Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A New Song to Sing



I want to be a singer of new songs.

78e001533bd9c6d1dbba54580b7aeec9.jpg






A new song can’t be kept in.
It has to burst out and be heard.
What it says is relevant and important ...right now.
For you and others.

 
girl-singing-herself.jpg



A new song isn’t just a silly poem.
It’s full of life and liberty.
It beckons for people to listen.
It has to be released.

flat,550x550,075,f.jpg


A new song brings change to the atmosphere.
It has an inviting personality.
It isn’t negative or humdrum.
It begins, starts, initiates, a happy dance.


happy dance.jpg


A new song marks a new beginning.
It says “This is a new day.”
It causes movement in our bodies and souls.
Others listen and join in.


mother_and_daughter_singing_together_FAN2032414.jpg


What in your life is asking for you to sing?
Where do you need healing?
What feels trapped and is begging to be uncaged?
Are you desperate for breakthrough?


Sing, my friend.
Just sing a new song.


Sing out of your pain until you can feel peace.
Sing in the darkness until you can see the light.
Sing for your freedom! Sing for your joy!
Just sing.

il_570xN_453605730_32aa.jpg


Paul and Silas were beaten and then imprisoned in chains...but they didn’t give up hope…. they sang!
King Jehosophat’s soldiers were facing an overwhelming army of enemies...but they didn’t fight….they sang!
Mary was young, single, and miraculously carrying the son of God….but she didn’t worry about what other people might think...she sang!


It’s no coincidence to me that these examples all resulted in the same thing…..
a mighty display of God’s power on this earth!

Paul and Silas' songs to heaven caused an earthquake that broke off their chains!
God used the army of Judah’s praise and worship to ambush the enemy and defeat them!
Mary's song of thanksgiving to God gave her hope as she went through her pregnancy and eventually gave birth to the Savior of the world!

















Find your song and give it a name.
Claim God’s promises and set them to a tune.
You’ll be amazed at the freedom that will come.


Let’s give God the glory for all He has done in our lives today.
And sing a new song about it!  
 



“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the LORD.”- Psalm 40:3


 
 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hope Smiles



Hope has a lingering effect on a person.
She is not easily forgotten.
Because she stands out.
And, many times, she stands alone.


Hope embodies an undeterred belief that there is a good ending to the story.
Your story. My story.
And despite the unexpected plot twists, genre changes, and lack of character development, Hope remains when all else fades away.


She gives us a reason to see the best in the worst situations.
She is the promise of the rainbow after the rain.




Sometimes, though, we can’t seem to get enough of Hope by ourselves.
We may feel like a deflated balloon and need a breath of fresh air to keep us afloat.


And many times in life we need to meet a new face with a new idea.
A leader to inspire the next chapter of our story.
A communicator that casts vision and brings a welcome change.


We all need this person to nudge us along.
We all need someone to believe in.




What does this beautiful beacon look like?


Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, and Mother Theresa are all familiar agents of Hope.
But you know what? She could look just like you or me.
And she often does…


She is strong in her faith even when it seems like her prayers have gone unanswered.
She is willing to give what she has, but wise enough to give what is best, not necessarily what is easy.
She stands up for the rights of the weak and oppressed without concern for whether or not her political party supports it.
She is honest, real, and vulnerable with other women about her struggles and does not hide behind a mask.
She motivates her followers to resist the temptation to give in to cultural norms by demonstrating love of her own uniqueness.
She is courageous when it looks like all hell is breaking loose around her by grabbing hold of her fear and wringing its bony neck.
But most of all, more than any of those things, she lives a smiling life in the face of frowning circumstances and people.


Because that’s what Hope does.
She smiles.
She doesn’t let the pain of today take away her ability to laugh at tomorrow.


Hope leads us into uncharted waters with a life raft on board in case the boat we’re on sinks.
And she fully believes the boat will stay afloat.
But if it doesn’t...if it goes under, Hope smiles and puts on that life vest.


Then she hands you one too.
 



