This is my story

I realize it’s not Wednesday. But even if it was Wednesday, it’s been so long since I’ve done a Worship Wednesday post, it would probably confuse you all. But it’s not Wednesday, it’s Friday. And this Friday, I’m listening to music waiting for my husband to get home from the store and one of my current favorite Christian songs comes on, Big Daddy Weave’s My Story.

This song speaks to me so much. I grew up in a Christian home. There was never a time when we didn’t go to church. There was never a time when I didn’t believe in God, or know that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God who came to earth as a man, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross for ME, and arose three days later. This has always been true for me.

And then I’m around people talking about their story, and they all have this big AHA moment where suddenly they understood and believed and knew Jesus came for them. And then I feel like I am less. Everyone is sharing their salvation story, and I just sit there uncomfortable hoping no one is looking at me. I don’t have this big story. I do not have a single moment in my life where I remember anything but believing in Jesus. Does this make me less?

I grew up in the church. We always, ALWAYS, went to church. If you spent the night at our house, you went to church on Sunday morning, too. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it (unless you snuck out at the crack of dawn. I’m looking at you, Joey). We went on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights until we changed churches and then we went on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. We were always in church. And if something happened with the church we were currently attending, we immediately were in another church. Church, God and Jesus are just something that has always been a part of me.

I hear people tell these stories, and I am so moved by them. They were in this horrible place and God spoke to them and they found Jesus and I rejoice with them. These are amazing stories. And then I am terrified they will ask me mine. And then what do I say? I’ve always believed? I’ve never doubted the presence of God?

Don’t get me wrong. I have made mistakes. I have made my own gigantic, horrible, terrible mistakes. But even in the midst of those mistakes, I knew God; I knew Jesus. While I was making my mistakes, there was never a moment when I doubted the presence of God. And while my mistakes may have taken me away from God, I knew that He had never left me.

What kind of story is that? What kind of testimony is it to say you always knew Him? There are days this makes me feel less, less Christian, less devoted, just less. And how ridiculous is that? Shouldn’t always knowing Him be more or equal to? But still I feel less.

My middle brother was the first of the three of us that were baptize. I remember so clearly as a teenager my brother saying he wanted to be baptized again because the first time he was baptized we were attending a Church of Christ where they have communion every Sunday and my brother really wanted to be able to have communion because every one else was. I remember my teenage brother with his amazing story being baptized again. (I am not saying that he ever doubted God or Jesus, just so we are clear.) I remember watching him being dunked into that water and being so proud of the choice he was making. I remember being jealous that he had this moment of clarity and a story he could tell. Isn’t that silly?

I know not having an amazing story doesn’t make me less. It doesn’t lessen my worth in my Father’s eyes. It’s such a silly human thing that I’m sure comes from Satan. And maybe that’s why this song means so much to me.

To tell you my story is to tell of Him.

My story (or lack thereof) doesn’t make me less. It doesn’t make me more. It makes me me. We all have different stories. We all come to Him in different places. Do you know what is important? It’s not the story. It’s that we come to Him.

So if you ask me my story, I will tell you a story of when Life overcame the grave. I will tell you of when justice was served but when mercy won. Let me tell you of the grace that is greater than all of my sin (and boy have I sinned.). Can I tell you about the kindness of Jesus which is more than any of us can imagine? This is my story. This is my song.

Set Me On Fire

A while ago, I heard a song. It was Sanctus Real’s On Fire. It broke my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I’ve lived the life they sing out in the song.

Remember when you couldn’t wait
to show up early and find your place.
Cause you didn’t want to miss a thing.
And your heart was open and ready for change.
Oh, those were the days.
You were never afraid to sing,
never afraid to life your hands.
Didn’t care what people would think.

I remember what that was like. Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, we were there. We were there early. We got together before and after. We were a solid unit for Christ. We were a family. We worshiped together. We mourned together. If one of us was hurting, we all hurt together. We were a force for Christ that was not to be reckoned with. And it felt as if nothing and no one could drive us a part.

