Against All Odds

First, I just want to say that I am not a Phil Collins fan. Nope. I usually change the station if he comes on the radio, and I sure don’t have any of his songs on my iPod. So why have I had Against All Odds in my head since the wee small hours?? Warning! This song is an ear worm. Don’t read these lyrics if you don’t want this song stuck in your head.

So take a look at me now
well there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothin’ left here to remind me
just the memory of your face
Now take a look at me now
‘cos there’s just an empty space
But to wait for you is all I can do
and that’s what I’ve got to face
Take a good look at me now.

And as I work through this post, trying to figure out why THIS particular song is the one in my head this morning, there is one line on repeat. And now it all makes sense.

“You’re the only one who really knew me at all.”

I think we all want to be really known in this world. To have at least one other person who “gets” us. Someone to whom we don’t have to explain ourselves. That one person who understands without us having to “explain it.” If we’re lucky, it’s our spouse. Or a best friend. Or maybe a sister or brother.

Jesus knows us. Written in red in John 10:27-28 are Jesus’ own words… “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

An amazing promise from The One and Only Son of God. And all I have to do is hear his voice, but I won’t hear if I don’t LISTEN. And if I’m going to truly listen for my Master’s voice, then I’m going to have to unplug. Turn off the noise in my head, my mind, my life. I need to find my quiet place and tune out everything else. Put myself within hearing distance to my Lord.

Jesus is the Only One who really knows me in this life. The Only One who has always known me, even before I was one day old. And, against all odds, He loves me anyway!! He loves me enough to promise that I will never perish… And I will never be snatched from His hand.

Featured image courtesy of snabur-cogito.blogspot.com

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Who Do You Think You Are??

Did anybody ever ask you that question? It’s so confrontational! “Who do you think you are??” Sometimes I know exactly who I am. Other times, I wonder about that myself. “Who are we that You would be mindful of us? What do You see that’s worth looking our way?” Sometimes I ask the exact same questions as this first line from a MercyMe song, God With Us. They’re the lyrics in my head this morning.

Lord You know
Our hearts don’t deserve Your glory
Still You show
A love we cannot afford

All that is within me cries
For You alone be glorified
Emmanuel
God with us

My heart sings a brand new song
The debt is paid these chains are gone
Emmanuel
God with us

The Psalmist asked the same questions, though much more eloquently.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? Psalms 8:3-4

Who am I? I’m a tiny insignificant nobody in the grand scheme of this world. I’m just a woman in love with The Lord. I’m the crazy lady who hears music in her head and feels called to share it with anybody willing to listen. My heart and my spirit sing songs to The Lord… Sleeping, awake, working, resting, painting, sewing, cooking… Doesn’t matter. All for the One who paid my debt, and broke the chains.

Click here to listen to God With Us by MercyMe.

NEW LIFE

It’s a boy!!! All the waiting is over. My beautiful daughter is now a momma to a beautiful precious baby boy. I was overcome with emotion as we Skyped when he was merely an hour old. Still in his birthday suit, he was raising his head and looking around with eyes wide at this brave new world he had just entered.

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

Overcome, overwhelmed, overjoyed, over-the-moon in love with this brand new grandson! I can’t wait to meet him in a few days… Days that will be longer than most because of the waiting. My spirit, my heart, my mind, and my voice have been singing praises to God since his birth yesterday, giving God the glory and honor for this precious new life.

I delight myself in You
Captivated by your beauty
I’m overwhelmed
I’m overwhelmed by You
And God I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed
I’m overwhelmed by You
(Overwhelmed, Big Daddy Weave)

Once again, this God I love and worship with everything in me has knocked me off my feet and to my knees with His grace, mercy, love, graciousness, provision, and so much more! Here’s the thing… If I feel this way because of the birth of a grandchild, as I did when my own children were born, what kind of love must God feel over us? He gave us the same thing… NEW LIFE!!!!

What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King
(Hello, My Name Is, Matthew West)

God is good. All the time.

Click here to listen to Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave.

Click here to listen to Hello, My Name Is by Matthew West.

featured image: brand new grandson, brand new life

Broken Hallelujah

It’s hard to concentrate this morning. Coffee isn’t helping. I was up late talking with my son who is home from college, and then texting with my soon-to-be-a-mommy daughter through the night getting status updates. Her baby is on its way today!!!! I’m so excited for her and her husband, and I can’t wait to know whether I have a grandson or granddaughter. They chose to be surprised, but I don’t think any of us thought the surprise would take this long to arrive!

Babies take their sweet time, don’t they? I know that mine were all very late to arrive. Very reluctant infants… And absolutely completely and totally worth the wait!!!! It’s funny how we can wait and plan for nine months for the arrival of a new baby in the family, but ultimately God is the only one who knows when that baby will come. I have this line in my head from a song called Broken Hallelujah by the Afters.

Even though I don’t know what your plan is
I know You’re making beauty from these ashes

When I look back at the births of my own children, I can see how God had a perfect plan for their arrival. At the time, I was way overdue, exhausted, and ready to hold my baby in my arms instead of carrying around all that weight in my belly. And, believe me, there was a lot of it because my babies were all about 10 pounds except one.

But God knew better. When they finally arrived, all with different stories and different circumstances, all the waiting anxiousness and stress was gone in an instant. All the pain and discomfort receded into the background and there was nothing more beautiful or magical in my world than that precious new life in my arms. God brought this beautiful new life into my heart and my world for me to love and nurture. Beauty. God took away the pain and discomfort of pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. Ashes. Gods promise from Isaiah 61:3:

to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair;

There are so many times in my life when I thought I would never make it through. They say hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, I can see how God made beauty from the ashes in my life so many times. He took what I thought was not worth saving, and turned it into something wonderful and useful for His glory and honor. And for that, I can only give him my Broken Hallelujah.