 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why You Are Beautiful

You-are-beautiful-to-God.jpg


Did you know that you are beautiful?

Even if no one else can see it…
Even if you were always told that you’re ugly….
Even if today you forgot to put on your makeup…
Even if you’ve been up late crying your eyes out…
Even if you have scars and bruises….
Even if your husband/boyfriend left you for someone else…


you-are-so-beautiful.jpg


How could I be beautiful you ask?

Because your beauty doesn’t depend on you…
Because what’s on the outside isn’t where your worth is found…
Because ugly words spoken over you don’t make you ugly…
Because real is always prettier than fake…
Because brokenness is beautiful…
Because being left never means you’re alone…


quotes-you-are-beautiful-in-every-single-way.jpg


Here’s what God has to say about beauty:

You are indeed beautiful! ( Song of Songs 4:1)
You are wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:13-14)
Inward beauty is what God looks at! ( 1 Peter 3:3-4)
Outward beauty doesn’t last anyways! ( Proverbs 31:30)
You are more precious than jewels! ( Proverbs 3:15)
There is no flaw in you! ( Song of Songs 4:7)
 


 


You're beautiful. You are treasured. You are sacred. You are His.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Real Talk is Really Hard



The other day I was called upon to talk about myself in a public setting.
And I choked.
My hands got clammy.
My heart started racing.
My face beamed bright red.

I barely made it through my little 3 minute talk.
And because all eyes were on me...I stumbled through it fearfully.


Why is it we have a hard time telling our stories?
 
Our stories are proof of God's hand on our lives and when we retrace His fingerprints by telling them to someone else, we find a little bit more freedom.

But, if we are afraid to speak up....what then?

I want to tell my stories, believe me.
And I've prayed about it, time and time again.
But I still struggle with opening up.
With being....VULNERABLE.
Yep. I really don't like that word. :)

Some people say that I really need to grasp the concept of "mind over matter."
To think myself through it.
To ignore my feelings and just state the facts.
You're on a need to know basis anyways right?
I mean, do you really need to know?
Maybe, maybe not.

But after my recent embarrassing moment, it occurred to me that I might need to embrace a new concept.
Maybe I need to focus a little less on my logical and perfectly appealing mind and a little more on my emotional and insanely flawed heart.



Because I'm not smart enough to pull one over on me.
Some truths are just plain messy.
I can't change my stories.
They happened.
And there are things I'm just not proud of.
BUT GOD...

In order to fully walk in freedom I have to share my stories with others.
And the more I think about it, the less I want to do it.
But the more I let myself feel it, the less I want to keep it to myself.
Because it's not about me anyways.

I can overthink it to death and then tremble as I relay it to you through clenched teeth.
Or I can let my heart's desire to live a free life be my guide into vulnerability.
And boldly share my stories.
Flaws and all.
The ugly truth.
This closet perfectionist hates being noticeably imperfect by the way. :)

But let me be clear:  
I'm able to embrace my mess by the sheer grace of God.
Only then can I bring Him glory by telling my story.



So I'll take a crack at this heart-being-my-guide thing by saying this:

Amazing Grace,
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost.
But now I'm found.
Was blind, but now I see.



 
Mark 5:19(msg)-
"Jesus said, 'Go home to your own people.
Tell them your story—what the Master did, how He had mercy on you.' ”

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Say what?



The world we live in today is a dangerous place.
There's no way of getting around that fact.
It's scary out there.

And I'm not talking about violence, natural disasters, and viral epidemics (although there is that to consider).
I'm talking about those little issues that pop up in your week that make you go hmmm...?

You ask yourself, "Should I address this person or just assume the worst about her?"
Or, "I'm sure she knows that I made a mistake and didn't mean to say or do that."
Better yet (and I've done this), "I don't need to know the whole story because I've made up my mind about her already from the few details that I've been given."

Careless thinking + Reckless assuming = Dangerous behavior















We're all guilty of this behavior.
I've even noticed this in my daughter.
Honestly, I think it's a girl problem. :)
I don't see a lot of guys out there mulling over who may or may not like them based on what they think might or might not have been said to a friend of a friend. :)
Oh, we women can be cruel.