You were on fire,
and church was more than a place,
and people were more than faces.
and Jesus was more than a name.

We were on fire. We loved each other and Jesus. Church was more than a place. And Jesus was definitely more than a name. We were living for Him. We ministered to each other and strangers. We came from different places. We were a crazy range of ages from young teens to early twenties.

But our age differences and where we had come from didn’t matter. We loved each other and Jesus fiercely. Nothing could stand in our way.

Remember when you weren’t ashamed.
To tell your friends about your faith.
A time when you felt the pain
of just one lost soul that was slipping away.
Your heart was soft, you had radiant eyes,
but slowly the pressures and burdens of life
pulled you into the dark of night.
But when did you lose your sight?

We weren’t ashamed. We wore our faith proudly. We wanted to reach more, do more, BE MORE. We started our own church services. We shared our mistakes, our pain, our triumphs, our hearts.

We didn’t all look the same. We covered a range of everything, from preppy to emo. We were a band of misfits with our crazy hair and piercings and our crazy love of God. And those of us who would scare strangers on the street with our looks were the most softhearted.

We took the phrase “Freedom From Religion” to heart. We didn’t need a bunch of rules and regulations. We loved God and each other.

Oh, you were on fire,
you let life put out the flame.

Oh, isn’t that the truth? Mistakes were made by people we trusted, people who should have been supporting what we were doing. And suddenly we were lost. We fell apart and away from each other. This breach of trust drove us away from each other, and some of us even away from God.

Some of us are still friends. Some of us are simply Facebook friends. There are some of us I haven’t seen in over 10 years. And while I haven’t lost my faith, I haven’t felt like I did back then since. These days church is just a place, and it breaks my heart. And there are times, even all these years later, sitting in that place, when all that hurt and anger comes back as if it just happened yesterday.

But He’s still calling out for you
cause He wants to light your heart again.
And set it on fire

Turn your eyes, turn your eyes
and don’t forget what it was like
Set me on fire, set me on fire
I wanna hold God’s people close
wanna feel the power of Jesus’ name

I don’t know how to get back there. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I pray for that fire to fill me again. I pray for that fire to fill us all again.

Set me on fire

You can find all the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Angels Among Us

The version of Angels We Have Heard On High in the video above is amazing. It’s The Piano Guys with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The video also includes clips from the world record breaking live nativity with over 1000 angels. It is worth watching.

Angels are so important to the Christmas story. They bring the news to Mary, to Joseph, and to the shepards. Each time it starts out the same. The angels tell them to not be afraid.

Imagine Mary standing there in her home and suddenly there is a man standing behind her. Imagine Joseph, his world collapsing around him as he learns his love is pregnant and he’s not the father. Imagine those shepards, watching over their flocks, settled down for the night and suddenly someone appears shining in the night’s sky.

Do not be afraid was probably the right way to begin. When I think about any of those situations, I know I definitely would have been afraid. In fact, afraid probably isn’t a strong enough word to describe how I would have felt.

These angels knew what to say. They were sent by God to give the best news. They knew there was no reason to to afraid. “You’re going to have a baby, and not just any baby but the Son of God.” “Marry your bride. Together you are going to raise the Savior.” “The Son of God has been born, and you get to be there!”

There was no need to be afraid. These angels were bring the best news ever. They brought cause for celebration. The Son of God was coming to earth!

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men!'” – Luke 2:10-14

In the song, it says that the mountains echoed the sound of the angels singing the praises of Jesus’s birth. I’m not sure it was just an echo. I can imagine it being such a joyous occasion that even the cries of the mountains could not be contained.

And those shepherds, dirty and tired from tending their sheep, from chasing down the ones that wondered off. They were sitting around thinking it was just another night when suddenly their whole world changed.

I’m not sure what angels look like. When I think of Gabriel appearing to Mary, I imagine him to look like a man you could pass on the street without a second thought. When I think of the shepherds, I picture the classic angel look, the white gowns and wings and light. I’m not sure what they look like, but I know God is still sending them to earth.

