Will you leave the light on?

My brother and I share our favorite songs with each other. It’s one of my favorite things.

Music has such a way of getting to our hearts without us even knowing it. Music sings deep to our souls. It opens us up to move, even if just the slightest toe tap.

Music has been such an aid to me in times I thought I’d just break and fall to pieces. It has helped me to move slowly, to follow a rhythm, and move through life’s problems.

Music brings joy and praise surging up. An exhale of gratitude to ourselves for giving the gift of freedom to stop all the worrying and just sing.

Sometimes life feels like a lot, and lonely.

Tom Walker sings,

If you look into the distance, there’s a house upon the hill
Guiding like a lighthouse to a place where you’ll be
Safe to feel at grace ’cause we’ve all made mistakes
If you’ve lost your way

I will leave the light on.”
Do you need a lighthouse?
Does someone you know need a lighthouse to look up to?
Will you be that lighthouse, allowing light to flow from those places that held you and tried to take you under?
Because someone else needs to see it too. They need to know, even though you’ve been broken, you can stand again.
I’m grateful He will use any of it. For years I’d hold God at a distance in certain areas I felt were too vulnerable, but that’s where He shines His light through us, will you let Him.

Tough Stuff

I have struggled with not having answers.  I want answers.  I want to find comfort in having all the answers.  So I can justify something that has happened, making the pain less.  I want something tangible to hang on to.

Life circumstances just don’t make sense sometimes.

What are we supposed to do when we don’t have answers?  When we can’t see the light in the darkness.

I’m sitting here thinking about this pastor, 30 years old Andrew Stoecklein, who committed suicide.  Suffering.  Alone.  My heart aches for that family, the suffering they are enduring.

And then I realize, there are a lot of things in life we don’t have answers for.

People die of cancer, car accidents, natural disasters.  This is the age old question “If God is real, why is there suffering in this world?”

I hate suffering, does anyone like it?  Have you suffered?  Grieved a loss?  Walked through a dark time in life?  Been so anxious you couldn’t eat or sleep?

I have and because I have experienced those things, I know there is a God who is real.  More real than any pain we can experience here on this earth.  More intentional with showing us the way than ever before.  More loving and kind than I imagined.  More powerful and real even without healing.  Even in death, He is with us.  Oh He is with us.

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Satan would love for us to see it differently.  That he is the one with all the power.  He’s gross and cruel.  He has no victory, and he is acting out of defeat and he knows it.  He’d love to deceive us into believing he’s won.

But Jesus took our pain and sin carrying it to the Cross and broke its power by sacrificing Himself because of His love for us.  And then in all His power, rose from the dead, letting us know He is the One who holds all the victory.  He has won.  We can rest there when we don’t understand.  When it hurts too much.

Father, show us Your Love and help us to have eyes to see it even when we have no answers.  In Jesus name, amen.

 

Gratitude

Oh my gratitude has grown tremendously in this season of life.  Gratitude for creation, for small moments, for quiet, for swinging, and reading.  Gratitude typically slows me down helping me stay in the moment.

I get joy just thinking about all these moments of deep deep gratitude.  A lot of those moments have little to do with me.  But they are an exhale to my Savior for gifts that are 100% from Him.

Peaceful moments with my husband on stressful weeks.

Surprise flowers blooming out of the ivy.

Quiet moments as my sweet babies are asleep in their beds.

Music while I’m cooking.

Counseling moments that worked out something deep.

Writing.

Getting wrapped up in a good book.

Summer rain.  

Rainbows after the rain.

Most of these moments of deep gratitude have little do with something I’ve done.  Gratitude isn’t about being happy all the time, but about realizing even in our worst moments goodness still abounds because it has less to do with us and more to do with Him and His goodness.  It has to do with our Father who loves to give good gifts to His children whether we’ve been good or bad.  He draws us to Him, and tells us we are still loved even when we’ve totally mess up.

At the heart isn’t this what we want to tell our children?  When they’ve hurt their sibling, told a lie, or yelled something in anger.  We want to draw them close and remind them of the good around them and how little is has to do with them.  That they are loved cherished and adored.  We want them to feel it and more importantly believe it.

