Losing

Tenth Avenue North is singing Losing in my head as the thunder rolls outside my window this morning. This phrase…

Oh Father won’t you forgive them
They don’t know what they’ve been doing
Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them
Cause I feel like the one losing

Nobody likes to be the loser. I know I don’t… And I didn’t realize that I felt like the one losing until I started unpacking this song. As I am thinking, “Lord, I don’t understand why this song this morning. I’m not losing as far as I know…” The Holy Spirit speaks to my heart and reminds me. Oh yeah… That.

Clear as day, God has placed a picture in my mind of a situation I’ve been dealing with at work and my behavior and attitude toward it. And I DO feel like the one losing. The thoughts run rampant in my mind about who is to blame for this, and if they hadn’t done that maybe things would be different. SO… I guess there are people I need to forgive, whether they know it or not.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you – Ephesians 4:32

God forgave me through the immeasurable gift of His son. I don’t have a choice but to put all of this aside. To forgive those who make me feel like I’m losing, who are hurting others and causing painful situations over which we have no control. Another bit of lyric from this song jumps out at me…

But truth be told it doesn’t matter if they’re sorry or not
Freedom comes when we surrender to the sound…
Of mercy and Your grace
Father, send Your angels down

It doesn’t matter whether they’re sorry or even aware of the hurt they’re causing me and others. There is freedom in forgiveness! I forgive because I am forgiven, because forgiving them frees me to move on.

Forgiveness is for me, not them. It sets my heart right with God, and gets me back to the place I want to be. Like the song says, “This is love. This is hate. We all have a choice to make.”

Insert Dream Here

I’m a wanna-be (insert dream here). I want to be a chef. I want to be a writer. I want to be an artist, a songwriter, a singer, a baker, an actress, and that’s not all and not necessarily in that order! I have so much going on in my mind and heart at one time that it’s hard for me to sort it out and decide what I should do right now. Unfortunately, wanting it to be doesn’t make it happen.

I’m learning to dream. It’s not something I grew up doing for whatever reason. We were more of a practical people. But I did go to college to study music… Specifically piano performance… And I was good at it (to my professors’ surprise!) But, I got sidetracked. I let other things pull me away and never finished. I never became a concert pianist.

I have the great privilege now of seeing my kids dreams come true. I get to watch as they put feet to their dreams and make it happen. And I’m learning from them!!! I’m thinking, “why not me?” God put all this inside me… All the drive and will to be creative, to learn, to teach and show others… to study, to paint, sing, write, sew, cook, draw, act, and love on people in the process. Why not now??

I always said that the word “retirement” is not found in the scriptures. I sure hope that’s true, because I do not plan to retire from life. On the contrary, I feel like August 1st can’t come soon enough so I can get started on my real life… The one God had planned for me all along. The life that I can still dedicate to Him and give back to Him as an offering of thankfulness and praise for all He has done and will continue to do for me.

The song in my head this morning got me thinking, didn’t it? It’s All For You Lord! Whatever I get my fingers, head, heart, hands into… It’s all for YOU.

Just like me, the featured image is a work in progress…

All For You by Mikeschair

Lift My Life Up

Sometimes it’s really hard for me to see things that aren’t right. I always wonder where God is in that situation. Most of the time I can get there, but sometimes I’m just left wondering, and praying. Sometimes it leaves me humble and thankful.

I woke up this morning with the band, Unspoken, singing Lift My Life Up in my head.

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord, I leave it in Your hands

This song is a new take on the old hymn, Take My Life and Let it Be. Listen to the acoustic version of this song here.

I love what Max Lucado says about worry… It means to “divide the mind.” Anxiety splits us right down the middle, creating a double-minded thinker. Perception is divided, distorting our vision. Strength is divided, wasting our energy. It wears me out just thinking about it!

I don’t think there’s room in any life for both worry and peace. If I’m worrying, then I’m not trusting God! If I’m at peace, then I know that God is in control, and I don’t have to be. Lifting my life up to The Lord also lifts all the burden off of MY shoulders and places it squarely on God.

Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you… Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” This is what I want. The peace that Christ offers me here, the peace that passes all understanding. Like my song this morning says, “if peace is a river, then let is sweep over me.”

Read all the lyrics here.

Worn

“I’m tired. I’m worn. My heart is heavy from the work it takes to just keep breathing.” These words from Tenth Avenue North are rolling around in my mind this morning.

I AM tired and worn… It’s early in the morning, and it’s allergy season, so these words fit perfectly for me at this moment. But this song is also my “go to” song when I’m just worn out with living life every day. Listen to Worn by Tenth Avenue North.

Sometimes it just gets too hard to put one foot in front of the other, to go to work one more day. Sometimes I would give anything to just go back to bed and wait until tomorrow. But I know I can’t. Like the song says, I know that You, Lord, can give me rest. I know that only God can show me that redemption wins, that the struggle ends. Only God can mend a heart that is frail and torn.

Redemption wins. Redemption WINS!!! And that thought, right there, is enough to help me “lift my eyes up” and keep at this thing called my life. To keep at the work that God has ordained for me to do. So I will go get ready for work. And I will thank God for another day of life, and for the good night’s sleep I had. For another day to serve Him in whatever way He plans for me. I have another day to love Him, to love and serve my family, to see this beautiful earth He created through fresh eyes.

See the full lyrics Continue reading

Jesus BE

I’m nervous this morning. If everything works out right, I have an opportunity this morning to play and sing one of my original songs in worship… To lead worship with a song I wrote called Jesus Be. I wrote it about 18 months ago, and it’s running through my mind this morning. I’m nervous on several counts…

A. I am an extremely shy person, though most people don’t believe that. I have a hard time being in front of an audience unless I’m behind a giant piano and there’s other stuff going on at the same time.

B. This will be the first time in a very long time, maybe 20 years, that I have had the courage to perform one of my own pieces… To just put it out there as my art and let The Lord use it as He wills.

C. This song is very special to me. I wrote it after my cervical spine surgery when I had very little hope that my voice would come back. It comes from a place of pain and suffering.

D. Though my voice is not back to what it was before, it is there. So I will use it this morning, and I will let God do with it as He wills.

JESUS BE

Jesus be my guide.
Jesus be my hope.
Draw me to your side.
Never let me go.
Take my worries and my hurts.
Would you love me as I am?
Jesus be my Lord,
The one and only spotless lamb of God.

This is my prayer on this beautiful Sunday morning in the Bluegrass. Only God could make a day like this. I think I hear another song coming on!!

ALL FOR US

Early in the morning, up before the sun.
Can’t focus on Your word, the list is never done.
My mind is scattered… Wandering, over-filled.
Then I hear You whisper, “My child be still.”

That’s when I finally realize it was All for Us.
All for this fallen people You love no matter what!
All the goodness in my life came straight from Your good heart,
And I’m thankful for Your perfect love giving me a brand new start.

Lord, How can I hear You, how can I know Your perfect will,
When my mind is full of music? Full of words that won’t be still?
I hear You speak my name… speak peace into my soul.
Speak life into these words I write, ’cause I’m giving You control.

That’s when I finally realize it was All for Us.
All for this fallen people You love no matter what!
All the goodness in my life came straight from Your good heart,
And I’m thankful for Your perfect love giving me a brand new start.

God, Your goodness… Flows into my life
Your faithfulness… Turns the dark to light
Your mercy… Changes wrong to right
And, God, it was all for us!!!

And again, I truly realize it was All for Us.
All for this fallen people You love no matter what!
All the goodness in my life came straight from Your good heart,
And I’m thankful for Your perfect love giving me a brand new start.

Thankful this morning for new words, a new song. Now to flesh it out and set it down on paper. I can hear it in my head, sing it in my mind. Setting it down is more of a challenge for me, but if God gives me the words, He will give me the music.

