Category: Music


“THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”   1 Corinthians 2:9

I attended a conference this past weekend and while I was there I went to a session in which a married couple shared their love story.  An engaging and beautiful story about how God brought them together and how they trusted Him for their relationship.

The speakers were Eric & Leslie Ludy, authors of the top-selling relationship book:

When God Writes Your Love Story

I was in awe of this incredible story.  When I left the session, I was pumped about how God works in lives.  I have seen Him time and time again provide similarly in my life through His provision with finances or His great protection but I never really thought about how, if we only trust Him that way in every area, of course He would reveal Himself in amazing and awesome ways.

But what shocked me was the feedback I heard from others who attended the same session; some youth as well as other leaders… saying it’s “unrealistic.”

Why is so it unrealistic?  I thought.  That is exactly how God works!

Instead of continuing to take things into their own hands, the Ludy’s completely trusted God to provide their future spouse and He totally came through.  God provided exactly what each of them wanted, like He will do and has done so many times before for those who fully trust Him!

Just imagine how we take things into our own hands, like with our finances when we use credit cards to purchase things.

“Don’t use credit cards?!”  You think…  “Unrealistic!”

kissing card

But what if??

When we use credit, we are controlling how we get things.  Many times, I would say, it is for something we don’t truly need but even when there are times of “emergency,” using a credit card to pay for said “emergency” is taking it out of God’s hands. That “emergency” has been filtered through God’s loving fingers; it’s a test…a trial… and how we respond to it can easily take away an opportunity for God to work in an amazing and awesome way and also says a great deal about what we are truly placing our trust in.

Had I borrowed money for groceries or gas at one of the many times we had nothing left in our account or in our pockets, I would have missed God ringing our doorbell or pushing our car.  God works in amazing and wonderful ways and His intent is for us to experience exactly that in this life He has planned for us.  How many other times have I missed an opportunity to allow God to work in my life because I decided, like Sarai, to take matters into my own hands?

My way or the highway

Like Eric and Leslie’s story, God has been working in love lives for ages… read the story of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24:14-20) or how God intervened to be sure Sarah was not defiled by Abimelek…

“Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that in the integrity of your heart you have done this, and I also kept you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her.”   Genesis 20:6

Why don’t we fully trust God?  Because it’s hard.  Sure, it’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard!!  If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be called faith.

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”   Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

What would happen if we truly trusted God for every aspect of our lives?

Just imagine it… what life could truly be like, how easy it would be to see God working, how our lives would be changed and lives around us affected!

“Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number.”   Job 9:10

Is there something you need to give up control of?  Is it time to trust God’s plan for your life?  God wants what’s best for you, He always has.  Give it to God and see how He responds.

 

 

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When I was about 12 years old I went with a friend over to her Aunt’s house, but before we went in my friend warned me that her Aunt was a “born again Christian.”

That phrase intrigued me, but I didn’t understand it.  What was clear was that “those people” were to be avoided and I needed to be very cautious around them.

I met her Aunt and she didn’t seem weird or different to me at all.  The only difference I saw was that she had a picture on her wall of Jesus Christ.  That’s it…

Prince of Peace

…but what I learned from that moment could have had eternally devastating consequences.

A couple years ago, going into the holiday season I had a pretty poor attitude actually.  I very much enjoy singing Christmas carols; don’t get me wrong the harmonies and chords put together are absolutely divine.  But at that time, I was being filled by and adored singing praise to my God through the heartfelt lyrics contemporary worship songs offered.  The thought of reverting back to those age-old and over-sung Christmas carols just irritated me.  But they are fun to sing so I figured I could put up with it for that month or so and very much looked forward to when we would go back to singing songs of real praise to our Lord.

Boy do I have a lot to learn…and Praise God for changing my heart and opening my ears!

One day I heard the carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Hark! The herald angels sing.

How many times have I heard that song…in fact, how many times have I sung it?!!  But that time around …which I’m sure was about the 85,369th time… I heard a phrase I never heard or I guess I never paid attention to before:

“…born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.”

There it is!

The reason Christ came…to give us “second birth” or in other words, so we could be born again!!

Being a “born again Christian” is not something to avoid, it is something to achieve…for Goodness sake, we SING SONGS about it!!

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’   John 3:3-7 (NIV)

Had that phrase been explained to me back when I was 12 years old, my life could’ve been so different… and I might have avoided some very poor choices.  I obviously wasn’t ready to hear it then and thankfully God had other plans.  I certainly would not be the person I am today had I been saved at a younger age and as I look back now I can see all of the “born again Christians” God did use and continues to use to point me to Him and I praise Him for each one.

born again

Who is He using in your life?
Better yet, how is He using YOU?

