The Empty Chair

the_empty_chair_91605860_2-2The empty chair has always been a “concept” for someone else… until this year.

Since June 6, when dad left us so suddenly, we have had an empty chair.

The first place I noticed it was walking into his house and seeing the place on the couch where he sat all the time. The blanket I made him last Christmas, draped over the back with no one to warm. It was startling and it took my breath away…and I turned my face so that I wouldn’t have to acknowledge the pain.

A few days later he wasn’t sitting next to my mother-in-law in church. She was there but he wasn’t. I pushed through the emptiness to encourage and lift her up and I turned off the pain so that I could be strong for those around me.

He wasn’t in the driver’s seat of his new car, a car that he never got to drive. I remember him in his old car, teaching my daughter how to drive. I see him in his van hurling down I65 as the rest of us hold our breath in fear. I see him in the ugly brown Pinto he used to drive. But not anymore.

He is not in my kitchen, he isn’t sitting on my couch, I can’t see him on my patio or in my pool or at any birthday celebration we’ve had since June; not at Emily’s or mine or Wesley’s or even his own. He wasn’t there. But I turned away and felt all the business of life and the attended to all the stresses on my plate because that was safer.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’m afraid that I can’t turn away anymore.

There is an empty chair and it is his.

My tears fall with no end.

My tears fall for all the little things that won’t. Seeing him carry in a crazy amount of boxes filled with goodies, taking his coat, giving him a long hug, hearing him say “Happy Thanksgiving.” My tears fall because no one will be crowding me at the stove or asking “am I in your way?” or giving my dad that look that says, “I got her!”

Every day since June 6 has been a first. The first June 7 without him, the first June 8, the first June 9…etc… Tomorrow will be the first Thanksgiving.

Not once through his battle did he ever curse God. He wouldn’t even allow me to complain or express my feelings that God was being unfair without reminding me that God was good.

My reading today was from

Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

These words describe dad’s outlook and his countenance. He would always tell me that I shouldn’t be consumed with the current circumstances but to rejoice in God’s faithfulness.

It’s not going to be easy this year.

I can’t turn away from this emptiness any longer. It will be impossible to not see his empty chair. It’s real. We are here, he is not.

Fighting against being consumed sounds almost too hard.

It is ok to let the tears fall, they must, right?

I will walk through tomorrow with my heart aching because I miss dad. I’m praying my eyes will be open though as well. Open to God’s great love and compassion. Open to the people who are still coming and praying they will crowd me in my kitchen, for dad’s sake.

The empty chair is no longer just an analogy, it is very real. It hurts.

Dad would tell me, “Life is hard…but God is good.”

Sometimes, that’s all you have.

 

Peace vs Frantic this Holiday Season

Phill4My turkey is already thawing in my fridge, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Ready or not, the holiday season is coming and with it comes all the expectations, traditions, and general busyness that is wrapped up in the season.  The music, the food, the togetherness, the shopping, the concerts, Elf on a shelf insanity, Santa, etc…

Do these things come as welcome interruptions to our normal lives or as intrusions? Or do they fall somewhere in between?

I am generally a calm and peace loving person by nature, that is my role: the peacemaker. I go out of my way to avoid conflict when it is at all possible: it’s a sickness.

However, there is something about the holidays that brings out a side in me that is not something you would brag about in a Christmas letter. I have a lot of expectations for the holidays, they need to be special and inviting, include the many traditions that are important to me, include the foods that I have deemed “right,” include fast moving compitent cashiers and free delivery. I know that the song says “the streetlights blink bright red and green,” however, I’m really only interested in the green ones, the red ones are for the rest of you.

I become incredibly opinionated during this “most wonderful time of the year.” I’m easily offended. I tend to sped my precious girlfriend time to sit and chat about how disappointed I was or outraged I had become or shocked I am…

The complaining can go on and on and it doesn’t stop when I’m alone. Sometimes the most avid listener to my complaining is myself. I can reck havoc on someone’s character and worth inside my own mind for the benefit of making myself feel better or simply enjoying a good rant.

