Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Rock

"Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer." Psalm 61:1

Are you crying? Are you praying? In your desperation, pain, hurt, disappointment, are you seeking Him? This isn't just crying out to God and hoping He hears; this is expectancy that He will answer and attend to your plea.

"From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2


This is where we're going to camp out so put it in park and soak it up.

"From the end of the earth..."
Are you feeling removed from everyone and everything? Maybe you're at the point where you feel far away from God. Even at the furthest point in His creation, He is there. You must simply call.

"I call to You when my heart is faint..."
Other translations say "when my heart is overwhelmed" or "when I'm down to my last gasp." Inhale. Exhale. Sigh.

Is your heart overwhelmed? To the point of being down to your last gasp? This isn't about just feeling like you might "pass out" from what you're facing - this is the overwhelming feeling that you are about to breathe your last breath, where what you face may in fact be the death of you. Whether in body or spirit - it could be what brings you to the point of your demise.

"Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Separated from everyone. Overwhelmed to the point of impending death. And here is where your hope lies. With expectancy that He sees and hears, asking Him to take you to a place beyond where you can go on your own.

Scripture refers to Him as our Rock, our fortress, a strong tower and our refuge. No matter how far removed you are, no matter how deep a pit you've fallen into, no matter how overwhelmed and faint you may be - He's waiting to draw you unto Himself and firmly set your feet on a solid foundation where you can stand.

"He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay; And he set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings." Psalm 40:2

This is where you establish your foothold - firmly planted on Him as your foundation - and He will guide your steps.

Sure, right now you can barely move from the remotest part of the planet that you find yourself banished to. But when you let Him lead you, He will establish your goings when you are standing and building upon the solid Rock.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Entitled

Entitled. It's my right or claim to something. And in this case, that sense of entitlement happens to be my belief that I have a right to myself.

It's my false assumption that I should have my own way - the desire of MY heart - simply because I feel it's what I'm owed.

This way of thinking is dangerous, to say the least. This is where I toe the line, and in most cases, fall off the edge into the abyss of my own disillusionment. It's my own fault. I lead myself in paths of self-righteousness for my own name's sake. I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, not of dying to myself, but killing the person God wants me to become.

You may be passing judgment on "the sin" that so easily entangles another - drinking, immorality, lying, cheating, stealing, gossiping, impurity - the things that entice and trap someone else aren't at all a temptation to you. And for that, you should be grateful. But maybe it's something else you're wrestling with.

"The nature of sin is not immorality and wrongdoing, but the nature of self-realization which leads us to say, 'I am my own god.' This nature may exhibit itself in proper morality or in improper immorality, but it always has a common basis - my claim to my right to myself." ~ Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Surely that isn't my claim, right?! I do not think I am my own god. I know better than that...

Yet I pursue my own desires.

I seek to gratify my heart and flesh.


I want what I want.


If I'm broken, I want healing.


If I'm unloved, I want cherishing.


If I'm lonely, I want company.


If I'm _____ (fill in the blank), I want ______ (what I want).


This is more than dying to self. This is not even about crucifying the desires of my flesh. This is about relinquishing every thought and feeling that is not grounded in what God wants for me and turning it over to Him. I'm not just replacing filthy rags for His righteousness. I am submitting my right to myself and what I desire so that He may have His way.

The only thing I'm entitled to is eternal damnation. What is due to me is what was paid for on the cross. I owe my life because He gave His. Now that is entitlement!

Monday, January 23, 2012

All or Nothing

(This needs a disclaimer. If you're wondering "what's going on" - It's those around me, the people and circumstances, and the things I'm faced with in my own life. That is the reason I share. That's the reason I provide honesty. Not just a look inside my own heart, but a chance to embrace those I know are also seeking, struggling, striving. I'm not taking away from my own journey. But hopeful that through my process, others may be encouraged.)

There's no 50-50 here. It's all or nothing. Half in, half out won't do.

Surrender. It's the most difficult thing to do. I can't seem to pry the death grip I have on this vice. If I truly am to relinquish control, give in, give up, and embrace God's will, then I must also give up my "right" to myself. The belief that I have that I'm entitled, or any other selfish and indignant thought that I deserve...

"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is." Ephesians 5:17

 "Understand" - it's literally a command meaning to "embrace and face." That's right. Face up to God. Embrace what I know to be His will.

"If what's ahead scares you, what's behind hurts you, just look above, He never fails to help you." - Unknown

It's true. The past haunts with its hurts. The future taunts with the unknown. So my only response is to look up. I can't let the disillusionment of my right to myself trick me into falling for anything less than the authenticity of God and His will.