Your Grace Finds Me

I woke up this morning hearing “your grace finds me” singing in my head. I love that thought… That God’s grace finds ME. Not the other way around. Watch and listen to Matt Redman perform his song, Your Grace Finds Me.

There are so many other song lyrics and scripture verses floating in my head right now about God’s grace. Amazing grace how sweet the sound. Grace marvelous grace. But I love how Matt brings it down to the everyday living of our lives. The grace of God, the unmerited favor of The Lord of the universe, is there with me every moment of every day if I am His child.

My friend told me once that she uses the word grace as an acronym… God’s Richest At Christ’s Expense. I’ve never looked at this word the same since. I have the unmerited favor of God because Jesus gave His life for me. And He finds me. I don’t have to look for the grace of God… It’s there already in the “every day and the mundane.” It’s there in the laughter of my grandchildren, in this beautiful Spring we are having, in every morning I wake up with another song singing through my head. And, like the flowers blooming this Spring, I think the grace of God opens me up to all that God has to give. And if I accept His gift of grace, My spirit becomes more beautiful and fragrant.

Eph 2:7 says that God shows “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” It will take all of eternity to fathom God’s love, and those who are saved will never plumb the depths of it. Immeasurable. Eternal. Unfathomable. And I don’t even have to look for it or earn it or work for it… It’s there already!!!

Special thanks to Jesslyn Newhall for the featured image on this post.

Free to Fly

I have a small placard on my desk, a little free-standing box-like square that says “Until you spread your wings you will have no idea how far you can fly.” I don’t even remember where I found it, but it fits who and how I am right now.

20140515-061012.jpgSeveral months ago, it inspired these words, which were singing in my head this morning.

Free to fly
Free to fly in Your arms and on Your wings of grace and mercy
Free to fly in Your love

I’m Free to fly
Free to leave this world and all its pain behind, free to love.
Free to be in love with Jesus… I’m Free to fly.

It is as if I am standing on a mountain top overlooking a beautiful valley. I can’t fly out over it until I first step off and away from what I’ve been grounded in, and spread my God-given wings. I know I’m free. Christ came so that I could have life and have it more abundantly. Romans 8:1 tells me that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

But knowing I am free in Christ, free to fly in HIS love and mercy, and acting like it are two different things. Just like music, it takes practice! And faith. Faith that God won’t steer me wrong. Faith that the Holy Spirit will be right there with me, guiding me all the way. Trusting that His will won’t take me where His grace doesn’t follow.

And now that I read the words to this little song again, I see that I’m not really the one flying at all! Jesus does all the flying for me. I just need to hang onto Him. Hold on to His wings of grace, mercy, love, forgiveness… And let Him take me where only He can. Where He needs me to be.

Write Your Story

It never occurred to me that other people didn’t wake up with music in their head. I thought that everybody heard songs in their head all the time, and it was just a matter of what song they were hearing. Now I’m not so sure. People ask me how I do it, whether I plan what I’m going to hear, if I can plant songs in my mind. No. Believe me, my husband has tried! His quirky sense of humor tries to plant weird, goofy, obscure music the night before to see if I wake up with it in my head.

Thankfully, God gets to pick the playlist, not my husband. Or me for that matter. Twice last night I woke with the same song in my mind during the night, but this morning it was completely different. Francesca Battistelli was (is) singing Write Your Story even as I write this post…

I’m an empty page
I’m an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won’t You write Your story on my heart

I love this song! It makes me want to turn it up and dance! It’s an awesome invitation from me to God to use me.

I have a new grandbaby coming this fall, and my daughter just sent me an ultrasound picture. Talk about a work of art!!! Perfect little head and fingers. A new life growing and waiting to meet the world, already with God’s stamp on it. An empty page for The Lord to write His story on the heart of that tiny child.

Maybe it’s not too late for me to make myself an open book so that God can make his mark… Or continue to do so. If I “become like little children” – open and available, ready and waiting to soak up anything that God wants to show me or teach me – God can continue writing His story on my heart and in my life. I am so grateful and thankful that He has chosen to write music on my heart!

Hear audio of Write Your Story here.