Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Love’

I’m trying to Listen, Lord

Does anyone else struggle with the concept of prayer?  Does it make you feel less than “spiritual” because you may have doubts in this department?  Do you believe God always answers?  Even when He answers against what you are believing and praying for?  Do you believe that His will is always done here on earth?   I do.

Somehow when I have doubts as to how I believe things work out (or don’t work out) – it feels like it goes against the way I was raised to feel or believe.  My husband has called me a Calvinist because of some of these doubts and struggles.  It is not that I don’t believe we should pray, rather I believe that God answers even when we don’t specifically pray for something.  I believe that God created, sees and knows the bigger picture of our lives – and His ways and thoughts are so much bigger than ours.  I don’t believe in using prayer as a “rabbit’s foot” – pulled out when we feel we are in serious crisis of mind, body and soul – but rather it should be an ongoing journey to listen and develop the mind of Christ.

Help me not to cry out just when I need something from you.

As Christians do we really believe that God is good all the time?  – has our best interest at heart even though we cannot see it?  Even if we haven’t prayed specifically for it?  Yes.  I believe that.   Is prayer for God to change His eternal plans already set in motion?  Or rather, is prayer for me?  Certainly God does not need me to send my shopping list of requests to Him.  He knows everything already, right?  I believe prayer is a discipline for me that takes years to develop.

Today I found this today on Sandi Patty’s Blog:

Dan Rather, former CBS anchorman, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers.  She answered, “I listen.”  So Rather turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?”  To that, Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.”  Rather didn’t know how to continue.  He was baffled.  “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.”

Such a profound thought.  You mean I don’t need to say or do anything?  Yes.  Listening to God’s voice is enough, but often times we cannot quiet our own thoughts to do this.  I believe that prayer changes us.  I believe this is why Jesus told us to pray.  So that we might have understanding and insight.  So that we might have quiet acceptance and resolve.  Even when things don’t go my way.  Even when He doesn’t give me what I want.  Even when my bad choices produce difficulty in my life.  Even when I am unhappy.  Even when I live right and do everything by the book.  Even when I follow all the rules and things still go wrong.  Even when people die.  Even when family members go the wrong way.  Even when nothing happens when I pray.

Change me.

 

I believe that by spending time with Jesus in submission to His plan and wisdom – we become bendable and pliable.  It allows us to look at our circumstances differently.  Maybe not at first – but spending time with Him eventually changes us.  Even when it looks as though we are doing nothing. Even if it makes us look and feel weak, wimpy and submissive.  Even when others around us urge us to be more aggressive in prayer.  How are we going to get an answer if we aren’t willing to go there?  What happens then, when after we are “aggressive” and exhausted from prayer – God does not answer.  Is it our lack of faith?  Is it our inability to “pray through”.  Were we not aggressive enough?  Did we do it wrong?  What about those we pray for that do not get well?  We didn’t pray enough?  Or long enough?  Such thoughts are contrary to the Bible.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  Matthew 6:7,8

Take away my guilt.

Prayer is listening.  Prayer is developing trust.  Prayer is an open invitation for the Father to know us – and us to know Him.  It is about relationship – not a shopping list of requests – prayed by anxious people.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6

I’m sure I will continue to struggle with this – even though as a believer, I should not.  Having faith is believing that no matter what happens to me or those I love in this life – He has it under control.  Nothing surprises Him or escapes His notice.  Like a loving father who wants to protect, hurts when I hurt and wants so much to reassure even when I don’t understand that he loves all the time – He gets me.  He has a plan bigger than I do.  And even though I doubt and wonder if there is something more I should be doing or praying about – He still has it.  All the time.  This simple truth takes years of trust to develop – and I’m still working on it – one day at a time.

So in the meantime – I’m believing and trying to listen, Lord.

God Bless

The Power of Addiction

I watched a special last night on Oprah Prime.  The topic was substance addition, prescription drug usage and street heroin.  I had no idea that heroin addiction has doubled in the last 5 years!  The statistics are alarming.  Drug addiction doesn’t look like it used to.  Addicts can look like your next door neighbor, the clerk at the store, a middle aged homemaker, a nurse at a hospital.  Sometimes it starts with a medical procedure and prescription pain relievers and then when that is no longer affordable or available (depending upon insurance and refills) there can be problems.  One alternative:  Buying drugs on the street where they are cheap and available.

creepy_trees_dark_forest_mist_1920x1080_wallpaper_High Resolution Wallpaper_2560x1600_www.wallpaperhi.com (1)

There is a problem in our community with addition – all kinds, from alcohol to meth.  It is so sad to see what it does to families.  The addiction takes over – nothing is more important.  All common sense and reasoning goes out the window.  Simple things like grocery shopping and paying rent become second only to the drug of choice.

