Hebrews 10:23 and A “Kind of” New Years Resolution

Hebrews 10:23

Let us holdfast to the confession of our HOPE without wavering, because HE who promised is faithful. 

I have written a little about how hard 2017 was.  And, I hate to make resolutions and look to the New Year as a new start.  Honestly, resolutions makes me cringe.  I have always just wanted to start over and get going whenever I feel it’s necessary and not wait for a magic time, or put off something because it will somehow be easier when the calendar turns over.  But, here I go…maybe I am turning over a new leaf, or maybe I’m just getting old; I did turn 40 in 2017!

I have been singing in church since…well, I am not even sure.  The first time was in a play with the kid’s choir; I think I was 10ish.  It was a cute little play about grace, and I sang my little heart out (my first solo) about how she (grace) “was alive and well and living in our town.”  I remember every single word of that song.  But, mostly I remember how I felt when I sang it.  It may have been just a silly little kid’s play but the words of that song found a place in my heart and I knew I was made to sing, to praise, and worship.

I went on to sing in youth choir, and on our youth praise and worship team.  I went to fine arts competitions and sang in the choir at school.  And, then I grew up and got to sing in the big church choir and on the big church praise team and worship team too.  My love for singing transformed into a genuine love for leading people in worship.  It is a humbling experience to be able to lead others into worship while doing it yourself.

I have never felt so close to God as I do while I am worshipping my heart out.  I feel a closeness that I find myself longing for when I go about my day to day.  So much that I usually listen to worship music and play it over and over in my head, and my house, and my car, and my office as I go throughout the day 🙂

Music makes my soul breathe.

And then it didn’t.

I found myself struggling to sing the words to anything.  I stopped listening to music almost all together.   Certain songs that I once loved to hear, and spoke life to my heart made me feel bitter and alone.  I wasn’t singing anything anymore and it made my heart ache.  I found myself lost in worship at church.

Not in a good way.

I couldn’t concentrate.  I couldn’t say the words, let alone sing them.  Sometimes the words would make me cry and long for the time that was before this time.  Sometimes the words would make me angry and want to run out of the room.  I did…twice.  I felt utterly and completely alone in an area of my life where I once found refuge and home.

And, it hurt.  This feeling of isolation and disconnection from a source that had once been a lifeline was painful.  Confusion added to the pain because a place of safety had started to feel dangerous to me.  And, honestly A LOT of places last year felt dangerous and scary…

2017 was such a year of extremes.  The highest highs (did I tell you we went to Scotland!!!) and some pretty low lows.  But, lately I have been reminded of a truth.  A truth that has been alluding me or I had been ignoring (I do that sometimes).  Maybe, what I should write is…I was just hit over the head with a longstanding truth! 

I was/is/will NEVER be disconnected from THE SOURCE who is/was/will ALWAYS be my LIFELINE.

Sure, I can be distracted by life, and feelings, and circumstances.  My family can feel out of touch because of opposition and battle.  My marriage can take work and my parenting can challenge me in ways I never imagined.  

All of those things should draw me to worship Him with my life not just my song.

Worship IS what we were created for, but we were created for more than singing and songs.  We were created to worship with our marriages, with our families, with our friendships, with the work of our hands, AND with our lungs.  This displacement I have been feeling has opened my eyes, and ultimately my heart, to the parts of my life that were longing to be included my worship of our creator!

I am drawn to my knees and reminded that He, the one who is THE SOURCE and THE LIFELINE to my soul, is always with me.  Even in the dangerous and scary places.

It urges me to worship even when my feelings are a distraction and it doesn’t look familiar.  Even when it takes me a little while to process the battle I am facing and helps me realize that any fight becomes a victory when worship is my weapon.

So, my “kind of” resolution is to remind myself, and encourage you, that He promised and He is faithful.  Victory is coming, whether we feel it or not.  And, I hope to be found worshipping the heart out my chest without or without music.

**But, here are two…okay, three songs that may help you get started**

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What Love Isn’t

Now that it is December, holiday season is in full swing here!  The only thing missing is the snow.  But, it’s Michigan so if we just wait another second there will be plenty!

