Friday, August 30, 2019

Be Still


I haven’t written many songs lately.   A friend asked me recently if I was still writing, and I had to be honest.   Not much.    It’s not because I don’t want to or even because I don’t have any ideas to pen.   I simply haven’t had time.    Life with a 3-month-old, a 13-year-old, and a full-time job keep me quite busy.    It’s amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing but the days go by so fast I don’t even always realize how much time passes between attempts to sit and write or even just sit and worship.   If you have kids you can probably relate.  Fortunately, my daughter loves music so that definitely helps.    One thing I have managed to keep doing, is serving in church worship, a few Sundays a month thanks to an amazing husband and an amazing church nursery.  A few Sundays ago, during worship, I heard the Lord say very clearly “I am not afraid of anything.  Nothing makes me anxious”.   To explain, I have struggled pretty severely with anxiety since the baby was born.   I have struggled the last few years but the hormones and exhaustion have caused it to escalate some.   I have been working hard, through prayer, and really focusing on the triggers and causes to try and work through it, but it’s still hard almost daily.     So, this Sunday…. These words spoke to me in a biiiiiig way.   The Lord often speaks to me in times of worship which is why I know that it is important to make time for it.   But I have also been reminded lately that there are different ways to worship, when song isn’t an option.   Last week I led worship in the Middle School classroom and as I was preparing, those words He spoke were echoing in my head.  Lord led me to the passage in Psalm 46, verse 10 that reminds us, “He says, “Be Still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.””

I thought about this passage, and what it means to Be Still.  I decided to dig a little in scripture and came across these additional passages regarding this command to Be Still.

Exodus 14:13-14

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.””

Psalm 37:7

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”

Psalm 4:4-5

“Tremble and do not sin; When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.  Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord.”



In general, I don’t like being still.  I like to be doing.   I call myself a busy body because I enjoy having tasks, and projects, working and moving pretty much all the time.   But truthfully, I don’t think that’s what the scripture is commanding in the above passages.   Taken literally, as we often do in the English translations, that seems like the logical referral.   But when you break down the Hebrew words and what they tell us, it shines a light on the true meaning of Being Still.



Psalm 46:10 the Hebrew word used here is raphah.   It means to cease, or let alone.  To become feeble or to let drop.   In this verse, in this context we are being commanded to stop.   To literally remember our humanness and drop what we are trying so hard to hold onto with our human hands.   To remember who God is, and let Him be God.  We try so hard to fix things ourselves, to take all of the workload onto our own shoulders when God is more than big enough, more than strong enough, more than able…and willing, to do it for us.


Exodus 14:13-14 the Hebrew word is yatsab.   It means to stay in one place, to remain, to continue.   Here the Israelites are being reminded that if they want to see the Lord move, they need to get out of His way.    To stay put and wait on Him to move instead of rushing ahead out of fear and trying to make things happen in their own strength.  Taking action with an anxious heart often leads to disaster.   Instead we are reminded to wait on the Lord.


Psalm 37:7 the Hebrew word is damam.   Is means to rest, to hold peace, to quiet oneself.   I imagine it to be like a screaming child, throwing a tantrum, and our Father gently saying, “It’s ok, I have you, calm down.  You don’t have to be afraid.  Take a deep breath, stop being upset and let me handle it”.   
   

Psalm 4:4-5 is the same Hebrew word as the above, damam.   Scripture uses the word silent here, but again we are commanded to hold peace, to quiet oneself.   This word also means to be dumbfounded or astonished.    This passage reminds us to be thankful, and humble before the Lord.   And not to sin, by walking in fear but rather trust in the Almighty who is more than able, and remember just who He is and what He is capable of.



I am so thankful for the Words Be Still.  I am so thankful that we serve a God who knew our nature well enough to remind us more than once that we need to stop, quiet ourselves, let alone our agenda, stay put, and wait on Him.  Even in the chaos of life, those are truths that bring freedom from fear. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A Posture of Gratitude


