A Lullaby

The baby relaxes into me and his breathing evens out, slow and steady, soft as a whisper. His head is tucked up under my chin in the hollow of my neck, snuggled close. As I stand at the window and gaze out at the gray Copenhagen morning, treasuring the warm softness of this sweet baby in my arms, I am humming. Low and soft, the humming takes shape and I realize I have been humming, then singing, an old hymn that I haven’t thought about or sung in years.

Pass me not, oh gentle Savior
Hear my humble cry
While on others thou art calling
Do not pass me by.

Savior, Savior, hear my humble cry
While on others thou art calling
Do not pass me by.

As I stand at the window, swaying and humming, rocking and singing, all so very slow and quiet, tears well in my eyes, and I realize… I’m singing over this baby the way God sings over me. When I’m sleeping, relaxed in His keeping, unaware, safe in His arms. Quieted by His love.

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

I’m no longer singing to the baby. My song has become my prayer to God. A prayer that He will stay close and never let me go.

Several years ago, I had a Fernando Ortega CD, which included this song. It’s my favorite arrangement. His lyric changed only in one place… “While on others thou art smiling.” Click here to listen to this worshipful arrangement.

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I only thought I was lost…

I was lost for a while yesterday. Lost in the sense that I didn’t know where I was nor how to find my way back. I haven’t been lost or disoriented like that for a long time. It was very… uncomfortable. Disconcerting. Mild adjectives, I know, but I really didn’t feel a sense of panic. I did, however, imagine that my daughter was getting worried about me. I had been walking for well over an hour, and it was starting to rain again. In another hour it would be dark.

Yesterday was our last day at this beautiful summer house by the fjord. I went for a walk… By myself. I think it’s the first time I’d been out alone since arriving in Denmark over two weeks ago! (New babies keep you busy!!) I headed down the road toward the fjord where we have walked several times. It’s so beautiful, stark, vast, peaceful, quiet… I digress. I took a couple of pictures at the water’s edge and then went on with my walk, going a direction we had gone the first day we arrived. It’s a perfect walk to just clear your head, listen to the sea birds and the breeze in the sea grass, and talk to God.IMG_0896.JPG

I took a wrong turn, except that I didn’t know it was a wrong turn until I got to the end of the road – it was a very long dead-end. So, I backtracked and went the other way. I was praying all along for God to keep his promise from Isaiah 30:21.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

I kept walking and made the turns that I remembered. But, again, I missed one and found myself in a completely different place. Nothing looked familiar! At one point I just stopped in the middle of the road and stood there, looking in all directions. By this time I was getting very wet. I still wasn’t panicky… I have a pretty good sense of direction and was using dead reckoning, always aware of the location of the Fjord. As I stood in the road just wondering and trying to get my bearings, I prayed again. I turned on my GPS, but the maps app on my phone wouldn’t work because I had no network. I laughed at myself, thinking, “Do you trust God to get you there or not??”

I prayed this scripture back to God and just set off in a forward direction. About 100 yards later I was at our corner and could see the house!! I had been standing in the road, wondering which way to go, and all the time the house was right around the corner!!! I wasn’t lost at all. I just hadn’t gone far enough.

I wonder… What would have happened If I had given up and just sat down until someone came to look for me? If I had tried to backtrack all the way? If I had spent a fortune on roaming charges for my American phone to try to call for help? And home was right there. For once, I prayed first. I didn’t panic or stress. We can do the same thing spiritually and emotionally. Panic. Sit down and wait for rescue. Backtrack. Spend a fortune on self-help. And our way home is right in front of us if we only listen to His voice. His word.

I enjoyed my journey regardless of the fact that I had no clue where I was. I think The Lord kept me from being afraid. I was, and still am, so very thankful and so very grateful to God for getting me home. He will ALWAYS get me home.

Quiet Reflections

I’m out of my routine. And I love having a routine. I’m in this vastly beautiful and different environment, yet I’ve developed a routine of a sort. My body isn’t exactly on Denmark time, and it’s not exactly on Home time either, which may make it easier to transition when I return next week. I’m staying up too late (reading) and sleeping later than I normally would at home. I have coffee with my newborn grandson while his mom and dad try to catch another hour of sleep. I cook breakfast for us all while he eats again. Try to beat the time difference (6 hours) and catch my husband at his breakfast time before he heads off to work at home. Text a few minutes. Take a walk. Plan dinner. Nothing earth shattering. But quiet… Peaceful… Restful.

Despite a newborn in the house, this is one of the quietest and most peaceful weeks I’ve ever had. I’m a quiet-loving person, and everyday life just… Isn’t. Quiet, that is. I’ve actually been able to turn off my brain a little, turn down the noise in my head, and just listen. Yes, there are birds and the breeze in the trees, soft rain falling, quiet house noises, clocks ticking and quiet new baby sounds. Let me just state categorically that there is NOTHING more precious in this world than the soft sound of a newborn sleeping in your arms.

