Monday, June 16, 2014

Music Monday - In the End

One of the things I struggle with understanding most in my life is when things aren't fair or just.  I am one of those people who thinks right should always win, good things should always happen to good people and those who do wrong should pay for it.  Of course, this flies in the face of the reason Jesus came to earth.  If all of this happened, we wouldn't need him.  Still, I struggle with understanding when bad things happen to "good" people and good things happen to "bad" people.  I remind myself though that in the end, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  It's one of those things that helps me just let go of it.  Do y'all have verses or promises that help you with your struggles?  I can just say, "Well, one day they will know and I will understand" and I can move on.  

So for this reason, this song by Natalie Grant just hit home with me.  In the end, everything be all right!  No tears, no pain, no misunderstandings.  Every single person from kings to paupers will bow and proclaim Jesus as Lord.  What a day that will be!  

Friday, May 30, 2014

Latest Reads

I'm finally back after a long blog hiatus.  It seems that this is the thing that gets neglected the most when life gets crazy and this year has been crazy.  I'll post about that more later.  
But, since summer has started I have already read 5 books!  Five!  In 6 days!  It has been wonderful.  Of course, a long weekend at the lake really helped my reading time.  I have read Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn, Chasing Hope  by Kathryn Cushman, Not by Sight by Kathy Lee Herman, Sweet Waters   by Julie Carobini, and the one below.  One of my reading goals this year was to read more non-fiction.  I can't remember how exactly I found this book, but I think it was on someone's blog.  I thought it sounded like just what I had been feeling so I ordered it. 

She Did What She Could is a book centered on the story in Mark 14 where Mary bathes Jesus' feet in expensive perfume.  We all know the story.  This book focuses on the sentence that I had never really noticed before that says, "She did what she could."  The premise of the book is that we all hear about the big problems in the world - hunger, starvation, poverty, forced slavery, abortion, etc. and we think, "I am a woman just trying to take care of my family with not much extra (time, money, energy, etc) left over.  What can I as one person really do that will impact our world?"  This book says we should do what we can.  We may not be able to start a non-profit or go to Africa to work with orphans or women in slavery, but we can do what we can do in our world every day.  It was challenging and relieving all in one book.  The acts that may seem insignificant to me in the space of a day may be truly life changing for those on the receiving end of my kindness or generosity however small they may be.  Elisa Morgan takes apart the sentence word by word and each chapter focuses on one of those words.  At the end of each chapter there are examples of ways we can impact the world for eternity that are totally doable in our days.  Some are things I am doing/have done, others are things I often think are not significant enough to make a difference.  Elisa Morgan helped me think otherwise.  
This is a book that I would recommend to all women of our generation who may get bogged down or frustrated feeling like they can't make a difference.  We all can make a difference if we do what we can.  Wouldn't that be a great thing to be remembered by? She Did What She Could.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Monday - He is With Us

I talk to my kids all the time about Jesus being with us all the time, no matter where we are or what we're doing.  The other night Mallory and I were talking about this and she said, "But Mom, what if Jesus gets in front of me and I trip over him?"  I tried not to giggle, and I assured her that he would not let us trip over him.  It was a serious question for her, and she is still not quite understanding all of it, but it was such a sweet and innocent conversation.  

This is one of our favorite songs right now.  Mallory loves to sing it in the car with me.  Hearing her sweet little voice in the back seat singing "He is with us." just about melts my heart.  I hope she holds that deep in her heart for the times when it feels like she is all alone and remembers that He is always with her.  

The lyrics, "We can trust our God.  He know what He's doing."  Seems so simple, yet it is hard to remember some times.  In the past few weeks I have had friends go through very difficult times - losing a child and losing a mother.  And this belief - that He is with us, is what helped them keep going.  I can't imagine going through life without this knowledge.  I often think, "How do people who don't know the hope and peace of Jesus make it through the hard times?"  And I don't know.  I know that I wouldn't want to try.  And I'm so very thankful that because I know Jesus as my Savior, I'll never be alone.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music Monday - Pushing Back the Dark

 Sometimes when I watch the news or read articles on facebook/twitter about the world we live in I can get very overwhelmed and discouraged by the darkness of the world.  In the past month I have had several dear friends share their struggles as moms with me.  We have all agreed that sometimes it feels like we are in over our heads in the world of parenting.  That the world feels too big and too crazy to overcome with our love and guidance as moms and dads, even though we know God is on our side.  And sometimes I think, "I'm just one little mom.  I don't really have a title or influence in this world and it is so big and the problems are so huge. How am I ever going to make sure my kids know and love Jesus and not let the world carry them away?"  Of course, Satan feeds these fears like I wrote about last week.  I truly feel that our families are constantly under attack.  

