Wednesday, September 16, 2009


But the fruit of the Spirit is
Love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self control.
~Galatians 5:22

If only practicing these every day was as easy as picking an apple from a tree...

For more goodness, click here!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Newly Saved?

I think... that it is possible... that I only recently... became saved.

Those were strange words to type just then.

Because I thought that I was already saved. Although I could not point to a moment and say, "That's when I became saved," I was pretty sure it had happened.

But then something really did happen. Over this summer, as I began to read more & more of what I call "ChristianMomBlogs," I started to notice some real changes in my home, my life, my heart.

It began casually enough. I read a post on priorities & schedules. Then I read about training and disciplining children. And then I read about peace from a mother's perspective.

And sort of rapidly... something inside me changed. It was as if Someone lit a fire under me. I couldn't pray enough, couldn't read my Bible enough, couldn't find enough Biblical guidelines for how I should be living my life.

I was thirsty, but not for water. I was hungry, but not for bread.

I still am.

And then, last week, I was listening to the "Church Channel" on the radio (the BOTT Radio Network). I can't remember if it was Adrian Rogers or Chuck Swindal (I like them both). But he was talking about the Commandments. He said that we don't follow the Commandments in order to be saved. We follow the Commandments because we are saved. He stated that when the Holy Spirit fills us, we are filled with a desire to keep God's Law. We are compelled to follow the Law and to walk each day with the Lord and to seek Him in all things. And then he said, "...and if you think you're saved, but you don't feel that, then there aught to be a big question mark about that." And I had to stop and say, "Woah."

Because I have never before felt what I feel now. But if I was truly saved, shouldn't I have felt it? I mean, shouldn't I have felt even a little tickle of it? I was raised in a religious organization that taught untruths about God. (Like, serious untruths that I will surely spend the rest of my life trying to unlearn.) So maybe that lead me to believe that I had been saved, but that I really hadn't. Not really.

Because it never felt like this before.

Things I have learned, and continue to learn have drastically changed the way I interact with my husband, raise my children, keep my home, do my job... the things I do, the things I think, the choices I make, the actions I take. None of these is done without consideration of my Lord and his Word. (Okay, some are still done according to my own will. Hey, I'm only human!)

I guess it doesn't really matter if I was really saved before or not. I am definitely saved today.

I feel so new and shiny, like that new pair of shoes, or that new purse... because today I know that I am saved.

Praise the Lord. I am definitely saved today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Word Filled Wednesday

Neither he who plants, nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
~1 Corinthians 3:7

I love this one. It makes me think of raising my children. I water them, but God really makes them grow. He always has His hands on everything in our lives. I find that to be so comforting.

or more beautiful inspiration, click here

Friday, September 4, 2009

What Do I Say to That?

I have had a quandary on my mind for some time now. It's something that I have pondered for what seems like a long time. Here's the question:

How do I respond when people compliment me on my voice?

It seems like a silly question. What do you say when someone compliments your outfit or your necklace? You say, "Thank you," and give them a smile. But that doesn't seem to work here.

See, I'm a music therapist. I serve children with special needs in a public school setting. Every day, I trek to several different buildings, lugging with me my guitar and a big box of instruments, books & materials. I conduct sessions in conference rooms, therapy rooms, homework rooms, my colleagues' offices and sometimes the hallway. Other staff members, administrators and parent volunteers pass by my sessions all the time, so lots of people hear me sing every day. (This used to freak me out, as I am a seriously shy person...)

Every now & then someone will feel compelled to catch me after my session & say something like, "You have a lovely voice," or "Your singing is so pretty."

Yikes! I don't know how to respond.

Up until now this post may sound like I'm bragging, but I promise I'm not. Here's the part where my humbleness becomes obvious.

I don't feel comfortable saying, "thank you" because I cannot take credit for Someone Else's work. Especially not that Someone.

I have struggled in recent years with the fact that I have two children, and also work outside of my home. I have read the blogs of some great mothers who homeschool their children, and I have thought to myself, "I would be happy to do that." My mother's heart longs to be with my children.

But God has other plans for me, and I've known this for a long time. Looking back across the years of my life, I can see those moments where He said, "Go this way. You'll be closer to where I want you to be." I can see in myself the qualities that He put there from the start... those qualities that He knew I would need to answer His call.

One of those necessary qualities is a pleasing singing voice. I didn't choose or create my voice. God did that. He created it and put it into my body. (Now, I'm not saying that I think I'm a rock star, but I can carry a tune.)

The truth is that I can do nothing without Him. (It says so, right in my Bible!)

I sort of think about an artist. Some great artists make their own brushes. They construct a brush with a specific purpose in mind. Then they alter it here & there to better suit that purpose. They trim the bristles a bit, change the grip a bit, soften or stiffen the bristles a bit. The final form that the brush takes on could be magnificent. It could be the most amazing brush EVER MADE.

But it is nothing until the artist picks it up and uses it. Until the artist plucks that brush up and applies it to His purpose, it is just a piece of wood and hair. Nobody would ever look at the Mona Lisa and say, "Wow! That painting was created by a truly wonderful... brush."

Let me tell you, my job is a complete blessing. I get to serve my Lord by serving His most wonderful children. I get to see the little miracles He works in them every day. And I get to be a part of that. But until He picks me up and uses me, I am nothing. And even then, I am only a tool He uses to work His wonders. The progress my students make is never due to anything that I have done on my own.

All of this goes through my mind each & every time someone says, "You sing so beautifully!" I want to say, "Thank you, but IT'S NOT ME. I AM JUST THE INSTRUMENT GOD USES TO WORK HIS WONDERS AND I CAN TAKE NO PRAISE OR CREDIT FOR THAT."

But I can't say that. I'm not allowed to say that in front of any of the students, and even if there are none in the room, God has been expelled from school. Even here in the Midwest. He is very taboo. Eyebrows are raised if ever His Holy name is mentioned (unless it's by someone who is taking His name in vain. Then, apparently, it's acceptable.)

Even outside of the public school arena, people often get visibly uncomfortable when you start talking about God when they didn't see it coming. They sort of shift their weight from side to side, look at you as if you have antennae growing out of your head, and change the subject as quickly as humanly possible. (Okay, sometimes I do mention Him to a Christian who is not made uncomfortable, and I always feel a sense of relief when they do not give me "the look.")

So I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a Sherman tank. I feel compelled to glorify His name, to praise His works... but I am also compelled to keep my job. (...since I can't serve His children if I'm not allowed into the schools anymore...)

If you've actually made it to the end of this [incredibly long] post, I am asking for your input. I want your thoughts, wisdom, advice. How do you think I could respond when someone compliments my voice?

Please, please, PLEASE leave a comment. If you read this. And at this point I am almost convinced that there is only one person out there who ever reads this blog (Hi, awesome new friend who reads my blog!)... please weigh in & help me with this. I am so new to this journey that I am finding some everyday situations a challenge to figure out.