Having to spend lots of time with extended family is a challenge…well, not for me; my family is PERFECT.

But for many, it has its challenges.  The uncle who voted for Trump.  The grandma who voted for Clinton (both of them).  The cousin who never does the dishes and falls asleep watching the Lion’s game. Then, wakes up the minute you change the channel to watch the much more entertaining Packer’s game.  And, of course the brother-in-law who always stirs the pot enough to start a fight and then packs up his family and heads home…three states away.  As you can see, it can be quite the challenge!

Seriously, though have they never read the Bible.

I Corinthians 13.  That’s all I’m sayin’…

Remember.

Love is.

Patient.  Kind.  And, all those other things too!

So, I have been thinking about the “love chapter” a lot this week.  And, I will be the first to admit I am really, REALLY quick to remind the people around me what love is NOT.

When someone makes holiday plans and just expects me to drop everything and be there when they say without asking if it works for me.  Well, love isn’t bossy is it?

Or, if a person cuts me off in traffic, or in front of me at Starbucks.  Well, love isn’t that pushy is it?

And, when I see someone on a certain social media platform racing to condemn a person, place, or thing without a second thought, or pause, or listen.  Hmm, love is definitely not so quick judge; right?

uh. oh.

Yeah.

Big, giant, in my face…

UH-OH!

You see in my haste to point out what love is NOT I have most assuredly forgotten what love IS.  And, I have failed in living out the definition of this highly esteemed word that I seem insistent everyone ELSE is forgetting!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

I am sure you recognize those words up there.  And, they are not mine.  They are His.  Those words need to stop me mid-thought, mid-post, mid-shout and bring me back into focus.  The love that I have been given far outweighs any of the love I could ever display. And, I know I will and have failed.  But, just because I fail doesn’t mean I stop trying or stop remembering.

I will choose happy this holiday season (in the midst of family chaos, shopping disasters, and in spite of social media),  because faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

 

 

 

 

 

White Noise

My husband snores!  And I don’t mean like a cute little see-saw noise as he peacefully sleeps next to me dreaming of our wonderful life together snoring.  I mean wake the dead, shake the rooftops, I think I may smother him while he sleeps so I can at least get an hour of peace and quiet snoring!  It has been kind of an issue.  Especially recently, because since we have had kids, I am the lightest sleeper on earth.  I swear, I can hear Jaden breathing across the hall and know when the girls roll over in their beds next door.  Needless to say, we needed to figure something out so that this wife and momma did not have murder on her mind most days! Well, not really, but…..okay, maybe REALLY!!!

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So we went to Target (oh, how I love Target) and purchased a fan.  And not just a tiny, little, out-of-the-way, feels like someone is blowing on you fan, we bought the biggest and loudest fan we could find.  I mean, this fan took up the corner of our room and made so much noise you probably could have broken into our house, had a party, cleaned up, and in the morning we wouldn’t even have a clue!  This fan was a thing of miracles; I could sleep through the snoring and was a happy girl again!  All I needed was some white noise to drown out the distraction of the most annoying sound ever heard by human ears.

White noise is like that, right?!  It camouflages the sounds around us so we can focus on the task at hand.  Whether it’s sleeping, studying, or just trying to make sense of our thoughts we all need some white noise once in awhile.  Of course, it can be a little bit of a bad thing too.  The noise of the TV at dinner distracts us from learning the details of the day.  The noise from the radio in the car keeps us from connecting with our spouse, even though it’s the first time in weeks we have had more than five minutes alone.  The noise of busy schedules and responsibility keep us distracted from what is most important: being a family.

And then, sometimes the noise of WHAT my heart wants drowns out the one WHO my heart needs.

Be encouraged today because no matter how much you and I think we need the white noise (because I do, I REALLY do) there is always that quiet voice that manages to make itself known in the midst of the distraction. The voice of the One loves you at your lowest.  The voice of the One who gives when we don’t deserve it.  The voice of the One who wants your heart to be filled with the white noise that is His grace.

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