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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

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How Do You Love?

Last night Greg and I watched the movie “Three Men and a little Lady” – made some 20 years ago or so. In the last part of the movie – the leading man finally finds the courage to tell the leading woman how he feels about her. She wonders what took him so long (5 years later) in fact on her wedding day to another man – he finally confesses that he loves her, not just for her 5 year old daughter, but for himself alone. Complicated? Yes. Self serving? I’m not sure. Does he have the right to love for just how it makes him feel? With no regard to how anybody else does? Because it brings him happiness to love her?

This has always been a topic of conversation around our house. Greg has always claimed that love in its most stripped down mode – is selfish. I’m not sure I have always agreed. I’ve had my share of relationships (in the love department) gone sour and very bad. And though I agree with the premis – I have trouble coming to grips with loving someone just because it feels good or because they love me. Aren’t people worth loving even when they don’t love back? How about those who choose to walk away? Are we to stop loving them?

The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were still sinners – and far from Him – Christ died for us. That kind of love is far beyond our comprehension. We as human beings have trouble with it. Most people who hurt us, mistreat us, stop loving us, turn away, love someone else, stop speaking, etc. – we write off as being unlovable and unreachable. Even when we have had relationship with them that has been good at one time. How different we are from the heart of God. God loves even when it is not returned.

Marriage – especially a long-term one is a great example of unconditional love. You don’t always feel like loving all the time. There are disagreements and differences. There is not always romance. You don’t say: “I will love you as long as it feels good for me and as long as you love me back – otherwise all bets are OFF!” Love is so much more than that – it is a choice. 7 days a week, 12 months, 365 days a year. Every year. Through rain and shine – thick and thin – in sickness and in health. Even when the person does not love you back in the way you think they should. Even when they don’t always understand you. Even then.

How do you love? Does your love have conditions? Is your love a selfish love that says: I will love you only if you love me back? I will give of my time only if I get something back from it? Are people worth loving just simply because they are?

I think they are.

 

God Bless

What’s Your Story?

English: Motivational speaker Tony Robbins at ...

Image via Wikipedia

Greg and I watched a very interesting interview the other day on OWN about Life Coach and Motivational Speaker, Tony Robbins.  We’ve been enjoying all of Oprah’s in-depth interviews with people she admires and this one with Tony was no exception.  If you missed it – try to catch it on a rerun or online somewhere.  There is a reason why Tony has been successful for many years – and has sold out seminars around the world.

What was the most interesting to us as we watched and heard what he said to empower people with their God-given strengths and gifts – was the humble past that he himself had come from.  Because of that neglect and abuse from family members, he decided that he was going to be different, whatever it took – and change his life for the better.  He found the key was in giving to others.

He also said something very important – we are defined by the story that we tell ourselves.

We may have had abuse, neglect, failure, disappointment or a list of other things be a part of our past – but if we keep including that narrative into our present – we will never  write a new chapter.  Those things will hold us back – frighten us and keep us from exploring the gifts that we have been given – as we tell ourselves, “you can’t do that”.

Our story need to remember what we’ve been through – but then we need to write that new chapter and leave it alone.

Here’s my story:

I am a redeemed child of God.  I am not perfect.  I have been involved with sin.  I have flirted with deceit.  I have failed many times.  But I am loved by God.  He sees me as worthy despite my sinful nature and lack of faith.  He sent His son Jesus – for me.  I have an advocate when I slip and fall.  I can look the enemy squarely in the face and say, “you thought you had me – you tried to trip me up – destroy my life – and ruin my chances at peace with God – but you did not succeed – so GET LOST!”  I can look at my failures and challenges as a way of giving of myself for others who may be hurting or lost in a failure and challenge of their own.  I can say that I am nothing except for the stubborn love and grace of Jesus.  And if I receive any praise for my accomplishments, attitude or gifts – it is solely because of the one who created me, and works in me.  His love will never leave me alone.

How about you?  What’s your story?

God Bless

When Love Conquers Fear

The other day something interesting happened in our home.

Our 7 week old puppy Daisy was still learning her way around our house.  The  stairs to our second story were and still are scary – she was scared of the fireplace.  The hardwood floors scared her as she would slip on them.  For the first couple of days even her food dishes were scary.