 

Whenever I am asked that question, my answer is always Little Drummer Boy.

 

 

Even as a kid I loved that song, and it always seemed like I was one of the few who chose it.  I even remember people asking me why I liked it so much, and I never really had an answer.  I guess I liked how the songwriter incorporated the pa-rum-pum-pum-pum throughout the song…but otherwise I just didn’t know.

Today I heard the song again, and today God brought out the words;

“…then He smiled at me.”

 Whoa.

That’s it!  That’s exactly why I like it, and yet that’s exactly what I didn’t understand so many years ago…that relationship.

Jesus doesn’t want gifts, He wants our heart.

The little drummer boy literally gave Jesus all he had.  His heart when he played his drum and Jesus accepted it with a smile.

Oh, to have Jesus smile when I meet him face to face as we all will one day.  To hear him say;  

“Well done, good and faithful servant…”   Matthew 25:21 

 

Man, I wish I had a drum.

african drum hands

 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”   Psalm 136:1

When I was about ten years old I was a girl scout (and I find it a bit disturbing that the exact girl scout uniform I used to wear -above- I found the image on the Smithsonian legacies site.)  I should’ve just gone downstairs and taken a picture of my old uniform!

Anyway, that’s not the point although I kind of dig the fact that I have waaaay more patches on my sash.  🙂

We used to go camping as a troop and one time we stencil painted our names and an adjective to describe us on a pillow case.  The catch was the adjective had to start with the first letter of our name.

Great.  There were only 3 words I could think of for N;  Nice, Naughty & Nutty.  (I know, there are far cooler N adjectives… give me a break I was ten.)

We went around the circle telling everyone our adjective…

Cute Christy

Sweet Shannon

Adorable Angie

Jumping Jena

Oh they had such cute names, I was totally going with Nutty Nicole.  It was fun and would make people laugh…oh yes, that was the one.

As we went around the circle, it stopped at the other Nicole in the group who was just as inventive on N adjectives as I was.  “Nutty Nicole” she said.

I about had a heart attack.  I was certainly not going with naughty, and nice was just lame!  The circle rounded  its final turn and I was last to go, and I said…

It is so funny the silly regrets we have in life. The little things we wish we could change… and I can assure you no one else even remembers the adjective I chose back then, but I do not still have and never did use that pillow case!

Do I wish I would’ve gone with another word?  Absolutely!  Any other; neat, nifty, noble, notorious, even noisy would’ve been good, but what I find so interesting is how desperately I did not want to be associated with the word:

           

We are born with an innate sense of right and wrong since the fall of mankind.  God didn’t want us to have to choose between right and wrong.  He had one rule…

“…You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”   Genesis 2:16-17

We are made in the image of our Creator who cannot do wrong, but since that fateful choice to eat from the tree, all the generations since have possessed that choice… and so we struggle.

“…Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil…”   Genesis 3:22

Thankfully as Christ followers we have help…

“… he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”   John 14:16-17

Although we all will fail at some point after giving our lives to Christ by making a wrong choice, I have frequently found myself labeled and placed in the “naughty” category, often by other Christians, because of the songs I listen to, the jokes I laugh at, the movies I see.

One of my favorite songs is “Fly Away” by FFH;

This song speaks to my heart.  I love it’s sound, it’s beat and especially it’s message.  I sang this song as a special one Sunday a long time ago at a church we used to attend,

and got in trouble for it.

At that same church I lead the youth program, AWANA, and used some Go Fish songs to teach the the kids;

it was frowned upon.

The God I serve is an exciting, colorful, and fun-loving God and I have been taught that the way I see Him and life is wrong.  Thankfully He brought us to the church we now call home, where I am surrounded by other people who enjoy life, a good laugh and a strong beat.  They are just as crazy as me in thinking God is alive and energetic and wonderful.

“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.”   Zephaniah 3:17

“…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”   Isaiah 62:5

Our five senses point to His creativity and enjoyment.

Why do we have taste buds?

Why does our skin long for touch?

Why does He create things of beauty for us to gaze upon?

Why do we prefer certain sounds?

Why can we be satisfied by a scent?

And why then did He create laughter?

Of course we must have a healthy fear of the One who created us.  He has rules we are expected to follow and we are to glorify Him through our actions and our lives, but to say He doesn’t want us to fully enjoy Him and this world He created specifically for us, is silly.