I was taught a phrase in college from an old boyfriend. Yep. And you can take this one to the bank.
It goes like this:
"Do you know what happens when you assume?
No, what?
You make an ass out of you and me." (Get it? Ass-U-Me.)

Yep, I said ass.
But, all cursing aside, isn't that silly phrase true?













When we don't confront people and ,therefore, make decisions based on our own assumptions, we are being just plain ridiculous.
We try to avoid "drama" by not addressing an issue, but all that does is cause us to have thoughts that ultimately lead to an opinion about someone that just may not be true.

It's really that simple.
It all boils down to this verse:

"What a man thinks in his heart, so is he." - Proverbs 23:7

What kind of thoughts do you entertain and where do they originate from?
The noisy next door neighbor, the one time bad experience with a co-worker, the church family that shunned you?
Is your perspective limited because you assume you know the people around you instead of taking the time to really get to know them?
Or even if you don't want to take the time to get to know them, do you choose to think the best of them until shown otherwise?

And how about our own issues?
When we let them rule our thoughts then we are even more prone to ignore instead of confront, to assume intead of ask, to keep quiet instead of speak up.
Our experiences can make us more vulnerable and open to others or they can keep us stuck and guarded.


I struggle with all of the above so don't think for one minute I'm holier than you.
I'm writing from experience here.
When we let our own pain and insecurities dictate our opinions of others then we live a limited life.
A life full of restrictions and iron fences blocking us in and keeping others out.
And who knows what might happen if we choose the hard conversation instead of judging the situation from the sidelines?
We just might make a friend....or we just might have an opportunity to minister God's love.


God wants us to live a boundless, limitless, free life!
And as scary as confrontation is...or just meeting people where they are instead of judging them at first glance....as scary as that is, a safe and boring life is a lot scarier!

Don't you agree? :)



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I'm a Good Girl and I'm proud of it.

“You’re the Lord of all creation
And still you know my heart
The Author of Salvation
You’ve loved us from the start.”





These song lyrics are so beautiful to me. They compare the bigness of God to the fact that He still sees the smallness of me. They somehow help me grasp the infinite timelessness of Him while at the same time show me that He stakes a personal claim in my life.

Big yet Small
General yet Personal
World-Maker yet Me-Creator

It just makes my mouth drop open in awe that He is all those things at once.
Because He is.
And that’s seriously mind-boggling.

So, I’m here to ask you a simple question today:
Do you believe that the huge God of the Universe could care about little ol’ you?
Do you really believe that He loved you before you were even a speck on the map?
Because even though you weren't here all those billions of years ago when God created the earth,
God already knew you.
By. Name.

Yes, He knew the name your parents would give you.
But that’s not what I mean.
He knew (and still knows) you.
WHO YOU ARE.
Cause you’re more than just your given name.

Genesis 1 (msg) says it like this:
"God created human beings;
 He created them godlike,
   Reflecting God’s nature.
       He created them male and female.
God looked over everything He had made;
       it was so good, so very good!- v.27 and 31

God sees you.
God know you.
And He calls you “good.”



I looked up the definition of good in the Merriam Webster dictionary and this is what it says:
“Of high quality.”


It seriously says that.
So that means that before I was born and ever even had a chance to do anything of value or worth...God called me valuable and worthy.
He looked at me all pruny and tiny and said, “ Harmony, you are good.”


Here’s the catch!
Here’s what we almost always miss when we look at the vastness of creation in comparison to our smallness-

He calls us good because He created us.
He makes us good.
He makes us of high quality.

That’s it.
What did I do as a drooling infant to earn this name?
Nothing.
Nada.

He did it all.
By simply creating me good and fashioning me for His good life already prepared for me.
(Ephesians 2:10)

What a thought!
My finite life started before I was even a tiny seed in my mother’s womb.
Because God’s infinite love planned for me to be here.
His love literally gave me life.