I saw one once

It was night, and I was driving a friend home. This involved a lot of county roads with woods and fields, also known as a deer’s best friend. We were just getting off of the main highway which was well lighted. Just as the street lights were coming to an end, I saw something move. It was dark and person shaped but more like a shadow of movement than an actual person.

It bothered me and stuck with me. My friend didn’t see it, I was sure. I didn’t say anything about it, but I kept thinking about what I had seen.

We kept driving and a couple minutes later turned onto a dark county road. Whatever I had seen was really bothering me so I asked my friend if they had seen it. Nope, he had no idea what I was talking about. So I started telling him about it, where it was and what it looked like.

We were driving up a hill, and what I didn’t realize at the time was, while I was telling my story, I had taken my foot off the gas petal. We had drastically slowed down. And as I finished my story we started down the hill. At the bottom of the hill, standing in the middle of the road was the biggest deer I have ever seen.

Had I not seen the figure by the side of the road, had I talked about it right away, had I not taken my foot off the gas, I would not have gotten stopped in time. I have no idea how my little car, my passenger and I would have faired had I hit that deer, but I know it wouldn’t have been good.

And no one will ever convince me that it was anything but someone sent by God that I saw by the road that night. Do not be afraid for God is with you.

Angels among us 

We’ve gone through hard times just like everyone else. Our hardest time felt never ending (although it did end just like everything does). We had to rely on our families a lot. We struggled individually and as a family.

During this hard time, I opened the front door of the house to let more light in through the screen door. I found a shocking surprise. Sitting on our front porch were boxes of food. I stepped out and looked around expecting to see someone.

There was no one there. There was no note included with the food. I have no idea how someone could have gotten those boxes to my front door without any of us seeing anything, especially considering the giant picture window in our living room.

I still don’t know how the food got there, and honestly, it doesn’t matter. Whether it was delivered by someone from earth or not, I believe it was sent by God. Do not be afraid for you are not alone.

I also believe we have angels working with us right on this site. Over on the post Hope For the Holidays, strangers are helping strangers. And maybe all of the givers live on earth or maybe they don’t. Either way, I believe every commenter over there found themselves there through God. Do not be afraid for you are not alone.

This Christmas season watch for the angels. Do not be afraid. They are bringing good tidings of great joy.

Mary, Did You Know

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day to spend with family and friends and thank God for all the blessings in the past year. It also officially starts the Christmas season.

I love this time of year. The weather turns crisp to cold. The snow starts to fall. (Although I haven’t always been a fan, seeing snow through my sons’ eyes makes me appreciate it again.) We have time spent with family and friends. I love the smells and even the cooking, decorating the Christmas tree and drinking hot chocolate. And I love the music. I’m not sure that the handful of weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are long enough for me to get my fill of the music.

So today is starting our Holiday addition of Worship Wednesday. “Mary Did You Know” seems like a really good place to start. And the Pentatonix version I included above is an amazing cover of the song.

I remember holding both of my boys for the first time. It is an amazing thing to hold your baby for the first time. To look down at that little life that you created. To know that you are responsible for that little life. It is amazing and terrifying, all at the same time.

I can’t even begin to imagine what Mary must have been thinking that first Christmas. As she sat there in that stable, surrounded by hay and animals and looked down at the Baby in her arms. Of course, she knew she was holding the Son of God. She knew where this amazing gift she had been given had come from.

As she looked upon the face of that sleeping Child, could she have even begun to imagine the things He would do? I love the line in the song “when you kiss your little Baby, you kiss the face of God.” As she bent and held the sleeping Child to her chest and placed a kiss upon His forehead, did it cross her mind? Or did she just sit in awe of this Life that had come from her?

I believe that all babies are amazing and all babies are a gift from God, but Mary was holding a baby that was ACTUALLY God. And I am sure as she looked upon the Baby, she knew He would do great things. However, I can’t imagine she could have known how great or the sacrifice that sleeping Child would give.

