Silent

Sometimes I’m speechless. I know that’s hard to believe, but I am a quiet person. Soft spoken, given to long periods of quiet, thought-full. My brain is running all the time, and my personal challenge is to channel all that brain activity.

“Though I’m silent, my heart is crying ’cause I was made to come to You.” These words from Sanctus Real were in my head when I came awake in the pre-dawn morning, and they’ve stuck. The song is called simply Pray. More lyrics…

So I pray
God I need you more than words can say
Right here in this moment
You know my heart, You know my need
You know every part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray

I’m going to take this song at its face value today. I have several people on my heart this morning, and it can get heavy. But God knows my heart, he knows my need. He knows every situation and person I’m thinking about, and I know that he is already working in those situations. Hebrews 4:16 says we can “then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

For me, “draw near” sometimes means just be still, be quiet, stop. And, in that quiet, I can be confident because the Holy Spirit has it all under control. Romans 8:26 says, “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” So even if it’s just to speak the precious name of Jesus, I’m going to pray. And speaking his name is enough.

Click here to listen to Pray by Sanctus Real

I posted about this song from an Easter perspective back in April. Read Pray here.

The featured image is a shot I got in early March at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. A very quiet place.

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Overwhelmed

Yesterday was a long day with a long drive. My uncle passed away this week and his funeral was yesterday. It was a long drive across the state. The funeral home soon filled up with family and friends we had not seen in a very long time. Isn’t that the way it always is? It seems the only time we get to see some of the people in our lives is at a time like this. Maybe it’s designed that way so we can have joy in the middle of our sorrow.

As I hugged and visited with cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends, I was overwhelmed by the love given for these who have lost their father and the love received from these who care so very much. Aside from the grief expressed with tears and tissues, these people love each other with an everlasting love. God was there in that room through the comfort given by those who have been comforted. He was there in every person who wept with those who were mourning… In every hug, every fond memory, every laugh at the memory of one of Uncle John’s jokes.

It was truly overwhelming… And I kept it together until we got in the car to go to the cemetery. I don’t grieve well. I woke up this morning with the song, Overwhelmed, playing on the iPod in my brain. I looked it up in the dictionary…

o·ver·whelm[ ṑvər wélm ]
overpower somebody emotionally: to affect somebody’s emotions in a complete or irresistible way
provide somebody with huge amount: to supply somebody with a very large or excessive amount of something

This fit perfectly. Yes, we were overcome emotionally, but also there was an abundance of love in that room yesterday. The love of my family for each other, and the love of God for all of us. Some of the words to Overwhelmed

I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I’m thankful God was in that room yesterday. We always think of being overwhelmed as a bad thing or with a negative connotation. But I can’t think of anything more wonderful than being overwhelmed by the presence of God, by his grace and his mercy.

Click here to listen to Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave.

Tick Tock

I’m always running out of time. There are only so many hours in a day, and I never seem to have enough. Not that I’m held to deadlines so much as needing more time to finish what I start. Life gets in the way. Or I get lazy and distracted. Or I get too caught up in the details, and then the clock is pointing its finger at me, guilting me into moving faster or moving on. One of the joys of retirement has been to put my wristwatch away. To relax into the days and do what I can without killing myself to get it all done now. I’m still working on that.

Priorities. I love to do so many things, it’s hard to do them all on a regular basis. Creative processes like painting, writing, music, cooking, sewing. Sometimes, it’s the tyranny of the urgent. The things that require my attention immediately get done first. Then there’s another fire to put out, and before I know it, I’m a slave to the “urgent” in my life. Because the clock is running out.

But “our God is greater. Our God is stronger.” Our God is higher than any other. His clock never runs out on me. He always has time for me. He is always waiting for me in the mornings, ready to listen and ready to share what he wants me to hear and know. “Our God is healer, awesome in power.” I’m working hard to get on God’s time clock and off my own. The people in my life are so much more important than the things in my life. So, more and more, I stop what I’m “doing” so that I can just “be” with whoever needs my attention now.

Of course, that means things don’t get finished on schedule sometimes, but they will get finished eventually. My walls will get painted. There’s really no hurry except for the schedule I set for myself. I save the reading for when I’m waiting or when I need to sit for a few minutes. I work on my new grandbaby’s quilt when I’m riding in the car or waiting in the doctor’s office or watching television. It all gets done. Kingdom things are more important than MY things. I’m trying to be more self-less and less self-ish.

Okay, so now I’m late and I need to go jump in the shower. Tick tock!

I woke up with Chris Tomlin singing Our God in my head this morning. Click here to listen.

There’s a Downhill Waiting

I absolutely love riding my bike. It makes me feel like a kid again! No matter how tough the hill, or how long it takes me to get up, there is nothing that compares to the downhill ride… The wind in my face and my hair, the feeling of pure abandon and delight… Freedom. Joy. If it weren’t for the prospect of the downhill ride, I don’t think I’d ever make it up the hills at all!

