Finding Hope in the Mundane

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace. “

Helen Howarth Lemmel

light

I love this hymn. It’s probably my favorite one. It addresses the questions and uncertainties of this life with an answer of hope.

The Answer is Hope.

This Wednesday, this mid-week slump of a day, has me all caught up in the mundane. I need some renewed hope. How about you? So, here’s my rendition of this timeless hymn. I pray it brings you newness of spirit, soul, and body.


I slightly see you Jesus. But I choose to turn, to redirect the position of my body so that I am facing in a different direction, to change my course if it is not in line with Your perfect will.

I really see you Jesus. I desire to look, to use my sight or vision in seeking, searching, examining, watching, to gaze upon Your beauty more than I stare at my ugly circumstances. 

I only see you Jesus. The darkness of this temporary place can’t overwhelm my soul. It has to fade away, disappear, vanish without a trace of existence in your presence.

I live to see you Jesus. Your love shines on every part of my life causing me to run wild and free because of your beaming favor that welcomes me into fields of grace.


Whatever you’re facing today, just look to the Jesus. the source of all HOPE, the answer to every problem. He will meet you where you are. And always guide you home.

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Childhood Fears as an Adult

The physical darkness in front of me doesn’t negate the heavenly Light I carry within me.

I am a grown woman with a childhood fear that just won’t let go. I am the mom who makes her kids have nightlights in their rooms because I’m scared that they might get scared in the middle of the night.

Am I a fearful person? Not really. I am very into confronting your fears and living on the edge. After all, the Bible even says in 2 Timothy 1:7, (and I quote this verse often to my tribe),
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,

but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

But when the room is pitch black, all of the blood rushes to my head and I instantly blurt out whatever expletive or shrieking sound I can muster to get someone, ANYONE, to turn the light back on.

I thought that maybe this was a major problem and I needed some counseling or something. I even considered forcing myself to sleep in my bedroom without the bathroom light shining in from down the hall to somehow face my fear head on.

Then it occurred to me recently as I was struggling with letting my youngest sleep (per her request) without a night light- The physical darkness in front of me doesn’t negate the heavenly Light I carry within me. Aren’t I called to be the Light? To be a flickering flame shining HOPE in the night hours? A glimmering speck of FREEDOM that guides the captives out of their gloomy cells?

My three year old knows this truth better than I do it seems. She sings songs like “This Little Light of Mine” and “Jesus Loves Me” to herself in her bed at night. What a picture of faith. She is worshipping the Light Giver even though her eyes only see darkness. That image preaches itself.

If I force her to have that night light, I would be enabling her to be afraid of the dark just like I have been for too long. I would, in essence, be passing my fear onto her.  Notice, I didn’t say that I want her to constantly live in bright, well-lit places and never encounter darkness at all. I think, many times, this is where we miss it. (I know I did!) But the cool thing is, my fear of the dark has actually introduced my heart to the safety of the Light. However, always living comfortably in the warmth of the sun by no means instills a longing for more light. In fact, it leaves you hot and a little presumptuous that life will always be full of sunshine.

No, the nighttime seasons make us long for the morning rays. I want my kids to experience the dark because it is in those moments when they will come to realize that the Light never left them. Isn’t that what hope is, after all? A knowing that the darkness will not fully overtake us because we have a Savior who lives inside of us and to Him, “the night shines as bright as day.” (Psalm 139:12)

 

Expose Yourself

Value yourself enough to only expose yourself to the good stuff.

Expose means to uncover, to reveal.

What are you exposing yourself to on a regular basis? Are they things that feed your soul and nourish your mind? Or do they deplete you and cast a negative spin on life?

Here are three things that I try to expose myself to as often as I can:

Positive People (godly friends, mentors, workout buddies, accountability partners)

Empowering Reading Material (the Bible, articles from women who are living their best life, leadership books)

Uplifting and Fun Music (K-Love, Bethel Worship, 90’s boy bands-yeah, I said it.)

What do these things uncover or reveal to me?

That I value myself enough to make my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health a priority. 

If I choose to expose myself to negative people, discouraging resources, and hopeless, draining music, I’m setting myself up for a bad day (or life.)

What about you? Are you paying attention to what you’re being exposed to? What are some things you should probably dismiss from your life because of the unhealthy effects they have on you?

I challenge you to take a good, hard look at the people you allow to speak into your life. Are they lifting you up or stepping on you to get ahead? Go through your bookshelf and toss out the stuff that is only making you wish for a different (fill in the blank). Now there is room to add some encouraging reads to your list. Evaluate your musical tastes. Sad love songs and angry anthems are fine every once in a while but if they are taking up most of the space on your iPod, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.

Remember, what goes in always comes out. Value yourself enough to only expose yourself to the good stuff.

Cause, baby, YOU’RE WORTH IT.  

Unforgettable Song

 

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I’m entangled in your sweet refrains

Timeless rhythms keep me entertained

Moments of whimsy catch me by surprise

As sonnets sing softly over my dark nights

 

I’m consumed by your harmonic tunes

Wrapped up in your enchanting moods

Brilliant compositions soothe my weary soul

Classic notes play my senses like a lovesick fool

 

I’ve loved you madly since I was a child

Yet I’ve hated your guts all the while

The times I’ve melted in your melodic embrace

Equal the dissonance I’ve felt in light of memory’s face

 

For your friendship is a hauntingly beautiful song

With lyrics ever-changing as the days roll on

And while I long to forget yesterday’s resonating chant

I can’t…

 

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Song Review (“Fierce” by Jesus Culture)

I have been a fan of Jesus Culture for years. They are such an anointed worship band with a huge heart to help young people enter into God’s presence. JC’s newest release, “Fierce”, is off their 2016 album entitled Let It Echo which will be released this Friday, January 15!!! (Can you sense my excitement?)