Even the music in my head has quieted some. It’s always there, but for over a week now I’ve had just a couple of different lyrics running on a loop in the background. Soft and sure, but always there.

Your love never fails
It never gives up
It never runs out on me

It’s very comforting and reassuring to think that God sings over me no matter where I am in this wide world. His grace and mercy find me. I can hear it in the music he gives me. Sometimes I feel him with me when I’m painting, just… present. Sometimes, like this morning, I see God’s grace and mercy, his lovingkindness, in my new grandsons sweet face and chubby cheeks, fresh with Grandmomma kisses on them. And I am overcome with emotion that this great God would love me so very much. That His son, Jesus, would die for me… For this precious baby right here with me. And I am grateful.

Featured image: again, the fjord in Kisserup where we are staying for a few days. I love the way the sky is reflected in the water. A wonderful place to be still and quiet and reflect on the goodness of God.

Start a Fire

We left the city of Copenhagen today for a few days visit north at the shore of a fjord. Aside from being stunningly beautiful, it is windy and chilly. After days and days of rain, we finally have a hint of sunshine, but the chilly wind cuts through. Back at the house after a long walk, my son-in-law lays a fire in the stove in the corner of the living room. After just a few minutes, the cold and chill of rainy damp days is gone. Warmth fills the room, and suddenly we are cozy and drowsy.

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

This song, Start A Fire from Unspoken, has been in my head for days now, singing out a prayer for a God to start a fire in MY soul. I’ve started this same post three or four times and only after our adventures today does it become clear to me.

No matter how far we go outside our own territory, no matter how beautiful or stunning the scenery before us, no matter how tempting the world and all it has to offer, it can be cold. And bitter. And chilly, windy, damp, and downright insufferable at times. Only when we come home to The Lord, home to the truth of God’s word and permit God to “start a fire” in our souls are we able to get warm and dry. To feel the warmth of the Holy Spirit and relax into the coziness of Jesus arms. To crawl up in His lap and be renewed and restored.

But we aren’t meant to stay there – all cozy and warm. We come in from the cold, bitter world to get warm by the fire of God’s love, and then head back out into the World again so that others will see Jesus in us and want to come and stand by the fire of the love of God.

Click here to listen to Start a Fire by Unspoken.

Featured image: the fjord in north Denmark. We don’t have these in Kentucky, y’all.

 

Rain

Rain happens. When you’re traveling, you like to think it won’t rain, that the weather will be perfect wherever you happen to be. But in reality, it rains. And in Copenhagen, it rains a lot! My husband left this morning to fly home, and our walk to the metro left us and his luggage soaked through.

These people are undaunted. Folks are out as usual, walking and riding bicycles. The difference is rain gear and umbrellas. The wet doesn’t bother them in the least, and life goes on as usual. Working, shopping, traveling… As though there is no rain.

No rain. What if we lived our lives in every respect as though there is no rain. Nothing to slow me down. No rain. Nothing to give me an excuse to live my life and move forward. No showers of discontentment. No thunderstorms of “if only.” They happen, but what if we went about our daily lives anyway? If I feel discontent, but cook dinner and do the laundry anyway? If we could turn our “if only” into “in spite of”…

Rains come. Sometimes they feel like typhoons in our lives where everything hits at once, but we don’t walk through them alone. God walks with us, and “sends the early and the late rains” so that we will mature in proper time and season. If it’s raining in your world, grab a raincoat or an umbrella, tuck your head down, and head out the door anyway. Our lives move on, and it’s not how we live our lives on the sunny days… Anybody can make life look easy when everything’s sunshine and roses. What matters is how we live our lives out before others when the rain comes.

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. James 5:7-8

Featured image: we took a boat tour through the canals of Copenhagen. Even though it was raining when we started, the rain stopped and the sun smiled down for a while. I’m glad we went anyway.

Instincts

Copenhagen is a beautiful city and seems to be fairly easy to navigate by foot. We’ve walked all over the city in different directions, but (so far) I have managed to find my way back to the apartment. And if I do happen to get turned around or lose my bearings, I don’t have to wander aimlessly hoping for rescue… I can ask for directions or look at my map. Or I can trust my traveling companion. If I’m walking with my husband or my daughter, I can trust that they know where they’re going and how to get there.

These were my thoughts this morning when I woke up to Unspoken singing Who You Are in my head. Here are the lyrics to the chorus:

You can never fall too hard, so fast, so far
That you can’t get back. When you’re lost,
Where you are is never too late, so bad, so much
That you can’t change Who you are.

The Holy Spirit is my traveling companion in this life until I find my way Home. It doesn’t matter where I walk or how far I go, I can always get back. It’s never too late. What I’ve done or said is never so bad or so much that I can’t change who I am and be what God wants me to be. I’m never alone in this life as long as I’m walking with and trusting The Lord to guide me. I can ask for directions from His holy word… I have the Bible as my guidebook. It’s all mapped out for me, if I’ll take the time to look.

