Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

Rewriting The Already Written

An icon for rewriting an article and for other...

An icon for rewriting an article and for other purposes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did something the other day I had not done in years.  I attended a book reading at a local bookstore, small and eclectic – in the heart of our quaint downtown.  The event was called “An afternoon with Rod Haynes” local writer – and also a member of the church we attend.  Rod is very interesting and has many fun stories he has penned.  He has written three books and in his time with us he read aloud some sections of each.

But it was in my conversation with him before the event began that captured my attention and has given me many thoughtful moments ever since.  He told me that he was not always able to make sense of things in the past that have happened – so he attempted to create a new fictitious ending to a very real story, to gain perspective and to give closure in either a positive or negative way.  He gave a few examples in his time with us – his way of weaving true events with those that he would have liked to have happened.

Maybe you like me, have attempted to make sense of events in your life.  Maybe you’ve even tried to wrap your mind around “your story” as told by you in a way that really did happen, but instead you end up frustrated and overwhelmed.  It could be that the telling would expose those you don’t wish to name – or bring up bad or painful memories.  Either way, I too have thought “one of these days – I will write a book” – but I don’t think it can happen in the “truest” form.  Too much stuff – too “unfinished” – too – yeah you know.

I believe writers can sharpen other writers.  And I believe they can inspire and encourage.  Knowing that Rod has been able to ‘fictitiously’ make sense out of his circumstances and events – has made me curious about mine.  And because anything can happen in our imagination this can also be a very healing tool.  One thing is for sure – I would rewrite the already written.  I would bring closure to a painful period.  Something that has already happened in my dream world.  In fact sometimes dreams can be so real that I actually have awakened up a few times thinking the “thing” was actually resolved.

My rewrite is probably different from yours.  It definitely takes two people to resolve a conflict and begin healing.  Maybe your rewrite would include a person who has already passed away, a parent, a lost child or friend.  Maybe you would say – or have them say the things you have needed to say or hear.  Or maybe still it’s a person (like mine) who is still living and breathing – but who does not want to resolve anything.  Either way – the rewrite would bring that healing and final conclusion – you know – the one that would actually make sense – bring healing and set you free.

We all have a story to tell – and whether it’s just “I’m sorry” or in my case “All is forgiven, what took you so long to come around again?”  It’s your story – and maybe you need to write it.

Here’s to – ‘Rewriting The Already Written’ – letting go of pain and replacing with things that finally make sense.  Bringing good out of chaos and lessons learned.  Bringing full resolution to your heart and soul.

God Bless

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The Quiet Center

Dream of the Abandoned Chair

Dream of the Abandoned Chair (Photo credit: garlandcannon)

We sang this beautiful song during our morning church service.  The words are reflective and personal.  With any good lyrics, I find myself searching deep within and relating so well with each line.  The title is simply, “Come and find the quiet center” and invites all to pause and reflect.  In stepping away from the noise and chaos so often associated with our busy lives – I love the times I can quietly retreat and find my ‘center’ – that place reserved for God alone.  A place where He is my focus and steadiness in a world gone mad.  In the second and third verse (which are not on the video) there is a richness of word pictures.  I especially love how ‘silence is a friend who claims us, cools the heat and slows the pace’.  And ‘there’s a place for deepest dreaming, there’s a time for heart to care, in the Spirit’s lively scheming there is always room to spare!’

 

Do you have a quiet center?  A place of reflection?  A refuge in time of  the great storms in your life?  Take a minute today and reflect on these beautiful words – you will be blessed!

 

 

 

God Bless

 

 

by Shirley Erena Murray

 

1 Come and find the quiet center
in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter,
find the frame where we are freed:
clear the chaos and the clutter,
clear our eyes, that we can see
all the things that really matter,
be at peace, and simply be.
2 Silence is a friend who claims us,
cools the heat and slows the pace,
God it is who speaks and names us,
knows our being, touches base,
making space within our thinking,
lifting shades to show the sun,
raising courage when we’re shrinking,
finding scope for faith begun.
3 In the Spirit let us travel,
open to each other’s pain,
let our loves and fears unravel,
celebrate the space we gain:
there’s a place for deepest dreaming,
there’s a time for heart to care,
in the Spirit’s lively scheming
there is always room to spare!

 

Trusting God

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand (Photo credit: Jenn Durfey)

The other day I walked and talked with a friend.  I felt safe.  There was a quiet understanding and acceptance there – a  freedom to be all I am supposed to be.  A human touch and validation can soothe in the dark and gray areas that lurk in the corners of our heart and mind.  Especially true if you, like I have known the sharp betrayal of trust from a ‘friend’.