This song is such an encouragement to me.  It speaks to what I am trying to do as a mom and a wife and a woman in Christ.  "Keep on Pushing Back the Dark"  Whoa.  Isn't that what we are supposed to do?  Let our light shine.  It reminds me of a rock concert.  (I have never done this, but I've seen it on tv.  Y'all know I lead such a crazy life.) If just one of us would hold up our light it may not be much in the huge concert arena.  But, if we all hold up our lights, it lights up the entire space!  I love how it says, "Don't underestimate the God you follow."  I do that. I think we all have things we do this with.
Be encouraged, friends.  Let your light shine and keep on pushing back the dark.  I want our lights to shine like it says in the song "like a symphony crescendo".  A crescendo starts out quiet and gets louder and louder!  What a word picture!  We can do this together!

Don't forget this:

"You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."  
Matthew 5:14-16

Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday - Brave

There are a few words that I would not use to describe myself - outdoorsy, quiet, non-opinionated (not a word, I realize) and brave.  I struggle with fear.  I have my entire life.  It is definitely one of the ways Satan uses to keep me from a life of freedom.  I have memorized Scripture, prayed a million trillion prayers and sung enough Jesus songs to keep all of us safe, but I still struggle with it.  I am getting better.  Lots better really.  But it is still a struggle at times for me.  Since I have become a mom of course my fears have really centered around my children.  It's kind of funny because many of my fears are totally unrealistic events that will almost certainly never ever happen.  Once when I was on the phone with my sister while Aubrey was about 2, I said, "Hold on.  Aubrey has something in his mouth. Oh, it was just a quarter."  My sister said, "JUST A QUARTER!!! SARAH, HE COULD HAVE CHOKED TO DEATH!!!"  I, of course, realized this, but I just don't sweat the small stuff.  The big stuff however, gets me.

My son went on a field trip last week.  For some reason, the night before I thought to call another mom who was going on the trip.  (I was not able to go because I had previously committed to be a mentor mom for MOPS and it was our first meeting.)  She is a nurse, and I thought it would be good for her to just be aware of what was going on with the food, animals, etc. that Aubrey would come in contact with.  She was happy to help keep his pack with his Benadryl, epi-pen, etc.  I had just finished my meeting and I got a text saying that she didn't want to worry me, but she thought Aubrey was having an allergic reaction.  From what she said originally, I thought a little Benadryl would help stop it.  She gave him some.  After about 10 more minutes though, she texted again and said, "Call me."  That's when my hands got sweaty.  She said that Aubrey's reaction was not stopping, and though his breathing seemed fine, his hives were spreading.  She wanted to give him more Benadryl.  I of course said yes.  I turned my car around by this point and was going to head there, but she said not to, that she would bring him home to me where we could decide what to do.  By the time he got home, his reaction was going down and we both felt much better.

She and the boys figured out what happened.  The field trip was to ag day at our county fair.  At ag day there is a peanut room where they show the kids how peanuts grow and how to make peanut butter. (this is Georgia, after all).  As Aubrey went in and realized what they were doing, he got nervous.  The other mom took him out of the room and he was fine.  However, one of his friends ate one of the peanut butter covered crackers they gave the kids.  As he came out, he put his hand on the back of Aubrey's neck asking him how he was doing.  This is where the reaction started before it spread down his back, up his neck and around to his mouth.

This wasn't an easy thing for me to think about.  I really had a hard time letting go of the thoughts and "what ifs" of the day.  And while I want Aubrey to be brave, it's something I need to work on just as well.  Jen Hatmaker wrote a post a while back about brave moms and brave kids.  I want my kids to be brave.  I don't want to live in fear, even of a peanut allergy.  My husband and I always say that we don't want to live lives ruled by fear of the allergies.  (or anything else for that matter)  It can truly be paralyzing.