“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”   1 Timothy 6:17

Find out for yourself how great God is.  He wants you to live life, love life, and love Him.

 

I was approached about being part of a band about a month ago, and if any of you know me AT ALL, I love to sing and I absolutely have no problem standing on a stage.  SO…when the offer came, I didn’t have to think very hard about the answer.

“But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.”   Psalm 106:13

I went to the first practice at the Madison Music Foundry; a real music recording studio, and I was like a little kid at Disneyland.  It was so cool!

I met the other band members there…three of whom I already knew and played with on the worship team at church, and three I hadn’t met before.  We made our introductions and when the guys started playing, I was awe-struck.

Steve “BigDaddy” played bass and tried to simultaneously play the trumpet which doesn’t work, but when he was able to wail on that horn he sounded like Dizzy Gillespie!  Sweet.  And when he sings?  He’s got so much soul, you need to question his upbringing…and his moves??  White boy has got some moves!

Greg, who I typically see playing guitar, was boss on drums hitting a stellar beat…and watching his face light up when he played was infectious!

Tom “TK” on guitar, has mad guitar playing skills and can improvise like a magician.  He has so much fun and so easily adds riffs and calls to a song, he makes a great song howl.

Now, I thought I was in amazing company watching these church boys kill it musically, but when I met the other guys…  whoa.

Pedro doesn’t say a lot…but clearly speaks through his guitar.  His fingers expertly fly over the strings and seriously plays like Jimi Hendrix.

Will was jamming on the hand drums and tambourine, but when he started singing?   Wow.  He has the sound and timing of Michael Jackson.  It was awesome!

But Dex, the coup de grace, the ringleader and bossman… plays crazy beat on the drums, writes his own music and lyrics, has a chocolaty smooth island voice and can rap…  aaaaahhhhh, heaven.  But when he pulled out his harmonica and started playing, I think my knees buckled.

 

Oh, such sweet sounds from this amazing group of musicians…I was waaaaaay out of my league.

“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe!”   Psalm 150:4

It was so fun, to just jam and sing, although everyone else was doing all the work!  You see, I don’t play much of anything, saxophone a while back, but don’t have a horn anymore…so now I just sing and reap all the rewards of being surrounded by gifted players.

These guys were amazing, and although I had at least heard most of the songs before, I didn’t always know exactly how the beat dropped or how the lyrics flowed, but they were so forgiving of the silly-little-star-struck girl standing awkwardly by her mic.

It was a true blessing to be part of this amazing group, and I was so excited when I came home from practice I could hardly stand it.  I learned a couple new songs that I totally loved and was eager to learn more.  My kids were excited, my husband too… in fact, the first thing he said was:

“You’re in a band.”

Even the girls at work were excited and “wouldn’t miss” seeing the performance!!  Unbelievable.  This is something I had always wanted to be part of.  Something I had always dreamed of…and now I had the chance!!  How could God provide even more of my dreams?!!

Amazing.

Over the next few weeks I noticed that practicing was a lot more time consuming than I had expected.  I essentially had to learn all of these songs over again – but this time the harmony part, and there were several songs I didn’t know which raised the ante a bit.

I had to prepare for my writer’s conference in July with a book manuscript and proposal to write, and I’ve been asked to sub at work much more frequently which the money will help immensely for my trip.  However, I quickly realized I had gotten myself in way over my head.

When I said yes to the writer’s conference, I prayed a lot over it – seeking guidance and council.  But over the band, I just jumped right in.  I had always wanted to sing in a group and I saw this as another amazing provision and gift from God…but as the weeks went by I found myself starting to not sleep well at night.

“I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.”   Psalm 16:7

I was concerned about the loss of writing time, that I didn’t really know the songs very well and stressing over the timing of everything…but I had made a commitment.  I had given my word.

“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes ‘ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”   Matthew 5:37

I finally sat down and spent time talking to God about my concerns and asking for guidance and direction over what to do.  I voiced my concerns to one of the band members and he encouraged and assured me not to stress it and give me an out.  But I was most concerned about Dex.  I didn’t want to disappoint him, because I knew he was counting on each of us.

Praise God how He works…

It wasn’t but a couple days later that an email came from Dex saying that things just weren’t working out the way he had hoped, so he was canceling the gig.

“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.”   Isaiah 30:21

So I was free.  All God wanted was for me to acknowledge Him…to seek His leadership…and to ask for help.  A weight had been lifted and I was off the hook, but it broke my heart.