I think it has to do with the fact that I fear disappointment during this season. I want the magic and the mystery and the “Ah-ha” factor. I work so hard at engineering the holidays that when someone disagrees with me or simply has another opinion or heaven forbid slows me down in this quest, watch out!

I’ve discovered that becoming offended, angry or frantic during the holidays and just in general, is a choice. Crazy is not inevitable. It may feel like the season is out of control but I certainly don’t have to be.

This year, I’m choosing not to be offended, not to get angry, not to be frantic. I’m choosing to put others needs in front of my own. I am choosing to refocus how I view stress, people, and expectations. Why? Because that is where peace hides and I want peace in my life. I don’t just want to talk about how I want a more peaceful life, I’m going to choose to be intentional about it.

Philippians 4:5-7 says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I need God to guard my heart and my mind this season. Friends, don’t lose sight of the fact that God will help you through this season. He can teach you gentleness. He will bring you joy. He will give you peace that transcends all understanding but you need to ask him.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” This Christmas song is a beautiful reminder of how we can effect the world around us, God helping us.

Media Warning: The danger of listening to yourself

mediaI’ve been fascinated by the media coverage of the election for the last year and a half. As a communications professional and a self proclaimed student of politics, I’ve never seen or heard anything like the coverage that has been provided in America this year.

Journalism used to be held to a standard of objectivity, fairness and a pursuit of the truth. These standards have always been a difficult pursuit and with the advent of cable news and talk radio the quest has become even more difficult. However, what I saw this year was a complete and absolute abandonment of ethical journalism.

In it’s place, journalists forgot that their most valuable tool, their job, was to listen closely to everyone and they replaced it with a narcissistic infatuation of listening to themselves.

Harsh? I suppose it might be. However, I think as Americans, we can demand and should expect better from the media. If there is only one positive outcome from this election, I hope it is that the journalism profession takes the time to examine themselves and fix the issues that have allowed them to stray so far from their professional expectations.

Last night as I watched election coverage, I was amused to see looks of surprise on the faces of journalists who were stunned by the outcome they were being required to report. Phrases such as “unprecedented victory,” “shocking turn of events,” “we never saw this coming,” and “complete shock,” were uttered over and over again. “How did we get this so wrong?” was asked countless times.

You stopped listening. You stopped reporting and you got caught up in editorializing and that is why you are so dumbfounded.

Over the months of the campaign, it was shocking to me that to so many media outlets including radio, television and internet news forums seemed to band together to produce what I would term, “hit pieces” and disguise them as objective reporting. Radio DJ’s, internet reporters, and television news journalists alike created and sustained a media culture of distain, moral superiority and condescending discord. It was a steady diet that was served day in and day out.

In the process of hearing themselves talk and being ever more impressed with themselves, the noise they created halted their ability to listen to the American people. They sought out only those who looked and sounded and believed like they did and completely refused to recognize that there might be another perspective to consider. They closed their eyes to half of the American people and rendered them silent. Until last night.

The polls got it dead wrong. This Trump victory was not a narrow win. It was decisive. How was that not heard or seen or recognized? Am I to believe that there weren’t even rumblings of what was going to happen? That this was impossible to predict?

I don’t believe that. I believe you stopped doing your jobs. I believe you got so mesmerized by your own reflection, you refused to recognize that you weren’t the only ones in the room. Febreze coined the term, “nose blind” and I think it’s a perfect description of what happened to the media.

It’s despicable.

It’s malpractice.

It needs to change.

Journalists need to do better. I hope that as the whirlwind of excitement and disbelief over the results of this election dissipates, the media take a long hard look at themselves. I hope they rightly criticize and evaluate where they went wrong.

Take a look in the mirror and see how badly you have served our country.

Start reporting what you see and hear. Listen to everyone, not just the people who look like you or think like you. Stop trying to influence people’s opinions and instead, start informing the American people so that they can form their own opinions.