All. Not part. Everything. Not some. Nothing held back. Every single bit. Every last ounce.

 "Scars don't still hurt...The longer it stays a wound, the more infected it gets...Christ gives us our dignity back."- Beth Moore (you MUST watch this video)

If I've ever had something God needs to tend to, it's this. This place still hurts. It's tender and painful. But there's a healing that God can bring, to restore dignity, and to heal the wound.

That's where I'm at right now. Seeking to surrender. Praying for healing. Hopeful that the scar left behind will be a forever reminder of the fall from grace that left me so wounded and so desperate that only He could redeem my life.

So I'm listening. Seeking to understand. Looking up. Ready to embrace His will. Knowing full well the battle isn't over. Not knowing my next step until I literally have to stumble across it. But trusting Him each step of the way.

The words to these songs say it perfectly, so let me let them do the talking:

All of me

Heal the Wound

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just Like Me

It's a phase. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I found myself hiding my laughter when he didn't want to go to bed and yelled "I'm grouchy. Don't look at me." Other instances aren't as funny - like when he gets frustrated because he doesn't get his way and it results in "No, I don't love you anymore. You're not my best friend." REALLY?! You're 3 and we had to go there?!

For someone who doesn't share my DNA, this little man of mine sure does act a lot like me. It seems uncanny that at times I feel we practically share a personality. I realize the nurture argument proves true in this case, but I also like to think that part of who God planned him to be is someone who resembles so much of what I see in myself.

I don't look at him and see a mirror reflection. He doesn't have my nose or either one of our eye color. His blonde hair doesn't resemble any likeness of mom or dad. Don't get me wrong - to those who don't know that he's adopted, most would never know he is. But it's not what's on the outside that matters - in this case.

More than just the personality traits or moments of resemblance that I see in this little life, I also realize the true reflection I should see in him.

"I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother...and in your mother...and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." 2 Timothy 1:5

This is the kind of verse I need to paint in giant letters across every door frame. Yes, I should strive to live a godly life. I should seek to be holy as He is holy. I know my calling to live a life above reproach. But when I truly realize that my faith - whether it be sincere or an absolute fraud - is being lived out in front of my child...well, there's a big serving of "reality check" to go along with my humble pie.

Oh let it be said of me that my "sincere faith" is the legacy I am passing on to my young, impressionable son. Sure, I can recite scripture verses to him and read him bible stories at bedtime. I can help him understand the nativity scene and its prominent place under the Christmas tree. I sing songs of how Jesus loves him. I can even get him to shine his little light as he sings along with me. But if I am not practicing in deed what I'm telling him in word, then I am giving him nothing but an empty inheritance.

I am now distinctly aware that what I want written about me at the end of my life is the verse that says my authentic faith is what continues to live on in the life of my child...and my children's children.

This isn't about getting my book published or my CD released. It's not about making a name for myself at all. This is about making sure there's a name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. This is about a temporary existence leading to an eternal significance. I do pray he is "just like me" ...right behind my prayer to be just like Him.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, decisions. Today it was an easy one. Turn left and go straight to work. Turn right and make a "pit stop" by the drive-thru coffee shop. It was 19 degrees. I had a gift card. Right turn it was. And one Grande White Chocolate Raspberry Mocha later...well, I'm sipping away as I type.

Not all decisions are this easy. Not all decisions bear such insignificance. We've discussed it before - those of us willing to listen and obey if God would just so kindly write the answer in the sky. Wouldn't you simply follow the instructions if they were delivered in your mailbox? Would you not follow if you were handed a road map? Certainly the GPS spouting out directions would be enough to command your course. After all, if we were equipped with a "God Positioning System" how much trouble and headache could we save ourselves? Oh wait. We are. It's called the Holy Spirit. That's another talk for another day...

Back to the matter at hand. When faced with a decision, my first response is to pray. I can be honest with you that rarely does the prayer end and I leave with my definitive answer. I'm sorry to disappoint. So why pray, you ask? Because it begins my acknowledgement of my need for God and His guidance - whatever the situation.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you." Matthew 6:33

Prayer is seeking Him. And it comes first.

Because I'm a "people-person" (we've talked about this, too) my next premonition is to seek counsel.