What I found interesting in all the stories told from last nights episode was this:  All have an emptiness that needs to be filled.  Some expressed that it is a spiritual emptiness.  And by “spiritual” they don’t necessarily mean a relationship with God (although I believe that is what would help the addiction problem) but an emotional/relationship emptiness and void that needs filling.

We often enjoy watching Hoarders and have remarked that all these people with this condition of “hoarding” seem to also have an emptiness or void that they try to fill through shopping and accumulations of “things”.  It is a very real and growing problem in our world today.  And every one of them – almost without exception,  had something traumatic happen to them at a young or impressionable age.  Sometimes it was even something later, like the death of a child or loved one – a financial reversal or loss of job.  Whatever the reason, there are common elements to addiction and disorders such as hoarding.

20140309-prime-russell-brand-3-949x534

Self loathing, hatred, feelings of helplessness and unworthiness are also a common theme.  Last night in the interview, Russell Brand confessed to his years of struggle with drug addiction.  Now more than 10 years sober – he says every day is still a struggle.  As he explained how the drugs – particularly heroin makes you feel – it is no wonder that it can pull people in and set them up to fail.  It is an unending cycle of dependency and abuse.  He has seen many senseless deaths of friends caught in the trap of addiction and understands all too well how it happens.  But I was struck most by his comment, “There was a voice in my head that wanted me dead”  That made me sit up and take notice.  Do I believe that voice is demonic in nature?  Yes.  Absolutely.  It’s just like Satan.

” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10

Crazy scary stuff!  But it also makes sense.  People lose themselves in the feeling that takes over their lives and nothing else matters.  It is a form of suicide, just like anorexia.  A self loathing of immense proportions.  And I recognize that this is evil and demonic.  Satan wants us all dead.  That’s his agenda, and he’s not good at hiding it.

This makes me very sad.

As a Christian I can see another side to addiction.  I can see life, health, purpose, prosperity of the soul, forgiveness, common sense, kindness, honesty, giving, graciousness and most of all…love.

Darkness-collage

Christianity is not just a crutch – like so many out there looking for something to fill that empty void.   Christ is the filling.  The freedom He gives us is not just a temporary “fix” – it is a way of living.  It lasts.  It endures.  It lengthens life and relationships.  Not just in this lifetime – but the next one too.  It does not rob.  It gives.  When we don’t have to just depend on ourselves for “things” to fix us or fulfill us, but instead can give ourselves over to a loving God who not only created us – but has a plan for us – it changes things.  It takes the pressure off.  Gives purpose.  Gives life, a clear and sober mind, health of body and most of all – fills the void inside.  Because He loves us – it doesn’t matter what others may have done to us – His plan and purpose for us is always healthy, always reassuring and always builds us up rather than tearing us down.  When we are full of love from Him – we are free to love others and give to others out of that love.  It is a release from the prison that others find themselves in.

light-vs-dark

Those of us who find ourselves free from addiction are very fortunate.  But being fortunate does not give license to be judgmental or critical to those who are.  Instead of looking at people with addictions as weak, stupid, or even hardened criminals – we need to look on them with compassion and the love of Christ.  As a Christian this can be the hardest thing of all.  The “I’m OK – you’re NOT OK” seems to fit most of us with a healthy lifestyle.  The “how stupid” or “what a weak person” comments are never far from our thoughts.  If only “they” were just like me.  If only they had real resolve and will power they wouldn’t be in this fix or lifestyle.  We say these senseless things without having any idea the journey others are on.

Dear Jesus – soften our hearts to accept others with their addictions and problems – just as they are.  Help us to see them as you see them – broken but wonderful creations loved by you.  Help us live in such a way that those that are bound by things here on earth will see YOU in US.  And by seeing YOU – they will want what you offer – hope, freedom, peace, forgiveness, love, acceptance, purpose and health.  Help us live in such a way that you are attractive.  That You would be a real solution to a huge unsolvable way of life.  I pray that the inner void would be filled by something that will last – a relationship with you.  And that I would be aware and take an active part in bringing about real change.  This is my prayer. Help us. Humble us.  Teach us.  Break our hearts.   Amen.