I think one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves as believers, is how do I respond when the Lord answers a prayer?   It's so easy to become a spoiled brat Christian.  Like a kid who gets upset because they didn't get what they wanted for Christmas even though they got a lot of other really great presents.   When He answers, sometimes they way we had hoped and sometimes not, either way He is worthy.   Either way He is faithful.   Either way He deserves our praise.     And it's so easy to forget to stop and thank Him.   We hold out our hands with expectation, but forget to hold them up in praise.
 I was thinking the other day about how quickly I turn into an Israelites.    I pray earnestly for something and the Lord provides above and beyond what I could have imagined, but after a while I start to grumble.   I start to become dissatisfied with the thing that was at one point, Miraculous.       It's human nature to receive what we want and soon forget.  To fall back into despair when things don't go our way rather than remembering the faithfulness of our Father and all the things He has done for us.   It is important not only for our own faith but for the faith of others to remember.   To stop and acknowledge.   And to share with others in the struggles and the victories.  To join together in praise for the answers we are praying , even if we haven't gotten one yet.      To remember the times He has answered and blown us away with the intricate ways in which He weaves together beautiful stories of redemption, healing, fruitfulness, bounty, and provision.   The way He answers even those small prayers we pray that in the scheme of things are probably insignificant.    

Recognize them.   Respond to them.   Rejoice over them.   Remember them.

3 weeks ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.   She is the most amazing gift I have ever received and I can't imagine my life without her.  The Lord answered so many of my prayers with this child, in so many sweet ways that only the Lord could do.     But there are moments, when she is fussy in the middle of the night, it's easy to forget what a miracle she is.   It's hard, it's exhausting, it's a whole new set of worries, and struggles.   But that does not change the fact, or minimize in any way, that she is an answer to so many prayers.   And I remind myself daily to thank my Father for this amazing gift.   To rest in a place of gratitude because it makes the tough moments a little brighter, and the sweet moments a little sweeter.  

It takes intentionality.   A posture of gratitude.  

In Psalm 20 verses 4-5 David wrote
"May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests."   

David recognized that all victory comes from the Lord.   That every victory should be shared and that they should celebrated and praise the one who gave them victory!   

I think we need to stop regularly and ask ourselves, are we acknowledging what He has done for us?  Basking in the grandeur of His goodness, faithfulness, glory, and greatness.  Do we find it impossible to resist praising Him for who He is, for His total worthiness.     He is the King.      He is the All in All.  He is the maker of the heavens and the earth.  Nothing is more important than His presence.   Nothing and no one deserves our full attention and focus like He does.  Absolutely nothing compares to His great love and affection for us.    Absolutely no one can fill us like He can.       His answers to prayer, weather we understand them or not, weather we can grasp the full reality of them or not, are sovereign and holy.     He cannot lie, cannot fail, He cannot do wrong.  He is a good Father and He deserves all of our gratitude.   

Friday, January 25, 2019

Know You By Name


The past few Sundays, I was asked to lead worship in our Middle School and then High School group at my church.   I lead fairly often in one of the two rooms, and have grown to really love worshipping with these precious teens and preteens.   I remember how forming those years were for me in regards to my relationship with the Lord and my desire to, and understanding of worship.

 Watching them grow in their faith, and encouraging them in their walk with the Lord has been a joy.     Every Sunday I pray for the Lord to download something into my heart that will reach these kids.    Life and culture are different then they were when I was their age, but that doesn't change our Father or how He works.      And every Sunday I pray that the things that are said, prayed, or shared will sink beyond the momentary participation and stick in the hearts and minds of he hearer.     The past 2 Sundays the Lord put the same thing on my heart.    Something that in some ways I think He downloaded more for me then for them.   But it is still resonating with me now as I type this.     About 6 or 7 years ago, my brother, who I have always been close to, who grew up in the same household, going to the same church, having many of the same friends, confessed to me, that he no longer believed in God.   My brother has always had strong opinions and has always been a bit stubborn, but even with him majoring in philosophy and theology in college, I didn't see this coming.

My heart was broken and continues to break for him as I pray daily that the Lord would draw him back, like the prodigal son.  That his heart would be softened to the truth and that he would realize the lies he has been believing are nothing but the enemy.



But as I thought about this, on this Sunday morning preparing for church, I heard the Lord say "What he (My brother) chooses not to believe, does not change the who I am.  It does not change the Truth".      And I was reminded in that moment, that the magnitude of the majesty of our creator and King, is neither affected by or altered by what we choose to believe or not believe about Him.  That our opinions don't change His power.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever more.    And our thoughts about Him do not change who He is....they change who we are.     We have the choice to encounter Him, and learn more about Him, not because He owes us an explanation, or is affected by our opinions of Him, but because He wants us to know Him, He wants us to experience His love, His goodness, His kindness, His fullness of life.   