Yesterday, while I was riding our little country road between old shade trees and corn as high as an elephant’s eye, I was thinking how life in general, and our Christian walk specifically, are like a bike ride. We struggle uphill with illness, debt, landlords, and so much more. We walk through a “wilderness” time spiritually, feeling as though God is nowhere to be found. Uphill. Slow. Painful. Low gear. Barely moving. We want to get off and walk, or turn around just to go downhill for a little while.

But we crest the hill and the pedaling gets easier. We can see past the pavement in front of us to the beautiful fields and ponds beyond. And then we start our downhill descent. Finally! Our muscles relax, we breathe deeply and freely, enjoying the wind in our faces and the freedom and joy that is worth the uphill climb. The pride we take in our children, the love we feel for them. Ice cream cones. New babies. Promotions. When the doctor says, “I can’t explain it, but the cancer is gone.”

When I feel as though everything is right in my world, even when it isn’t… When I know that God is in control and he has my back, then I can relax and enjoy the downhill ride. I am free to praise him and give him the glory for all of it. I can rest in him and trust his word. In Matthew 6:34 Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself. “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” I can let go of the worry and fear, the struggle and the pain, that go with the uphill fight. Because I know there is a downhill waiting for me.

The lyric in my head is “would you dare to believe that you still have a reason to sing? That the pain that you’ve been feeling, it can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. So hold on, you gotta wait for the light. Press on, and just fight the good fight. Because the pain that you’ve been feeling, it’s just the dark before the morning.” Wonderful words to a song by Josh Wilson called Before the Morning. click here to listen.

The featured image is a snapshot along my bike ride. We live in a gorgeous place to ride!

Sing A Song

My habit every morning is to listen. No matter what time I wake up, I come awake and wait very quietly and still so I won’t miss the music. The song is always there, usually in progress, and sometimes the music wakes me up. This morning, I came awake hearing these words from Third Day.

I want to sing a song for You, Lord
Lord, for You I want to sing a song
And I want to lift my voice to Heaven
And listen to the angels sing along

A song of Your faithfulness
A song of Your grace
And of Your loving kindness
To the glory of Your name
With everything that’s in me, Lord
Listen to me say
I want to sing a song for You
I want to sing a song

Mac Powell is the voice of Third Day and the song is called Sing A Song. (Click here to listen.) If you listen, you’ll know it’s not a gentle awakening. Mac’s raw voice blasting in my head at 6:30 a.m. had my eyes popped open and my feet on the floor.

But the words are exactly how I feel today (contrary to yesterday.) My heart has been singing this song since before I woke up. Some deep inner part of me was praising God even in my sleep. Ephesians 5:19 says to “sing and make music in your heart to The Lord.” I feel so incredibly blessed that my heart sings and makes music to The Lord of its own accord. When I’m not even trying, without any effort on my part, that inmost part of me wants to praise the name of Jesus.

The beautiful part is that it spills over into my day, my week, my life. My day goes better, I’m a happier person, and much easier to live with. I think it’s part of the “praying continuously” thing we are all called to do in the scripture. Some think of it as practicing the presence of God. I’m just a woman head-over-heels in love with Jesus, and I want everyone to know it!

Shine

This blog is supposed to be about the songs in my head, the songs that God sings over me as I sleep, the songs that my spirit sings as praise to God while I sleep. Sometimes, the song in my head when I wake doesn’t match the way I feel, the heaviness in my heart, the sadness in my soul. But I think the bottom line is to live my purpose in life regardless of my feelings or my heavy heart.

The line in my head this morning is from a Casting Crowns song called Thrive. “To know you and to make you known. We lift your name on high. Shine like the sun. Make darkness run and hide.” Maybe this song is to remind me of what my purpose in life is about… To know and love God. To make him known to others. To bring a little bit of light into my world and push back the dark, even if for just a little while. Even in the middle of a heavy heart. Even when I don’t “feel” like it.

Matthew 5:16… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

It’s not about me. So no matter what is going on in my life or my world, my job is to love and care for others. To shine a light. Be the hands and feet of Jesus in this dark world so others can see a tiny bit of God’s glory. The funny thing is that, when I do shine a light, when I do love on other people, when I do stop thinking about myself and start thinking about others, my heavy heart gets lighter! My darkness takes a step back to make room for fullness of God’s glory.

Featured image: the sky over the Gulf of Mexico last year on vacation. I love how it looks like the darkness is in retreat.

Go here to listen to Thrive by Casting Crowns

Somewhere In The World

My youngest child is 21 today. As painful as it is to believe, it’s even more so when I see it written out like this. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just the “wow factor” of it. How did the time go so fast? Where did the years go? I had four kids within thirteen-years, so it seemed as though I would always have a child or children in my heart, my house, my life. Now they’re all grown and out of the house. Two out of three ain’t bad, huh?

