Monday, October 20, 2014

When the lyrics speak to your heart




The year was 2011.  I was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the Relevant (now Allume) Conference.   One evening the music was provided by two musicians I'd never heard of, but there music was good and the artists were incredibly talented.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't anything exceptionally special, at least not to me at that time.

I had the opportunity to hear these two women sing again this past April at Kris Camealy's Refine Retreat in Ohio.  The first night they sang, I was incredibly wiped out and left before it was over.  I had to get some rest.  My dad had died one month before. I'd traveled over 10,000 miles the month of March and I needed rest more than I needed to hear the songs and praise music.


The next day and night, I was rested and the music spoke to me in ways that were overpowering and soul-stirring.

The weight of the load I had been carrying for months was lifted and I felt a peace I had not had in some time.

The darkness covering my eyes was removed and I was invited to leave my troubles at the cross.

AGAIN.  Only this time?  I chose to leave them there and not pick them up.


The artists whose words spoke so eloquently into my soul?   
There voices are like silk on soft baby skin.  Like butter oozing into the pockets of a fresh, hot roll right out of the oven, then topped with honey.

Their album More Than Rubies has so many songs on it that speak to me, I don't think I can chose a favorite.  But Shepherd God is speaking to me today.  Because I have troubles that I want to leave at His feet.  Here are the lyrics and you can listen to the song here on iTunes.

 SHEPHERD GOD

I took my troubles to the Lord
And I laid them at His feet
My knees had buckled beneath the weight
But my Lord reached out for me

Oh, my Shepherd God
How He loves his flock
How He seeks the lost
And the least of us
I am tended by my Lord
In my Lord I trust

He lifted me like an injured lamb
And he carried me back home
Where His Word is alive and His truth is a song
That restores the weary soul 

Oh, my Shepherd God
How He loves his flock
How He seeks the lost
And the least of us
I am tended by my Lord
In my Lord I trust

Christa & Nicole will be singing this weekend at the Allume Conference again.  I had planned to be there, but since I was seriously ill this last month, I cannot travel. I won't get to hear them, but I will continue to listen to their music.

These days, I cannot get enough of their music and I play it often.  

In honor of my birthday (which is tomorrow) I am giving away a copy of their CD More Than Rubies, if you already own this album, then I will let you chose another one of their albums. 

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post.  For an additional entry, tweet or leave a post on Facebook, then come back and leave an additional comment letting me know you did so with a link to the tweet or FB post.  I will use Random.org to choose a winner and announce the winner on the blog on Monday, if you don't already subscribe, then maybe you want to, just in case you win!  The contest closes at midnight Friday, October 24th.


These women are certainly artists that let their lights shine!
You can get to know a bit more about them by watching this video.


This is music that speaks to me.
What music speaks to you?


 
I will be purchasing a CD to give away.  I purchased my own CD and did not
receive any complimentary music for this post.
There are NO affiliate links in this post.  All photos are the property of Mary Bonner
and taken by me.  They may not be used or copied without permission.

Friday, October 17, 2014

When the longing is hard...

A 5 minute Friday post...

Today's Prompt:  LONG

GO

After weeks of waking up with a headache and feeling like I had fog in my brain, this morning I woke up without a headache.  Without the fog.  What a gift!

Is it possible that the fog that has clouded my brain and my head for a month is beginning to lift?

I can only pray that this is the case. The fog is beginning to lift. If I do not overdo during the healing process, then I will get well.

I read this today:

To be grateful for the good things that 
happen in our lives is easy, 
but to be grateful for all of our lives 
—the good as well as the bad, 
the moments of joy as well 
as the moments of sorrow, 
the successes as well as the failures, 
the rewards as well as the rejections
that requires hard spiritual work.
Brennan Manning

 
I am trying to be grateful for this month of headaches.  For this month of being ill.  For this month of having to depend on others for food and care and doing the dishes and the laundry.

I long for the time when I can string together DAYS of feeling well and not just minutes or hours.

That is the longing of my heart, but I will remember that gratitude for ALL of my life is the hard spiritual work.


I long to be successful at that. 

STOP
Joining more 5 minute Friday writers here.
There is a giveaway going on there today, 
you might want to hop on over and enter!
 
 

Monday, October 13, 2014

I've been gone...did you miss me?


It had been almost a full month since I have written in this space.  Time can fly by when we are not looking. 

It wasn't that I did not plan to write, I did.  But I was physically unable.

The last time I wrote here...September 16th...I had a plan for the next two weeks.  What I wanted to share and how I was going to share it.  We went out of town for a wedding the weekend of September 19th and I got sick.  Very sick and I couldn't write.  

I couldn't do anything except lay in bed with a horrible headache.

By Wednesday, September 24th I was hospitalized with viral meningitis.  And I have not done much of anything since then.  I was released from the hospital on Saturday, September 27th because I insisted I wanted to be home.  On Sunday, I was still so ill I almost wished I was back in the hospital.  Recovery has been slow.

I tried to do too much too soon.  I cancelled a trip to visit my Mom.  I went to my follow-up appointment and was told to take even more time off work and cancel all travel for the month of October.  So, not only did I not go to visit my Mom, I will not be attending the Allume conference next week either.