I was reminded this past week of the story of Moses from Exodus 33.   The Bible tells us that Moses would meet with God in a tent and the Lord would speak to him, face to face as to a friend.   And while in the tent of meeting, Moses would plead on behalf of the Israelites.   Asking the Lord not to leave them or send them away without His presence.    The Lord responds in verse 17 saying "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name".    They had an intimate, relationship.   The Lord honored Moses's request for an entire people because of their relationship.   Because of Moses's faithfulness and heart to serve and honor Him.     And then the Lord showed him His glory.   

Here is the thing.....we no longer have to rely on someone to plead for us, to meet with the Lord on our behalf.   To communicate with the Lord and then tell us what to do or how to obey.   We no longer have to encounter the Lord vicariously through someone else.   The veil has been torn.  Jesus has come and made a way for us to be with our Father.   We have direct access to His presence and to have an encounter with Him just like Moses did.    We can seek His face, we can know His heart, we can meet with Him at any place and time.      A huge part of the act of worship is taking the time to do just that.   To spend time in His presence, experiencing an encounter with the Living God, to see His glory, and hear His voice.    And lift up His name.   And I believe that the heavens move when we spend that kind of time with our King.   Intentional, "Tent of Meeting" kind of time.  And maybe what our country needs right now more than anything, is for the children of God, to spend more time encountering Him.  More time in His presence, getting to know Him more intimately and seeking His glory above all else.    That He would say of us, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name".






Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Savior's Manger


Last year around this time, I wrote about how amazing I find it that Jesus came down from heaven to be born as a baby.     How absolutely unfathomable it is to me, that the King of the universe CHOSE, not to just come down and live as a human among us, spend His life serving those who hated Him, and die a horrible death to save us, but that He came as an unborn child.   It literally blows my mind to think of Jesus, the Son of God, choosing to be carried for 9 months in a womb, born, and have to grow from a baby into a man, diaper changes and runny noses and everything.   It has given me a whole new perspective on the depth and enormity of His sacrifice.    But then this year as I thought about all of this again, I starting thinking about Mary.    Maybe it's because I am 18 weeks pregnant myself, but I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for her.     Young, scared, pregnant with the Son of God (talk about crazy!) and having to travel, in labor, on a donkey.   I think it can be really easy to read the stories in scripture, and without meaning to, romanticize them a bit.  The way we might an old memory where we forget all of the unpleasantness and only think about the good moments.    But just think about this for a moment.   Really think about it.   You’re a teenager, no parents or relatives anywhere near, traveling with your husband, sitting on a donkey in excruciating pain...no drugs, knowing that you would soon be giving birth to the child you were told was the Son of God, scared half to death.   You arrive at our destination only to be told that you can't even have a regular bed, in a regular room, with bedding and walls, and privacy.....so you have to give birth, with no assistance, in a barn, sitting on hay and who knows what else, surrounded by smelly, loud, dirty creatures, and all of their filth, no soap, no nurses, no blankets or sheets, or anything to even cut the umbilical cord with.    And while I would like to think that maybe God gave her some extra grace considering the circumstances, He really didn't roll out the red carpet for Jesus's entrance at all.    And this is what amazes me about our Savior.     As if His life and death and resurrection weren’t enough.     He came as an unborn child.   To be born in quite possible the worst circumstances a pregnant woman could possibly dream up for giving birth in, and spent the first few hours of His life, surrounded by animals, and smells, in the most unglamorous environment.     God could have provided a room, He could have given His son a little more flash and cleanliness, He could have poured out His provision and made every accommodation to make sure His son had everything He needed from the moment He was born for His comfort and happiness.   Instead, He allowed the humblest beginning.    As I to indicate from the start, the course of His life lived in humility.   This Christmas, I will worship Him with a little more gratitude than normal.   Because while I look at my nativity as a charming addition to my piano decorations, the truth is....it was the humble beginning of a humble King, who came to serve and love and give His life.   And didn't even for a moment, even before He took His first breath as a newborn, stray from the humble heart He came to show the world.     My what a King we serve.   I am so thankful this season for my Savior.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

We are God's Poetry


Hey everyone!   Man has it been a while since I sat down to write.   Funny how life does that…. You blink and a month goes by. 