Whether you voted for Trump or for Clinton, please be outraged. From the primary elections to November 8 this media has failed you. You were either told you were in the clear majority, and you weren’t; or you were in the inferior minority and you weren’t. How can we begin to come together and understand each other if the media is refuses to represent us equally.

We need to listen to each other better.

The media needs to help us do that.

This is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue.

This is an American issue.

 

 

Seeking God Day 31!!!

halden31 days has finally come to a close. I am so honored and humbled by the friends I’ve met this month, by your encouraging words and the sacrifice you made to read my blog all month. Its been a journey of discovery for me and I hope for you as well.

Together, we have taken time to contemplate and consider God. He has shown me through these last 31 days that his love is consistent and continuous. It covers me completely and is unfathomable. How will I ever be able to understand how deep, how wide and how great his love is for me and for you? We are considered his children and there is nowhere we can go to escape his loving presence. He will not abandon us and even when we can’t see Him he is always there.

The most amazing promise of all about seeking God is that he promises:

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

When we seek God he will reveal himself to us. We may not always understand what he has revealed, we may not always agree with what he is doing but he will be found.

Jesus says,

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

When we feel alone, afraid, confused, empty, separated or at our wits end, if we look to Jesus he will answer us. It’s a promise, an assurance that we can always rely on. It’s security. It’s rest. We are safe in his love.

A life with Christ will continue to amaze and surprise you if you continue to learn more about Him, more about what it means to follow him, what it means to be called his child. You will never come to the end of his love and his wisdom, there will always be more you can learn. There will always be more of Him to discover. He is endless. And that is amazing!

The words I want to close this series up with are from Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

If we live in the truth of God’s promises, our lives can not help but be transformed and become more like Him. Our minds, our hearts, our wills will change. We will become more true, noble, right, pure, lonely, admirable, excellent and we will be filled with praise. It just will happen. And when we are transformed like this we will be filled with joy. A kind of joy that has no definition because it can not be explained, it can only be experienced…lived.

This joy can be called contentment or peace. It brings space and the ability to breathe. It is clarity and vision, harmony and rhythm. It bursts forth with color and explodes with laughter.

My friends, keep seeking God.

Keep asking him to reveal himself to you.

Rest in his arms and breath in his spirit.

He loves you so much.

That is Truth.

If you have been blessed by these daily devotions, please let me encourage you to sign up as a member of my blog. By providing me with your email, you will receive new posts in your email. You will never miss an update and you will be helping me grow my blog. If you think your friends may be blessed by daily encouragement, please consider sharing this link with them on Facebook or Twitter.   

 

Seeking God Day 30

haldenWe took the kids to Cedar Point this summer for a quick family get away. The first day we were there the humidity was a solid 80% and the temp was an oppressive 98 degrees. Even though we wanted to be having a great time, it was nearly impossible. There is just no way to love what you are doing when you are so uncomfortable.

When the sun finally went down so did the heat and humidity. It was such a welcome relief. Instead of focusing on how miserable I was, I could start enjoying the rides. I’m disappointed at how distracted I am when I’m uncomfortable.  It doesn’t take much change my focus or deter my progress.

The last ride of the night was a roller coaster. It was close to midnight and incredibly dark as we stood in line waiting for our turn. When we finally made it to the front of the line and loaded into the cars my heart was pounding. I made sure that the harness was securely locked; pulling on it two and three times. My feet dangled off the ground and I waited for the ride to begin. The attendant signaled, the coaster hissed and my stomach suddenly was stuck to the back of my seat…away we went. The darkness added to my excitement and my terror. There was no way to know when we would go right or left. I couldn’t see when the dips were coming and had no idea when we were headed upside down until we were already in a full blown twist.

Sometimes following God’s plan for my life feels much the same. Terrifying and exciting all at the same time. Not knowing where the next twist or turn is. Continuing to check the harness to make sure it’s secure.

We sang this song in church today, the lyrics of the chorus go like this:

Where you go I’ll go

Where you stay I’ll stay

When you move I’ll move

I will follow You.

Complete surrender, that is what this song is talking about. Riding a God’s roller coaster in the dark, checking the harness but surrendering to His will.