"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Proverbs 11:14

Now here's a little word about seeking advice from others. As a counselor, of course I embrace having someone to bounce ideas off of, or a confidante to provide objective perspective. But where I falter is usually in one of two ways. Either seeking out too many people's opinions and being muddled up by differing viewpoints and overwhelmed with varying opinions - OR -  taking the words from others as the "end all" answer in my vain effort to think maybe one of them is sharing straight from God. (Don't you dare tell me I'm the only one who does this, because I know ONE of you is lying!)

Next I move to the Word. Maybe this is out of order, but this is where I find myself trying to sort through the wisdom and counsel I've received. It's where I replant myself in His truth to be my encouragement and my guide. Do I find the descriptive for the choice I face? Well...

Oswald reminds me, "Never try to help God fulfill His word." So true. See, He will fulfill His word. What word, you ask? The Word that He has a plan for my life, or that His mercies are new each morning, or that He is faithful to complete the work He's begun, or that I can do all things through His strength, or that He's working everything out for my good. Hmm. Good words. Do I believe them? Am I willing to wait on them? Hmm. Tough decision.

So I'm praying. I'm seeking advice. I'm sorting through the counsel. I'm reading His word. And then...I wait. Yep, this is the hardest part. But I know that in my foolish hurriedness I can't try to take things into my own hands. And now it's decision time. This may be a "left turn, right turn" kind of decision, or it may be a white chocolate raspberry or caramel macchiatto kind of decision. It may be the type of decision that alters your course. It may be the decision that changes your perspective. Or, maybe it changes you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Valley

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
         I will fear no evil;
         For You
are with me;
         Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

Psalm 23:4

I find myself walking through the valley. In all honesty, I'm not sure that I'm walking at all. I can barely stand at this point. This is beyond journeying through - I'm frozen. Paralyzed. Numb doesn't seem appropriate because the aching in my soul is beyond comprehension. I am seeking comfort.

The other day E found the plastic sheep from his nativity set. He was on a mission to find the accompanying shepherd because, for this little boy, things always go together. He asked about the shepherd. "Does he take care of the sheep?" Yes, he does. He make sure he doesn't get lost...and when he does get lost, he goes and finds him.

So when I am lying motionless in the valley - or rather what feels like the pit of despair - can I trust that my Shepherd will come and find me? Do I believe He will restore my soul? Can I know that He will lead me to a safe place where I can rest?

Oh how I must trust in this!

"Hear my cry O God; Give heed to my prayer.  From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is overwhelmed.  Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy.  Let me dwell in Your tent forever, let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings."  Psalm 61:1-4

From the ends of the earth - from the very outskirts of the world, when I feel all alone, abandoned, separated and segregated from everyone and everything. That is where I call - I cry out. When my heart is overwhelmed. When my own world is shattered. I pray for Him to be my refuge. I seek Him as my source of strength. I look to Him to take me to the rock - to lead me out of the valley and to the mountain top.

He heals the brokenhearted
He binds their wounds
He is love

Do I believe that He will heal even my broken heart?

He holds his children through the night
He comforts the lonely and hears their cry
He is love

Do I trust He hears and holds me even in my loneliness?

He comforts those who mourn. He gives peace. He is a refuge and strong tower. When I can't - He is.

And then He says it, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

How can I be strong and courageous when I'm facing the unknown? How can I find strength when I feel empty and broken? How can I display courage when I am afraid to the point of being paralyzed by fear?

Because He is with me. Wherever I go. Even in the valley. He is.

Esther

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Life

"Has there been a point in your life which you now mark as your last day?" Chambers asks in his January 15th devotional. It's the death of the old life - the past - whatever that may include, but it is what's necessary in order for new life in Christ and sanctification to take place.

The process of sanctification is to be holy, set apart, to purify, to be free from sin.

You might be like me and share in the story of the prodigal son. How many of us have gone our own way? Squandered what we had, throwing away blessings and promises for a future, only to end up dirty, ragged, wretched, alone and poor. You become so unrecognizable by the filth you've dragged yourself through you wouldn't even know your own reflection if it was staring back at you.  Even then, you'd probably only want to run and hide.

What Luke 15:20 tells us is the father saw his son and was filled with compassion. Even beyond recognition from the outward AND inward disgrace he had brought upon himself, his father ran to him. He could have scolded, chided, even run the other way. But instead he offered his loving and forgiving embrace.

In this moment, the father's compassion combined with the brokenness of the son allowed the healing process to begin. Did it bring the inheritance back? No. Did it take away the pain and rejection? No. Did it remove the shame and mistakes? No. Did it immediately restore the relationship? No.

