He met the need… and He met me, too

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Pray without ceasing

 1 Thessalonians 5:17

For several months I was aware that the soundboard at our church was on it’s “last legs”.  We had a new church facility built a few years back and kept the old soundboard since it was still in good working condition. After a couple of years in our new building, we began to notice snaps, crackles, and pops coming through the sound system every time it was in use. I knew we didn’t have the money to purchase a new one, but we really needed it.

I prayed for God to somehow provide this need for our church, and after several months I got the ok to mention the need of a new soundboard to the congregation during a Sunday morning service.

The evening before I was going to talk about this to the congregation, I was home alone, praying.  My husband was working late, and both of my girls were at a friend’s home- a rare thing for a Saturday evening!  I remember sitting at my piano and praying out loud.  Now, that’s not something I do all the time- just when I really feel led to do it.  I began praying and talking to God and the strangest thing happened- I began to pray for one person… for one person to step out in faith and meet this need.  For just one person to give and to be obedient.  It sounded like the craziest thing, but that is the exact thing He led me to pray for that night.  In fact, I remember telling someone later that same evening that I prayed those words, and I was almost embarrassed about it.  What would I say if that “one person” didn’t come forward- or what if we didn’t have anyone willing to help?

I just kept pushing those doubtful thoughts out of my head, and I held on to faith. I got up early like always on that Sunday and prayed again.  During the service, I mentioned that we desperately needed a new soundboard for the church, and that it was going to cost a good deal of money.  I asked them to pray about this for us, and if anyone would like to donate towards this to see me after church.

I sat at the piano to play the closing song, and as I played the final note- I remember seeing one person- yes ONE PERSON standing at the base of the stage, motioning for me to come to them.  I bent down, and with tears in their eyes, this person told me to get what I needed- it would be paid in full.

I cried. I was in complete awe…

Not just because God met the need- but because He answered that prayer He had led me to pray the night before in the exact way I had prayed One person

That was a special day for me. God provided- but He also met me in a personal way- strengthening my walk with Him, and strengthening my faith in a mighty way!  And I believe He strengthened the faith of others as I told that “one person” prayer story to the congregation the following Sunday.  Praise the Lord for answered prayers- the big and the small ones, the simple ones and the absolutely impossible ones!  God gets all the glory for He is so good and so faithful!!

O God, we give glory to you all day long
    and constantly praise your name.  Psalm 44

obedience in the little things

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One evening I was standing at the checkout counter at a local pharmacy, and like countless times before- I was asked if I wanted to donate a dollar to a charity.  I usually said no, and honestly it was just a natural response.  But something was different this time.

I had an entire conversation in my head.

Would I really miss that dollar?  Do I need it? And why do I always say no?

And for whatever reason, something in my cold-black heart changed… I said no- and then I changed my mind-

Sure, I’ll donate the dollar.  

This was one of the first times I clearly felt God nudging me to do something different.

And so I began these little steps in obedience. Every single time I went into a store that asked me to donate a dollar, I felt that nudge- again and again.  Every time. And each time I got quicker with my “yes” response.  Not only did I want to say “yes”, but I truly wanted to WANT to give.  It wasn’t about the dollar amount, I wanted to be obedient.  So I made a little promise to God to say “yes” to every single cashier that asked me- until I felt “released” from this… until I could not only say “yes”- but do it with JOY!

Several years had passed, and I had gotten pretty comfortable with my “one dollar” yeses- and then He nudged me once again.

I was in line at a McDonalds drive thru.  I heard the person in the car ahead of me order their meal, and then I pulled forward.  I rattled off my order and then came the question-

“Would you like to donate a dollar to (some charity)?”

And I immediately fell into my old way of thinking…

She didn’t ask the person in front of me!  Why me?!  Why did she only ask ME to donate?!  Why are people always asking me for money?

And once again, I heard Him nudge me-

be obedient in the little things.

I learned a very valuable lesson that day.  You see, if I had heard that same question asked to the person ahead of me in the drive thru, I would have been prepared with my “yes”.  But the drive thru attendant caught me off-guard that day, revealing to me that maybe He wasn’t done with me yet on this whole dollar thing…

be prepared in season and out of season – 2 Timothy 4:2

It has never been about the dollar.