So, I tell my children to be brave.  We have recently changed churches and schools, both major changes that have necessitated lots of bravery.  And they have done beautifully.  I'm trying to model it and let go of things.  Let Jesus hold them for me.  Even big, scary things like food allergies.  And plane crashes.  And bridges falling.  And the scary guys behind me at Walmart.  (All things I worry about. Ridiculous.  I know)

This song has become a quick favorite of mine.  Although it really centers around saying things when it is hard, I think it is a great reminder to be brave in all that we do.  And sometimes saying something is the hardest thing to do.   It is something I want my children to hear and I want to sink into my soul.  "I want to see you be brave".  They can stand up to the bully, they can deal with their allergies, they can walk down the dark hallway at home.  "If God is for us, who (or what) can be against us?"

Watch the video though.  It's funny.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Music Monday

Yesterday at church we sang one of my very favorite songs - "In Christ Alone"  This song is so powerful and it is always such a great reminder for me.  
The lyrics say, "When fears are stilled, When strivings cease" 
Whoah, do I need to remember that I don't have to do it all on my own.  I can do it all through Christ alone.  I have so much I want to happen or do, and yet, I can only do it through Christ.  This is a hard thing for me to do.  I want to take things on and get them done.  I want things to happen "right now"!  

And then the last verse.  Oh, it gets me.
"Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, No scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from his hand."
 I'm so thankful for this.  How do people live without this hope.  It overwhelms me!

So often we just sing our hymns without really thinking about their lyrics, but so many of the long time favorites of the church have such powerful meaning.  This song in particular, is the subject of an interesting article here.  

What hymns do you love to sing or really get to you with their lyrics?

I haven't been here much this summer.  Life has been busy.  I am going to blog more regularly when school starts.  One more week of freedom to go!  

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Cathedral - Music Monday

I am not an outdoorsy kind of gal.  Almost anyone who knows me knows I would much rather be curled up on the couch with a book for hours on end, or scrapbooking or knitting, or on and on and on as long as it is inside.  The past couple of weeks though I have spent more time outside than usual.  Our family was blessed to go to St. George Island with both of my sisters and their families.  My older sister's boys didn't come, but her husband was there, so it was super special.  We usually only see her once a year.  We spent most of our days on the beach or in the pool, and even visited an estuarine (Who knew there was such a thing?  Not me, the indoors girl.)  It was lovely, and I enjoyed it all.

We all came back home to Habersham and my parents took my sister Beth and her husband Steve to Tallulah Gorge to show them the local scenery.  They loved it and wanted to hike it the next day.  I made some comment to my husband like, "Beth and Steve are going to hike the gorge tomorrow.  Can you believe it?" He said, "You could do that!"  So that night as we were all together I told Beth, "D. is trying to get me to believe I could hike the gorge with y'all tomorrow."  Of course that was all it took for the plan to be put in motion.  My mom and dad agreed to watch our kids and we were off, bright and early the next morning (another thing about me - I am not a morning person. at. all.)

When we got to the gorge, you have to go through a little presentation of rules and regulations.  The man started talking about jumping boulders, copperheads, giardia (an intestinal bug you can get in the water there that lasts for months) and I felt like I had been duped!  I know my eyes were as big as saucers.  I also didn't realize there are 1,099 stairs to get to the actual gorge.  Ha!

I made it down the stairs, of course, and that is where the real fun began.  Immediately there are boulders to "jump" to cross the river to begin hiking.  And of course, I fell.  I hit my shin right below my knee cap so hard tears sprang to my eyes!  It was one of those times where it takes a second to figure out if you are hurt really bad or if you can keep going.  Fortunately for our adventure, I was ok, and kept going.  I had a blast.  It was so amazing to see the falls down there, and it was so fun to realize what I was doing!  In fact, I said, "I wish we had video of this, because no one would believe I am doing this!"  So my brother-in-law Steve videoed me climbing some boulders. (without my consent I might add)

I kept thinking of this song while I was hiking and jumping those boulders.  I can say that truly the times I have felt closest to God were not times I was in church.  They were times when I was awestruck by his creation or during my quiet times when I know He is with me.  I truly do not know how people can be surrounded by God's creation and still not believe in him. So I'm not sure how much more timeI'll be spending outside, but this was a good start.  Any suggestions of other outdoor activities I might enjoy?  :)