No matter how old they get or how far they go, my children will always, ALWAYS, be in my heart and in my life. They may not know it, or be aware of it, but it’s true. I have prayed for my kids from the moment I knew they existed, and I will continue to pray for them until The Lord calls me home. They’ve changed. I no longer pray over colic or sleep schedules, potty training or ear infections. We moved on to healing after ER visits for a bike wreck, a soccer injury, a bad cut. Late nights out in the car, away at college. But ever and always, I have prayed for the person who would be their spouse.

There is a song I used to sing when my boys were little called Somewhere In The World by Wayne Watson. I still get all teary-eyed and choked up just singing it in my head.

Somewhere in the world today,
a little girl will go out to play
all dressed up in mama’s clothes.
At least the way I suppose it goes.
Somewhere in the world tonight
Before she reaches to turn out the light
She’ll be praying from a tender heart.
A simple prayer that’s a work of art.

And I don’t even know her name,
but I’m praying for her just the same.
That The Lord would write his name upon her heart.
Cause somewhere in the course of this life,
my little boy will need a Godly wife.
So hold on to Jesus, baby wherever you are.

Now, two of my kids have married the love of their life. The birthday boy is engaged to his life-love. One is still waiting to find his. So I’ll keep praying the words in this song, and I’ll keep praying for all my kids. Because that’s what mommas do. We love and pray for our kids through every stage and phase of their lives. Today, I’m praying for the best birthday ever and a great first day of senior year at WKU for David and his fiancé.

The best part about this stage in life for me is that I get to add my grandkids to my prayer time. There are four now, a fifth one is due in about 5 weeks, and another we are praying The Lord will place in our family by way of adoption very soon. So blessed!!!!

I actually found this old song on YouTube. Go here to listen to Somewhere in the World.

Among The Thirsty

I woke up with words from a song called Completely in my head. “Lord complete me cause I’m yours completely.” I love this line! It steps right up and speaks for itself. The band is called Among The Thirsty.

I am completely surrendering
Finally giving You everything
You’re my redeemer, I run to the cross
Because You are more than enough
Lord complete me
Cause I’m Yours completely

This is my prayer of worship this morning. It’s Sunday and The Lord’s Day. It’s also a work day for me. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the music, the rehearsing, the planning, the order of worship and forget TO worship. I AM among the thirsty of this world, and I need my spiritual cup filled the same as everybody else!

Among The Thirsty (which is a great name for a band, by the way) has another song, one of my all-time favorites, called I’d Need a Savior. These guys don’t put out a lot of music, but when they do, it speaks right to my heart.

How many names can I use to explain the love of my Jesus,
the life that he gave and so many times will I praise you today.
I lift up my life ‘cause you’re always the same
And my offering to you I bring

Your name is Jesus. Your name is Jesus.
You’re the Wonderful, Counselor, my Friend.
You’re what I hold on to; I know that you brought me through
All the days of loss, to the cross you knew I’d need a Savior

Father God, thank you for the gift of your son Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for me. You knew I’d need a savior. Lord, take me and use me. I’m yours completely.

Go here to listen to Completely.

Go here to listen to I’d Need a Savior.

I captured this shot of the featured image while traveling in Rabat, Morocco. I love this beautiful watercolor mural!

Distractions

Once upon a time there was a woman who was married to a man who loved mornings. Unfortunately for this woman, her morning-loving husband expressed his joy for life in the mornings in a very noisy way. He could not restrain his humming, and his noisy morning sounds carried into the kitchen making breakfast or coffee, sometimes playing with the dogs. This wonderful man with this happy disposition is also a noisy man. Which most of the time isn’t a problem, except when this woman is trying to have quiet time with God and when she’s writing.

While this is written tongue in cheek with my husband sitting beside me being noisy on purpose since he knows I’m trying to concentrate, it’s true. We all have distractions in life, don’t we? Happy distractions and bad distractions. Things that make us stop what we’re doing and pay attention. Or things that take our focus off what we’re doing in order to deal with something else. Sometimes we can push through the distractions. We learn this valuable lesson in the music and theater world… To stay focused even when someone is talking in the audience, or someone walks out of the sanctuary or auditorium in the middle of your piece, or when a baby starts crying.

But what happens when we get distracted from our faith? When the world pushes in on us and we have no time for quiet time with God? No energy because we’ve given it all to our kids, marriage, home, work, friends, gym? No motivation to get alone with God because maybe we haven’t heard from him in a while so what’s the point? I always say, “If you feel like God is far away, guess who moved?”

I woke up this morning with a piece of lyric from Stephen Curtis Chapman’ Glorious Unfolding in my head. “We were made to run in fields of forever, singing songs to our Savior and King.” I don’t think living this American life, as it is now, is exactly what God had planned. This song begins…

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

“It IS going to be a glorious unfolding!” If we stay focused. If we keep our heads in the game. If we give God the reigns and let Him deal with the distractions in our lives. The good ones and the bad ones. He can. He is able. He will. He does.

Click here to listen to Glorious Unfolding.

I wrote about this song in a couple of earlier posts with completely different perspectives. I write what God places on my heart.
Click here to read Glorious Unfolding.
Click here to read Forever Fields.