Sometimes we can talk more freely to a trusted friend – and not feel that same freedom when we talk with God. Even when we know He will not betray us – or hurt us in any way.   I don’t know if it’s because saying things out loud to Him makes us feel silly, and seem unnecessary – as He already knows it all before we utter a single word – or if in saying things out loud confirms just how foolish, jealous, prideful, secretive, malicious and self-serving we are – even in what we feel are the best of circumstances.  But I do know this:  just because He already knows – does not discount His absolute validation and understanding, His stubborn acceptance and love.  As I learn to trust more – with all my feelings, no matter how silly they seem to me – I find no condemnation there.

I once heard a powerful message on the subject about being truthful with God.  We can hide from those around us – and even ourselves – but we cannot hide from Him.  We may fool ourselves into thinking that He will not know if we do not speak of it – yet scripture and everything we know about God would say otherwise.  And still He wants us to come to Him and confess it – say it out loud.  I like to think of it like this:  If I’m walking and talking with a good trusted friend – I would not hold back in expressing myself.  How much more should I trust the one who made me?  The one who has a unique “take” on my multifaceted personality – who is not surprised when something is difficult for me to get over – or I cannot seem to ‘get it’?  Who lovingly understands when things are frustrating for me.   He patiently waits for me to finish my rant when all I want are answers to questions when there are no answers.  How much more confidant should I be to bring all to Him – the things He has asked me to walk away from – the things that still bother me – the tears that no one sees?  And the absolute feeling of failure because I am still ‘going there’?  The fear of betrayal.

If you are on a similar journey – learning to open up and empty out your heart to God – and you’re finding it difficult knowing where to start, remember what it is like talking to your very best friend – someone you trust with your secrets, private emails and conversations.  You know they will not betray you – no matter how crazy you sound.  They will keep it to themselves and only want the very best for you.  God is much more trustworthy than your most trusted friend here on earth.  He will not turn you in, ‘rat you out’, embarrass or humiliate you.  He will listen.  He will quietly wait for you.  And then He will lovingly show you what to do next.  He is on your side – in your corner and has your back.  Forever.  Trust Him today.  Start that conversation with this:

Dear Lord – I know I’ve blown it big time in the past.  I’ve been a big failure and disappointment to others, myself and to you.  I don’t want to live that way anymore.  I’m tired of feeling bad, guilty and tired all the time.  I need you to replace all the icky stuff in my life with your forgiveness, peace, joy and love.  I believe you came to earth, died for my sins and rose again to give me eternal life.  I believe all I have to do is accept you into my life and that you and I together can begin a new life.  I need you as a trusted friend to help me through my many problems and decisions.  I am going to start today to trust you.  I believe that nothing is impossible with you.  Help me to come to you whenever the going gets tough – I am going to talk with you everyday and together we will figure it out.  Thank you so much for loving me.  Amen

If you sincerely prayed that prayer above – you’re ready to have daily conversations with Him.  Let Him into your thought life – your daily circumstances and everything that touches and affects you.  Nothing surprises Him – nothing takes Him off guard.  He is willing and able to be your support and help in time of need.  And because He made you and formed your unique personality – He knows just how to help, comfort and support you – like no one else can.

God Bless

Things That Don’t Bring Shame

Running after our own desires only brings shame

When was the last time this statement had you nodding your head in agreement?

Heard an excellent message yesterday morning at a church we were visiting.  The pastor had many great points about Ephesians 1 – and in particular what God desires for us.

Are our own desires always bad?  When they don’t line up with the word of God and God’s ultimate plan for our lives – our desires can bring us only temporary happiness – but not lasting joy.

Heard another excellent video message this morning from Joyce Meyer.  She was speaking on the subject of “Fear”.  One of the best I’ve ever heard on this subject.  In the middle of the message – she almost echoed the words above that the pastor had spoken yesterday – “when we follow after something from the flesh – it only satisfies for a little while – but then we end up feeling REALLY STUPID and having tons of regret”

The question should be:  “What does God want for my life?”  Period.  He has so much more planned for me than I can ever imagine – and the things He does not give me is only to protect me or give me something better instead.

That simple trust is very hard.  We want what we want.  I want what I want.  I sometimes try to “help” God, trying to manipulate circumstances to get it – instead of just giving it up and asking what He wants for me.

Are you asking for something today and God is saying, “No”?  Is it a desire of the flesh?  Is it something He does not want for you?  Is it withheld because of the great lesson you are going to learn from it?

God will never give you something that causes shame.

You can take that to the bank, my friend.

Romans 9:33 – As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

I am praying for you

God Bless

The Risk Of Friendship

There is a conference happening next weekend in Chicago called “When Jesus met Mary – A sacred friendship gathering”. It is a conference exploring friendship between men and women. Here is the link from the website of Dan Brennan.  Dan is an author and leader of this event – he is also a new friend of mine, and I have enjoyed his blog articles and things he has written on the subject of men and women.