And frankly, at this point, I am glad I am not going anywhere.  I am finding that on the days I feel well, I overdo.  The next day, I do not feel well at all. 

Take Saturday, I felt great.  So, I made cookies.  Then I helped with the dishes.  I chopped an onion while John was shopping to get the ingredients to make soup for some friends that had come home from the hospital with a new baby.  John was doing all the work...or so I thought. 

Sunday morning I woke up at 5 a.m. with a headache so bad that I could not hardly move.  I did not go to church.  I did not leave the house.  I did take strong pain medication to get relief.


I do not have wise words for this space today.  I just wanted you to know why I've been absent from it.

Hopefully, I will not overdo in the next few weeks and will continue getting better.  In the meantime, I'll just sit quietly and wait.

One thing I am trying to focus on is trying to be still in HIS presence.  Since I cannot read a book (it gives me a headache) I have a lot of time when I am doing nothing...or so it seems.  I am going to try harder to focus on the stillness found in Him.  On the peace offered by Him and only by Him.

And I will appreciate the gift of good health even more than I did before.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I read about 50 women...you should read it too!

I remember when I first met Michelle DeRusha online. I stumbled upon her blog and she had been to the back waters (might be called something else, I don't know) of Minnesota and I was reading about her adventures. Let's see...she drives until the road ends, gets in a canoe and starts to paddle and finally stops at a place to spend the night....in a tent. I read her blog for a few days or weeks before I commented. I told her I thought she was really brave. She said, "it was just a couple of nights." Sounded like eternity to me.

Michelle, Deidra & Me - Allume 2011
Fast forward a few months and I got to meet Michelle in person at the Allume Conference (then Relevant) in October of 2011. She was warm and engaging and she was a real writer. And she was the first person to call ME a writer.

I saw her in person again at the Jumping Tandem Retreat in April of 2013, then again this summer I had breakfast with her & Deidra Riggs when John and I were passing through their town.

Deidra, Me (& Leroy), Michelle

Friends, let me tell you...Michelle DeRusha IS brave. And I don't just mean canoeing and camping in the upper Midwest! She is brave enough to write when she is afraid. And that bravery has lead her to her newest book, which releases today.

I found this book to be both interesting and surprising. I wasn't sure how one would write about this topic without writing a biography of each woman. But this book is not a biography of these women, it is a story of their faith journey, written in an engaging manner, sharing their story.  Sharing their thoughts and ideas. At times I would think, "I've felt that way." Michelle does a fantastic job of capturing some essence of the woman in the first paragraph of each chapter that made me want to continue reading about every one of them. 

I cannot imagine the hours and hours of research Michelle had to do to birth this book. But I am so glad that she stuck to the task and did not quit! This book should be read by every Christian...man or woman. It made me appreciate my faith and the path traveled by the Christian women before me. 


They were strong.

They were courageous.

They battled disease, loss of family and doubt.

They came out on the other side a stronger person. And I can learn a lot from all of them.


Michelle is giving away a personalize copy of the book on her blog today to celebrate.
Hop on over there and check it out.


By the way, I loved her memoir Spiritual Misfit too! 

I was on the launch team for this book and received a free copy.
All thoughts and ideas are my own.

  This post may contain affiliate links. You do not pay more for the item if you purchase through my link, but I will get a small commission.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Seeing the Savior...


You probably know the story about Jesus walking on the water and Peter walking on the water too.

Jesus had fed the 5000 with a few loaves and some fish.  Then Jesus sent the disciples across the lake and Jesus went off by himself.  A storm came up and I assume the boat was being tossed around and I envision waves crashing over the sides.  (Matthew 14:22-23)

The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, thought he was a ghost and were frightened.  Jesus tells them not to be afraid. Then Peter says, 

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

The Lord said, "come" and Peter started walking.

All was fine until Peter saw the waves.

All was fine until Peter saw the effect of the wind.

Peter saw the storm, but failed to see the Savior. 

It is no different in my own life.  The storms of life will come.  How I respond to them is a direct reflection of my faith.

Is my God any different that Peter's? I say NO! 
I serve the SAME God as Peter. When He says Come, 
I need to go. With my eyes on HIM!

Faith is kind of like walking on water.  As long as I keep my eyes on the Savior and not on the storms of life, then I am going to be OK.  It is when I start looking around at other things, other people, at my own feet, that I get into trouble. 

Whatever you are facing today...
see the Savior, not the storm. 

Lord, I am praying for the readers of this blog post. The readers that are in the midst of the storm and can't see you or the shore. Meet them where they are and comfort them in whatever way they need.  I have friends that are going through difficult times, Lord, you know their needs and their issues. Please let them feel the loving arms of your embrace. Please let them know that you are near and have things under control, even if it doesn't look like it to our human eyes. Lord, thank you for the answers to prayers I've prayed lately, especially for my friend that is cancer free.   

Can I pray for you today?  
Please leave your prayer requests in the comments.

  This post may contain affiliate links. You do not pay more for the item if you purchase through my link, but I will get a small commission.