As you begin this holiday season, take a moment and think about that mother and Child. Think about how amazing that moment must have been. So amazing that the shepherds went out and told all about the Child and Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Even Mary couldn’t know how amazing it all was going to be.

So amazing that 2000 years later we would still be talking about that night in the stable.

 

Mary Did You Know

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your Baby Boy had come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you?

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kiss the face of God?

Mary did you know?

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nation?
Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

I Can Only Imagine

Recently I’ve been thinking about the end times and Jesus’s return. There are days where listening and reading about what’s going on throughout the world that I think the end must be near. Then I look at my 2crazylittleboys and I think about all the living we have left to do. And then I want to laugh. As if any living we have to do here on earth could be even a fraction of the goodness that is a waiting us in Heaven.

I imagine that all the things MercyMe describes in this song will happen when we see Jesus. I believe will we stand in His presence and fall to our knees. I believe there will be times where we sing His praises and times where we will be unable to speak for His overwhelming glory. I believe there will be times that we will dance for Him and times where in awe of Him we will be still.

Whenever I think of Heaven, I think of sunlight, or I guess it is better said Sonlight. For the glory of God will shine so brightly there will be no need for the sun to shine. I think of it being warm, the perfect temperature in the perfect place. Warmth and light and God’s amazing glory.

I think of the Garden of Eden and how lovely it must have been. All of God’s creation in perfect harmony. God’s creation as we see it today is remarkable and how amazing must it be to see it while standing in His presence?

And on cold and snowy days like today, I look at my front window and see His creation covered in the most lovely coat of white as the flakes fly from the sky. And then I think of it in the terms of Heaven where I imagine it to be warm. And I think of the absolute joy it brings my 2crazylittleboys to watch the snow fly and then to go out and roll around in it.

How could something that brings so much pure joy not be found in Heaven?

Can you imagine a Heaven where it is the perfect temperature and there is snow?

It boggles my little human mind, but I know that it is possible. I can only imagine what it will be like, and I know even the best things that I can imagine don’t even come close to how amazing it will be.

I can only imagine.

Can you imagine a Heaven with snow?

rolling,

rolling,

rolling,

rolling,

rolling down the hill

rolling down the hill

I Can Only Imagine
MercyMe

I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side

I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When Your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You, Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
forever worship You
I can only imagine

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You, Jesus or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship You
I can only imagine

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Been Through the Water

“John answered, saying to all, ‘I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.'” Luke 3:16

 

I love the picture this song gives of a little boy’s baptism. We should all be living our lives like that little boy with the muddy feet. You don’t put your old shoes on your brand new feet. I can picture that boy’s dad rising off his feet with the hose before letting him into the house. “Mom won’t let you in the house with those muddy feet.” It paints an amazing picture for our relationship with God.

We come out of the water clean, and then walk around the world in our bare feet. And every day Jesus rinses our feet off so we are able to enter His house. There has been no one in the history of the world who ever has been or will be perfect except Jesus. Every day we all get our feet dirty. And every day, every time, Jesus is there with the hose to rinse them off.

How amazing! No matter how muddy our feet get or how often He has to rinse them off, Jesus keeps coming back with that hose. He knows that we are going to fail. He knows that some days it might be more than just our feet that need a good rinsing.

As we’re walking along in the world and Jesus is walking with us, it seems like He must be thinking, “Here we go again. She’s going to step right into that mud puddle with her brand new feet and then I’ll have to rinse them off again.” How amazing is it that Jesus isn’t thinking that. He doesn’t remember your feet being muddy the last time. He only sees you this time. And He rinses you off, and it’s like you were always clean. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12

He will remember our sins no more. Now this is in no way a license to sin just because Jesus will forgive. We should all be striving to be better. We should be trying to keep our feet clean. We will fail. Our feet will get muddy again. And Jesus will hose us off as if it was the first time.

Even though your feet are going to get muddy again, you don’t put your old shoes on your brand new feet.

I’ve been through the water.