Recently I had the privilege of being a part of the worship team for the Women’s retreat that my church held, at a State Park in Alabama.   We drove down on Friday and honestly, I had no idea what to expect.   I know that sounds a little silly to say out loud, but I have never been on a women’s retreat before and while I was thrilled to go, and I knew that the speakers (all friends of mine) would be awesome, I was honestly a little intimidated.      Man, oh man did the Lord show up!    It was a weekend filled with incredible fellowship and wonderful times of worship.    But the part that stuck out to me the most…. the part I am still chewing on, was the story God told through the speakers.   I thought I would share a few of the highlights of what was shared, and a few of my thoughts, as I process everything the Lord did on this weekend.

 They each shared in the theme of Poetry with a focus on Ephesians 2:10” For We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

That word Workmanship, (also translated Masterpiece or Handiwork) comes from the word Poiema, which means a Masters Piece of Work.  We are literally Gods Master Pieces.   Each one of us.   He is the author and we are His poems.    Not an accident or unintentional story.   A beautiful piece of art that is being penned by the creator of the universe.    One of my favorite quotes from this past weekend was this “The Presence of the Poem, proves the existence of the poet”.     It is indeed the poet that gives a poem value, not the poem itself.  

A few of the ways that the enemy tries to attack our story is by minimizing it, threatening it, isolating it, and tempting us to compare it to others.    But we are God’s unique creation, each of us.   Called to tell our own story, make our God known, and lift others up who may also struggle through the sharing of what God has done.

When we find ourselves struggling to believe in our value, it is most likely due to things we are hanging onto in our lives that are not of Him.    Things like Jealously, Offenses, Unforgiveness, Comparison, and Bitterness.    But Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we have been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.   Which means that we don’t have to fight for power, strive for strength, or find courage within ourselves to walk in the fullness of who we are created to be.    God has already given us the power, so if we are lacking, it is not Him... it’s us.   We are choosing not to walk in the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit.  We are choosing to try and write our own story.    And the only territory the enemy has is what we give him.    Which means we need to take that territory back.   Refuse to fall into His lies.   Trust and Believe that we are more than conquerors in Christ and walk in that victory, letting God remain the author of our lives.  

So, what are some of the areas where we have allowed the enemy access or power in our lives that maybe we don’t even realize, because after so long it has just become our “normal”.   Maybe we think of it as “who we are” when God is telling you “This is not a part of the poem I am writing”.

He has good works planned for us, just like Ephesians tells us.   So maybe it’s time to take a look at those places where the enemy has convinced us that this is the story we are stuck with, and start allowing the Lord to write His story over us.   It may not look the way we planned, or dreamed it to look, but the story, the poem of the King is the beautiful story of repentance, healing, authority, boldness, forgiveness, love, joy, peace, hope…. this is the story I want for my life.    

One of the things I was left with this weekend was the idea that sometimes to get back to His story and out of the one we are trying to write for ourselves, is to pray over what good work the Lord may be calling you to as an act of obedience.   It doesn’t need to be a huge grandiose work.   It doesn’t even need to be public…. just something the Lord is saying “This is what I need you to do for right now”.    Maybe in preparation for something more, maybe just as way to clear out some for the junk.  Maybe it’s something as small as committing to wash the dishes every day because your spouse hates doing it and it would bless your marriage to take that job on, or committing to that quiet time you always say you will take but seldom do.   For me it was something rather simple, but actually rather difficult for me.   And to many of you this will sound silly but I know that the Lord has called me to this as my good work.  What His full purpose is for this in my story I may never know.     I lead worship often at my church for different events.   This means that almost daily I am working on new songs, spending time in worship on my own, and going over the songs I plan to do at the next event.   I have a keyboard, and now we also have a piano in the living room.     But since the piano has arrived, I rarely play it when anyone else is home because I am terribly self-conscious worshipping in front of my family.    It’s 100% the enemy and I know that.    They don’t care, and even if they did it shouldn’t matter to me at all.    But this has been a struggle for me for many years, so I generally hide away in my room to worship/prepare/write.   It has become clear to me that this is my way of hiding a vulnerable place in me, from those who I trust the most.   The Lord called me out this weekend, that my Good Work, is to start playing on the piano no matter who is home.   That I am to walk in boldness as a worshipper in this way.    It truly challenges me, to worship without distraction or concern for what others are thinking and it will be an act of obedience.   I imagine after a while I won’t think about it anymore….and maybe it will be just the thing my family needs.   But it is a challenge none the less.   I was sure to tell my husband as I wanted to voice my commitment so that I could not back out of it.  

