Monday, September 26, 2011

Sing It! (Devotional written by Jeff Wells)

I LOVED this so much, I had to share it!  I definitely had no part in writing this, but I will have a part in sharing it.  This is one of my greatest passions!!!  :)  Thanks Jeff!

Sing It!
September 26, 2011
But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
 Psalm 5:11a

When you are singing to God, singing is praying. Singing is part of our prayer life. Songs of joy, songs of praise, songs of love. God says to us, "Let them sing! Let them ever sing!"

It's rather surprising, in fact, how often the Psalms mention singing. Consider, for example, this flurry of verses beginning with Psalm 95:

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
Psalm 95:1-2

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his Name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Psalm 96:1-2

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

Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100:2

I will sing of your love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will sing praise.
Psalm 101:1

That's a flurry! And there's more.

But why? Why all this emphasis on singing?

Music is powerful. Music is emotional. Music is passionate. Music so often is the language of love. At time mere words, music-less words, just won't do. We need to sing if we are going to adequately express the love and joy and exuberance we fell. Psalm 98 describes the heart that newly bursts with love and praise: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music (98:4).

I love singing to God. I do it practically every day. And I can't sing worth a flip! But still, sing I do. I love it. And when we sing together, and the skilled musicians are playing and the praise singers are singing, and we are expressing the depths of our grace-filled hearts to God, and the presence of God fills the room, it just doesn't get much better. Our hearts are so full.

It's a gift. A gift from God. Songs of joy. Songs of love. Songs to Jesus.

© 2011 WoodsEdge Community Church. All rights reserved. This article may be reproduced for any non-commercial use.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Meet Jacob

I have this favorite face cream that I use.  Perhaps you've heard of it- Mary Kay's Emollient Cream.  I love this stuff!  It feels somewhat like petroleum, but thicker.  I use it on my hands and feet to soften rough edges and around my eyes to help keep (some of) the wrinkles at bay...  not sure how well that is working, but it's definitely worth the effort.

So anyway, yesterday as I was sitting down to write, I sat back for a few minutes to enjoy the serene- which was nap time in my house.  I drank from my cup of tea and breathed in the silence.  Shepherd had settled peacefully into rest and Jacob was fast asleep...  or so I thought.

About 20 minutes had elapsed before I got up to get a book.  As I entered my room, I noticed a very familiar aroma calling me from my bathroom.  I slowly turned the corner into my bathroom (eyes wide open, and music from Psycho playing in my head), only to find Jacob COVERED in my Mary Kay Emollient Cream.  That was the very distinct smell that had called me in there.  And then I noticed what all Jacob had done with this cream.  He painted me a picture in my bathtub, in the sink, on my favorite white shirt of his(the cream is pink... and petroleum), and finally, as I turned one more corner, I saw the toilet... filled with the final drippings from my nearly new tube of Mary Kay Emollient Cream.

Meet Jacob.  The same little turkey who colored all over the wall and floor in our old house.. . with a permanent marker.  the same turkey who thinks that "no" is an opportunity to negotiate.

Anyway, every day at our house, nap time is the same.  We don't typically stray from this routine because it has been working so well, for so long.  The scene normally looks like this:  I lay Jacob down, I kiss and hug him, and he rolls over and lays there until he falls asleep.  It's not difficult or even anything extraordinary.  It's just the way nap time is... until yesterday.

So then, a few moments ago, as I was cleaning the kitchen, I caught the (almost tattling) gaze of my sweet 13 month old, cotton-topped little Shepherd and quickly realized it had been at least three minutes since I'd heard Jacob playing with his toys on the living room floor.  So, once again, I made the trek in to my bathroom- where I smelled another distinctive smell.  This time it was starch.  The entire can of spray starch has now been emptied on to my bathroom floor and Jacob?  He's sitting in time out, watching me write.  I disciplined him and gave him books to read for a little while.  In my frustration, I heard myself say this to him:  "Jacob!  Why can't you just obey?"

The moral?  1- Child locks on the bedroom doors are priceless. And 2- I wonder how many times I've known what God expected of me and gone ahead with my own plans.  How many times have I walked in disobedience, expecting grace and forgiveness, forgetting about the consequences that lay ahead?  My choices may have been forgiven, but they still have consequences.

In the same way that I will always forgive and always love Jacob- no matter what he says or does, no matter how many bottles of face cream or starch he empties- no matter how far away from me he runs, I know that God will always forgive me, always love me, and always be there for me to run to.  But even so, as I was disciplining Jacob, I realized that yes, my plan for Jacob to obey is the best possible plan for him.  I know what is best for him right now because I am his mother and can see things that he cannot see at his young age.  Likewise, our Heavenly father sees the bigger picture in our lives and knows what is best for us right now.