Been Through the Water
Kyle Matthews

Preacher pulled the boy up from the water
Alleluias rose from the banks
There was a new suit of clothes from his Father
And a prayer of thanks

The boy walked barefooted all the way home for dinner
And when they laughed at his muddy feet…

He said I’ve been through the water and I’ve come out clean
Got new clothes to cover me

And you don’t wear your old shoes on your brand new feet
When you’ve been through the water
I’ve been through the water

Preacher turned them around at the altar
Pronounced the boy and his girl “man and wife”
In two years they were Mother and Father
And they built them a life

And his old girlfriend saw a moment of weakness
And she said, “If you’re lonely come see me sometime.”

He said I’ve been through the water and I’ve come out clean
Got new clothes to cover me
And you don’t wear your old shoes on your brand new feet
When you’ve been through the water
I’ve been through the water

He baits a hook for his grandson of seven
And says, “Soon, I’ll be free from these pains.”
The boy asked if he’s ever been to heaven
He says, “No, but I think I know the way
‘Cause I’ve been through the water.”

I’ve been through the water and I’ve come out clean
Got new clothes to cover me
And you don’t wear your old shoes on your brand new feet
When you’ve been through the water
I’ve been through the water

IMG_0088[1]

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

The Church of My Childhood

 

I spent the majority of my childhood attending a Church of Christ. We sang hymns out of a hymnal. We had traditional Sunday school that wasn’t called a fancy name. We had Sunday night services. My grandma played the piano. We had communion every Sunday. Baptism could happen any Sunday, no appointment necessary. Sunday nights, instead of having a specific list of hymns, they would take requests, and the kids seemed to pick as many songs as the adults.

There are days that I really miss all of that. Don’t get me wrong. I like the church we attend now. I enjoy the preacher. I love the music. However, we attend a contemporary church and sometimes I miss the traditional church.

I miss the hymns we used to sing. I’m trying to find ways to hear them and teach them to my boys. But even more than the hymns, I miss communion every week. I miss taking that time to reflect on what Jesus did for us.

I really don’t understand why all churches don’t have communion more often. My church has communion on Easter and Christmas and then a couple other times a year. And some of those times are on Wednesday nights instead of Sunday mornings. I know my church isn’t the only one like this.

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it amount yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’

“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’

“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.'” Luke 22:17-20

Do this in remembrance of Me. Why aren’t we having communion more often? Why isn’t is a regular part of all church services? Why aren’t we having that quiet reflection time of remembrance? Why aren’t we begging our churches for it?

I’ve had people ask it having communion every Sunday makes it more like a habit than in reverence. Let me tell you, if taking communion has become a habit for you, DON’T TAKE IT. Get back to your bible and your faith and your God. If your heart isn’t right, DON’T TAKE IT. Communion should never be something you are doing just because it’s offered.

There was a time when I was a part of a youth group. We were a close group of kids from high school freshmen to early 20s. We grew up our faith together. We wanted to reach our peers and for a time actually put together our own church services.

At one point there was some anger and hurt feelings among us, as there is with teenagers. We got together one night and were talking about communion and getting our hearts right. That evening we took turns getting on our knees, asking each other for forgiveness and then we washed each others feet as Christ did before the last supper.

It was an amazing experience that I will carry with me always. We left there whole and filled with faith.

Now I’m not saying for the church to get out there and wash everyone’s feet. But maybe it’s time to get back to the basics. I’m not saying ditch the band, but let’s remember our roots. I’m not saying we need hymns and communion every Sunday, but I’m looking for that feeling, that closeness with God.

There have been times that I’ve had the feelings I get from communion through the music and I could feel it affecting the people around me as well. And then what should be a moment of quiet reflection or prayer, is interrupted with applause. Could we have more prayer and less applause? Maybe less of a show and more heart.

I do want to be clear. I’m not saying that my church or any other like it are bad. There are just times I’m looking for more. I’m looking for the church of my childhood, and I’m not sure it even exists anymore.

