Monday, July 28, 2008

July 28

July 28th

Three months and we miss her so...

This time last summer she was coming to Ft Worth with me a lot. She would sleep late (surprise huh?), we would go to the Country Club and lay out. She never did get a tan and oh how that made her mad! Grandpa, Carrie and Boo would take her out and let her drive at night... she loved that!

I also remember the day she accepted Jesus... we were at the Power Team show in McKinney with the Wall's and the Harmon's. At the invitation, I looked up and she was running down the isle and then in Uncle Boo's arms as they made a public profession of faith... sweet!!! We are so thankful that she accepted and chose to follow Him. Now she is "partyin' with Him, hallelujah!

Please feel free to add a memory of your own, we love reading them!

Monday, July 21, 2008

True Worship

True Worship…

As I sat listening to the sermon yesterday I learned a few things… I learned that true worship can and should happen anywhere and everywhere! True worship is bowing down before Him in amazement and so in awe of His presence that we fall prostrate before Him. It is an attitude of the heart. True worship is relational not religious. It IS the true surrender of the heart of the created to the heart of the creator. Worship is loving Him out loud. As I sat listening I also reflected on last week. Here are my thoughts… Worship for me last week was hard and at times grueling and occurred in some surprising and not so surprising places. I experienced worship at the cemetery grieving, in a fender bender on I-35 in 5 o'clock traffic and at the Steven Curtis Chapman concert. All these worship times were amazing in their own way…

As I sat at the cemetery, I sat in the somewhat fresh dirt, placed flowers on Rachel's grave and cried, the pain is still so deep. How long is this thing called healing going to take and will we ever be healed? He revealed to me through a fellow blogger that yes we will be healed, but there will be always be a scar. And the scar will be a reminder of not only the past pain but also the work of Him, the Great Healer. If we continue to worship Him in our grief, He will continue to apply His healing balm from His loving hand which will heal us perfectly in His time. (thank you K. Hasenbalg for those words of encouragement.) Yes I worshipped at the cemetery, thank you Jesus for meeting me there.

As I was driving to work on Tues, I got caught up in rush hour traffic, are you surprised? I sort of got lost in my thoughts and rolled into an old truck, a small one thank goodness. We pulled over to the access road and he immediately pointed out to me ever so kindly that his truck was old and already beat up. There was no way to tell what damage my car had done and my license plate only has a small dent. He didn't want to do anything about it. He was so kind… I immediately began to cry and he became worried that I was hurt, I assured him that I was not… I was just an emotional mess. I shared with him that we had experienced a death in our family, our daughter in fact. He asked if it alright to pray with me. Of course! This guy knows how to love out loud! We sat in my car in rush hour traffic and worshipped as he prayed the sweetest prayer. I am still in awe and amazement of His goodness even in rush hour traffic!

At the beginning of the Steven Curtis Chapman concert he sat behind a keyboard saying, "I'm not really a piano player, I just wanted something to kind of hide behind, I am terrified." This was his first concert without the band since the accident. Then he sang "Blessed Be Your Name," the first song that came to his mind that tragic night. He then shared Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." One of the same verses that came to my mind as I saw Rachel in the ER that tragic night.

It was as if he was sitting there visiting with a group of dear friends. He even had a way of making you feel like he was just sitting down to play you a song and tell you a story...just the two of you. He shared stories about Maria, his memories of her, how God melted their hearts together at their first meeting, how she came to know was an amazing time. He even apologized for going on and on, but said he had had somewhat of a sad day and just wanted to remember. Steven - you know we would have listened to you talk for the rest of the night if you had wanted to.

He shared a message of hope and faith. He poured out his heart even in his fear and pain. It was intimate and special. He shared that more important than the questions is the confidence that they have in Him. He was so vulnerable and honest. He was real. He was transparent. It was him, and us and the Lord. It was impactful to see this broken, hurting man so fully, completely trusting in His God. He said "I know God more than I ever have before and yet I know less than before." I completely agree. I will never forget some of the things Steven shared. I will never forget his voice as he literally cried out to Jesus through some songs. I will never forget the Cinderella moment as everyone stood and raised their hands to show their love to Steven, his tears, his hope, his laughter and above all his desire to share the gospel and glorify God.

I was honored to hear his new verse for "Yours"

"I've walked through the valley of the shadow of death,
so deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I've had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you"

And even though he never sang "Speechless," I left speechless and changed.

Psalm 138: 1-2 & 7-8
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
before the "gods" I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever-
do not abandon the works of your hands.

