Monthly Archives: January 2011

Music Monday

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So several Monday’s have passed and I have posted no music.

Fail.

But I could not let today go without passing on this song.  It means a lot to me, for two reasons.

1. I went to college with Meredith Andrews. I didn’t know her; I think I may have only met her once. But she led worship at Liberty’s chapel and campus church services.  To say she’s talented is an understatement.  She led me and thousands of other young believers in worship for years and for that, I am so grateful.

2. This song, these lyrics, feel like they have been taken from my own heart.  This song has put words to feelings and thoughts I have not been able to define.  So to hear them come to life, to be sung by someone else, make me feel a lot less crazy.

I’m turning the world off
Embracing the silence
Walking away from all the voices
That are Screaming in my ear

I’ve been too caught up
I’ve been so stressed out
All of the noise replaced the whisper
That used to be so clear

So I close every door
Put my face back on the floor

And I’m in Your arms
Where I belong
There’s no other place for me
Than right where You are
Some things just don’t change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I’m in Your arms

I’m letting my fears go
Giving You control
For You are the one who holds me closer
In my soul’s darkest night

Everything I see
Is so temporary
So help me to run the race before me
With eternity in sight

Now I close every door
Put my face back on the floor

And I’m in Your arms
Where I belong
There’s no other place for me
Than right where You are
Some things just don’t change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I’m in Your arms

To sit at Your feet
At Your table of mercy
To gaze on Your beauty, my Lord
To drink from Your well
And be changed by Your glory
How could I ask for more
Jesus, how could I ask for more

And I’m in Your arms
Where I belong
There’s no other place for me
Than right where You are
Some things just don’t change
When I call Your name
You never hesitate to wrap me in endless grace
When I’m in Your arms

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Delayed, But Not Too Late: One Word 2011

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My blogger-ific friend, Josh Miles (yep… I went there) recently posted a blog that inspired me to copy his idea completely.

And he was inspired by another blogger named Alece who is challenging readers to drop the idea of New Year’s resolutions and instead focus on just one thing, one word to be exact, for an entire year. 

Somewhat unintentionally, as 2010 came to a close, I had been thinking about what word I would use to describe perhaps the most formidable year of life.

Lonely.

I know it sounds depressing; it felt that way at times.  Last year was filled with new ways and  areas in which the Lord emptied me of a lot of things that weren’t Him.  For all the reasons that I am grateful to have been shown how off-center I was in my affections and attention, it wasn’t easy to see things and people I care for stripped away.  

Lesson learned: God is who He says He is. He can do what He says He can do. And He has given us everything we need for life and godliness, in Him.

So with last year now (finally) behind me and with new perspective, my word for this year is… *drum roll*

Behold.

With the things that obscured my vision now removed, I want to behold the Lord.

Behold His grace on me and over others.

Behold His purpose, plan, and provision in each day I am granted.

Behold His continual forgiveness of my sins and His faithfulness to renew His promises to me every morning.

Behold His the lavishing of His love over me that I may overflow onto others.

Behold how expansive His grasp over all creation and how exclusive His grip on my heart.

Want to join in on the adventure?

One year.

One word.

Countless ways to be changed.

The Villagers of Stiltsville

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Perhaps you don’t know,
then maybe you do,
about Stiltsville, the village,
(so strange, but so true)
 
where people like we,
some tiny, some tall
with jobs and kids
and clocks on the wall
 
keep an eye on the time.
For each evening at six,
they meet in the square
for the pupose of sticks,
 
tall stilts upon which
Stiltvilllians can strut
and be lifted above
those down in the rut;
 
the less and the least,
the Tribe of Too Smalls,
the not cools and have-nots
who want to be tall
 
but can’t because
in the giving of sticks,
their name was not called.
They didn’t get picked.
 
Yet still they come
when villagers gather;
they press to the front
to see if they matter
 
to the clique of the cool,
the court of high clout
that decides who is special
and declares with a shout,
 
“You’re classy!” “Your’re pretty!”
“You’re clever!” or “Funny!”
And bequeath a prize,
not of medal or money,
 
not a freshly baked pie
or a house someone built,
but the oddest of gifts,
the gift of some stilts.
 
Moving up is their mission,
going higher their aim.
“Elevate your position,”
is the name of their game.
 
The higher-ups of Stiltsville
(you know if you’ve been there)
make the biggest to-do
of the sweetness of thin air.
 
They relish the chance
on their high apparatus
to strut on their stilts,
the ultimate status.
 
For isn’t life best
when viewed from the top?
Unless you stumble
and suddenly are not
 
So sure of your footing.
You tilt and then sway.
“Look out bel-o-o-o-w!”
and you fall straightaway
 
into the Too Smalls,
hoi polloi of the earth.
You land on your pride,
oh boy, how it hurts
 
When the chic police
in the jilt of all jilts
don’t offer to help
but instead take your stilts.
 
“Who made you king?”
you start to complain
but then notice the hour
and forget your refrain
 
It’s almost six!
Not time for chatter
It’s back to the crowd
to see if you matter.
 