LIVETH

Falling

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

What does it mean to rest in the shadow of the Almighty?  As I pondered over this verse this morning, chewed on it while taking my morning walk and drinking in the beauty of the early day, I also wrestled with the concept.  Does this mean that if I don’t dwell in the shelter of God – I won’t find rest?  Yes…and no.  Mostly yes.
Real rest comes from feeling safe.  Knowing that no matter what you do, good or bad – or what others have done to you – you can always comes back and rest under his great arms of love.  Just fall in.  Feel completely loved.  No matter what.
I believe if it’s safety you’re looking for – you’ve come to the right place.  This song is one I can’t shake since the first time I heard it – I pray it will be a blessing to you today.
God Bless
My canyon of transgressions,
It echoes through my troubled mind
Reminding me of desperation,
And of the peace I long to find

I wrestle with this world around me,
I forge the chains that hold me down
But it was your love, a dead world’s pardon
You gave it all, you gave for me

I’m falling into your love overwhelming,
I’m falling into your grace
I’m falling in where my heart knows no wrong
I’m falling into you

To you my life I will surrender,
Surrender heart, mind, flesh and soul
Reveal to me, reveal your calling,
It is your will I long to know

©2002-14 NewReleaseTuesday.com, A Division Of NRT Media Inc.
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How Do I Fit Into The Cosmos?

All of my life I’ve been fascinated by space, time and the cosmos.  When I was very young we lived in a city that had a planetarium and we would visit about once a year.  I remember reclining in the chair as the room would go black and the ceiling would become the sky above – lit up by a million stars.  It was dazzling.  And mind boggling.universe

Lately there have been a couple of programs on TV, “The Universe” and “The Cosmos” – both of which concentrate and attempt to explain some of the mind boggling science that is so fascinating.  It really is interesting to learn the origins and brilliant minds who took the first steps toward the future – glimpsing a world beyond our own planet and then setting about to prove the existence of other planets, stars and galaxies. Things that we know today, were hardly believed possible several hundred years ago.

Like anything where information is proved, it brings about more questions.  And even more awe.  Tiny little me.  On an obscure planet, in a tiny solar system – one of trillions in the known universe.  Am I unique?  How can this even be possible?  And yet, try as hard as they might – even with all the sophisticated equipment to measure, calculate and speculate – they still cannot find life on any other planet.  We are unique.  We are special.  Created by a loving heavenly father – who fashioned our earth to sustain very specific conditions – not found on any other planet.  Specific conditions to have living breathing human beings, animals and plant life as well as all kinds of fish in the oceans and birds in the air.

Am I special?  Do I matter in the larger scheme of things?  With swirling galaxies, shooting stars and incredible heat and cold, things WAY bigger, faster and much more intimidating than me.  Why does God care about me when I’m so small and insignificant?  In Isaiah we read:

Look up into the heavens! Who created all these stars? As a shepherd leads his sheep,calling each by its pet name, and counts them to see that none are lost or strayed, so God does with stars and planets!  (Living Bible)

Do you know how many stars there are?  Scientists are always discovering new galaxies and stars – even millions of light years away.  And yet God knows each of them by name?  And yet I know from what the Bible tells me, that He takes a personal interest in me.  Size and strength don’t mean anything to God.  He creates at will, possesses incredible strength and artistry not to mention attention to the smallest detail of creation.  Here in Luke 12 we read:

“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…

If God cares so much about naming the stars and clothing the lilies in beautiful colors – plants and flowers that are here for a few days and then gone, many of which are never seen, then He surely cares about me.  In fact the Bible tells that he not only created mankind to have a special relationship with Him with choice to love Him – but that He also came to earth Himself in the form of His son Jesus.  He did this because of our poor choices and rebellion against God putting us on a dangerous and deadly road destined to an eternity separated from Him.  In Romans 5:8 we read:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Amazing.  Mind-blowing. Love.

How do I fit into the cosmos?

Bottom line:  I am a creation of vast importance to God.  So much so that the God of the universe creating things so far away, I will never even see or know they are there actually came to earth on my behalf.  He came in human form to relate with me.  He demonstrated His love toward me by teaching me how to live and then dying for me so that I can live. 

I am unique.  And special.  And so are you.

 

God Bless

 

 

I See You

English: Limosa fedoa is walking at Ocean Beac...

Seasons change

 

 

 

a small tide goes out

 

 

 

There is peace

 

 

 

a calm settling

 

 

 

more to come

 

 

 

everlasting

 

 

 

continual motion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like the planets

 

 

 

not standing still

 

 

 

swirling and moving

 

 

 

pulling and pushing

 

 

 

reeling in

 

 

 

gravitational pull

 

 

 

Gravitation keeps the planets in orbits around...