HE will fulfill His purpose…

Last week was hard and at times the surfing was difficult… but I experienced some true worship! Thank you Jesus!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Becoming as polished stones...

It is late, I am up reading. This is what I gleaned from my quiet time with Him…

He made me into a polished arrow. Isaiah 49:2

People come from all over the country travel to Pebble Beach, California just to collect the pebbles on this famous beach. They are beautiful. Why you ask? They are tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of the cliff. This process of grinding continues relentlessly. And what is the result? Beautiful, sought out pebbles. A little farther up the beach is a quiet and lonely beach. It is protected from the face of the ocean, sheltered from the storm, from the waves. This beach too is covered with pebbles not sought by travelers. Why you ask? These pebbles have escaped all the turmoil and grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they have always been. Rough, unpolished and devoid of beauty~ for the polish is the result of the storm. It reminds me once again of the lyrics Praise You in the Storm by Casting Crowns. There are times in life when we feel like we are being tossed, rolled, rubbed together and ground against ths sharp edges of this world. Much like the stones on the quiet beach we can isolate ourselves and remain sheltered from the storm or the tossing waves. Is that His desire for my life? No. Do I wish that I could escape this gried and turmoil in my life? Do I wish that this season of my life would be over and the pain would go away? Sure, who wouldn't. But not if it means remaining rough, unpolished and devoid of beauty. I want His beauty.

In this season of life I am living as a pebble on Pebble Beach. Am I being tossed about in the storm, YES! Am I trusting Him to shape me into a beautiful polished pebble? YES! And I am praising Him for it? YES! Difficult, YES! Is He with me? YES!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In the Midst of the Wilderness

In the midst of the wilderness...

In my God appointed quiet time this early (4am, I have been up since 2am) morning I read an account of the Deeper Still conference and I was touched... I say God appointed because this week I have been up at 2 or 3 am almost every night. I have felt Him gently wake me and say "come." The harder I fought to go back to sleep the more difficult it became, He kept gently saying "come" let's sit a spell. So here I sit for the 3rd early morning in a row... There are no distractions and He knows all too well how easily I become distracted these days. I have had some sweet times with Him this week. Praise Him...

from Deeper Still:

Priscilla Shirer speaks about seeing God in the midst of the wilderness using Exodus 19:9. She said that when God wants to lead you into a divine invitation, He'll often lead us into the wilderness. It is in the wilderness where intimacy is ignited.
She talked about how it was God's choice to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness. There was an easier way, but He took them a different path to allow them to see His provision. Mount Sinai was the furthest possible place away from external blessing, but it was at this place that they received the biggest internal blessing. Sometimes it takes hard times and difficult circumstances to make us really see who God is and His power.
Priscilla used an example that has stuck with me. She compared having God's spirit poured out on you to being caught in a rainstorm. It can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and make us want to run back to where we came from. Sometimes the hand of God doesn't look the way we expect it to.
I have spent much of the last couple of months feeling like I'm in the wilderness, often wandering aimlessly and wondering if God has a plan or a purpose. It has been hard and at times I have felt like I can't take anymore, but God has been faithful to sustain me. And, honestly, I have grown more in my faith than at any other period of my life. It's made me seek Him more because I've realized I'm not in control and I don't have the answers.
As Priscilla said, it's being able to say God I trust you. I'm not going to fight this season of life, but settle in and trust you.
There are three things we need to do to prepare to see God.
1. He calls us to remember what He has already done for us. Where you were and what He has delivered you from. We will be thankful when we remember where we've been.
Honestly, my list is too long. She also made a reference to digging through the garbage and, have mercy, I was a professional garbage digger for many a year.
2. Recognize your spiritual identity. God is the only one who can label us. He gives us our identity. Knowing who you are is dependent on really knowing who He is.
3. New levels of surrender. Holiness is important to God. Find an area you don't want to surrender and SURRENDER IT.
As Priscilla said, the Holy Spirit empowers you to submit to surrender.
Girl, I need some empowering.
When the children of Israel reached this point, God descended on Mount Sinai in the form of a mighty cloud filled with thunder and lightning. Ultimately, they let their fear hold them back and they kept their distance from the mountain. They were afraid to get the word of God for themselves.
So, Priscilla's question was "What is holding you back?"
It challenged me to take a hard look at the things I let hold me back. Things like fear and uncertainty. But I'm working on the surrender because I don't want to miss out on what God has by holding on to what I think I need or want.
I want Him to pour out His spirit on me. Even if it's uncomfortable at times. Even if there are days I can't see through the storm.
I want Him.
Is anything holding you back?