We worked with her and helped her through her little fears, which seemed very small to us.  We trained her to use her doggie door – although she was scared of that at first too.  We would patiently sit by her and coax her.  We would go outside on the deck and wait for her to do her business – over and over again until she was more comfortable and would go running through the door without us.

The second day we brought her home – I was exhausted and really needed a nap before teaching that afternoon.  I brought one of her little beds from Greg’s office and put it beside my bed in hopes that she would  see me in the bed above her and all would be well.  Greg built little puppy stairs at the foot of our tall bed for her – but until then she had been too afraid to use them.  So I knew she would feel safe just seeing me in the bed next to her and go to sleep.

But before I knew it – this scared little puppy saw me go into the bed and quickly jumped up – with a force that overturned her little bed – barked, cried and shook – sized up the menacing stairs at the foot of the bed – and then – she took a running start and ran up those stairs!

Love had conquered that day.  Her strong desire to be with me outweighed her fear.

I realized that many of us live in an unhealthy place of fear – instead of in a comfortable place where love motivates our hearts and guides every choice we make.  Even the scary ones.

Many times I have allowed my fear to keep me bound in a place where I feel safe – but it is not necessarily where I want to be – nor the place where God has called me to be.

Love needs to be the place of highest motivation – and like our puppy who loves me more than her fear, I need to be letting my love for God be stronger than my fear of trusting Him.

When was the last time your love was greater than your fear?  When was the last time God asked you to trust Him – and because you loved Him that much – you simply did?

God Bless

Instant In Season

Last night I was sitting on the love seat in our living room – getting ready to watch the movie “Radio” with Greg, when suddenly my cell phone rang.

I will back up and give you a little history on that phone call.

We are getting a little Bichon Frise puppy from a lady in the Tri-Cities area named Monica.  She and I have developed an email and phone relationship as she has watched over and cared for our little puppy, who was born very tiny, has been bottle fed every hour and a half for the first 3 weeks of her life, and coaxed and coddled into growing and being healthy.  Monica has been careful to allow me to be a part of the process through pictures and phone calls.  She is a loving person who thinks of her three adult Bichon’s and all their puppies, as her children.

We had planned a trip to go see our puppy tomorrow, when Monica called me at the beginning of the week to tell me she was very ill and would have to have surgery to remove her gall bladder.  Surgery was scheduled for yesterday morning.  I texted and told her we would be definitely praying for her and the family – for a fast recovery and strength over the next few weeks.  She thanked me and I anxiously waited to hear something yesterday evening.  I sent off another text and then went to sit on the love seat to watch our movie.

The cell phone rang.  It was Monica.  She didn’t sound like herself.  She apologized and said, “I’m sorry, I feel bad because I don’t know you very well – but…could you please pray for me?  I’m really sick and I’ve been throwing up every 15 minutes since the surgery.”   I acted immediately – and said, “YES.  Let’s pray right now!”  and I did.  I’m not sure what I said – I was a little stunned, because it isn’t every day that someone asks you to do this – but somehow in that moment the Lord helped me and I was able to pray peace on that situation – and that the doctor would be able to get a hold of the situation and figure it out – FAST.

It was an “instant in season” moment.  You know the kind.  When your called upon to do the extraordinary – in a very ordinary time.  To  be “filled up” with God –  so that in these “moments”  responding is done without hesitation.  Sometimes, if I’m honest – I don’t feel like this.  I feel very inadequate.  But in spite of my weakness – He spoke through me and was strong.

Somehow she knew that I was a Christian – we had never discussed it.  But when she had a real emergency – a real life or death need, she knew who to call and that I would pray.

It was after the prayer that I was able to tell her that we are Christians and that we believe and have a faith that God not only understands us – but that He made our bodies and that He cares.  I told her that Greg was a minister and had been for almost 30 years now.  This was amazing to her – but very comforting in her time of need.  Her vomiting sounded very much like an allergic reaction to the pain meds – because something similar had happened years ago to Greg when having his wisdom teeth removed.  I told her about my hunch – and this morning I received a text from her saying that the doctor discovered that she indeed had an allergic reaction to the drugs. And all is well.

It is certain that the bonding moment that we shared in prayer during that crisis will be a pivotal moment for both Monica and her husband who was in the hospital room with her while I prayed for her on the phone.