 I want to encourage you to pray over what good work the Lord may have for you.   The enemy wants to silence our voices.   To make us ineffective for the kingdom.   Whether by fear, or by keeping us occupied, or distracted.   Maybe by telling us we have nothing to say of any value.   But the Lord has something to say through each of us.   We are His poems and we are His beautiful handiwork.   It’s time to take back our story and hand it over to the author and finisher of our faith.    

Monday, July 2, 2018

That Is What We Are!



Often times in Long term relationships, friendship or romantic, you reach a point where there is a shift that takes place.   You move from a learning to a knowing.  From an unfamiliarity to a familiarity.  Where most of the questions have turned to answers, roots have been planted, and the love has developed into a foundational element of the relationship.  No longer a question mark, but a truth.   Love becomes more about the act of showing rather than proving or earning.  There is a security in this kind of love.  But love never starts out this way.   And isn't always an easy path to get to.  Even when you do arrive at this kind of love, It requires a lot of time, attention, and work to keep it strong. 
I was thinking about my husband recently.  How our relationship has grown over the years.  We are both very stubborn, and while that most definitely presents its challenges, there is a hidden blessing in that neither one of us are quitters.   Neither one of us run when faced with difficulties.   We fight for each other and push each other.     This has helped to build a foundational element of security in the love between us, over the past 9 years.   We are by no means professionals at marriage, nor do we have the best marriage possible.   But it has really helped me to see more of God's love for me in watching my husband love, and watching our relationship grow.
I believe God designed marriage as an earthly example of His love toward us and desire for intimate relationship with His people.   And while our relationships contain many cracks and holes, It can help us to see a tangible picture of what His love looks like.   

He doesn't give up on us, or turn His back when we turn ours.   He doesn't deny us grace because we make a mistake or hold against us the things we do that are not honoring to Him.   He loves us just the same, through difficult circumstances, Joy's and pain, heartache and victory.  Even when it doesnt make sense, the love remains.  
    
One of the big differences in His love for us though, is that He loved us first.  Before we even knew Him, before we ever had a chance to fall in love with Him.   Before we ever heard His voice or read His words.    He already loves us, and He has already proven it.  His word says "We love Him because He first loved us"    But that's it really...there is no catch!   We dont have to do anything to earn it or deserve it.  He already knows us more intimately than we could ever hope to know our best friend or significant other, and loves us so much that He chose to give His life, the ultimate sacrifice of love for us.   That is what makes His love for us so incredible.  Even the best human relationships have struggles, and difficult seasons.  Even the most dedicated, loyal people fail at times to love unconditionally.  His love for us is complete.   His love is perfect.  Whole.  Full.  Safe.  Unchanging.  
I think the part that amazes me the most when I think about our Savior is that He would have died just for me.  Even if I was the only person in the earth.   And He would have died for you just the same.   That amazes me, and I hope it always amazes me.   To love others this way is the call we have on our lives.  Our purpose really.   Not just our best friend or spouse but to love others as we love ourselves.  To love our neighbors as ourselves.  To love as Jesus loves.  And He doesn't tell us to "Do what I say and not as I do", in fact His word says in 1st John 3:19 "This is how we know that what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.   And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.".   And even more, He has given us all we need to love the way He loves, through the power of the Hoy Spirit.  
People don't always seem lovable.   Sometimes they really aren't from human standards.   And frankly it can be an inconvenience to love others well....But I think the conviction level rises for me when I think about the fact that I just turned 34, which means I have now been on this earth longer than Jesus was.    And have I spent this time loving others?    Or am I more worried about the things I need, and want, and care about?  Have I done everything I can do to love well, not just when its convenient, easy, or makes me look good?  
So here is the tough question part..... How would marriages improve if we loved our spouse the way Jesus calls us to love?   How would our friendships improve?   Relationships with kids or neighbors?   Even the way we treat people we see on the street or in the market.    What about our enemies?   What if we chose to love them?      
What if we woke up each morning and asked the Lord, how can I love well today?    What would change?
Will it be easy?   Absolutely not!   Will it require sacrifice?   100% of the time!    But will it be worth it?   Without question!    Just imagine the impact it would have in the church and in the world around us, if we started living in the true calling and purpose of a believer.  To "Love not with words or speech but with actions and in truth".   Our world needs it now more than ever.