Do I trust Him? Can I lift my open hands to Him and say, “Your will Lord.”

Or,

Will I continue to hold back? Will I continue to try to wrestle for power?

The sentence, “Yes, Lord” can feel like we are abandoning control. It is really. But instead of being terrified, if we trust God, it can be freeing. Allowing us to close our eyes and enjoy the wild coaster ride He has planned.

Being surprised by God is breathtaking!

Do you dare?

And here is the most amazing thing…

Luke 12:7 says:

But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

As risky as trusting God seems, he values you. Every hair on your head is numbered, you may want to be afraid but you don’t have to be.

Do you dare believe that God loves you as much as he says he does?

It’s going to be a wild and holy ride.

 

 

 

Seeking God Day 29

haldenJesus, Jesus precious Jesus how I proved him more and more. Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus, O for grace to trust him more.

We live in a country that is just a few days away from a national election; I don’t have to tell you that. The candidates? Less than desirable from any angle. How does loving and trusting Jesus influence who you vote for?

My Facebook feed is filled with stories about one group of Christians judging another group of fellow Christians. They disagree. Each side believes they are right, each side believes the other is deplorable. How do you love and trust Jesus in this environment? How do you know when you are on the “right” side? Is there a “right” side? If you question it, does that make you less spiritual? Does that make you a heretic?

What happens when we disagree? Are we as the body of Christ allowed to disagree and still be followers of Christ? I ask this with all sincerity because when I read one side’s or the others literature and rhetoric I’m led to believe that there is no room for middle ground. There is no tolerance for confusion or questioning or dialog. There is simply right and wrong.

I don’t want this post to be about any issue in particular but rather I want all of us to wrestle with what it means to seek God in this world full of differing opinions, worldview and choices. Seeking God conveys that we don’t know God fully, that there is still more to discover, that we may only know or understand a small piece of what is happening around us. Seeking God means that we don’t know it all. It’s a belief that we fully expect that He can and will reveal more to us about Himself, His love, His mercy and His grace.

We must be people of conviction but I also think there is danger in being too convinced of our convictions. The danger with unwavering conviction is that it is a fertile soil for pride to grow. Unwavering conviction does not leave much room for humility or learning but it does pave a wide road for self-importance.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

This may certainly expose a flaw in my character but the above statement is one of the only things that I believe with unwavering conviction. God loves me. God loves you. He gave his life for both of us. We only need to believe.

This world is extremely confusing to me. I am positive that I don’t understand all of what God wants or demands or expects of me and my neighbors. There are days that everything seems black and white but honestly, the older I get the more I question if a black and white world is just too simple. As soon as I type that, I wonder if a world full of gray answers is also too easy.

I don’t have the answers. I only have a lot of questions. I would love to tell you how to live but honestly, I don’t know if you should listen to me, actually I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t. Together we are better off as explorers. Seekers doing our best to help each other understand God, His word and His love more.

I’m so glad I learned to trust thee, 
precious Jesus, Savior, friend; 
and I know that thou art with me, 
wilt be with me to the end. 

Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus by Trinity Worship

Seeking God Day 27

haldenI sat talking with a young mom today and even though I was a complete stranger she left no detail out as she shared her story. She and her husband had 3 kids under 4. He was in school. She was working part time at a job where she started at 3am so that she could spend the rest of the day taking care of the kids. He was gone, a lot. This was their plan but it was so hard. When he finally came home she wasn’t sure if she should run to the bathroom to spend some time alone, flee with her girlfriends for some adult time or say yes to her husband’s request to spend some time together. Nothing was easy. Marriage, parenting, budgeting, surviving, it all seemed impossible.

As I listened, I realized that I had forgotten. I forgot how it was when we were newly married and the kids were small. I like to call those days the “pressure cooker” days. Doug and I were both physically exhausted. We were trying hard to fill the roles of mom and dad, husband and wife. It was all new.