Oh deep gratitude. I’m asking God to open my eyes to the things I can be grateful for.  Past, present, and future.

What are you grateful for today?  Don’t let it rest upon something you accomplished today, look deeper and ask God to open your eyes, slow down.  Smell the roses.

 

Good book reference: 1000 Gifts by Ann Voscamp.

Ending nicely

Yesterday, I was looking for inspiration.  A passion to read something, and I was looking through my books ready to pick up a new one for July.  I remembered I had gotten 7 Women by Eric Metals.  The tag line for the book is “7 Women…and the secret to their greatness.”

I felt like this would be just what I was looking for.

So I’m reading Susanna Wesley’s biography, chapter 2.  I’m reading, and thinking wow, this lady had it rough.  She lost two sets of twin babies along with other children, her husband was really terrible with money, he abandoned her at points in his life to raise their kids on her own, and their house burned down twice.  Her kiddos suffered great loss in their marriages.  Not a story with much good.

I was really wrestling with it last night before I went to sleep, letting God know I did not like her story.  Like it is my responsibility to like someone’s story or not, my first problem.  The second was that I wanted her story to be a fairy tale: she followed Christ and everything turned out great.  But that’s not how her story goes.

However, at the end, what she did have left, her most prized possession, her faith.  It was intact and so were her kids’ faith.

I felt last night I was asked, what do I want for my life and my kids?

Do I want that cushy perfect looking life, or do I want a faith for myself and my kids that will last and will never falter no mater what we go through in this life?  Both might be possible, but if I had to pick what is my heart wanting.

I want the later.  I want a faith so deep, that whatever this world tells me is the worst I could endure and still keep walking after.

We aren’t promised perfect lives.  But we are promised a perfect God who rests within us when we believe in His perfect Son so that we can endure.

What do you want?

Lasting Change

To change is to give a different position, course or direction.

We were talking last night at connect group about change; transformations actually.

I’ve experienced some transformations in my life.  Most of my own doing.  I’ve transformed my diet, I’ve transformed my house, I’ve transformed my landscaping, I’ve transformed my wardrobe before.  All external.  Some with lasting change, and some without.

But this idea of transformation and our spiritual walk hit me different last night talking it out with my small group.

Transformation is defined as a change in composition or structure.  I would say transformation is deeper.

Isn’t that what we all want?  Change that lasts, that stays, that sticks even when it gets hard.

I walked into counseling today, and she told me I looked different, there was a glow and a health to my countenance.  I had been feeling that way, but wasn’t sure what it was.

I think it is the miracle of transformation.  When we let God into those areas that are killing us, and allow Him to breathe life into them.  Then we can stand and be in awe of the transformation He did.  That He did to our hearts.

I had a part.  I did work. But, ultimately the ending is His.  He called.  He opened doors.  He stepped in when no one else could.  He found me in the pit and brought me up.  He used so many people to do this in my life.

I’m anxious to write this for fear of being prideful.  But it feels good to say I’m standing.  My footing is stronger.  Grounded.  It is happening.  Slowly.

This has been a two year journey.  This wasn’t over night.  It wasn’t something that just happened.  It was intentional, but only He knew how things would align.

There’s a freedom I feel that doesn’t make sense.

So, keep going, keep fighting, keep living.  Keep seeking Him.  Allow people to move in and ask God for wisdom.  I don’t know how, but He is doing it.  A miracle maybe.

Miracles can’t be explained and I like that because if they could we would try and do it exactly the same way.  Trying to recreate it, to manipulate God into taking something immediately so we don’t have to experience it anymore.  But in the New Testament when Jesus healed people, they would get sick again, they would eventually die, but when He forgave them and changed their hearts that was the lasting stuff.

I can’t tell you step by step what to do, but keep going, don’t quit, especially if it looks like it’s not working.  You probably aren’t that far off, you just need to know which way to keep stepping.  Ask for wisdom, let people speak into your life.  Go to counseling.  Allow God to heal you, because He isn’t done with you.  He’ll send you out to let others know, they can too.  Be healed.  Find freedom.  New ways to deal.   Rest.  Kindness.  Compassion.  Deep, deep gratitude.  Love.  A deep love.

It’s for all of us.