This is the day Oswald talks about - the place you go back to in memory with humility and gratitude where you made an agreement with God. The point at which you put to death the old life and began a new life. Yes, there is in fact "a day" - but don't think for a second that it's an overnight, wake-up-in-the-morning and be brand new kind of decision. You must come to the place of decision but then you must go through the sanctification process. And yes, it is a process.

I don't know if you've experienced that death. I don't know if you've built an altar. I don't know if you've made an agreement with God - or what that agreement might be. But if you are walking this journey, just know you're not alone.

"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:2-3

No matter how deep of a pit you're in, no matter how stuck in the mud you are, He can and will give you a firm place to stand and restore you to a place of praise. If you allow yourself to walk through this process of grieving the death of your dream or your old self, and move toward healing, restoration and sanctification, He will also use this as a testimony of grace at work so that others may also know and understand this kind of healing.

I get it. You're not there yet. Frankly, neither am I. Not yet, at least. So how do we do this? One baby step at a time. One minute at a time. One victory at a time. One ounce of grace and strength at a time. Forgetting what lies behind, straining toward what is ahead, pressing forward one painful movement at a time. Right now the future seems dim. But eventually the past will become so distant, the only thing that will remain is the memory and the altar...the day you made your agreement with God.

 (Today this song has spoken straight to my soul. Let Him breathe new life into you. May He sing a song of peace over you.)

My Beloved - Kari Jobe

Friday, January 13, 2012

All Alone

I'm a "people-person" by nature. I enjoy being around people so much so that I thrive in the presence of others. There are some who consider themselves loners and prefer to keep to themselves. It's not that I don't enjoy the occasional solitude - time to think, read, meditate or process - it's just that I am energized by the opportunity to entertain, interact or engage with people.

Only recently has God been teaching me that it's okay to be "alone." And sometimes it's more than okay - it's necessary.

"When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples." Mark 4:34

Is that what it takes? I have to get completely alone with Him in order to be able to be His disciple - to be taught what it is He needs me to learn. Mostly, these lessons include a long, hard look in the mirror. Instead of looking to others for security, affirmation, or even my identity, I'm forced to face the reflection of my own flawed self staring harshly back at me. Despite my desire for people in my life, I'm coming the realization that I must first be secure in my own self before I can truly offer myself to others.

"We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves!" - O. Chambers

Is it truly possible that I might not know myself?! Would I dare recognize the pride, laziness, jealousy, insecurity or flaws within? Am I willing to accept the distinct reality that I am not who I need to be?

Dare I look within and realize God cannot fully use me until I let Him deal with me...

"When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation , disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship - when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us." - O. Chambers

Here's the truth. When I am "all alone," I am not ever really alone. Being all alone is ridding myself of all the distractions that keep me from Him. I can confidently claim He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Yet the required solitude actually allows me to more fully experience His presence. This is where He deals with my soul. This is where He shows me the things within that I have refused to see or acknowledge. This is where me and God - alone - deal with it.

All alone isn't so scary. In fact, it will be rewarding if I truly embrace the opportunity to let it be just us. If through the suffering or heartbreak I am stripped of all of "me" then I've allowed Him to have His way with me and will then be able to experience the fullness of His will. In my case, that allows me to be back in fellowship with others - people whom God allows me to share my experience and what He's done for and with and through me.

I'm facing the solitude today. Yes, all alone can be lonely. But I'm embracing it and holding onto Him.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Be Still, TODAY

A few months ago a dear friend handed me a gift bag with the words "My Peaceful Moments: Open and Read as Needed." Inside were no less than several hundred slips of paper, each one containing a scripture verse. Every single work day since I was given this gift, I have pulled out one or two slips to read the words contained on each. I am here to tell you, as only Sovereign God can do, He perfectly ordains the "random selection" to be exactly what I need to read for that day.

You know Lamentations 3:22-23?! His mercies ARE new every morning... This is being played out in the daily grab bag of scriptures and the present circumstance I face.

So today I reach in, grab a piece of paper and read:


"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:13a,14

There are too many people I know, including me, who need this today.

Are you afraid? Are you in crisis? Has your fear button been pushed?

STAND FIRM!

This scripture promises you WILL see the deliverance of the Lord.

WHEN?

Oh, that's the beauty of it! TODAY!

Does that mean you are delivered out of your struggle today? Not necessarily. But it does mean that this very day He is with you, fighting for you, showing Himself mighty in your life and your circumstance.

And what do you need to do? Oh, beloved, relish this...

"You need only to be still."

