Saturday, January 15, 2022

Time is Weird, Sing for Joy

I was on my way home from dropping my daughter off at high school the other day and I saw a sign advertising for a local flag football team.  Out of the blue tears threatened and I thought, “We don’t have anyone in our house that can apply to anymore, and we haven’t for a while now.”  Here’s the weird part, do I want right now to be running kids around to flag football, upward basketball, and all the other stuff we were busy doing when they were little? Not really. But sometimes I am hit with a kind of wistfulness that we are past having kids that age now. 

Time is so weird. When I started this blog, my youngest was not even a year old. That little one is the 15-year-old high school student I was dropping off the other day, and her brothers are basically mostly out of the nest, away at college, the oldest just starting grad school this semester. In some ways the me I was when, with trepidation and trembling fingers, I hit “post” on that very first tentative venture into the great unknown of sharing my thoughts from my little corner of the internet and I started this blog seems a lifetime ago - so much growing, maturing, and so many moves and packings and unpackings and joys and sorrows and more great unknowns and just living were still ahead of us then. And even blogging was a whole different thing back then. The lonely mom with three busy littles at home needed that little blog community we had back in the day. That kind of blogging doesn’t really exist anymore, and sometimes I miss it a little.  

This song came on my play list yesterday and it took me back to when my middle boy was about 4 years old and he would sing this thing with joy while strapped in his carseat in the back of the minivan. I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments when I miss that little guy singing in the back of the minivan. One of the weird things about time is that when I get these wistful feelings I can sometimes spiral into wondering, did I make the most of those years? Did I enjoy them enough? Was I too serious about things I should have been able to laugh about more? Did I do all I should have done to train up my children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? But those wistful moments don’t last long. They don’t last long because I look at the young man that little guy has become and the young man his older brother has become and the sweet young lady their little sister is becoming, and I realize that these precious people have moved from being my littles who I got to raise to being friends I get to enjoy and to enjoy watching them spread their wings and shine, and I’m thankful.  So incredibly thankful.

Time is weird because in some ways it goes so slowly when we are in the moments, but when we look back it almost takes our breath away to see where we’ve come and how quickly it seems to have gotten here, and how different we are today from yesterday. I really can’t wrap my head around the fact that this little blog has existed on this little corner of the web for 15 years. I really can’t even wrap my head around how fast those 15 years seem to have gone. And I can't really wrap my head around how different I am from the me I was in those yesterday years. The days are long, but the years are swift. 

As I’m thinking about these things, I am also remembering a dear friend who went home to be with the Lord this week. She was one of the most joy-filled people I’ve ever known.  She loved Jesus so deeply, and she took her walk with Him very seriously, and man, she knew how to live.  She just overflowed with the fragrance of Christ and she lived and loved and laughed so well.  I want to remember my friend and I want to be more like her. 

I heard a sermon several years ago that very much has stuck with me, from Ecclesiastes talking about how we can enjoy the portion God has given us. My friend did that so well. 

When I was younger, I struggled a lot with some not great teaching from certain Christian circles about how we need to do big things for God, do more, try harder, do better. I wasted much time worrying about missing my calling and that I didn’t know what big thing I was supposed to be doing and I felt so much pressure about that.  Then one day I realized, my big thing was right here, raising my littles, being the wife my husband needed, taking care of our home so he was freed to do the things he needed to do to take care of us, and I realized, the big thing I need to be doing is to honor God in all I do, to live full out for Jesus right where He has planted me. As I look at my kids who aren’t littles anymore and who have become treasured friends, I realize this is has been, and still is, a good portion. 

So, as I’m thinking about the weirdness of time and that weird wistfulness I feel sometimes, I’m reminded again of the joy of knowing that I can find joy and glorify God with the portion He has given me today. I can live this life with joy and fullness, loving Jesus every step of the way, and in every season and twist and turn of life. What abundance His joy and grace and new mercies are every single day.  And I’m so very thankful. 

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Singing With Thankfulness in Our Hearts

Colossians 3:16

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

After opening with singing Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee and prayer, we got to sing this song today in church.  What a wonderful way open worship on this first Sunday of a new year! We were introduced to CityAlight at our last church and we have loved adding their songs into our repertoire of the newer hymns that are being written in recent years.  I’m thankful for the wealth of newer hymns that are rich in biblical language that we can add to our library of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we can sing with thankfulness in our hearts to God.

I recently went through a bout of the blues where I felt low and couldn’t really explain it. 2021 was a year with a lot of challenges and griefs one on top of another that felt overwhelming at times. I have found that when that kind of pressure starts building and I may have trouble focusing on reading my Bible deeply and well in some of those moments, one of the best comforts I’ve found is to put good music with Christ-exalting lyrics and thoughts on repeat and fill my heart and mind with them. I am extremely thankful for the gift of music.  Often these rich spiritual songs minister to my soul in a deep and resonant way. I am thankful that God is bringing new hymn writers to us, people like Keith and Kristyn Getty, Stuart Townend, Matt Papa, Andrew Peterson, CityAlight, Sovereign Grace and many others who are writing music we can sing, even when our hearts are broken, which take us out of ourselves and to the very throne of God, bringing light to adorn the darkness and lifting the sprit in times of trouble. 

Today was a good day to start this new year, also, because we were finally able to formally join our new church.  We have known for a while now that this church is to be our new home and church family, but life circumstances kept happening that hindered us from going forward. Today we finally got to make it public that we want Northwest Hills Baptist Church to be our new church family here. We are excited to join in the life and work of this little body of believers and we are thankful for the deep and solid teaching, gospel and grace-centered encouragement, and rich friendships we are already developing here. 

God is so kind to us. And I am grateful.