Had I not been called to write and had God not orchestrated all of the stories and provision for the conference, I would have totally been able to commit to the band.

But, isn’t it amazing how easily we can be distracted – even by things that seem like an answer to prayer – a long time “desire of our heart.”

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”   1 John  4:1

Even if it seems right, we MUST seek guidance from the Almighty.  We must make sure our will and step is in alignment with His…because it is possible for us to be lured by the adversary…

our longings met by the one whose promises are empty…

who convinces us we are doing fine on our own.

When we truly seek guidance from the One who longs for our attention, He might just allow us to see that those “desires of our heart” have already been fulfilled.

“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.’”   Isaiah 48:17

I am in a band.

I am able to perform weekly, on a large stage, under hot lights, with live mic’s, in a group of outstandingly talented musicians.

And to be a part of a band who plays for God’s pleasure and to worship Him??  Greatest gift and blessing ever…

and EXACTLY what I have always wanted.

The song I fell in love with during my brief stint in a rock band:

I consider it a real blessing to be able to listen to Christian radio at work. Sirius FM plays throughout the clinic but there isn’t a speaker where I sit, so I have a radio on my desk and am able to tune it to anything I want.

Typically I run around and don’t get to sit at my desk for long periods of time during the day, but there is a span of about two hours when I am able to sit, listen, and sing along with the radio.  I very much enjoy that part of my day.

It’s during that time that I get to hear uplifting songs and sometimes a nugget of truth from God’s Word or a funny story…however, today was different.  There was a break in songs, and a local pastor came on the radio.  I figured he would share a short devotion or some insight, and I was intrigued by what God might say through him.  As I listened, I noticed that it became more and more difficult to hear, not only because of the noise of the clinic, but because his nugget of truth went on…

and on…

and on…  

It sounded much more like a sermon than a nugget, and I quickly became irritated…

and more irritated…

and more irritated…

So irritated in fact, that I sent an email to the radio station, admittedly not the nicest email, asking why there was preaching and not songs, because I listen specifically to Life 102.5 for the songs…but got no immediate response.

Time continued to drag as he continued to preach, and in his Southern preaching style began to get louder

and louder…

and louder…

(I could just see him pounding the pulpit with his Bible just to drive home his point!)

…which actually caused me to smile because I thought perhaps God was trying to get my attention.  Maybe, just maybe I should listen…but I shrugged it off, finished my work, and accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to hear any more singing.

At that point I had work to do elsewhere and I stepped away from my desk for a while.  When I returned, I could still hear the preaching echoing through the chart room and as I rolled my eyes and turned the corner and noticed a co-worker leaning on my desk.  I figured that she was finishing up some paperwork, but when I came closer I saw that she was leaning in, her ear pointed directly at the radio.

She was listening!!

She noticed that I had returned and immediately asked what station I was listening to.  I responded with “Life,” and she verified that it was 102.5.

It was at that moment when God stopped me in my tracks and you could’ve knocked me over with a feather.  This was exactly what I had prayed for this very morning!!

If you know me at all, you know that I don’t believe in coincidence.  I don’t believe in luck.  I don’t believe that anything happens by chance.  God orchestrates everything at every moment of every day, and each morning I pray for God to open my eyes so I can see His glory.  To reveal His working in my day and to see Him clearly, especially in the little things…

“…you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;”   Matthew 11:25b

…and I almost looked right past it!

I did finally get a response from the radio station:

“The answer to your question has not been resolved.  With our automation – something switched yesterday’s program from AM1190 to Life 102.5 this morning.
I believe that God wanted someone to hear that specific message!  
Sorry you missed your music, we do thank you for contacting us with your concern.”

Sure God tries to get our attention, and His power is more easily recognized through a sickness, a loss, a storm, a windfall, even a tragedy…

…but I think He prefers to be seen and receives more glory when we notice Him in the little things.

“And he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”   1 Kings 19:11-13

Not only was God trying to get my co-worker’s attention, but mine as well… and He even threw in some pulpit thumping!

Oh God I praise you.  Please don’t let me take you for granted…please open my eyes and help me to understand that in every situation you are there and you are always at work!  Thank you for allowing me to see you clearly!

The eyes of those who see will not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention.”   Isaiah 32:3

His Song

For any of you who know me…I can be somewhat of a procrastinator.  Sad truth…but still truth.  I have totally seen the power of God working in my life, and this particular plain old Thursday, wasn’t any different.