I can’t believe I forgot. I look around now at our family and everyone has grown so much. There aren’t any primary colored toys on the ground. There are no sippy cups growing mold in my van. No one sleeps in a crib and I’m the first one up now days. Life is still hard but it’s different. Way more busy and yet a lot less harried at the same time. I have the luxury of sitting here at my computer, to think and write and contemplate life. 10 years ago that never happened.

As I saw the exhaustion and longing in her eyes, I realized a truth that I don’t want to forget. Nothing stays the same. Whatever you are dealing with right now it will pass. Now, I realize this isn’t new or ground breaking Solomon wrote about this in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

 

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest. 

Everything that we go through, the pain, the struggle, the joy, the confusion it’s all a season. Being single, being married, raising young children, caring for aging parents, tight budgets, cold weather…you name it. Wherever you are, you will not stay there. You are not stuck there forever. Things will change, seasons always do. God promises that they will.

Being knee deep in today often blinds our ability to see the bigger picture. God always has a bigger picture. Sometimes we are allowed to see it, other times He asks us to just trust Him.

It’s not easy.

Today will pass, tomorrow will come.

In the end God is always in control and He promises to give us what we need to move forward. He will never leave, no matter what season you are in. He is there.

 

Seeking God Day 26

haldenI sit in the front row of the balcony, the lights in the house go down and the lights on the stage come up. My son, walks out on stage with his saxophone and the world around me fades away. I only have eyes for him and nothing else matters. I can’t decide if I want to close my eyes and listen to the music he is playing or keep them open so I can watch. I’m in love.

Each one of my children can command my undivided attention like that. It doesn’t matter if they are on the ball field, in a pool, on a stage or simply playing with their friends. I love to watch them. I love to see them being them. It is a joy to see how they grow and become more of who they were created to be. They have no idea how I feel. How could they?

There is a verse in the book of Zephaniah that speaks of God’s love for us this way:

Zephaniah 3:17

 

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.

The song that is playing in my head on repeat is call Amazed. The lyrics are taken from this verse in Zephaniah,

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Have you ever imagined God dancing over you? Could you ever believe that He takes great delight in you? In You!

Even when we don’t know, don’t see, don’t hear Him, He is still there watching. I’m sure that he watches you the way I watch my own children, except more. God is more. His love is more for you and for me than mine could ever be for my own children.

He has gifted you. He has plans for you. He has a purpose for your life.

Philippians 1:6

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. 

He is faithful.

Today as you seek God, examine how big you believe His love for you to be. And when you think you understand, think again. Ask God to awe you with the depth of His love for you.

Be amazed.

And then smile because You are His!

 

Seeking God Day 24

haldenRaising teenagers is like playing a continual game of red light/green light. You know the game right? The person who is the “caller” gets to stand a ways away from the other runners and intermittently turn around and face them and yell out “Red light” or “Green light.” The other players get to move or have to stay still based on the command of the caller. Eventually the person who advances the furthest and reaches the caller first is crowned the winner.

The thing about this game is that everyone is at the mercy of the caller. Your advancement depends on when and if the caller yells, “green light.” As a young mom I was the “caller” and my children were the runners. I’d tell them when to get up, when to eat, when to play and when to go to bed. I had absolute power. With teenagers, not so much. I can’t even figure out if I’m the caller or the runner some days! Say something or don’t say something. Offer help or be illusive. It’s a constant, ever changing landscape and one wrong move and your are “red lighted.”

The rules of the game seem to change as often as the weather and aren’t consistent among the 4 various teens living in my house. Just when one of them green lights me another is red lighting me for the same reason. I used to tell them when they were little, “It’s a good thing your cute!” I still think the same thing but now, I don’t say it outloud.

The game red light/green light has been on my mind a lot lately. I see similarities in my longing to understand how to live a Christian life with integrity and character. Do I say something or do I hold my tongue? Do I stay still or am I supposed to act? It’s frustrating. Unlike with my kids, I don’t think God keeps changing the rules but rather I just don’t understand the rules very well. Just like parenting, I’m still learning.

