Monday, July 20, 2015

Treasures in Song

We found my hymnal. I’ve been looking for it for the last two years. I guess it was in one of the boxes that went into storage when we downsized for the last two years, and now that we’re finally opening all the boxes in our new house, we found it. We also have our piano back after two years of storing it. It’s days like these that I wish I’d listened to my mother and really practiced the piano instead of just sort of practicing. She told me I’d feel that way one day, and she was right.

This hymnal has been a great help for years, and I’m glad to find it again. These have been the go-to songs for me since childhood, treasures that help me remember timeless truths that focus my eyes on my God and Savior, especially at times when I feel adrift or lonely. Tell me you can keep a self-centered pity party going while singing “Jesus Paid it All.” Certainly after singing the first three verses, once you get to the fourth verse and sing these words, “And when before the throne, I stand in Him complete, ‘Jesus died my soul to save,” my lips shall still repeat. Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow,” you just see if tears that started out self-pitying and self-centered don’t melt into tears of repentance and joy and just awe with a renewed focus on what truly matters in life and in death.

I love that with the church we have been attending since we moved here my children will learn and sing and hear the voices of the saints in the aisles around us sing together a beautiful mix of rich hymns and also a solid mix of the rich new hymns that are being written by people like the Gettys and Sovereign Grace and people like that. What a rich heritage good music that sings the deep things of the gospel gives us to lean on when our hearts are heavy and when they are joyful and all the times in between. I wonder if anyone is going to put together a new hymnal with some of those good newer songs. I would like that a lot. I have complained a great deal in the past about how shallow so much of the newer praise choruses are, but one thing I’m very thankful about having gotten the privilege of worshiping with Parkside Church last year while we lived in Cleveland was being introduced to the wealth of actually good new music is being written. I truly did not know. I had not heard much of it before then. So it’s a joy to find a church here that also sings those songs I’ve grown to love and so many of the timeless old hymns as well. Serious, thoughtful, doctrinally deep preaching of the Bible and music that focuses our attention on the gospel are so refreshing to start the week and encourage us in the faith.

Yesterday we sang “Amazing Grace,” and the verse that stuck out to me where I am right now was this one, “The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures; he will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.” I almost put those words out as a status update, but I didn’t because out of context I know so many people who would take it the wrong way, with a shallow view of the Lord promising good to me, and I just don’t want to convey that. It’s not talking about worldly riches, but eternal life, and that is real hope. Jesus, the anchor for my soul. I am thankful. So very thankful.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Because We Can!

I didn’t actually mean to quit blogging. The early days of blogging when we formed friendships and networks and linked to each other and blogged about our blogging addiction and lived for comments and links and badges for the sidebar and whatnot seem very long ago indeed. These days, writing long blog posts seems to be much more difficult. These days, short little Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets seem to take up more time and energy. Does anyone even read blogs anymore? For me, when the Google reader went away and I discovered Facebook, it seems my infatuation with blogging dwindled. And I’m not all that sure this is a good thing, this addiction so many of us have to Facebook. Not at all. In fact, I have thought for some time now it’s quite the opposite of a good thing, but I haven’t given it up yet, either. I still want to write blog posts, but finding time and energy seems harder. Where did I find the time back in those long ago blog days? (Long ago in blog time, anyway. It does seem almost a lifetime ago, but in fact it was almost 9 years ago when I wrote my first blog post with trembling fingers, wondering if I was really ready to put my thoughts ‘out there’ for strangers to possibly read. I know this because my daughter was just a baby, and she’s 9 now. Wowza. Where in the world did all that time go?)

All that said, to say I would like to blog more, truly, but I’m not making any promises. I’m not even sure anyone ever even reads this blog anymore besides my parents. It’s not like I’ve had anything interesting to say here for some time. But there’s a new me. Well, not actually a new me. More like the same me, but older, in a new place. We’ve moved. Again. Third summer in a row we’ve had to pack up house and move. Hopefully we will get to stay here a bit longer this time. Packing up and moving three summers in a row is exhausting.

For a bit of fluff blogging, here’s a bit of a where I am right now sort of post.

After two years of living in an apartment and/or duplex kind of place, we get to be in our own house again, and we are loving it. The last two years were kind of difficult, but I’m finally feeling like we’re home, and things are settling nicely. Since moving to the great state of Texas this month, my husband and I have adopted a new catch phrase: “Because we can!” Let me show you a bit of our weirdness:

·         Park in the street over night? Yes! Because we can!

·         Park the camper in front of the house for one overnight while we’re unpacking? Yes! Because we can!

·         Launch a potato gun into the green space behind the house? Yes! Because we can!

·         Fireworks in the backyard? Yes! Because we can!

·         Tiki torches on the back porch? Yes! Because we can!

·         Drive 70 (or more) legally on the interstate or on the way to church? Yes! Because we can!

·         Drive faster than 35 MPH legally anywhere in town? Yes! Because we can!

·         Listen to loud music? Yes! Because we can!

·         Put the surround sound speakers back on the TV? Yes! Because we can!

·         Stop walking on tiptoes in the house and worrying about bothering someone else? Yes! Because we can!

·         Grill on the back porch? Yes! Because we can!

·         Not have to remind my youngest ONE MORE TIME to be careful not to make ‘stompy feet’ noises? Yes! Because we can!

·         Not have to tell my youngest not to run in the house? Yes! Because we can!

·         Sing, loudly, in the house? Yes! Because I can! (I have missed singing so much. I finally feel like I’m getting my song back).

·         Put out the bird feeders again? Yes! Because we can!

·         Sit on the back porch and read for several hours and NEVER hear a siren? Yes! Because we can!

·         Sit on the back porch and enjoy peace and quiet and bird sounds and crickets? Yes! Because we can!

·         Did I mention, grill? On the back porch? Yes! Because we can!!

I think we are going to like it here. I do feel like we’ve come home. I struggle with feeling guilt that we’ve had to move our kids around the country so often, and I know it’s not always been easy for them, but you should see how excited they are about living in Texas. Speaking of making the kids move and emotions, we saw the movie “Inside Out” and I cried. A lot. I also laughed a lot. So did my husband and kids. I am so incredibly thankful for this family God has knit together for us and for how resilient He has allowed our kids to be over the years. He has been very kind to us, and I am grateful.