Chris Quilala is the lead singer of this song and, as always, leads the worshiper into a beautiful experience with his smooth voice and guitar skills. Kim Walker-Smith joins him on the chorus with her powerhouse pipes and rounds out the sound with her amazing vocal talent. Both worship leaders are so gifted, not only in their musical ability, but in the way they choose to fearlessly praise the Lord with abandon.

My favorite part of the song is the bridge which says,

‘You chase me down

You seek me out

How could I be lost when You have called me found?’

And that, my friends, is what worship is all about. Jesus being the focus, the center, the reason why we sing. Jesus Culture has always given credit where credit is due and their ministry has touched millions of lives. I’m forever grateful to them for being true examples of sold out Christ-followers!

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And link up with Kat on her blog to find more great music reviews! http://katblogs.com/2016/01/11/music-mondays-15/#comments

10 Creative Quirks About Me

 

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/91345457@N07/9496376163">Plants Stand</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>

  1. I sing all songs. Pop, rock, disco, country, christian, alternative, funk, folk, and the list goes on and on… It doesn’t matter what’s playing. If it’s playing, I’m singing along with it.
  2. I love to color. I even have a system where I outline the image or drawing first with a darker shade of crayon before filling it in with a lighter color.
  3. I can’t draw from just an image or idea in my head but I can look at a picture and duplicate it by hand almost exactly. I think it’s the details of shapes and angles that I have a hard time remembering.
  4. I bop my head to music and don’t even know I’m doing it. If I’m not bopping then I’m tapping my foot or patting my hand on my knee. It’s seriously a subconscious reaction to any funky beat. I don’t think I could stop even if I wanted to.
  5. Every movie has the potential to be quoted and inserted into my life at the appropriate time. I have entire conversations in movie quotes with my sisters, mom, and husband.
  6. Every cliche, bible verse, commercial slogan, math fact, to-do list, etc…can be sung. And my kids crack up at me for putting music to literally anything in order to remember it.
  7. I have so many thoughts and ideas in my head that if I don’t get them out on paper in the form of a blog post, a poem, a letter, or a song, I think I just might explode.
  8. I am a speed reader. I have been since I was in the 2nd grade. Spelling and grammar are two of my best friends. I have always loved the way words fit together on a page and can transport the reader to a brand new place or time.
  9. I love movies, songs, and books that highlight women as the heroine or leader. Jane Austen, Harriet Tubman, Ella Fitzgerald, Katherine Hepburn, Anne Frank. These are women who stood for something and gave the rest of us an example to follow as we live out lives of strong and graceful womanhood.
  10. Music is timeless.  I can listen to songs from the 70’s and feel such a love for the wordsmiths that crafted the lyrics as well as listen to Mozart and get carried away on the wings of the melody. A true musician appreciates the past, honors the integrity of the present sound, and embraces a hope for what the music of the future might be.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Christmas is a time of joy and hope. It’s an occasion when everyone is willing to go the extra mile to help others. Most of the world is incessantly smiling and overwhelming excitement fills the air.

However, a sense of anxiety and pain comes with this season as well. There’s a knowing that I can’t stop the radio station from playing 24 hours of holiday music. To them, it’s ratings. To me, it’s reminders of good times that are gone forever. I feel like they are just trying to force the Christmas spirit into me!

I’m just trying to find a balance. How can the two worlds coincide with one another? Can joy and hope really be found in the middle of anxiety and pain? Can I remember the old times with fondness while enduring the agony of present hardships yet looking to the future with expectancy?

I don’t know. It’s hard. Does anyone ever really get to a place where they are truly ok with whatever life throws at them? Truly at peace with the forgotten yesterdays, here-then-gone todays, and quickly approaching tomorrows?

I’m not sure I know how to do that. But what I am trying to do is keep an eternal perspective through it all.  If we could really know how long we have on this earth, would we even want to know? Eventually, hopelessness would set in and the sense of urgency that beckons us to live each day like it matters would be gone because of our known expiration date. Knowledge isn’t always power.

Actually, I’m realizing more and more that the less I know, the happier I am. Oh, being aware is vital to living a responsible life, don’t get me wrong. But when it comes to enjoying my life, there’s only so much I really want to know.

Trust is a battle. And I’m in the thick of it at this moment. To really trust in the One who is good despite the whirlwind of despair that surrounds my life right now is difficult. To really trust that He sees it all and hasn’t overlooked me or forgotten about me despite what my eyes are telling me is just plain excruciating.

Yep, I’m in a battle alright. A battle that won’t end this side of heaven. And every single day I have to choose to look up instead of right in front of me at the wreckage. Did you know that none of us make it out alive anyways? The thing is, that doesn’t depress me. It’s the living in this fallen world that is so darn depressing.

So I guess I’m being real and giving you permission to feel whatever it is you need to feel to make it through this Christmas. The truth is still the truth no matter what we feel, isn’t it? God is still on the throne. Jesus is still the Savior of the world. Heaven is still our forever home.

So feel it. Then put on your gloves and fight for your right to live a joyful, hope-filled life. Don’t lay down and take it. You are armed and dangerous through the power of the Holy Spirit. This life is worth living because of the One who lives in you. And it ain’t over ’til He says it’s over.

I think I’m going to put on some Jingle Bell Rock…