This has been a subject of much debate over the years – emotional affairs seem to be on the rise – especially in churches and among leadership.  Can a relationship between a man and a woman who are NOT married – be just a friendship?  Can they love each other, be concerned and care about each other?  Be involved in their daily life, share humor, special moments and kindness?  I believe they can.  My friend and fellow blogging buddy Alise Write wrote a great article on the subject today of “Guard your heart” – what does it really mean?  To put a fence around it – or to love recklessly and on the wild side – like Jesus did?

We all have a story – or know someone who does, where it taints our idea of platonic love between the sexes.  I get it.  And it is a risk to love someone – regardless of gender.  But I believe with all my heart that it doesn’t have to be that way.  I believe that we can love – with no fear – like Jesus did.  Where the end result is a deep and lasting friendship.  Is it a risk?  Yes – all the time.  I’ve risked myself several times, been misunderstood, been betrayed, humiliated and accused – because of someone’s fear.  But I believe that there can be a safe place to have others in our lives – where understanding, respect, kindness, gentleness and love – compel us to do right – not wrong.  And I believe that day is coming – as we move past our fear of sin where we bind up the protection of our heart so tight that no one can get in – and where every one of the opposite sex looks menacing and evil – and into a better place of community and relationship where we don’t think of others as “scary”, “sinful” or “just wrong”.

As I’ve written about before – I have had several male friends in my life – before I was married and since.  I still have several that I consider very close friends – who I can count on – and I know would have my back in any crisis or situation.  They are stable, kind, funny and solid.  And I love being able to be myself with them with no judgement.  I love that I don’t have to explain myself to them – and I love it that Greg agrees that all of these men are good people – and he is friends with them as well.  There is no room for jealousy in our marriage – and we have done the hard work to rid ourselves of that – and we have a better marriage because of it.

I’m hoping there will be a day when this subject is an understood one – where people can agree to love deeply and build relationships based on trust and the common good. Where friendship is not seen as suspicious, because of so much abuse – but instead looked on with acceptance and love.

I want to challenge you today:  Live a life of love – of intentional relationship – with no fear.  Take the risk of friendship.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

God Bless

Ancient Words

 

Bible Eric 2

Bible Eric 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we celebrate the week leading up to Easter Sunday – certain old familiar songs, like this one, “Ancient Words” go round and round in my head.

 

“Ancient words ever true

 

changing me, and changing you

 

we have come with open hearts

 

oh let the ancient words impart”

 

This a favorite song off of Michael W. Smith‘s “Worship Again” CD – and I trust it will bless and encourage you today.

 

 

Being Left Alone

English: An anxious person

Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes things just happen.  Sometimes it’s a good thing.  Sometimes it’s bad.    There are things and people added to our plans – and sometimes things and people are taken away.  There are times of happiness, comfort and safety – But  then there is a time of desolation, hurt and loss.

No one wants to feel abandoned, isolated and left behind.  While it may not happen so much when we’re young – sooner or later it does as we get older.  The same comforts, circumstances and even people in our lives, that are with us when we begin our journey, or part way through our journey – sometimes do not continue with us the rest of the way.  It is the feeling of being “left alone”.  It is difficult to understand.  But it is called life.

This week we’ve been training our 14 week old puppy, Daisy to stay home alone – without anyone here.  Training her to wait – be patient – that we will come back again – therefore reassuring her, by our return that she is not being left permanently.  It is a training for us too as we do not want her to feel lonely, brush her aside like she is not important – but at the same time we want to reduce her anxiety by the fact that we will return.  It is difficult to explain that to a puppy.

In the same way – I wonder how much our earthly anxiety is a mixture of “unnecessary worry” and “childlike anxiety” simply because we do not understand our situation and circumstances like God does.  We don’t have the ability to wait and trust that God sees the bigger picture – and that it is only for a “season” and not “forever”.  I’m sure that God must say, “I know best.  I can see everything all at once.  Trust me”  But we miss it – because we’re too busy being uncomfortable at our own perceived feeling of “being left”.  And more than that – that God doesn’t hear us or understand.

There are some lessons that can only be learned without anyone with me.  Feeling that isolation is good for me.  In anxiety I learn trust.  In feeling abandoned by my overwhelming circumstance – I learn faith.  And I also want to remain hopeful that God has all the answers to the questions I have.  That there will be a time when I understand.

And until then – I must learn the same painful lesson that our puppy must.  Being left alone is sometimes how God speaks His most powerful insights to me.  It is in that lesson, that I am stronger, more compassionate to others, and ready for God to use me again.

When was the last time you feel completely alone?  When you lost something you thought you would always have?  Did you hear God speak to you?

 

God Bless

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