I love 1st and 2nd Timothy because these books are a “how to” manual for living a Christian life and how to be a good leader. My blog is entitled, “A trustworthy saying” in honor of these books. Paul says over and over again, “Here is a trustworthy saying.” When I read those words I pay special attention to what comes next because I know it will be important.

Here is what Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:22-26

2 Timothy 2:22-26

 

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

It all seems pretty straight forward, right? And yet, if Paul, who is the author, felt the need to write these instructions out, that must mean that these lessons needed to be taught. I find it difficult to separate the foolish and stupid arguments from those that need to be argued. I have a hard time being kind to everyone and I’m certainly not teachable all the time. Earlier in the chapter he says:

2 Timothy 2: 14-17

 

Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. 

Much like red light/green light I hop, skip and jump through what sometimes seems like a land mine of conversations. Wondering where do I speak, when do I listen, when should I be walking away? Correctly handling the word of truth is a daunting and scary job at times.

Red Light

Green Light

Stop

Go

Lord, please teach me to be one “who does not need to be ashamed.” I long to live this way for your glory.

 

Seeking God Day 23

haldenHave you ever dreamed of something happening and when it did you can hardly believe it? It happened yesterday and then again today for me.

After 5 months of watching my two middle kids sacrifice their lives to learn and perfect what it means to be a member of the marching band, I watched them perform at their highest level. Every step, every note, every bend and flag toss was executed with the best they had to offer. It felt almost sacred to watch them because I knew what it had cost them to be out there.

It would have been enough for me to just have the opportunity to watch them. But that wasn’t the end, they were awarded the top honor in their class, first place and they also scored 3rd among the 45 bands that competed.

My heart is full.

At the same time band after band was taking the field to compete, the Chicago Cubs were taking loading the bases. A moment that up until last night had only been dreamt about and talked about in the terms of “some day,” became reality as the Cubs won the National League Conference and a chance to go to the World Series, the first time since 1945. Honestly, I’m not much of a baseball fan. It sort of bores me. But growing up I can’t recall a summer day when the baseball game wasn’t front and center in my grandparent’s house. I can still hear the crackle of their kitchen radio and Harry Carry’s voice announcing the play by play of the game. If it wasn’t the radio,  then my grandparents were seated in their tiny living room watching the game on their tiny TV. My grandma would watch intently as she wiped the sweat from her forehead in the heat of a summer afternoon and talk to the TV as if Ryan Sandberg or Don Zimmer could hear her.

Cubs baseball is more than a professional sport to me it is part of my heritage, part of who I am and the people who loved me. My grandparent’s never got to see their beloved team go to the World Series but I’m proud to say my kids and I will. My heart is full remembering my grandparents and knowing how happy they would be if they were still here.

After yesterday, I didn’t think my heart could hold any more but this morning I felt it over flow with happiness and thanksgiving as I watched Lucy Jean’s head sprinkled with baptism water.

lucys-baptism

It was a day that I’ve prayed for and one that I was afraid I’d never see. At 27 weeks this little girl breathed her first breath and cried her first cry even though she was only 1lb and 11oz. She entered this world small and frail but proved to everyone watching that she was fierce and brave and had more fight in her tiny body and spirit than would even seem possible. I’ve watched this precious child grow and accomplish feats that seemed out of her reach. She has defied all the odds so far and continues to blaze her own trail, challenging everyone around her to keep up.

My heart is full.

The lyrics to the song, 10,000 Reasons, keep going through my mind right now.

“Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul. Worship His holy name. Sing like never before, oh my soul, I’ll worship your holy name. The sun comes up its a new day dawning, it’s time to sing your songs again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing till the evening comes. Your rich in love and your slow to anger, your name is great and your heart is kind. For all your goodness I will keep on singing, 10,000 reasons for my hear to find!”

Seeking God sometimes mean soaking in God’s blessings. Looking around you and being amazed at how He has lavishly poured out his love on you and everyone you love. Lifting up your face like you do on an early summer day when the sun is shinning and feel the warmth on your skin.

Seeking God sometimes means that you raise your hands to the heavens and say, “Thank you!”

Oh what a beautiful day!

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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