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.

Don’t Deserve You

My thoughts are all over the map this morning. We are having a much-needed rain and I can hear thunder in the distance… Drumming across the sky behind the sound of the birds waking up, singing their song to whoever will listen. My husband is awake downstairs, having breakfast, making his lunch, feeding the dogs, getting ready for work. Behind all this, or maybe in the middle of it all, I hear Plumb’s voice singing, “And when I walk away, You take off running and come right after me.” Only this line, on repeat.

I couldn’t even recall the song this line came from and had to look it up. It’s from the song Don’t Deserve You off of her Need You Now album. You can hear the full song here, but the words to the chorus are:

I don’t deserve Your love
But You give it to me anyway
Can’t get enough
You’re everything I need
And when I walk away
You take off running and come right after me
It’s what You do
And I don’t deserve You

God must have tired legs if He takes off running after me every time I walk away. I’m so thankful that He does, but why DO I walk away? And HOW do I walk away? I am the faithful one, the girl who had a “job” at church from the time I was 13, and have stayed faithful to whatever church I served and to The Lord most of my life. And the older I get, the less wandering I do. But I do wander…

I trust other things when I should be trusting God alone. I go with my emotions when I should be going with the truth and promises in God’s word. I harden my heart against what or who I think may hurt me. I stock my refrigerator for an army when there are only two of us in the house. I watch the bank account like it will disappear any minute rather than depending on God to provide.

It is absolutely pouring right now… There is not a dry spot left out there, and the ground is soaking up the water like a dry sponge. That is what I want to do with my heart… Soak up God’s word, God’s love, God’s grace and mercy with my dry heart, and let it swell full and heavy with all the He has to give.

Easter thoughts

I think that this has been the very best Easter-tide that I can remember. (Have I mentioned that Easter is my favorite?) Of course, we had absolutely perfect weather… The kind of day I always see in my head when I think of Easter morning. Sunny with only a wisp of a cloud, a perfect 75 degrees, bright and clear and clean, everything blooming and beautiful. A perfect day to celebrate our risen Lord!

And celebrate we did!!! Easter is a work day for me, and I had to be on the bench, ready to play at 8:30. But I love every minute of it… Playing with the orchestra, all the hymns of Easter, accompanying a packed-out choir, the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I love church on Easter Sunday with all the little girls in their bright Easter dresses and shiny new shoes. Little boys with their hair combed down in their itchy little suits and bow ties. I even saw a few Easter bonnets on display!

I think the best part has to be the contrast that the brightness and glory of Easter creates from the darkness and despair of Good Friday. In my heart, I must mourn the death of Jesus before I can rejoice that He is risen. If I don’t acknowledge the pain and suffering that Jesus walked through to get to the cross, how can I accept the gift of salvation that the resurrection means?

The very first Easter hymn that I ever learned to improvise on was He Arose.

Up from the grave He arose
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose a victor from the dark domain
And He lives forever with His saints to reign
He arose
He arose
Hallelujah Christ arose!

I was about 11 years old and I have a very clear picture in my mind of being at my Mamaw’s house in western Kentucky, playing that song for her on that old upright piano. Even then I loved how the verse would be so slow and dark… Again a contrast to the victory of the chorus.

low in the grave He lay
Jesus my savior
Waiting the coming day
Jesus my Lord

I had the great privilege of hosting my family for Easter on Saturday. All the kids hiding and finding eggs, swinging on the porch swing, playing in the sunshine, adults sitting in the rockers and just spending time together. All the wonderful food everyone prepared and ate. Listening to all the stories, and catching up. Just letting the day wash over me.

Without the dark, there is no light. Without the rain and clouds, there is no spring with its blooming beauty. Without pain, we can’t understand joy. Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter. Without Jesus’ death, there would be no resurrection. I’m so glad He got up from that grave!!!!

I would love to hear YOUR thoughts on Easter. Please post a comment or leave a reply. Thanks!!!

Beautiful Day

I’ve been up for 30 minutes and it’s just now 5:18 in the morning. Dark. Quiet. Still. The birds aren’t even up yet. This is my favorite time of the day. I look forward to this time and I’m extremely protective of it. Doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, I’m up and in my studio with my coffee about this time every day.

It’s kind of funny today that it’s so quiet and dark, because the song in my head this morning goes:

Ooo, There’s somethin’ ’bout the way
Your sun shines on my face.
It’s a love so true I can never get enough of You.
This feeling can’t be wrong.
I’m about to get my worship on.
Take me away on this beautiful day!

I’ve got no need to worry, I’ve got no room for doubt
No matter what’s coming at me,
You’ll always be the beautiful I sing about
There ain’t no limitations to Your amazing grace
And there’s somethin’ ’bout the way Your love shines on my face

This is an upbeat Jamie Grace song called Beautiful Day. It makes me smile and sing along. It makes my heart happy even when it’s dark outside, or dreary and rainy, or if I’m just having an awful day at work.

To wake up with this song singing through my mind gives me a brighter day before my feet even hit the floor. It’s so hard to describe! It’s NOT a Disney kind of feeling with blue-birds dressing me while squirrels bring me my morning coffee. It’s a deep knowing that, no matter what the day brings, I have a joy deep down that I cannot even describe. A “joy unspeakable and full of glory” as the old hymn says.

There’s another line from this song I love…

When trouble seems to rain on my dreams
It’s not a big, not a big deal
Let it wash all the bugs off my windshield
Cause Your showing me that in a You, I’m free
And Lord, You are the refuge that I can’t wait to get to

The “rain” of trouble or problems in my life and all the mess they can cause, or hurt they bring up in my heart… Washing the “bugs” off the rose-colored windshield I tend to use sometimes. My bugs of selfishness, pride, vanity, doubt. One thing I know without a doubt is that trouble in my life brings me closer to the Giver of Life. They bring me to my knees and back to the One who can turn it all around.

So “no matter what’s coming at me, You’ll always be the Beautiful I sing about.” In my head, in my heart, in the shower, in the car…

I wonder if I could get a rose-colored windshield installed on my car…

listen to this song on YouTube

It’s Raining!!

It’s raining this morning. I can hear it outside my window in the dark. Not storming or blowing against the house, but a quiet steady rain. This is the kind of rain I don’t mind. It sounds soft against the window… A refreshing spring rain. The kind that waters the ground and all the new plant life opening up, budding out, preparing to bloom and bless us with beauty.

This kind of rain is what I imagine the love of God to be like. Soft when it falls on me, soaking into my soul. Refreshing my heavy heart and giving me what I need to truly grow and bloom where I am planted.

These words just popped into my head as I’m listening and writing…

Rain Your love down on my soul
Soft and gentle, sweet and pure,
As I reach toward the light of Your mercy.
Wash away my guilt and shame.
Bring new life by Your sweet name.
Rain on me till I’m no longer thirsty.

Exactly what I needed this morning! I’m really struggling with some things right now, and it’s so easy for me to get self-focused and forget why I’m here and why I do what I do. It’s so easy for me to depend on myself rather than the One who put me here.

Life would be so much easier if I let the soft rain of God’s love soak in, refresh me, keep me nurtured and growing. But more often than not, I open my “self” umbrella that shields me from the rain, keeps me dry and dependent on what my feeble human mind and body can do.

Lord, I want to dance in the rain with You! Splash in the puddles of Your love. Turn my head up and open my mouth to let Your rain fall soft upon my tongue. Unafraid. Unabandoned. Arms wide open.