It’s always about obedience.

No matter the question, my heart’s desire is always to say YES to His nudge-whether it’s to help a friend, make a phone call, pray for someone.  Every day I say YES to Him- His nudge becomes stronger and His voice clearer!

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Hebrews 4:7

The Shadow of Your Wings

“The Shadow of Your Wings”

running for shelter 

in for stormy weather 

and I don’t know where to go 

or what to say

I need a time out 

so I can cry out 

I’m searching for a place

to hide away 

so I run to You 

to hide under the shadow 

hide under the shadow of your wings

Hiding, hiding

in my secret place 

abiding, abiding 

in my Father’s warm embrace

hiding in the shadow 

of Your wings

I hid and then You found me 

that grace of Yours astounds me

and I don’t have to say a single thing 

because You see right through me 

my thoughts are not a mystery

cause You made me 

and You know me intimately 

so I run to You 

to hide under the shadow

hide under the shadow 

of Your wings

There have been so many times when I have wanted to run away and hide- from people, situations, and just life in general.  Have you ever seen a child cover their eyes and think that they are “hiding”?  I remember my girls doing this when they were little, and it always made me smile.

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!              Psalm 139:7

We may try to “hide”, but NOTHING is hidden from Him…and we can come into His presence and hide in the shadow of His wings. He is my Comforter, my Protector, my Helper, my Loving Father- and there is nothing as fulfilling as spending some quiet time with Him. I wrote this song a few days ago, after spending much of the day praying and “hiding” out with my Heavenly Father. What a comfort it is to know that He loves us, knows every detail about our lives, and that whenever we feel like running and “hiding”- we can run straight in to the arms of our loving Father.

Because you are my help,

I sing in the shadow of your wings.  Psalm 63:7

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When one door closes…

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I had the craziest thing happen today…

I drove my two daughters and my friend to the women’s 4 miler race this morning and I quickly parked the car.  Although it was early, we were eagerly anticipating the start of the race. As I got out of the car, I realized I didn’t have any pockets, so I carefully took the key off my key ring and I placed it safely inside my shirt.  Once everyone was out of the car and ready, I locked the doors and we got to where we needed to be.

The weather was perfect and spirits were high.  I ran over half of it, and beat my previous year’s time by more than 10 minutes!  Once we were all finished, we got some Gatorade, a  Panera bagel,  and headed back to the car.

When we reached my van,  I couldn’t believe it- my doors were unlocked!  Our purses were right in the front seats where everyone could see them, but thankfully everything was there.  I pulled out the key from my shirt, and my mouth dropped open- it wasn’t my car key- it was my house key!  How in the world had that happened?!  And not only did I have the wrong key- but somehow my van was unlocked after I had locked it.  I knew I had pressed the lock button in the van before I had closed the door before the race…

I don’t know how I had the wrong key AND left the door unlocked- but I am so, so thankful He made a way for us to get into the van AND that all of our stuff was safe and sound.  Just a little reminder that He really does work in mysterious ways!

God is good- all the time 🙂

I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close.  Revelation 3:8

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The beautiful sky this morning!

Fretting

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Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?  Luke 12:25

For many years, I thought that worrying was equated with love- and that worrying was a good thing. After all, you don’t worry about something that isn’t important to you- or to someone you love.

It’s been a long, arduous process, but I am learning to drop those worries on His door step, one by one.  But some days I pick them back up.

And that’s what happened to me recently.

Nothing of great importance, but lots and lots of little things creeped into my thoughts and I found myself fretting over everything– and I mean EVERYTHING.

Doesn’t it seem like everything falls apart all at once?  That’s what happened in my home.  I tell my husband all the time that I am not good at being an “adult”.  As crazy as it sounds, even something as simple as calling a repair person to come fix an appliance gives me anxiety.

Philippians 4:6- be anxious for nothing

As the worship team and I were practicing and preparing for the service on Sunday, I found myself once again fretting and worrying about so many little things.  The song we were practicing was called “Cast My Cares”.  Tears started to flow down my cheeks as I played the piano and made mistake after mistake.  I stopped in the middle of the song and said we had to start again- and that it was all my fault.