If I tell him to lay down and rest and he does not, it won't kill him, but it definitely makes things more difficult on him (and the rest of the family) later in the evening.  And when God tells me to wait on Him and I choose not to, it likely will not kill me, but it could definitely make things harder on me or my family in the long run.  Knowing this, I wondered how many times God looked at me and thought "Why can't you just obey?  Just obey and trust that I know, ultimately, what is best for you. Just... obey."

Just a thought to ponder as you finish your morning cup of Joe.  I have more thoughts on this but I'm off to play with the little man...  Jacob. Because he's served his time in time out and now it's mommy time!

No longer I,

The Real Life Mom

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Living in the Spirit- By Jeff Wells (9/11/11)

I normally wouldn't put audio pod casts in here, but this was Sunday's message from my church.  Click to listen- you absolutely will not regret it!  :)


Thursday.  Also known as the day after tomorrow.  Thursday will be the first time I get to speak in public since college.  In some ways, I don't feel ready, but I already know God has called me to this time, so I fully expect Him to show up and calm my nerves, fully equipping me before then.  A few years ago I felt like God was calling me to teach and to write this book- to be entitled NO LONGER I.  I don't know why I felt like He wanted me to write- I mean, I have to use spelling (and grammar) checks to send an e-mail- but none-the-less, I have pressed on.  I have written in and out of seasons- both good and bad; taking breaks for babies, big kids, the Hottie, and just life in general.  I've had many ideas- some good... many not-so-good.

Through it all, I've watched God transform my thought life, almost completely.  He's no where close to being done with me, but compared to who I once was, I'd say "We've come a long way, baby!"  I'm still wildly flawed and I still feel unusable, but The Lord is working in my life and I can't wait to see where I am at the end of this next season.  

In the mean time, I'd simply like to ask for your prayers.  Last night I started feeling pretty sick and this morning it was still hanging around.  (No people, I'm absolutely 100% NOT pregnant).  It's not that kind of sick.  It's more like a cold or bronchitis- something of the like.  But none-the-less, I have very little voice.  I, personally, would be okay with laying in bed all week, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has other plans, so please pray that whatever this is would be gone- along with my nerves and feelings of doubt.  

Half of me is super giddy- like a kid on Christmas morning.  The other half of me is fighting off the lies that the enemy keeps telling me like: "You're not ready."  "This won't be any good- don't waste your time."  "No one's going to show up- this is a joke.", and "You're not funny or knowledgeable enough."  But I know in my heart that God has given me a word to share and that's exactly what I'm claiming.  So I'm standing in His name, declaring that those lies have no place here and that I will be healed in time for Thursday morning.  

Thanks for praying (and for your continued support)!  

No longer believing the lies, 

No longer I,

The Real Life Mom.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Be Still.

As I'm sitting here, thinking about the eerie quiet that has overtaken my house, I'm kindly reminded that, yes- at the end of every day, they do crash.  And yes, what is left over is a house full of laundry, toys, and dishes to be put away... in that order.  There is a stockpile of junk accumulating at the top of my stairs shouting out to me "Organize me!"  But instead I'm writing to you fun people.

I have found freedom in blogging- something has been unleashed in me and I'm quite enjoying it.  It's a freedom to say what I'm feeling, what I'm struggling with, in my own format (kind of like Facebook, but not limited to 450 characters... though some might wish it was).

And tonight's thought is simple- be still.  Yes, I have a to-do list that is longer than Santa's gift list.  Yes, I have lunches to prepare and miles to cross on the treadmill.  Yes there are 4 loads of clean laundry that will likely get dirty again before they are put away... but I keep feeling this nagging from God to say "be still".  So I have turned off the incessant background noise- the movies, Pandora radio, and everything else that I typically use to fill the evening void.  I've checked and re-checked to ensure they are truly asleep, not just playing opossum until I get settled.  The Hottie is at school and I am here, alone in the quiet... doing my best to not listen to the OCD that fills my head, telling me to get up and get busy.  So tonight, it's simple.  Be still.  Make time to listen, rather than talking to God.  Make time to enjoy Him and His presence.

One of my favorite "chick" songs is this:  The More I Seek You  Click.  Listen.  Un-busy yourself and just rest tonight, in Him.

No Longer Busy, no longer I,

The Real Life Mom.