1 John 3:1a "See what great love the Father has lavished upon us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!"







 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

A Beautiful Reminder

So my husband and I bought a new car a few weeks ago.   It's the car I have been wanting and hoping for, for about 5 years.    I was waiting for the right timing and after praying over it, felt peace to to go ahead and make the trade from my current car.      I spent hours cleaning the old car, and making it look as shiny and new as possible.   I took everything out of it, and sorted all the paperwork and on Friday evening we went to the dealership.  After a few hours, we we off in our brand new, beautiful, car.  It was exciting.   This car checked all of the boxes for our family, you know?  Like extra seats the fold down in the back, and extra trunk space for the groceries I deliver for my part time job.  It was great and we were thankful.   I have had a few cars over the last 10 years or so, and this one, for me, for some reason, was the most exciting.   I was already picturing this car, as the one we would use to take kids to games, or pick them up from school, go on road trips, or teach my stepson to drive in.   Oh how dreams change as we get older haha....anyway back to the story

So, the next day my stepson had a soccer game.  I was so excited to drive the new car to the game.   We loaded up the camping chairs and soccer gear and headed out.   It was an early one, at least for a Saturday, (I mean who plans games for 9 am on a Saturday?) and we had to be there even earlier so my stepson could change into his uniform.   So at 8:30 we rolled into the parking lot, still drinking our morning coffee, and grabbed our lawn chairs and prepared to watch the kids play, along side dozens of other parents.     After the game, we loaded back into the car, and I started to back out of the spot.   This car has a rear camera which I am still getting use to, but this was only the second time I had used it, so I watched carefully as I pulled out of the spot.    I needed a little more room so I pulled forward slightly, and then preceded to put the car back into reverse to back up a few more feet. Just as I was about to pull forward the rest of the way to leave, we noticed in the rear camera a person backing up....before I could even honk my horn he had rear ended us.    Less than 24 hours after leaving the dealership, we had been hit.   I sat a little stunned for a minute while my husband got out of the car to talk to the other driver and then I pulled into another spot to see the damage.    Everyone was fine.   No injuries, and really, minimal damage.   But my bumper was no longer in it's new, pristine condition and my heart sank as I looked over the new scratches and dents.    I have been in accidents before, but never with a brand new car....and never a car that meant so much.   Somehow I held it together.    We exchanged insurance information, while the other driver apologized and admitted he did not look behind him as he was backing out.    While this didn't fix anything, I knew we would be able to resolve this situation.   But man was I bummed.    As I sit here my husband is researching a collision center for us to take the car too, so hopefully soon she...yes it's a she ;) will be good as new.  

That Sunday (the day after the accident) I was leading worship in the middle school room at our church.   I originally thought I would just keep the news to myself and not make a fuss, but then the Lord reminded me of something.     When we are in these kinds of situations, we have a choice.   A choice of how we are going to respond.   How we are going to handle these moments.     Our reaction is a choice, and we are the only ones who can make that choice.    I prayed, and continue to pray, that the Lord would use this story for good, and for His glory.    But what it led me tp think about, and what I also explained to the kids, is that this is the same kind of opportunity we have during our time worship.   We have a choice.   When His presence comes crashing in, disrupting our comfortable normal....pushing away our comfort zone or squeezing us out of our hiding places, what will our reaction be?   Will we choose to push Him away and stay in our safe place?   Will we choose to walk through the motions, simply standing and singing because it's what is expected, or because our friends are doing it?   Or will we choose to take a step closer, dive a little deeper, let the Holy Spirit have His way?    He already knows what we hide away.   The messy bits, and all the cracks.  But He won't force it on us, we have to choose it....Respond to it.  
When we feel disconnected from His presence, it's not Him, it's us.   We are the ones who drift away, letting our focus turn to ourselves or the things going on around us.  We are the ones who are being pulled in so many different directions that we forget to look up.    But like the song says "When You walk into the room, sickness starts to vanish, every hopeless situation ceases to exist, When You walk into the room, the dead begin to rise, cause there is resurrection life in all You do...." And that is the kind of encounter I want, that is the reaction I want to have in His presence.     So from now on, when I get in my car, or think about that accident, it will forever be a reminder to me to consider my response.     To make a choice.    To engage with the Father and choose His presence.    Who knew an accident could turn into such a beautiful reminder.