This Worship Wednesday post is looking more like a Throwback Thursday so I’ll leave you with the song that we sang at the end of every Sunday morning service.

 

 

 
You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

A day of hard questions

Today on our way home the boys and I drove by a graveyard. It had been a while since I’d driven by there and as we got close I slowed down. Just over a year ago we buried my husband’s grandma in that graveyard, and I always think of her when I go by.

She was the first person in my husband’s family that I claimed as my own. I didn’t say my husband’s grandma. She was just Grandma. I may have married into her family, but she always made me feel as one of hers. She was always happy to see us when we stopped by and never seemed to care when the boys acted their age.

As I drove by the graveyard, I couldn’t help but slow down and think of her fondly. I’m not sure if it was my slowing down or if they could just tell I was thinking or maybe it was just the first time they paid attention. Whatever it was the questions started. “Mom, what is that?”

They’ve reached the age where the answer “a graveyard” isn’t enough. I really wasn’t wanting to have a death and burial conversation with them and “Oh, Glorious Day” came on the radio so I was able to buy some time. When the song ended, the youngest says to me, “Will you tell us now?”

There was no putting it off. They had questions and it’s my job to answer them. It was the first BIG QUESTION moment in parenting. They know about death from the dog dying, but they don’t really understand. And trying to explain a body being dead and a soul going to Heaven is not something I think you are ever prepared for.

Apparently I did a good enough job because they seemed satisfied with the answers I gave. I thought I had answered all of the hard questions for a while.

Boy was I wrong.

As the boys got ready for bed, I went to YouTube looking for a good video to go with today’s Worship Wednesday post. I had planned on using NewsBoys “We Believe.” I found a video and started playing it. The youngest told me he loved that song and cuddled close as we listened.

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life

We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s comin’ back again

When the song was over, a whole new set of questions started. Why is God called the Father? What’s the Holy Spirit? I tried to explain that since God made everything He’s like everything’s Daddy, and that Jesus is God’s Son. At the mention of Jesus, they popped up with, “Jesus is a baby.”

I had to laugh. Yes, Jesus was a baby. No, Jesus doesn’t have small hands. His hands can hold the whole world. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us when He went to Heaven.

I continued to answer their questions the best I could trying to use words that would make sense to a 4 and 6-year-old. And I must have done okay because they seemed satisfied, said their prayers and fell asleep.

And while they may have been satisfied, I wasn’t sure. It was one of those BIG moments in parenting, one of those moments that you don’t want to screw up. Did I use the right words? Did they understand?

I want them to understand. I want them to have a big faith. I want them to believe.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42 NKJV

“Then the little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 19:13-14 NKJV

Have you had a faith talk with small children? What words do you use?

 

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

Just Be Held

 

 

This song seems so fitting for this week. By now, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you have heard that Robin Williams died this week most likely by his own hand. Death is always hard. Suicide is always hard.

This death has left us all talking about depression and suicide. It’s left us wondering how someone who seems to have it all could be left feeling so hopeless, how someone who brought us so much joy and laughter could have been so alone inside.

And maybe it’s not fair or even right that this death is getting so much attention over others. I know to me it’s almost like I knew him. He was a part of our worlds through his movies and television shows. One of the first movies I really remember seeing in the theater was Hook.

There’s been a lot of talk on social media saying if you haven’t experienced depression, if you haven’t contemplated suicide, you shouldn’t be talking about this. I read Matt Walsh’s blog in which he said that Robin Williams didn’t die from depression but made the choice to end his life. I was shocked and horrified by the number of people who commented on it saying Matt should be killed or kill himself.

I’m not sure if the masses will think it’s ok for me to write about this or not. I have suffered through intense bouts with depression to the point where I have little to no memory of those time periods. However, I have never considered suicide.

I have suffered through periods of intense despair. I have laid on the couch in tears until there are none left feeling unable to move. I have felt alone and that no one else could ever understand what I was going through.

I have had times where I was so lost in the storm that I forgot to look to the cross.

