What color is love?

Maybe it’s the artist in me, but I LOVE COLOR!!! In everything… walls, dishes, clothes, sunsets, flowers… God has created the most beautiful colors imaginable, and some I’m sure we cannot imagine and will only realize when we reach our heavenly home. But this morning, I’m stuck on red. Blood red.

All night long, The Lord was singing the same words over me. I have a broken rib from a bike wreck last week (another story for another time) so I’m not sleeping well these days. Every time I woke to turn over or get comfortable, Chris Tomlin’s song At The Cross (Love Ran Red) was singing through my head. And it won’t stop.

At the cross

At the cross

I surrender my life

I’m in awe of You, I’m in awe of You

Where Your love ran red

And my sin washed white

I owe all to You, I owe all to You

Jesus

My love can run blue if I’m lonely. Or yellow if I’m happy and silly. Or white when the momma bear comes out in me. And even pink and red when my husband is around. But Jesus’ love is that deep, dark blood-red. The red that flowed from his sides. The blood-red that flowed from his hands and feet as He hung on the cross. The red that mingled with His sweat as He waited for His Father to end His agony and take Him home.

And because His love ran red, my sin is washed white as snow. I am made pure and perfect in the goodness and grace of God’s son. A blinding white… A white that blocks out everything except the One who gave Himself up for me.

And I am forever changed. And forever grateful.

Click here to listen to At The Cross (Love Ran Red) 

What’s Different?

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. August 1st was the one-year anniversary of my retirement, which got me to thinking about the last year and how things are the same and different from then to now… About everything that has happened in the last year, and everything that hasn’t. I even made a list, which I’m prone to do, and it looks so different in writing than it does in my mind. In fact, my list for what is different, and for things that have happened since last year, is so very much longer than my list for what is the same and for things that haven’t happened.

I think this is a good thing. I’m not a person who accepts change very quickly or well. I’m a “Who moved my cheese?” kinda gal. But now that I see it in writing, I’m thinking maybe one of the biggest differences since last year is ME!! I’m healthier and stronger. I’m using my creativity and gifts more than ever. I have more and stronger relationships and friendships. And when I look at everything God has done in the last year to GET me here, I am overwhelmed by His blessing.

It’s amazing what can happen when I say YES to God. When I open myself fully to what He has in store for me. When I spend more time in His presence getting to know Him more and more. New opportunities to stretch myself with my art and music. Travel. A new church home where we are working and serving together and where we are seeing the Holy Spirit move. A new business. My new bike that gets me out there and loving life. New grandchildren!

There are a couple of things that I wish had changed in the last year, like the number on my bathroom scale or my pants size. But some things may never change. And I am eternally grateful that one of those things is that God loves me. And how God sings over me. That Jesus saves… He still does!! And that I can take anything and everything to The Lord in prayer and know without a doubt that He hears me.

The song in my head as I opened my eyes this morning was a piece of the third verse from What a Friend We Have in Jesus. 

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In His arms He’ll take and shield thee.

Thou wilt find a solace there.

That’s another thing that I’m so glad will never change… I will always find solace in the arms of my Savior.

Can I get an AMEN??

I love you all.

Featured image: my lovely daughter-in-law dancing on the beach. A beautiful expression of God’s unchanging love in motion. ❤️ Photo credit: Emily Price

The Loudest Voice

I’m not so sure it was a silent night. Anybody who has given birth knows that it is NOT a quiet process. When Jesus was born in that manger, was his newborn cry tiny and frail? Could Mary and Joseph hear it over the sounds of the animals in the nearby stalls? Or was His the loudest voice of all?

When my babies were born, I saw nothing in that delivery room except that baby. Did he have hair? “How small she looks!” I counted all the fingers and toes… 40 fingers and 40 toes altogether over the years. “She has so much hair and its sticking straight up!!” “Look at his back… It’s covered in fuzz and there are rolls of fat.” I was so grateful and thankful to finally get that baby here, my focus was only on him. On her. And when I heard that first cry, I laughed and cried at the same time. Every time. It’s the most beautiful sound in the world!!

I think that Jesus’ voice was all his mother, Mary, heard that night. I think the sound of cattle and sheep, chickens and donkeys, and anything else in that stable receded into the background so far that Jesus’ voice is all she heard. She was listening for it at His birth, waiting to hear that first cry. And she was grateful and thankful to God for that sweet beautiful sound!

Jesus’ love is still the loudest voice. It reaches us in the middle of all the chaos of our lives. If we listen for His voice, everything else recedes into the background and HIS will be the only voice we hear. The world would have us believe otherwise. So many other voices are thrown at us all day every day, and if we aren’t paying attention, we could miss the sweet precious voice of Jesus and His love… His love that washes us in peace at Christmas time and every other time.

