02.14.13 - The Gold That Wasn't Needed
I have been reading through the bible chronologically (which I'm really enjoying) and have been really encouraged by a certain section in Exodus.
The latter part of the book includes details (after details) about the building of the sanctuary, the place where God met with His people. It describes how God put special skill in people to do all sorts of work that was needed to complete the building. And the people were more than willing to bring what they had. Their skill, their possessions, whatever was needed they brought freely. Until one of the overseers told Moses:
"The people bring much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do." So Moses gave command, and word was proclaimed throughout the camp, "Let no man or woman do anything more for the contribution for the sanctuary." So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more." (Exodus 36:4-7
I can't help but think about the man who had just decided to take a leave from his job in order to help with the sanctuary. Or the women who was in the middle of sorting through her jewelry with a pile of gold to bring for them to melt down and use for another purpose. I can image how eager they were to bring what they had to offer, and how disappointed they may have been when they heard they weren't needed anymore.
We all desire to be valuable and appreciated
. Our response when our offering isn't needed reveals who it is we are seeking value and appreciation from. Is the offering of those whose gold never got melted down any less valuable than those whose Gold became the mercy seat?
It is not a matter of whose name is on what brick, whose hand wove what curtain, whose gold became this or that. It is not even a matter of what got used, and what didn't. It is a matter of what each offering meant between the individual and God.
And it still means that today. I don't believe that God gives us gifts or resources for nothing, and if you feel like you are sitting on the bench asking God to put you in the game, perhaps you are in a season of waiting, or learning
. And I would bet there is a way that you can serve right where you are. The truth is that sometimes the gifts, resources and skills that we have are needed in a public sort of way. And sometimes they are not. Jesus sees and is honored by both.
This is a lesson for me in my current season where my primary role is to be a mother. There have been times for my songs to be heard by the thousands, and then there are times that my songs are meant for my two little red headed kids. And both are an offering of the gifts that God has given me.
It is always good to ask, whose appreciation am I seeking? Who is my offering for?
02.12.13 - ...and then the unraveling
Well you can probably guess what happened the night after I posted that last blog about growth and progress. I regressed. Doesn't it always happen that way?
My husband and I went out for dinner (which is a rare treat these days) and didn't make it 30 minutes in before an argument took over and I could not get past it. By the time our meal was served the night was already been ruined and we were wasting a perfectly good date night with frustrating conversation or silence. A big bummer, especially since the day before I was expounding on how much I had grown in forgiveness. And there I was, unwilling to admit where I was wrong or forgive. I just couldn't move on. We had it sorted out before bed that night and we were even able to laugh about it the next day, but it was still frustrating that the night was wasted. Thank God for such a grace filled husband.
Pride is SUCH a waste of time.
01.01.13 - Threads of Progress
I head in to 2013 thankful for the ways I have been able to grow in this past year.
I am less scared of failure than I used to be. At the beginning of an expectation I feel less pressure and more possibility.
I am more willing to admit when I'm wrong. Arguments with my husband end much quicker than they used to as I realize what a waste of time it is to trying to be right.
I have less judgement for other peoples decisions, realizing that I am often wrong, that God is the only judge, and that everything is at it's best when grace precedes every thought, word, and deed.
Easier said than done. I know how selfish I am, how prideful I am, and how scared I am.
Yet because of Jesus, by the help of the Holy Spirit, and with all glory aimed at God, I am growing.
How do you see the threads of growth in your life?
(first sunrise of 2013 over Portland)
11.29.12 - Memories from the Beginning
I was 18 and had just moved to Nashville. Someone invited me to a "Pickin Parlor" which is where songwriters got together (this one at a house) and played songs with/for each other. Most of them had instruments of some kind with them so they would all play with each other even though most of the songs were unheard, recently written. Nashville is like that...songs just appearing every day out of the air, seemingly as numerous as raindrops in a thunderstorm.
(which reminds me...dear country music: please stop covering pop hits and releasing them as singles. There are so many good songs out there that never get recorded, cut those instead, for the love.)