But I have also had hope and faith and love surround me during those times. I’ve had people to talk to and help pull me back up.

Whether it be depression or just a hard time you are going through, there are times we all feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. We have this need to be strong. Don’t show them your weakness. Put on a happy face. And you can only carry that kind of weight for a time before your knees give out.

I love the pictures this song paints. How amazing would it feel if instead of holding on to all the stresses and hurts we would just put it down and let God hold us? There have been times these past weeks where I’ve been stressed and things aren’t going as I would like. And then I listen to this song and I can feel myself letting go. It’s almost as if His arms are physically around me.

If you are suffering, I would like to remind you that even if you are literally alone in this world, you are not alone. If you go to Him, God will hold you and never let you go. Instead of looking at the storm, look to the cross.  Let the cross be a symbol of love and hope.

 

 

Just Be Held

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you hanging on

And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
You’re world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
You’re world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

 

 

 

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.

**Depression is a serious disease. Suicide is not the answer. If you are considering suicide, please know that there is always hope and someone does care about you. I care about you. Find a preacher, a priest, a doctor, a friend, a family member or even a stranger to talk to. There is always a choice. There is always hope.

Where Feet May Fail

 

I’m surprised by how often I’ve been brought back to Peter recently.

Simon who was called Peter. The fisherman whom Christ called to leave his nets behind and become a fisher of men. Who’s mother-in-law was sick and healed. Who walked on the water until he let his fear overtake him. Peter who knew Jesus was the Christ and who was the rock Christ built His church on. Peter who swore he would die before he denied Jesus, though Jesus told him he would. Peter who fell asleep when Christ asked him to pray that dark night in the garden. Peter who would fight when Christ was arrested but Jesus called for peace. Who would weep after denying knowing Jesus three times.

And after Jesus conquered death and appeared to the disciples, He told Peter to feed His lambs, tend His sheep, and feed His sheep. Jesus told Peter to “Follow Me.” (John 21:19 NKJV)

I’ve been brought back to Peter’s story time and again, through the songs I’ve been listening to and the words I’ve been reading. Today it finally occurred to me to look deeper into the story that continues to find its way into my path.

Can you imagine what it would have been like for Christ to call you to leave your life behind and follow Him? To love Him so much you would walk away from your family, your job, your life? To trust Him so much you would step out of a boat and onto the water. How violently would you weep if you had denied knowing Jesus just moments before they would crucify Him? And then after all of that, imagine seeing Jesus, alive after you saw Him die, calling to you, telling you to tend to His people.

Peter’s story could be the story of any of us. To love Christ with all your heart, to fall short of what you know He wants you to be, and He still calls for you, still wants you.

Oh, to have the faith Peter had that night on the water. To step out onto the unknown and instead of sinking, to walk.

One of those questions that people ask and I’ve never had the answer to until now is, if you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be. If you take Jesus out of the options, it would be Peter. To be able to ask him what it was like to be there, to step out onto the water, to fall short and have Jesus call you to Him anyway. What must it have been like to touch His hands before and after the nails?

Maybe this is my Peter moment. Maybe Jesus isn’t calling me to literally walk on the water with Him, but maybe these words are my waters. I pour my heart out onto these pages and then press the button that sends them out to the world. Every time it is scary. Every time I expect to fail, to sink. And every time you read them. And every time it’s as if I’ve stepped out of the boat and onto the water.

Maybe we are all being called to be like Peter. To have a faith so big you step out of the boat. And maybe you only take a couple of steps on the water before you start to sink and call out for Jesus to pull you back up. But maybe, just maybe, you keep your eyes on Jesus and walk all the way to the shore line.

Find your Peter moment. Jesus is calling you to put down your net and follow Him. The journey is amazing and hard and wonderful and you will fall short. It will bring you to tears at times. You will fail and you will sink. But the rewards are eternal, and there is nothing like those moments when you are standing on the water.

My feet may fail, but my God never does.

 

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine.

 

You can find all of the Worship Wednesday posts here.