Never take little “moments” with people for granted – you never know when you are being placed in someone’s life for their moment of crisis.

Stay close to Him.

Stay “instant in season”  and even “out of season”  because – well… you never know.

Turn your ordinary – into the extraordinary.

God Bless

 

New Dream

dreams and wishes. 62/365

Image by nicole.pierce.photography ♥ via Flickr

I looked for someone

like searching in a fog

chasing after

an endless mist

straining for

that unattainable someone

or something

thinking that it would satisfy

what’s deep within

heart-sick and weary

all my efforts

came up empty

and my searching

and reaching

brought no relief

for I found

that in the searching

it was me that I found instead

alone and empty

sad and confused

“Is what I seek

my dream only?

never satisfied

why do

I continue to pursue?

Are my “dreams” just those I make up

bringing emptiness

and endless struggle

instead of fulfillment

and relief?”

And yet I searched for you

my unobtainable someone

and something

that threatened to destroy

and devour me

The one I craved

the things I craved

could be my undoing

and the searching

and dreaming for them

like a slow death

And at the end of the road

I was still there

running on empty

defeated and broken…

It was when I was at my weakest

and tired of running after

and insisting on my own way

that He came

and I heard

a still small voice

and in my confusion

and tears

which caused me to slow down

be still

and listen

that I heard Him

that voice changed me

as He reached in

and held the broken

and confused me

and finally I don’t need to know

all the reasons for before

I reluctantly surrender

and replace

all the running

and searching

for something unknown

instead of something

that does not satisfy

and begin a new path

with His dreams

and plans for me

and at the end of the road

there is no disappointment

and emptiness

or brokenness

and I have almost 

vanished from view

even though

my selfishness and pride

are still there

but they are covered

and kept in check

and it is He that is waiting

giving me

a new dream

which fulfills

and satisfies

instead of

all the things

I wanted

and thought I needed

He is giving me

much more

than I could ever dream

as He replaces my will

with new people

new things

and a new dream

 

What is your dream today?  Have you surrendered yours for His?

 

God Bless

 

 

In His Presence

Our pastor has been speaking the last few weeks on the subject of forgiveness and yesterday on the subject of grace.  Something he said at the end of that message really spoke to me.  He said that when we are in the presence of Jesus – something happens to us.  His presence draws and changes.  We basically do nothing without Him and should receive no credit when there is a changed life.  I thought to myself, “how true this is”.  If we could only get ourselves out-of-the-way and let those around us really see HIM – His contagious and transforming love would radically change people.

There is example after example of this in scripture – the transforming, life altering encounter with Jesus – forever changing the broken, cynical and desperate into new creations of wholeness, optimism and health – boldly going forth with new purpose and determination.  All things different forever because of that extraordinary brush with deity.  The woman at the well – Paul on his way to Damascus – knocked off his horse – both of these had an encounter and a moment with the almighty – that forever changed them.

There are many stories in the Bible of how Jesus changed lives just simply by walking among the people – and being in their presence.  It is something that we have access to all the time – a life that is saturated with the love and presence of Jesus – made evident in our daily walk and talk.  It is also something that I need to be aware of – and I need to get out-of-the-way and let others see Him in me – so that they too can be changed.  He is the great beautifier – He is the one who changes hearts – He is the one capable of restoring and bringing new life and purpose to people – not me.

Lord – help me to remember to point those around me to you.  Help me to be sensitive enough to get out-of-the-way and let your love and grace shine through my life.  Help them to see you.  Help them feel and experience the transforming love of your presence.

If you are struggling today – my prayer for you is that you come back into His presence – find renewed strength for what you are going through and a fresh perspective on situations that you alone cannot carry.  All things that are possible – in His presence.

God Bless

In and out of situations
that tug of war at me
All day long I struggle
for the answers that I need
But when I come into His presence
All my questions become clear
And in that sacred moment
No doubts can interfere

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

Through His love the Lord provided
A place for us to rest
A place to find the answers
In our hour of distress
Now there’s never any reason
For you to give up in despair
Just slip away and breathe His name
You will surely find Him there

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

In the presence of Jehovah
God Almighty, Prince of Peace
Troubles vanish, hearts are mended
In the presence of the King

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