 Instead of casting my cares on Him-  I had spent an entire week worrying. And it’s like a snowball… the worries start out small, but one leads to another and before you know it, it’s a GIANT out-of-control snowball rolling down a hill.  All week long I practiced and sang the words of that song, and yet I had not heeded it’s message.

In those few seconds before we played the song again, I surrendered ALL my worries to Him.  And just like that- I was able to freely worship!

The picture and quote at the top of the page is one that I saw this morning, and these words hit me like a ton of bricks-

we can’t worry and worship at the same time.

Worrying doesn’t help anything- and it doesn’t change our circumstances.  Worry leads to doubt… and when we worry, we’re not trusting God and His Word.

Instead of being a “worrier”- I want to be a warrior for Him!

‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’  Isaiah 41:10

 *image and quote found on http://bootcampbarre.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/worship763c42eee263343cdff439baa.jpg

For I know the plans…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  

Jeremiah 29:11

Recently, I received a message from someone that simply said this-

“your words matter.”

A great encouragement to me… and a reminder that our words carry meaning and that we should choose them wisely- and that sometimes our silence can speak volumes.

Whenever I am seeking God and find myself without words, I sit and play the piano.  The video I am sharing here today is of a song I wrote some time ago… at a time when I was desperate to know what His plan was for me.  It is a comforting thought to know that Jesus is interceding for us and knows exactly what we need – even when we can’t put it into words for ourselves.

Today,  I sat at the piano and my hands began to play this song again.  For so long, I prayed to know what His plan was for me… but the longer I walk with Him, the more I recognize that His plan-  and His desire- is for me to simply know Him more intimately.

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  

Ephesians 3:16-19

I am Willing…

“Willing”

Lord, You’ve given me everything

I ought to raise my hands and shout

And I know I have nothing-

nothing to complain about 

Still I find myself unsatisfied

filled with jealousy and pride

I can’t escape the pain inside 

can’t count how many times I’ve cried

I wish that I was stronger 

that I could hold on longer

And if what it takes is pain

and I have to lose to gain- 

then make me willing 

willing to be made willing

I am willing

willing to be made willing

I don’t want to lose anything

I want to keep it for myself

but I’m looking for something

I can’t find upon a shelf

so when I feel alone and terrified

I don’t have to run away and hide

cause I know Your Son was crucified

and I can live because He died

Lord, You can make me stronger

and You help me hold on longer 

and if You bring me pain

I know it’s for Your gain

and I’ll be willing

willing to be made willing

I am willing 

willing to be made willing 

I recorded this song that my husband and I wrote last year and for some reason, the Lord has these words running through my mind and heart..make me willing… willing to do WHATEVER it is You want me to do. I dug out this recording to share with you today.  Whatever He is asking you to do- are you willing?  And if you’re not there yet– are you willing to be made willing?

Balance

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A little to the left

a little to the right

this way, that way

looking for Light

a balancing act

one foot- then two

step by step

I’m  following You 

On a sweltering summer morning, I took a long walk. With sweaty palms, I held my cell phone as I listened to music. I walked all the way to the end of the cul-de-sac and turned to come back the way I came.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw this tree-

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I had to take a second glance…  A tree smack dab in the middle of the creek- looking as if it were suspended in mid air.  The roots of the tree were grounded in the earth on either side of the creek bed, and there it stood right in the middle, as the water flowed freely beneath it’s trunk.

Even when the world beneath my feet looks as unsteady as a creek bed- I know that I can stand on His solid ground.  Even when I can’t see the earth beneath my feet- He will uphold me.

I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.  Psalm 63:8

When I keep my eyes on Him, He keeps me in balance.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17

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There’s always a silver lining

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silver-lined clouds on a beautiful day

a blessing is found 

when our praises abound

As we worship Him- He is refining

He shines on us grace 

When we seek His face

He alone is our silver lining

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He knows every care

when our words aren’t there

there’s never a reason for hiding

His Son intercedes

He knows all our needs

He alone is our silver lining

FullSizeRenderRejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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