Somebody shout HALLELUJAH with me!!!

Just be still. You don't have to fight. You don't have to struggle. You may still be hurting, you may still be unclear, you may still be defeated, but whatever you "still are" just be still. In the stillness of you trusting Him, you will see His deliverance. TODAY.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

If Only...

If only...

If only I hadn't been up all night worrying and thinking, I would have woken up on time.

If only I had woken up on time, I would have done my devotions as my normal morning routine.

If only I had done my devotions in the morning, I would have read exactly what I needed to hear to be armed with the right offense.

If only I had been armed & guarded, I would have had the conviction and direction in that moment of decision.

If only I'd had the discernment in that moment, I would have listened to the Spirit instead of my flesh.

If only I'd listened to the Spirit and ignored my flesh, I wouldn't have made a poor decision.

If only I had made the right choice, I wouldn't have to deal with the consequences.

If only I could have laid down to sleep and known I had experienced victory instead of vanquish.

If only...

I can't live a life of regrets, or if only's...nor can I be buried under the weight of sin, guilt, shame or consequence. Certainly, all those things are burden enough to paralyze me and prevent me from doing His will. But I also can't run ahead of Him and try to do things on my own.

Consider Oswald's words: "At first you may see clearly what God's will is - the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, or something else you feel is distinctly God's will for you to do [insert your own struggle here - what is God asking you to do]. But never act on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise which will take years to untangle. Wait for God's timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move."

Oh yes. I've seen the tangled mess I've managed to weave with my own jump-the-gun-I'll-do-it-myself reaction. Why oh why do I think I can manage on my own? I'm a "get-it-done, take-charge" kind of girl but that knee-jerk reaction has caused me way too much heartache and disappointment. Because I've tried to do it on my own, rather than waiting for God to move. Even when I felt it was something God was leading me to do. Even when my intentions were good. Even when I believed it was His will. But also even when I sensed He was telling me to wait. If only...

Today I'm starting anew. Yes, I'm still wrestling. (Remember I told you - this wasn't over.) But I am determined to listen. Wait. Be still. Armed and guarded. And today I'm trading my "if only..." for "Only You."

Monday, January 2, 2012

# 3

Here it comes. The third blog post in a day (maybe a record for me). Why am I sharing again? It's been on my heart all day. Some things are meant to remain in the quietness of my heart, and believe me, there are parts of my prayer journal from today that will are between me, the Lord and notebook. But I know some are dealing with struggles and wrestling with battles they just can't seem to let go of.

Today I had a "Jacob" moment with God. We wrestled. Literally in the floor of my living room. Like Moses, I took off my shoes, kneeled down, wept like a baby, and fell prostrate under the weight of disappointment, sin, shame, guilt, hurt, and absolute humility. I haven't wanted to go there. I've been clinging with a death grip to some of my baggage. But when I got up, I was at peace.

"But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the LORD, “Has the man come here yet?” And the LORD said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 1 Sam 10:21-22

Have you ever been so ashamed, so hurt, so insecure, so beaten down, so destroyed, that you've been hiding among your own baggage?! You're not alone. You see, what happened there in the middle of the floor was my best attempt to leave everything on the altar. I dropped off my baggage and tonight God gave me such peace and joy as a reminder of how light his yoke is in exchange for what has been weighing me down.

I sacrificed. And it was painful. It still is. There is not yet a scab there - still an open wound. But time will bring healing and even with a scar, it will be a reminder of God's faithfulness and goodness.

Do not think for one second that this is it. Yes, I had a big moment there in the floor and wouldn't I love to believe that today, January 2, 2012, marks the day I let it all go. Certainly God and I did some business. Or rather, He did some business with me. But I dare say it's the end. And this is why I like beginnings so much.

"The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul." -G.K. Chesterton

Today I started with a new soul. I am fully aware that rebuilding doesn't just happen overnight (um, that's a little too familiar!). Step by step, bit by bit, little by little...but you have to start somewhere. How? That is the challenge...

"To let the healthy, utterly whole, and completely secure part of us increasingly overtake our earthen vessels until it drives out every emotion, reaction and relationship." - Beth Moore, So Long Insecurity

Leaving it on the altar. Laying it down. How many times have I talked about this?! As many times as I keep having to put it back on the altar!

And tomorrow, well, tomorrow is a new day. A new beginning. A new portion of mercy to get through just what God knows will come. With each day comes healing. One step at a time. With each sacrifice laid down, new blessings are bestowed.