Gravitation keeps the planets in orbits around the Sun. (Not to scale) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

And so we are

 

 

 

the same

 

 

 

yet ever-changing

 

 

 

like the tide

 

 

 

like the planets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movement in symmetry

 

 

 

dancing with abandon

 

 

 

free yet restrained

 

 

 

yearning forward

 

 

 

drawn together

 

 

 

discovering truth

 

 

 

in simple pleasures

 

 

 

You + Me = We

You + Me = We (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

 

 

 

 

 

I see you

 

 

 

you see me

 

 

 

and that is enough

 

 

 

32 Things I’ve Learned

This Thursday marks 32 years of marriage for Greg and me.  Many don’t know this – but we were 20 and 21 when we got married – still in College and had no job, prospects or money.  We just went for it!  And it kinda worked out  😉  And although I don’t recommend or even advocate people getting married as young as we were – there is something to be said for growing up together.  We were too poor and stupid to know any better – so we just plodded along and most of the time it worked out okay.  This is not to say that our marriage did not have any bumps and bruises along the way.  I think it’s a given just from living that long with another person!  If someone says their marriage doesn’t ever have any friction or difference of opinion – they are lying – or someone is stuffing their personality and opinions down deep.  This can happen sometimes to save conflict, or to keep up appearances – but is not very real or truthful.

Besides sharing the same faith, belief system and values – there are some other things I’ve learned about our relationship through the years and what has made it work.  We are far from perfect and sometimes I think I am hopelessly flawed.  But somehow it has worked out anyway.  For those of you interested in what makes a long-term marriage work  – Here is my list…

 

1.  A sense of humor is a must

2. Money doesn’t bring happiness – but it sure can help

3. You don’t marry the other person’s family – despite what others will tell you.  You marry the man.

4. No one knows you as well as someone you sleep with.

5. Your partner cannot fill you up.  That’s God’s job.

6. Friendships come and go – your spouse is your only reliable best friend.

7. Always be kind

8. Learn to look beyond the flaws

9. Keep forgiveness in your back pocket

10. Always stick up for each other

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously

12. Appreciate the little things

13. Have children – the only real expression of your love in human form.

14. Appreciate your differences

15. Don’t be needy

16. Don’t be jealous

17. Enjoy music

18. Take a walk everyday

19. Adopt a puppy or two

20. Be happy and content in your own company

21. Love your neighbors

22. Make a difference

23. Learn to communicate and dream together

24. Laugh a lot

25. Walk away from unhealthy people

26. Be totally honest

27. Love those who marry into your family like your own

28. Be friends with your grownup children

29. Leave a ministry job if it is affecting your marriage

30. Be ready to reinvent yourself

31. Talk about everything everyday

and last but not least…

32. Be the person he would fall in love with all over again.

 

wedding picture

On The Hill

Mountains - Autumn in Denali

Mountains – Autumn in Denali (Photo credit: blmiers2)

I have a new appreciation for the Olympic athletes.  The years of sacrifice and lost childhood.  Dedication to their craft – a single, gut-wrenching focus.  Muscles, determination and low body fat.  No fatty foods, like chocolate.  No pizza.  I like pizza.

And so – feeling less than adequate compared to the chiseled young bodies – I am on a personal quest of health and fitness – at 50+.

There is a really steep stupid hill adjacent to our home.  I say stupid because it has a steep descent to the bottom (where Maple Valley Hwy is) that takes a good 10 minutes walking at a normal clip.  To turn around and walk straight up it is – well – STUPID!  But because we are determined and like those famous Olympians who I’m sure started with a steep hill somewhere in their early training – we press on – past the pain – past the sweat – past the chest pain (in my case) trying to breathe deep and just keep going.

We started doing this last year and in the beginning of the summer it was a torturous feat – and I had to stop many times and just catch my breath.  But by the end of the fall I was pretty good.  Then came the rainy and cold months and the STUPID hill was left on its own. (“Good riddance”, said I)  Until…it became apparent that we needed to take to the hill again because our 2 mile walks were just not cutting it.  This time we had a puppy to go with us.  She LOVES going for a walk – especially off-lease as she is on this path.  Daisy effortlessly RUNS up that stupid hill.  Stopping every now and then to scamper and sniff new and exciting things – then because we’re taking so long she runs down to circle round us a few times and then runs happily on ahead to wait for us again.  This has become our new dance – on the hill.  We huff and puff (OK – I huff and puff) and Greg and Daisy walk up with no problem.  Well – Greg walks – Daisy runs.

I am going to conquer that hill someday – it will not beat me.  I will walk up light and not out of breath – be free and more fit.  Not quite like an Olympian – but for my age an Olympian at heart 🙂

God Bless

Here is the song by Phillip Phillips that is the theme song this year for the women’s gymnastic team 2012.  Enjoy and feel inspired!

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