“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”   Romans 12:11

But, I’ll start from the beginning…

(Genesis 1:1) In the beginning, March 28 1973, God created… well, Me.

My whole life, I have loved music.  ALWAYS.  As a kid I was always singing, and much to the chagrin of my Mom, Dad, and especially sister, it was mostly Annie songs…

“The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun…”

Over,

and over,

and over,

and over … well, you get the idea.

Now, just TRY to get that song out of your head!

I was in choir at school, played the alto, bass & soprano saxophone in band, took organ lessons… and boy does that sure come in handy!  Mmm-hmmm, use it all the time!  (Sarcasm fully intended.)  I was in musicals, swing choir & vocal jazz in both high school and college, and loved every minute of it. It gave me great pleasure to perform…music just always satisfied me.

“equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”   Hebrews 13:21

When I came to know Christ in ’95, and I truly understood the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross in MY place, was when the music that so filled my soul, actually FILLED MY SOUL!! Now, instead of singing for my pleasure, I sing for God’s pleasure.  I can express myself and my love to Him through song — and I love that!!

“Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,”   Ephesians 5:19

Before following God’s call to attend the church in the community He placed us in, I served on the worship team at our old churches and received such blessing and joy from it.  Since we’ve begun attending Hillcrest, God has placed a longing in my heart to share my passion for music and to serve in the worship ministry there.

However in order to do that, God kept pestering me to contact either the Associate Pastor or the worship ministry leader. Well…like I mentioned earlier, I am a procrastinator, and every day I prayed that God would “push me” to contact one of those fellows.

I never did.

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.”   Ephesians 4:28

Honestly, it was mostly because I didn’t want them to tell me I wasn’t good enough to be on the team, or they didn’t need me.  It’s much easier to not try out and long for it, than to put myself out there and have my dream crushed.

However, God has a way of making things happen whether we like it or not.  Several months into attending, one day after service God really was pushing me to go talk to the worship leader.  I made all the excuses not to – he was busy, I was busy, it was too late, we needed to go, etc…

So, I told God “NO!”

“A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.”   Proverbs 26:3

Literally, at the very moment those words went through my head, God turned the worship leader to face me, making eye contact which pretty much seals the deal, and sent him in a bee-line DIRECTLY to me. I knew full well that God was sending him over, which touched me so much that I began to sob. Oh, and it wasn’t a tear or two it was shoulder-wrenching-snot-dripping sobs!!

When he finally reached me, I couldn’t even talk I was crying so hard!!  My husband and the worship leader just stood there dazed & confused, while looking at each other and back at me, simultaneously wondering “What the heck is her problem?” And with a shrug from my poor husband, the worship leader just looked at me sideways, asked if we needed anything, and graciously excused himself.

“serving the Lord with all humility and with tears…”   Acts 20:19a

Needless to say, I didn’t talk to him about worship and I went home defeated.

Over the next week God continued to gently suggest that I contact the Associate Pastor…but I made up all sorts of excuses not to.  Again, I told God “NO”…while still praying that He would “push me” to just suck it up and call…but I still didn’t.

Then it happened.  On just a plain old Thursday, I got home from running errands and there was a message from the Associate Pastor saying he had heard that I might be interested in being part of the worship team.

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”   Matthew 21:22

WHAAAAAAAT?!!!

Yeah, that was God…because CLEARLY I hadn’t said ANYTHING yet. Apparently He got tired of suggesting, and praise Him, made it VERY easy on me by working in the Associate Pastor’s heart to make it happen!! Oh Lord, thank you!! So, after I calmed down and stopped crying (this really has sort of become a theme with me since we started attending Hillcrest) I returned his call, set it up, and made plans to meet the following morning with he and the worship leader.

{gulp…}

God is so good.

My “audition” went well.  I absolutely love worshiping God in song, and that’s what I did with my brothers in Christ that morning.  It was amazing…and even if I wasn’t approved to serve on the worship team, I would give all my praise to God for how He works in my life, how incredibly wonderful He is, and I assure you I would most certainly continue to praise Him in worship with the congregation from the pews.

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.”   Psalm 69:30

Thankfully, and for some crazy reason, God allowed those guys to momentarily lose all hearing or He allowed me to sound better than I am, because I was invited to join the team!!

Unbelievable.

It has been several years since that fateful moment that God worked so mightily to give me the desires of my heart, and I am still praising Him for allowing me to sing with such an amazing and talented worship team!