I'm there with you, friend. Right there with you. Let's lay it down together. Over and over if we have to. And become his vessels, His glory, His crown.

Let's Go

"He went out, not knowing where he was going." Hebrews 11:8

"Have you ever gone out in this way? If so, there is no logical answer possible when anyone asks you what you are doing...You don't know what you are going to do. The only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing." - Oswald Chambers

Oh how he's hit the nail on the head with this one today!

Have I ever asked God what He is going to do? Yes.

Has he told me? No.

What He does, instead, is reveal who He is.

I must "go out" in dependence upon God, not because I know where I'm going or what I'm doing but because I know HIM. And knowing Him means I am trusting Him.

Dare I forsake this call to go out, I risk the distance I put between God and myself. I cannot let my own fears get in the way. I can not let the unknown prevent me, nor can I let the doubts stop me.

Are you unsure of where you're going? Do you also wonder what you're doing? We're in it together, I assure you, because I am just as clueless! But, thank God, I am held securely by His willingness to show me who He is and I can have faith in my Sovereign and Almighty Father!

Sing a new song

I heard someone recently say, "I know some people really respond to music, but it's never really been a big deal to me."

Heresy? Hypocrisy? Lunacy?

Be still my beating-in-4/4-time heart!

Maybe the chords don't move you. Maybe the soaring notes don't resonate within your being. Maybe the rhythm doesn't beat in time with your own heart. Maybe even the lyrics make no impact on your mind or emotions. But for me, music is a way of life. It's my way of life.

Even the very name of my blog is meant to carry an implication of the praises that I sing to my Savior.

I know full well that singing and songs are not the only way to praise and worship the Lord. Our lives are to be that too. My very body is His temple and dwelling place - the Holy Spirit having taken up residency in me. Still, for me I know He inhabits my praise when I am singing His.

Here's my point. Whether or not music "gets you" - or even if you don't get it - I challenge you to find "the thing" that does. You see, we all hit points in our lives when we're in the desert. It's a dry spell, a dark valley, a bottomless pit. At the lowest of lows, I find it hard for me to even utter words that resemble a prayer, let alone praise. So I hit my "Praise" playlist on iTunes and I let the music soar.

It takes me to a place where I can be alone with Him - where I don't have to think or pray or even be distracted. I can simply be still and listen as the music and words echo the sentiments of my seeking heart, even when I'm at a loss for words. In the loneliness of my solitude, I can be swept away by the loving ballad that reminds me of His extravagant love

I can sing Hallelujah even when my heart is broken, or I'm trapped in my own prison of sin. No matter what I face, He helps me to sing.


When the waves of my circumstance take me under, I'm reminded to hold on - that even in the midst of the pain, this is making me stronger.


When I've fallen and am in need of His grace, I look to Him to hold me. Hallelujah, His love always stays the same!

When I've forgotten who I am, I can be reminded of his boundless love that only sees the person He always knew I could be.

I'm singing a new song today. Somehow the shuffling playlist seems to be exactly what I need to hear. I'm praising Him - whatever the circumstance, no matter how I feel, even when I can't find my own words.

Sing with me, won't you?!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012

"A New Year. A new beginning. When we resolve to let go of our past, embrace God in our present and bring change to our future."

This video was played today in church and it brought me to tears. As I said goodbye to 2011 and welcomed 2012, I can honestly say I've never been more thankful to have a new beginning. I've always enjoyed the start of something new...but I've also never been fond of goodbyes. But last night, at 12:00 a.m., I embraced the opportunity to say goodbye to last year. I don't need to recall all the trials and circumstances of the past year. I literally walked through the fire. And today a dear friend shared this song as a reminder and promise for what I'm claiming in this new year:

At the foot of the cross (Ashes to beauty)
And you've won my heart
Yes you've won my heart
Now I can
Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

I've given my heart away - to people, dreams, circumstances - and sometimes that's meant I've been broken and destroyed. Circumstances out of my hands have altered my life's course. Situations beyond my control have changed my plans. I've been a victim of my own choices and the consequences that have resulted. I've experienced enough grace and mercy to humble me to a point of realizing how utterly disgraceful I am.

But here I am. Standing before an Almighty God on the first day of a new year. I am giving Him my heart. Trading my ashes for beauty and wearing His merciful forgiveness like a crown. Laying every burden at His feet, where He gave His life for me, I am giving Him all of me. Resolving to let go of my past, embracing God in my present, and letting Him bring change to my future.

Whatever 2011 brought you, give Him your 2012.

Happy New Year