I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain
On my knees, I call Your name
Here’s my broken hallelujah
With nothing left to hold onto
I raise these empty hands to You
Here’s my broken hallelujah

Click here to listen to Broken Hallelujah by the Afters.

Featured image courtesy shoutitforlife.com

How my heart gets

Martha Robertson Art

I was never one to keep a journal of any kind. I’ve made repeated half-hearted attempts over the years, and the end result is lots of pretty journaling notebooks with a few pages of notes and poetry written in them… All collecting dust on a shelf or tucked away in a box or a drawer. When I started writing this blog, I was really concerned that it would go the way of those old journals, collecting cyber-dust someplace. Or that I wouldn’t REALLY have a song in my head every day… That somehow writing it down would stop the songs from coming.

But it hasn’t. Just like all the months and years before, I still wake up every morning with music in my head. The difference now is that I’m analyzing and critiquing the music. Was it there when I woke up? Did it wake me up or start after…

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Build Your Kingdom Here

I think I watched the news a little too long last night. Technically, I wasn’t watching. My husband was watching the news, and I was listening as I quilted. Another beheading by terrorists that nobody can seem to do anything about. Ebola virus at an all-time high and now within our own borders. Air strikes. Politics and more politics. And so much more!

Clear as a bell as my eyes opened this morning, I heard Rend Collective singing, “Come set our hearts ablaze with hope, like wildfire in our very souls. Holy Spirit come invade us now!” Lyrics from Build Your Kingdom Here. It feels as though there has never been a time in our history when we needed God to build His Kingdom here on earth more than we do right now. All over the world, people are desperate for what Jesus came to bring… LIFE in all its beauty, and all that gives life. Food, shelter, clothing, water, love, hope, and peace. And, above all, to know the Giver of Life.

Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” How will they get what we, as Christians, already have if we don’t take it to them? If we don’t bring the Kingdom of God TO them? I love the words to the chorus in this song.

Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here
We pray

Change the atmosphere! Right where we are, we can change the atmosphere in our homes, our offices, our schools, our gyms or wherever we spend time. Refuse to participate in the negative. Ask questions of others, and then listen to the answer. Overlook small offenses. Make it about others rather than ourselves.

I don’t think any of us can understand how different our worlds would be if God were to truly show his mighty hand. But don’t you want to try? Don’t you want to see the Darknesses of this life run and hide in fear of God’s mighty hand? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if terrorist organizations ceased to exist? Or if there were to be a cure and a vaccine for Ebola?

God, come set Your rule and reign in our lives. Set Your church on fire! Set our hearts ablaze with hope like wildfire in our very souls! Heal our streets and lands. Bring your Kingdom here, and show us how we can participate. Show us how to be Kingdom-Bringers.

Click here to listen to Build Your Kingdom Here by Rend Collective. I love their tag line… “Homemade worship by handmade people.” Isn’t that great??

Featured Image: courtesy findingthelight-charlene.blogspot.com

Waiting…

Waiting for a baby to come is worse than waiting for Christmas. We KNOW Christmas is December 25th. We DON’T know when the baby will come. My reluctant (overdue) grandbaby is content where he or she is at the moment. Of course that could change any time, but for now… We wait, which requires patience, which is not my best thing.

Waiting for a text or a phone call that they’re headed to the hospital… Well, it’s a little nerve-wracking. I’ve been working on a quilt for this new little precious life, but I’m almost finished with it. I’ve washed up all the baby things that need to be packed for our trip. I’ve tried to stay busy so I don’t notice the waiting so much. I think we do the same thing with God. We pray for God to intervene in our lives or a situation, and then we wait. We don’t know when or if God will choose to intervene or how He will do so, we just lay it before Him and “wait in expectation.”

Psalm 5:3 – In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

We know we can go to God and give Him all our best and worst. We can ask in boldness and without fear, and then we wait in expectation, just like we are waiting expectantly for this baby, keeping an eye on our phones for a sign that things are happening. When we pray, we can wait with that kind of expectation! Knowing something will happen eventually if not soon. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, looking for an indication that our situation or circumstance is changing, that God is moving in our lives.

I have a Mr. Rogers Neighborhood song in my head… “Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting, while we’re waiting for something new to do.”

Featured image: drawing of my son at age six, waiting for Christmas.

“How Are You?”

We just don’t know the “stuff” people are carrying around with them every day. We can’t see the pain behind the mask on their faces. We all do it… Smile and pretend everything’s just fine. That’s our answer when someone says, “How are you?” “Fine,” we say. Are we really and truly “fine?”

Sometimes I say, “I’m doing well, thank you.” Or “hanging in there, how about you?” Mostly, I don’t want to unload my burdens on other people when they really don’t want to know. Asking “How are you?” is more of a greeting, like saying “good morning.” I figure if somebody truly wants to know how I am, they will stop and give me a hug or take a minute to have some conversation and really find out how I am doing. And I’ll do the same.

The song in my head this morning is an old spiritual called Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. “Nobody knows my sorrow. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows but Jesus.” Don’t we sometimes feel that Jesus is the only person who really knows what I’m feeling? The only one who genuinely understands my heart?

Sometimes I’m up. Sometimes I’m down. Sometimes I’m almost to the ground!

Sometimes, I need another person to come alongside and help me carry the load. Someone to rejoice with. Someone to cry with. We are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2 True imitators of Christ… Christians… Because Jesus is our supreme example of how to bear one another’s burdens. He bore ALL our sin and shame on the cross. He took it all on himself. Surely I can take five minutes to say, “How are you?” And really want to know the answer!