Friday, April 16, 2010

I Don't Have to Sing

During nap time everyday I try to take half the time to do something for me like rest or read or watch a show I DVR-ed. Then, during the second half, I try to accomplish some task or chore. Today, I really felt strongly that I was to sit. I laid out in the sun - because we are vitamin D deficient in our nation (or so the Today show says) and I'm just doing my part to up our national average. Seriously, as I sat outside I watched clouds, talked to a friend, and enjoyed the breeze.
Then, a bird started singing. LOUDLY singing! I mean, I thought the thing was in panic mode. The tempos varied, the pitches changed, and the range was incredible! I watched this bird perch and sing for about 5 minutes. The song was constant and strong and
I have realized that I don't have to read or study to always experience God. Sometimes I get to just watch the clouds which the Bible, in Nahum, says are the dust of His feet. Sometimes I just get to feel the wind which the Bible equates to the Spirit - unseen and yet observable in its effect. Sometimes I just get to hear birds sing. I don't have to sing. If I never opened my mouth again with a hint of praise in the form of song, the music would keep ringing out. It's in the wind and the songs of birds and the buzzes of bees. There's life "making music" all around us. In this "So You Think You Can Dance" series at Southland, I've been challenged personally to dance to the songs already going on around me in the laughter of my children and even in my tears of grief. There's a rhythm to life and thank goodness that with God, it actually means the song of the bird. While I don't understand a lick of what that bird sang, another bird did and God did, too. I don't always understand everything that happens in life, but God gets that, too, and even guarantees to use it for my good. One day, maybe we'll understand the messages of the songs of all creation. That's a playlist worth owning for sure! So while I don't have to sing, I plan to - LOUDLY - because there's a lot of things to give God credit, honor, and praise for - and all I had to do was sit outside with Him to find some.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Email is Down

My email is updating from what feels like the dawn of time, so, I'm sitting at work waiting on this machine to wrap it up so I can work. In the meantime, I've been reading blogs of my friends. I guess if I'm going to write them, I should actually read some, too.I started with Mike Vandemark's. His blog looks way cooler than mine, and is interesting to read. Bonus! If you haven't checked it out, I think it would be worth your time.
As for me, I'm glad to be at work. I like it here in my little office. I have the best neighbor who resides in what she calls her "cloffice" because it was formerly a closet! Yes, she's a riot and regularly puts a smile on my face. She just stopped in to tell me about a leech that resides in your nose...there's something we all want to think about for a while!
In all seriousness, one of the best things about this place is that we have random conversations (see above) and real conversations. There is a culture of honesty on our team that continues to develop in a healthy and beneficial way.
On my Myers-Briggs profile, I am a "thinker" rather than a "feeler". It doesn't mean I don't care how you feel, it just means I tend to make decisions based on my head first rather than following my heart. Truth is a big deal to me - at times, even a bigger deal then how it will make you feel to know the truth. Sounds a little harsh, huh? I take great comfort in the fact that these profiles are preferences only, meaning that sometimes I do make decisions with my heart and care about feelings more than the disclosure of truth. I have to be really deliberate, especially in a work setting, about being people focused and not just task focused. I'm growing in this area for sure.
What are you like in your opinion? A head decision maker or a heart decision maker? Telling someone the truth no matter what the cost or preserving the relationship even at the risk of not sharing direct truth? Just curious.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Painting and Pouting

So I've wondered all day what I would blog. Psst...can you tell I'm getting addicted? Then, I started painting my kitchen. Yes, it was planned, but boy is it a pain! I've been painting and pouting for about 3 hours. The pouting is rooted in the fact that I really dislike painting. Oh, it takes FOREVER. Oh, oh, oh (see, still pouting).
BUT, when it's all painted, I know I will be so glad I did the work - even if I did it with a less than stellar attitude.
Sometimes, God needs to repaint some areas of my mind or my heart. He is faithful to supply all the paint, the brushes, and the rollers that I could need. The truth is, at some point, I'm going to have to pick them up and start painting. "Repainting" our hearts and minds follow a similar process to painting a room. You start by cutting in. This is by far the most tedious (annoying....yep, still pouting) part of the job. It takes the most patience, diligence, and perseverance. Initially, getting rid of wrong attitudes and behaviors takes patience, diligence and perseverance. Eventually, however, you get to roll. I'm not to that point in my kitchen yet, but I am longing for the glorious roller! You just dip that thing in the paint and go to town. Walls become changed in minutes versus the hours it takes to cut in (at least for an amateur like me). Rolling gives much more instant gratification, but you can't really roll freely until you've cut in all the edges. Repainting wrong attitudes, motives and behaviors gets easier as you go, but you have to do the tedious work of "cutting in" first.
I'm going to continue painting tonight -not because I want to, but because I need to. My kitchen's a wreck! The truth is, I'll probably still be pouting about painting, but I have an advantage tonight. Dock, my husband, has been cheering me on since he got home. He's not the best painter so we've agreed that I should just do it since I have such high standards, a.k.a. I am so picky. He's been saying, "Go, Amanda, go!" And while at first I wanted to dump the cup of paint I was holding on his head, after a little bit, the cheering became part of the reason why I kept going. I also stopped pouting for a little while because the argument in my head that I had to do this all alone went away. Dock was there - spurring me on. God is cheering us on, too. He's an even better encourager than Dock because God gives us the tools to do the job, AND He supplies the energy to do it through the power of the Holy Spirit in us. So, "Go, (your name), go!" Time to get painting!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Apples and Peanut Butter