Stiltvillians still cluster
and crowds still clamour,
but more stay away
They seem less enamoured
 
Since the Carpenter came
and refused to be stilted.
He chose low over high
left the system tip-tilted.
 
“You matter already,”
he explained to the town.
“Trust me on this one.
Keep your feet on the ground.”

An excerpt from Max Lucado’s book, Fearless.

Put Down The Pen

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Something has become abundantly clear to me as of late: I am not as creative as the Creator.  And what’s tragic is that I often think I am more creative than the Creator.  Take the last three years of my life as an example.

January 2008 single handedly turned my life in a direction I never anticipated. As I sat looking out the window of a 747 on a Denver tarmac, trying to stifle the panic attack I felt beginning to suffocate me, a young woman sat down in the middle seat and entertained my weak attempt at “shooting the breeze.”

When we landed in  Virginia, we had exchanged stories and email addresses.  She worked for Compassion International and by the time I made it back to my dorm room for my final semester of school, I decided I wanted to work there too.

The day before I was supposed to walk across the graduation stage, I received a phone call and an offer to be one of Compassion’s first interns. I accepted without thinking twice or asking really logical questions like “Where will I live?” “Will I be paid?” and “How do you get to Colorado Springs?”

A far cry from my original plan which included pursuing corporate America, a high-rise loft in some thriving metropolis, a diversified stock portfolio, and a lucrative marriage by the age of 30. I wanted to be some sort of business prodigy; the young-gun who had impressive insight and a jaw-dropping intuition when it came to market fluctuations and global trends.

My original plan was hardly original. That story has been written. That part has been played. A lot. 

 But perhaps my plan’s biggest pitfall was that there was only one central character: me.

I am discovering that when you hold the pen and attempt to write your own story, you forget a lot of details. You pass over people and places that may not change your destination, but bring a lot more color to your pages. You think linearly, in chronological order. You color inside the lines and try not to smudge the ink. You follow story-writing rules and include only one conflict, climax, and conclusion. Afterall, who’s got time for more adventure when you think you’re running out of pages?

But the truth of the matter is that we’re not the story-writers. We do not hold the pen. We have the privilege of playing the part we have been given.  We are beautiful illustrations; unique creations of God’s brilliant imagination.  And into each one us, His characters, He places pieces of Himself for us to show to those who read us. 

We are carriers of hope, promise, and mystery.  We are enchanting, captivating, and contagious. Not because of anything we’ve done or the story we’ve written, mind you, but because of Who’s we are and the part we play.

How do we play our part?  Be available. Be willing.

Trust the Author and Perfector of your faith to take you on a journey towards the center of His heart and in that place, you will come alive.

Put down the pen and play your part.

Haiti: Hope Rising

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People ask me rather frequently, “Does sponsorship through Compassion International really work?”

Simply put, yes.  

But personally, there’s no clearer evidence of this than the Leadership Development Students of Haiti that now serve alongside Compassion staff to love and lead the next generation of Haitians, passing on the knowledge and truth that they were taught years ago.

Sponsoring one child has the power to change a country.

Here’s to 2010

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I’ve gotten into this odd, slightly dangerous, habit as of late. Whilst driving, I tend to spend more time looking in my rearview mirror than I do through my windshield.  I realize that it’s beneficial to glance up, on occasion, to make sure no one is tailing too close and such, but focusing there isn’t really the point either. After all, the rearview mirror is small and narrow for a reason; what lies behind was once ahead of you. So when looking back, you shouldn’t see any surprises, only small reminders of where you once were.

Staring at the rearview mirror doesn’t do much to prepare you for where you’re headed either. If I would just focus on the road in front of me, I would catch the speed limit sign so I wouldn’t need to be paranoid about being caught by the “Po-po.” If I paid attention to what laid in front of me, I would see the “Warning: Construction Ahead,” “Detour,” and “Caution, Sharp Turn,” signs.  I wouldn’t be caught off guard because I would have seen the warnings and had time to make adjustments, change lanes, or even exit if needed.

Driving forward, but looking back is remedy for not getting very far, very fast.

2010 was a year that gave me a run for my money on a lot of levels.  For so many reasons, I would like to forget much of it. But as a new years dawns, the Lord has made it clear that is was a year of preparation; a season of pruning, reprioritizing, and general maintenance.  A thorough check up on the affections of my heart that have been misplaced. The fears that mistakenly dominated my faith.  And the seemingly infrequent, but perfectly timed, views of landscape that refreshed me long enough to keep driving towards the unknown.

So while 2010 felt like I was stranded on the shoulder much of the time, watching so many pass me by with ease and enjoyment, I know now there were just a few screws loose, the “check engine” light was on and the oil needed refreshing.

There’s no need to focus on what lies behind me anymore. It is where I once was; no longer where I am.

So here’s to 2011: May our eyes be fixed forward and our hands steadily resting on faith and grace. May our tanks be full of hope and courage. And may our rearview mirrors stand as reminders of deliverance and not destination.