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”   Psalm 28:7

As for right now, I am cautiously awaiting the day God opens their ears to hear that I really can’t sing…and until then, I will continue to sing to the King!!

“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.”   Psalm 104:33

I cry…

I sing on the worship team at my AMAZING church.  I am blessed that God placed me on, allows me to be part of, and am able to sing praises to Him through that ministry.  However, I tend to get emotional when I sing.  Ok, that’s not true, I get emotional always.  In fact I have a running joke with my pastor that if he would just stop talking about Jesus, I’d be all good.

So…seeing as how this Sunday is Easter Sunday, and because sermons tend to be about Jesus on Easter Sunday, I am seriously considering tear duct removal.  Especially during the worship set.  We will be singing a new song:  “Worthy Is The Lamb, Crown Him With Many Crowns.”  Oh my word, I have YET to make it through without making that horrific-scrunched-up-overt-your-eyes-this-is-going-to-get-ugly cry face.

Just yesterday I was talking to a friend about that song, asking her to pray for strength to get through it, and she responded with: 

“I listened to the CD a lot last night, and had it on YouTube this morning.  And yes, LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE that song!!!  I can see why you shed a few tears…but then again…it’s YOU.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!  Honestly, all joking aside… I WISH I could get that choked up over Jesus’ love for me.  I’m SOOO THANKFUL for what He’s done in my life, but I never had the life changing ‘Ah Ha’ moment.  Maybe it’s because I was saved at such a young age…?  Anyway, I wish I had your heart.”

I wrote a story about that exact thing a while ago now… wondering why more people don’t get choked up.  My daughter, Sydney, at the time told me, “it’s probably because you remember who you used to be and where you came from.”  (Yeah, talk about insight from a 9 year old!)

That’s definitely part of it.  I PRAY for a testimony like my friend’s for all of my kids.  I long for them to live a Psalm 119 life – without regret and to know and walk closely with Christ their entire life.  I do know I wouldn’t be who I am today, had I understood His sacrifice early on.

I have heard it said, “it is easier for a child to perceive and receive spiritual truth than an adult to do so.”  That’s where my tears come from… the fact that I could’ve missed it.

“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.”   Romans 2:5

I was like so many… I loved myself so much that I didn’t care about God, didn’t want Him in my life, and didn’t think I needed Him.  I am so grateful that God called, allowed me to hear and understand Him, and especially that He waited patiently and continued to call!

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”   2 Peter 3:9

My friend does have a heart like mine…she has just had it longer.

I Cry God

Why don’t more people cry at church?  Especially those who know Jesus personally?

I can’t get through a song, much less a sermon about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for me, without a tear.

Ok, that’s an under-exaggeration. 

I lose it when I think about what Jesus has saved me from.  I don’t just shed a tear or two, I sob.  And it’s not like those fortunate souls who look all beautiful; tears glistening down their cheeks and a grateful smile on their face…

No, I look more like the elephant man; face deformed and puckered up, chin wobbly, body shaking, long trailing mascara tears resting in pools under my eyes, silvery unbreakable strings of snot…

and not a tissue in sight.

People so often embrace me and lovingly ask if I’m ok, if I need anything, wondering what I’m struggling with and how they can help.

Oh what they don’t understand is that I am truly a mess and so unworthy…

“…you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…”   Revelation 3:17b

 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;”   Isaiah 64:6a

Each one of those messy, slimy, dirty tears are in grateful adoration of the One who sees past the mascara stains, past the ignorance of my childhood, past the selfishness I harbor…

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…”   Jeremiah 17:9

“All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”   Romans 3:12

Oh for the love that my God has displayed for me…

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”   Romans 8:32

For the joy that is so readily available and easily given…

“I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.”   Jeremiah 31:13b

For the peace He so desperately wants us to enjoy…

“… we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Romans 5:1b

For the forgiveness He wants each of us to feel…

“He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.”   Micah 7:18b

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:9

Those messy tears of mine are because I know my Jesus loves me.  I know the muck He pulled me out of and continually goes back to drag me out time and time again. 

 “How many kings stepped down from their thrones?

How many lords have abandoned their homes?

How many greats have become the least for me?

How many Gods have poured out their hearts?

To romance a world that has torn all apart?

How many fathers gave up their sons for me?”

                                                       –“How Many Kings” by Christian Artist Downhere

Only ONE.

I know the unbelievable and horrific suffering Christ took in my place, and although I may look like a sloppy mess, my soul cries out in admiration and delight.  I NEVER want to take that gift for granted…

…and my God sees it as beautiful.

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