I shared an interesting lunch with my 2-year old about 30 minutes ago. Today we had apples and peanut butter. That's right, we dipped apples in peanut butter and called it lunch. Besides the fact it's "yummo" (props to Rachel Ray), my 2-year old, Mattie, said to me, "I yike (she says "y" for "l") it when you sit by me." Yes, my heart thudded inside my chest and I thought, "I'm going to kiss the peanut butter right off your sweet little face!"
God's been teaching me that He loves me just because. Just because He wants to, He likes me, and because I'm His. He's been teaching me to really understand Him as Father. I have an amazing earthly father who is Godly, loving, present, protective, etc... so why would I struggle to understand God like this? Well, I guess because He's God. He's HUGE! He's AWESOME! He's HOLY! And He's my Dad? Crazy! Too much to believe sometimes - even more than I realized.
So He's using my kids, more specifically, how I feel towards my kids to teach me how He feels towards me. Today, He said in my spirit, "Me too. I like it when you sit by me, and I like it when you're just glad to sit by me. My heart thuds faster too - for you." I was watching Mattie just yap and yap about something in the van the other day. I could see her in the rearview mirror and she was just a talkin'. I have no idea what she was saying, but just watching her talk I felt such a deep love for her. She and Avery thrill me for no particular reason except that they're my kids and I'm crazy in love with them.
Do you know how crazy over you God is? Ask Him to show you and to tell you. As a parent, I can guarantee there's nothing He would enjoy more than for you to sit still long enough for Him to hold you close and just be near you. He loves you - just because.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Worship in My Living Room

From time to time, when I need to focus my mind on God or redirect my thoughts, I turn on a worship album/playlist and have a worship service in my living room. I can sing as loud as I want. I can sing whatever part I want. I can kneel, I can stand, I can jump. Let me just say, Christy Nockels and I sound really good together - ha! If you knew me well, you would know that I love Christy Nockels and that if she is involved - I think it's the best worship CD, service, or conference ever. Just sayin'.
One of my favorite moments in a corporate worship service is when I'm able to bring my private worship into the room. What I mean is, there are some songs that I worship my brains out to at home and when I get the opportunity to lead them in services, it is like a double portion. When God permits some of my private worship to be expressed outside of my living room I find that the experience can be more powerful, more genuine, and more humble than other offerings I could bring.
Leading worship is a privilege I take very seriously. Most importantly, I want my life to reflect that I am in a constant state of worship - in a constant posture of surrender and in the constant effort of pointing to the glory of God. A laid down life is the greatest public demonstration of your private worship. This is the best expression of the glory of God and to the glory of God.
Consider letting your private worship be more than songs. Consider letting it be prayer, study of God's word, and simply an awareness of the presence of Christ IN YOU. Prepare for a double portion as God lets you share your private worship on the public platform of day-to-day life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunshine, Sisters, and Birthdays

So I'm sitting outside on a chaise lounge catching some rays. I'm SO glad it's warm and sunny. I really like lots of things about winter and cold weather, but this year, I'm more excited about warm weather and summer than I've ever been. The forecast for this week shows that we've got lots of sun coming down the pike. Woohoo!
I think the sunshine feels even more refreshing since this winter has been darker than most due to the unexpected loss of my sister, Lauren, in November. The sun gives me the opportunity to get out of my house and just be a part of something bigger than even my hurt - God's creation and expression of His love.
Lauren's birthday would have been tomorrow. She would have been 29 years old. I'm really not even used to using the phrase "would have been" in relation to her, but that phrase is only for the temporary life remaining here. All of her "would have beens" have become "been there and done so much more than thats" in heaven. As I think about her birthday, I've been sad sure, but I've also been curious. Which birthday do you celebrate in heaven - the one when you were born or the one when you were born again? OR maybe everyday is like a birthday which Lauren would LOVE since she made her birthday at least a week long event. The longer she could drag it out the better. I think she got that from my Maw Maw Bobbie who even when dying from lung cancer managed to hold on for one more birthday, her 73rd, and join Jesus the very next day. Maybe it's genetic!
Today, my parent's church began an offering in Lauren's name after their pastor heard about the Dollar Club at Southland from my mom. The day Lauren passed away, my parents were waiting to board a flight here and their pastor came out to see them off. My mom had been wanting to tell him about the Dollar Club because their church is all about getting outside the walls and really serving people - being Jesus. He was so floored that even in the midst of such tragedy and deep loss, my mom would still be thinking of the kingdom and others. I'm so grateful for my spiritual legacy in both my parents. So today it began. Who knows how many will be blessed? How many more than if she had lived? There is always purpose in pain when you're life is in Christ. If you don't believe me, try losing someone, grieving, and surviving with your sanity without Him.
Well, I suppose I should practice a couple of songs for 608 tonight. Haven't sung there in a while and I'm pumped. That's a room that fills my cup! Enjoy the sun!