Choose Gratitude

I’ve been reading about gratitude, which is appropriate for this time of year, I suppose. It’s interesting to see the contrast between those with a grateful, humble spirit and those with a sense of entitlement and a proud heart. The difference truly is an attitude of gratitude! Don’t get me wrong. I have been, and still can be, the biggest complainer of anybody! But I’m working on it, and believe me… It’s a process!!!

The song in my head this morning is Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman. I don’t know if it’s there because I’m grateful and thankful, or if all the reading and thinking about gratitude made me think of the song. Either way, it speaks to the heart of what I believe to be true. God is good, all the time! And I am so very grateful for every good and perfect gift that He sends from above.

Every blessing You pour out
I’ll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord

I love that phrase… “Every blessing you pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” Giving it all back to God is the one thing we can do to be a worshipper instead of a whiner… other-conscious instead of self-conscious. It’s the difference between being satisfied and discontent. It means having a full heart instead of a leaky heart that always needs more.

I much prefer to count (and re-count!) my blessings instead of my problems. We have all been around negative people, and wished that we weren’t! See, that’s the thing. Gratitude is contagious. Negativity is toxic.

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Practice gratitude. Just like practicing the piano or the violin or baseball or yoga, it’s the practicing that makes it better. Stronger. Let your heart choose to say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

CHOOSE GRATITUDE!!

Click here to listen to Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman.

Check out Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. http://www.ReviveOurHearts.com

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.

Along the ride

Yesterday, I wrote about happiness being a byproduct of gratitude. (Read HAPPY here.) After writing that post, I hopped on my brand new bike to take it out for its maiden ride. I thought I’d just ride up the road a little, check it out, see how it feels, make sure the seat height is right… Nothing too radical. After all, I hadn’t ridden for several years because of spine issues and surgeries.

IT FELT SO GOOD!!!!! I rode a little way up the road, then a little further, then I conquered a long hill. I set myself a boundary and, when I reached it, I sent up a bullet prayer of thanks to God. I rode for an hour! It was HARD. We live on a little country road with lots of hills and curves. A challenging course for most accomplished riders. Granted, I stayed in the lowest gear while conquering those hills, but conquer I did! And all along the way I was sending up prayers of thanks and gratitude.

Gorgeous blue skies
Wispy clouds
Perfect temperature
Birds
Made it to the end of our road
Crickets
Cicadas
Cows
NO dogs
Made it up that hill
Only one car
My new bike
Time to ride
Got up that long hill without having to walk my bike
My healed back so I can ride
Strong legs
My husbands encouragement
Danville Bike & Fitness for fitting me with the perfect bike

You get the picture. Overcome with gratitude!! And I have to tell you, I am a happy girl!!! It stayed with me all day as I washed furniture and put my living room back in order. The paint job looks fabulous, the furniture is rearranged and clean, the excess “stuff” is boxed up and ready to take someplace else… Any place else!

At the end of the day, I was exhausted, invigorated, grateful, thankful, and happy. I fell asleep thanking God for every little bit of it. And this morning, I have hope that my strength and health will return.

Attitude of gratitude = happy heart = hopeful spirit. And Hope can change everything!

Go here to listen to Hope Can Change Everything by the K-LOVE Fan Awards Artists

Untitled Blog

When I woke up this morning, the sun was peaking over the horizon, checking to see if I was ready to play. More than ready, I jumped out of bed, almost giddy with anticipation and excitement. My studio waits patiently, like a long-lost friend, as I make a cup of dark French roast coffee and head up the stairs.

Watching the familiar sunrise from my studio window, I think of all the sunsets I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks. Amazing Technicolor displays over mountains, the piedmont, the ocean… Stunning! And yet. And yet, nothing compares to the sun rising over the farmland and treetops right here in central Kentucky. Because it’s home.

As I fell asleep last night in my own bed in my own house, I was thanking God for safe travels, a chance to rest and relax, time away with my husband, beautiful places to visit, dear friends and family who provided for us during this time… and so much more. As I awoke this morning, this one line of lyric and music is running through my head…

How will I ever declare my love for You?

Because I feel that, no matter how I try, I will never be able to express to my precious Lord Jesus how much I love Him. How grateful I am to God for His blessings beyond measure. Words cannot express how my heart feels at this moment on this Lord’s day to be here, in my home, in my studio, with my Bible and my coffee, writing this love letter to God. And I can only imagine that this is a teeny tiny, itty bitty little piece of how I will feel when I finally make it Home to Heaven and see Jesus face to face.

Have a listen to a couple of songs that popped into my mind as I wrote… Both are MercyMe songs.

I Can Only Imagine

Finally Home

I chose the title for this blog because none others seemed to fit. The featured image is our home in Kentucky.