So they would play. They would sing. They would eat and laugh and drink in songs that may or may not ever land on ears farther than that living room or a publishers desktop. But oh they were wonderful. I had found my people.
Rivers Rutherford was there that night and when it was his turn to play he played a song that at that time had yet to be recorded by Faith Hill but was soon after. A song that has become an all time favorite of mine, maybe because of that night and maybe because it is just a wonderful, wonderful song. "When the lights go down...He'll be fillin' a pan with a broom in his hand...In some dive across town...He'll be wipin' the bar, and moppin' the floor....Countin' his tips and lockin' the doors...Wrestlin' with the devil that tells him to pour another round ...." I was hooked. Who is this man and where did this song come from and do I really live here? Am I in the room right now?
When the guitar came around to me I think I played something, yes I did. I think I played my song appropriately titled "Music" which I must have just written. I remember feeling so small and wonderful. So proud to be playing for that room of people. They liked my voice, I remember. Told me I reminded them of a girl who used to frequent the pickin party, they wanted me to come back.
It was raining when I left, raining water or raining songs, who can say? The road back down to Harding was dark and I wasn't quite sure where I was. I had gone by myself, following directions on a sheet of paper, and I probably wasn't even down the driveway before I had started new songs in my head. The creativity was so fluid and selfless that I could not help but be inspired.
And that was just the beginning. (picture circa 2001..ish?)
10.08.12 - Surrender...again.
it is such a year of learning I really do not know where to begin. The kind of year you can't turn back, the kind of change you can't undo. So I move forward with prayers of "Oh Lord...I need You". The curtain has been pulled on my lesser gods and any false sense of security I had has been shattered. I feel smaller and more humbled than I ever have and yet, more confident in who I am
to read the rest click here...
06.06.12 - On Moving to Portland 2
We moved to Portland in the middle of winter. In the middle of the rainy season that we quickly realized was not just a myth, it really does rain here like...all. the. time. But I don't mind. I didn't mind the long days in february watching the drops of water form patterns on the windows as I cuddled up with my kids and drank coffee. Lots of coffee. My friend here says the rain is why coffee is so popular in Portland, she calls it liquid sunshine.
to read the rest click here....
03.05.12 - On Moving to Portland
I have moved from Nashville to Portland, Oregon. I have been trying to find the right words to explain to you, reader, what this move has been like for me. And I realize that I am still processing much of the change, and the words may come more fully later.
Let me just assure you that we have moved out here to follow Jesus. We have moved out here to chase after so many dreams we have for our family. We have moved out here because when one is on the banks of a river, a river you know has your name on it, and the waters suddenly rise, and the current starts to pull you along with it...you have no choice but to let it take you....
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01.10.12 - My Birth Playlist
When I went into labor in November, I asked my husband to bring me my computer because I needed some music. I needed songs whose lyrics could encourage me and connect with my heart. This playlist was in my itunes and it seemed to fit the bill. These are the songs that were on repeat for those several hours before and right after Norah was born. It turned out to be the perfect mix of songs of surrender, strength, and purpose. Thank you to you whose music is on here, your songs gave me courage!
To read the rest click here...
12.30.11 - For those who walk the races
This year has been a tiring one, full of many changes here at the end. I am grateful for, as I've said in previous posts, this full time dependence on a strength outside of myself. It is good to be here. It's also good to know that God is okay with my moving slowly. My taking it one day, one hour at a time. I can find several scriptures that tell me this, but my favorite is this one....
to read the rest click here
12.20.11 - Christmas with a newborn
This is an exceptional Christmas season for me. I gave birth to my daughter the day before December began and have spent the last couple weeks recovering and getting to know these new hands and this new face. Norah and I are figuring things out as best as we can. Achieving small milestones one day at a time. Getting out of bed in the morning (and in the middle of the night because she has yet to know the difference), remembering to eat meals and feed my family, changing diapers and cleaning spit up, getting rid of jaundice... small victories make up my days.
to read more click here...