hugged me so tightly as she handed me a bag  full of CD’s…

God is faithful.  Even when I can’t see or feel Him.  He filled my van with His presence that day. He breathed life into these dry bones again.  He filled me with joy.

I am thankful 🙂

Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning…Psalm 30:5

 

He has made me glad

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I had someone recently tell me they were looking for a sign from God.  I told them that He is always faithful and will give them exactly what they need -in His perfect timing!

I know this because He has been so faithful to me.

With no stream in sight, lately I’ve felt like I am walking through a desert.  As someone who wears her heart on her sleeve at all times, I’ve cried more in the last week than I have in ages.  I HATE to cry.  Especially in front of people.  It is humiliating, embarrassing, and makes me feel weak. But sometimes I just can’t stop the tears from flowing, and I have stopped fighting it.

I arrived at church Sunday morning, and was sitting at the piano- praying and getting ready to begin our worship practice.  As I sat there, I got a text from a friend saying they were praying for me.  I responded, letting them know how much their prayers meant to me and to share with them that I had been feeling very “down” this past week.

As soon as did I hit “send” on my response, I saw someone enter the sanctuary- all smiles, and holding a flower.  I got up from the piano as she came to the stage.

“God told me to give this to you today!”  She had cut the bloom from her yard that morning.

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I cried- yes, again, lol–  but this time they were tears of joy!  It was a gladiola bloom.

“He has made me GLAD,” I said as I hugged her, and in that instant the joy of the Lord flooded my heart.

He is with us, and He shows up in the most wonderful ways!

And always right on time.

For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.  Psalm 92:4 

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Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:6-7

 

 

Lament

 Lament
I’m Mary and I’m Martha all at the same time;
I’m sitting at His feet and yet I’m dying to be recognized.
I am a picture of contentment and I am dissatisfied.
Why is it easy to work but hard to rest sometimes,
Sometimes, sometimes
I’m restless, and I rustle like a thousand tall trees;
I’m twisting and I’m turning in an endless daydream.
You wrestle me at night and I wake in search of You…
But try as I might, I just can’t catch You
But I want to, ’cause I need You, yes, I need You
I can’t catch You, but I want to.How long, how long until I’m home?
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long until You come for me?How long, how long until I’m home?
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long until You come for me?By Audrey Assad 

This song has been playing on repeat in my heart and mind for days.  The piano…the psalm-like words… they echo the restlessness I so often experience.  Wanting to be doing something and yet- needing to just be.
My sweet, beautiful Granny went to be with the Lord yesterday.  As I prayed and thought of her journey over the last few days, I imagined her running- desperately running into the arms of Jesus.
Praise the Lord, she is finally home.
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”               -Saint Augustine
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn-mEQghZWQ

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 struggle is real

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The struggle is real 

only a glimpse in sight 

of  our dreamy skies 

both morning and night  

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the struggle is real 

the frustration high

all I wanna do 

is see a clear view of the sky!  

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Isn’t it funny how our priorities change over time?

When we first moved into our home over 11 years ago, I didn’t really think about the view from our house.  I was just happy to have a new home to raise our baby in.  Since then I had another baby and well… now they aren’t really babies at all anymore. Now I wish more than anything that I had a clear view of the sky around me!

Every morning and evening, my youngest daughter will come find me when she notices the sky changing colors. “Momma, you have to go outside NOW!”  she will say to me.

I’m not sure when exactly I became so fascinated with looking at the sky.  I remember as a little girl laying in the grass on my back and staring at clouds.  Life seemed so simple then.  When I look up to heaven, I feel all the cares of the day melt away.

Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

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But you know what else I see?  Lots and lots of cotton-balled clouds that are shielding the sun from my eyes… so why it is that they don’t “get in the way” of my view?  In fact, they give the light something to reflect off of, making it even more lovely. The clouds don’t detract from the light, they diffract it 🙂

If only I could see things that way in my personal life.

All those little things that I get frustrated about, all the things that seem to block the view of the Son- just maybe He is waiting for me to see His light shining through those circumstances.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  

Isaiah 41:13

And the greatest purpose of all?

To draw me closer to Him- one moment at a time.

I need thee, oh, I need thee;
Ev’ry hour I need thee!
Oh, bless me now, my Savior;
I come to thee!  
(Annie S. Hawks, 1835-1918)