My newborn grandson is snoozing close by while I write this morning. I’m watching closely and listening for his precious newborn noises, ready to pick him up and hold him close at the first sign of distress. He isn’t aware that I’m here, but he instinctively knows that I will care for his every need and he trusts me. I believe God is right here with us as we walk through this life, watching and listening for any opportunity to pick us up, hold us close, and comfort us. We just have to trust… From the deepest, most instinctive part of us.

Click here to listen to Who You Are by Unspoken.

I posted about this song in early June from a different perspective. Just like music you love to listen to, God sometimes lets me hear a song more than once, and teaches me new things. Click here to read Who You Are.

One Thing Remains

Rule number one in a house with a newborn: If the baby ain’t sleepin’, ain’t nobody sleepin’! Especially not his momma. I watched her all night with her baby boy, up and down, nursing, changing, rocking, burping, quieting, changing, feeding, on an endless loop. She’s a natural. Born to be a momma, though her younger brothers may have a different opinion about that, she has a naturally quiet way with her son. Quiet whispers, gentle soothing sounds, confident hands-on nurturing and loving and caring for her baby until he can care for himself someday. (And it won’t stop there!)

“Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.” I woke up with these words in my head from Kristian Stanfill’s song, One Thing Remains.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant in the trial and the change
One thing remains

On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me

In death, in life
I’m confident and covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid
There’s nothing that can separate my heart from Your great love

God’s love never fails us. Ever. Like a new mother, God has a naturally quiet way with his children. He speaks in quiet whispers, gentle soothing sounds, confident hands-on nurturing and loving. His Holy Spirit guides us in the way we should go. When we are stressed, in pain, struggling to hang on, God is there in the middle of it, carrying us through until we can stand on our own. In the middle of it all, one thing remains. God’s perfect love.

Click here to listen to One Thing Remains by Kristian Stanfill.

Featured image: I love baby hands!! This is Samuel’s hand in mine. And as precious as it is to hold his sweet perfect hand in mine, it cannot compare to how God holds my hand, my life, in his hands.

Do you hear the bells??

I love how traveling opens our eyes and ears to new sights and sounds. Take magpies for instance. We don’t have magpies in Kentucky, or at least not that I’ve seen. And swans! The lakes are full of beautiful swans, so graceful and white. I didn’t know that swans rest with one foot tucked up on their back almost like a rudder. As we walk the streets of Copenhagen on a perfect blue-sky day, I hear the usual city sounds accompanied by voices speaking other languages. And church bells. I hear church bells.

I know we have church bells in Kentucky, and we hear them sometimes, especially in small towns. But these bells were every 15 minutes, presumably calling worshippers to come. Not just a mild ding-dong sound, these bells were clanging like Quasimodo himself was up there swinging on the rope!! Hearing the bells and seeing the huge old-world church buildings made me wonder what it must have been like to be in Copenhagen when World War II ended, and all the church bells were going crazy with joy.

Crazy with joy… Like a child at Christmas. Like on your wedding day and the rest of your life is in front of you with the one person God placed next to you. Crazy with joy at the news of the birth of a child or grandchild. Crazy with joy… Like the Angels at the news that another name has been written in the Lamb’s book of life. Like the Father felt when his prodigal son returned. Crazy with JOY… Like the Disciples at the news that Christ had risen from the dead, that He is ALIVE!!!

Featured image: the bells I heard were coming from this church, the oldest in Copenhagen as we were told by a gentleman coming out of the church yard as we passed. Indeed, St. Petri Church is the oldest preserved church in Copenhagen. Click here for more information on this beautiful landmark.

Music to my Ears

After months of waiting and talking about what’s to come, my newest grandchild is finally here. A precious baby boy, so soft and warm, who already has his Grandmomma wrapped around his finger.

We arrived yesterday after a series of uneventful flights. My daughter’s beautiful new family met us at the airport… Waving a Danish flag! It was so good so see her again after almost a year, and to give her a huge hug. And to finally hold my daughter and then my newest grandson, only five days old.

I crashed on the couch for a short nap after a busy day of catching up, long walks, doctor appointments and more. I was awakened from my travel-foggy sleep by Samuel’s crying. Hungry and ready to eat, he was letting his momma know it’s supper time. And it was music to my ears!! There’s just something so pure and holy about a newborn’s cry.

I still cannot look at a newborn baby without thinking how good and how awesome is our God. All the fine details… Long fingers and toes with all the joints. Tiny little ears, so delicate and small. Seeing features in this baby that I saw in my own children at birth, yet so similar to his daddy’s features at the same time.

How God must love us and trust us to make us co-creators with Him. I can’t help but think of these words from the 139th Psalm.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

And just like Samuel’s crying, God’s word is music to my ears.