Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things...Psalm 98:1

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Letting Your Song Out

"I'm gonna sing when the Spirit says sing.....
I'm gonna sing when the Spirit says sing.....
I'm gonna sing when the Spirit says sing.....
and obey the Spirit of the Lord."
African-American Spiritual

During our worship service a few weekends back, the Lord showed me some beautiful pictures of worship from my 6 year old that I had to share:

He wanted to stand for every song, even if the rest of the congregation wasn't.  He's small so he wasn't blocking anything.  I was nervous.  Was he going to distract someone?

Swinging his arms like the trap set was right there, he was drumming throughout every song.  He didn't miss a beat.  You could tell he was feeling worship with his whole body.  It was the only way he could let the music out, the motion and rhythm, the worship.

I noticed his older brothers seemed uncomfortable with his worship.  Should I reign him in? Innocent worship was here, now.  He had to express what he was feeling and nothing less would do.  My heart began to swell as I watched and began to feel what he was feeling....worship.  Joy.  Pure love for this moment with my Savior.

It got me thinking:

Do I ever hold my worship inside?  
Do I ever feel too embarrassed to worship my King with my everything?
Do I reign in what's inside?
Doesn't He deserve my best?

The music stops and house lights come up.  He stops moving and looks around.  We grab our things and move out of the sanctuary, silently thankful for this time. 

The moment has passed.  Now what?  Can I carry this worship on?  Can I listen to the Spirit's moving and when a moment comes, stop and give Him worship?  Or will I ignore it and go about my day without letting it out?

We were created to give Him our worship.  We all have songs in our hearts, crying to come out.  Songs of praise that our Savior has given us.  But we get self-conscious, we're worried about what someone might think if we worship Him the way He wants us to.  

How I long to go back to being a child, singing with my Sunday school class in front of the congregation.  I was the only one dancing.  Free from judgement, I wanted to dance and no one stopped me.  I had to let the worship out.

It doesn't always have to be a dance or drumming.  It doesn't have to be in song.  It can be in a silent prayer of praise, written words expressing your journey of gratitude to the Giver of all good things.  A picture taken on a camera, a painting capturing what's in your heart.  The ways of expressing worship are endless.  It's about listening to what He's asking you to do.

Next time that moment comes, I'm going to join my son in worship.  I'm also going to seek those moments out for myself and "dance" for my King.  Because He deserves it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prayers = Getting close

We brought the kids into church with us last Sunday.  It's always hit-or-miss.

"No, you may not sit by each other," 

"please stop wiggling and try and listen to the sermon," 

"we just went to the bathroom.  You're going to have to wait."  

I have to ask God to help me catch nourishment from Him around the distractions.  But we feel it's a great opportunity for our children to see how the adults worship without the flannel boards and goldfish crackers, especially for our older sons.

On this particular morning, I sat next to our six year old.  I had packed some things for him to do but I planned to reconnect him with the service during the music and prayer time.  After the music, we sat down and began a time of prayer.  I leaned down to him and told him it was time to pray.  His response softened me.  He grabbed my neck and pulled our faces close together.  Skin next to skin.  I could feel his breath on my cheek. His "hug" was strong and felt wonderful to this tired and weary Momma.

I was immediately drawn to my Savior.  The image of Him reaching out to me, arms out-stretched, ready to pull me in for a warm and loving embrace.  His breath filling me with hope, courage and strength to face whatever comes next.  We were connected.  Close.  It was beautiful.

My son reminded me of how valuable prayer is.  It is our way to connect - face-to-face - with our Lord.  He is not waiting to judge, condemn or criticize.  He is waiting to love us, to hold us and speak to our hearts.  It should never be rushed but sometimes it is, a "power hug," if you will.  But how I love the lingering hug, the one that fills my empty cup and leaves me feeling content and warm, inside and out.
Here he is with arms out ready to
grab me into one of those hugs!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finding my Voice: Can you hear me?

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Romans 15:5-6

I just started back to school.  I am currently the music teacher at my sons elementary school.  This position is a dream come true for me: it's what I love doing and it challenges me in the places where I need to grow.  What I noticed after teaching for only about an hour on my first day is that my voice was already tired.  I had put so much energy, enthusiasm and power into my voice that after talking and singing, it was strained.

Websters define the voice as this:  the sound or sounds uttered through the mouth of living creatures, especially of human beings in speaking, shouting,singing, etc.

I see it as more, though.  Our voice is also how we're remembered.  It's our witness, our example, the scent left after we've left a room.  When I think of my voice, I wonder:  is my voice strong enough?  Is my witness powerful even if my voice is tired or weary?  Do my words encourage and strengthen others or do they remind people of how tired I am, how weary I am?  Do others feel loved and encouraged after chatting with me?

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
   be pleasing in your sight,
   LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19:14

Can you hear me?  Do my words and actions reflect my love for Christ?  Or am I mumbling?  Am I so "strained" that I neglect God's gentle nudging to connect with someone?

"Lord, help my voice to be strong and stable.  I understand that being connected to You is the only way I can have a meaningful voice in the world You've placed me in. Amen."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall is Here: Welcoming Every Season

He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.
Daniel 2:20-22 

Fall feels new.  New teachers at school, new backpack, new clothes, new expectations, new personalities, new friendships blossom.  New weather as the hot summer leaves, summer clothes get packed away and new warmer clothes get tucked in drawers.  It can also bring things that aren't so welcome.  New pressures.  New goals to strive for.  A new balancing act between what is and what should be.

Heading into fall reminds me  that just as leaves fall from the trees when a season ends, the things that I struggle with will end and fall off the trees of my life.  Difficult friendships, tough times with a child, hard financial struggles - these will end or transition to something else.  How I handle them now, matters.  I need to walk with integrity in every season, no matter how I feel about them.  I am called to sing a new song in this new season and rejoice in it.

I'm thankful that God walks with me through every season, whether I'm pleasant to be around or not.  :)  He knows me and exactly what I need in my life to grow.  He is in charge of the seasons in weather and the seasons in my life.  I cannot change either.  I can only release the grip I have on my life, and humbly hand it all over to Him (again) and trust that He will bring whatever weather is best for me, right now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Faith and Friendship

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:3-5

Friendship has been crucial to understanding God's love for me.  I don't always make friends easily.  Over the years, my out-going nature has changed.  I find now that I have a husband and kids, my desire to sit around, chatting with other women hasn't been as strong of a desire.  But when God calls me to a season of suffering, when God asks me to wait for Him to do a great thing in my life, when I'm weary and need someone to tell me the truth about who God is, I need a friend.  And God has always provided someone just when I needed it.  

She holds my hand and lets me cry.  She challenges me to seek His face and let go of the need to know "why."  She comforts me with God's love and helps me chase away the doubt and confusion that creep in.  She calls me to more than what's comfortable and easy.  She holds me to my commitments and reminds me of who I am.  She is a vessel that God uses to pour hope into my empty pot.  

It is a wonderful thing to have someone like that.  I'm grateful to God for bring these gals into my life.