Worshiping even when…

This post originally appeared in November 2012. I need to constantly remind myself to worship, even in the hard times, even when I don’t feel like it. 

It’s been a rough year for me. Through it all, I’ve fluctuated between firmly believing God is in control to pity parties because I’m so flipping miserable.

My health has been the issue that tends to throw me into a downward spiral. I’ve shared briefly in the past about an issue I’ve been having with my left ear; a constant feeling of pressure that will not go away. In the last year, I’ve had blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, allergy tests, steroid prescriptions and a minor surgical procedure done. I’ve spent more money on doctor visits than I ever have before.

After all that, I was finally (properly) diagnosed. The problem was given a name: Pulsatile Tinnitus. (I’ll let you google that if you’re really curious.)

Even though it was a relief to finally know what was going on, I was crushed to hear that there was nothing that could be done for it. Luckily, it’s not life threatening or painful. It’s just really annoying to live with.

I’m left wondering, “Why, God? Why? You’re the great healer, so why not fix this?”

And maybe He will. I have faith that He could. But He’s not fixing it right now. For whatever reason, I’ve been plagued with this weird ailment that sometimes makes me dizzy and exhausted.

I’ve thrown my pity parties. I’ve been angry at God. I’m annoyed that He gave me this thorn in my side.

But what good does that do?

I know that God does not always give us wonderful days and easy times. I’ve known that from the start of this whole Christian journey. So why should I be surprised when things don’t go my way?

When it all comes down to it, He is always faithful and still deserves my worship. If I only worship Him when things are going well, that makes me a pretty shallow person.

So I’ll continue to thank Him for all the good in my life (because there is plenty) and tell Him how awesome He is. Even if it’s just a little prayer eked out here and there because that’s all I have energy for. My worship right now won’t be big and energetic, but that’s okay. It’s coming from where I’m at; low energy and tired, but still trying.

He is still worthy, no matter how bad things get.
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Question: How have you worshiped through the hard times in your life?


Latte foam and road trips: a gratitude list

It helps my overburdened mind to slow down and remember how blessed I am, and how much I have to be thankful for.
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  1. Cooler weather beginning to settle in. Although the summer heat isn't giving up it's reign without a fight, I'm so thankful that fall is on its way.
  2. A reunion with my best friend. I can't tell you how much I've missed this girl. 
  3. Road trips. I love to hit the open road and explore new places.
  4. Latte art. I love people who can make a canvas out of hot milk. 
  5. The chance to meet my favorite singer/songwriter, Derek Webb. Not only was he super nice, but he recognized me from his music video and the footage I sent in for it.
  6. Chances to be bold and share the music I've been working on.
  7. Attending the Start Conference and being able to meet some online friends face to face. It was so neat to have real conversations with them.
  8. My husband, who has picked up the slack in most of our household cooking lately. He never complains, and always does it with a smile.
  9. Hosting the African Children's Choir at my church and having a packed house. Seeing and hearing the kids reminded me of my kids and brought back so many good memories. 
  10. Talking with one of the chaperones with the African Children's Choir and hearing how well my “kids” are doing back home. They're not kids anymore, as they're all in secondary school. I heard good reports, and I beamed with pride.

What is on your gratitude list this month? I'd love to hear.


Tired of me

I'm trying to think of something to write about. Some days I think I'm out of subject material. Some days I just got nothing. Really, I'm just tired of thinking and over analyzing things.

Today, I'm tired of thinking about me, of talking about me. I'm tired of me.

Today, I'd love to hear about you. What's up in your life? Tell me something fun or interesting.
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And thanks for reading. You guys are awesome.


Lovely people

Last week, my church hosted the African Children's Choir, a ministry that is near and dear to my heart. The choir comes to perform a 90 minute program, and in return, the church pulls together the many small details including school classrooms, host families, and meals.

I was asked to help with the details, which I gladly agreed to do. I have pulled out of most service at church lately, as I work through my resentments and gunk. But this I was more than happy to help with.

I gave a short announcement at church a month before the choir came, asking for volunteers in various capacities. The response was overwhelming.

Not only was every single volunteer slot filled, but I ended up with extras.

At the concert, it was standing room only. The offering was bountiful, to say the least. The church staff jumped in and helped with last minute details that came up. And when I asked if they could help me love on the chaperones, they didn't even flinch. They got a car for the day, and one of the pastors delivered a much needed devotions to them. A generous host opened his home so the chaperones could have a child free night filled with grilled steak and America's Funniest Home Videos.

I was overwhelmed by the love and generosity of my church.

Cynicism sweeps over me and carries away any grace or love I might have inside me. I angrily narrow my eyes at the committee decisions I don't agree with and cross my arms in front of me, refusing to allow anyone inside. I assume that the entire church world is out to get me.

I get bogged down in stupid things like music that I'm not fond of or sermons that don't fully engage me. I become so caught up in those silly details that I lose sight of the simple fact that my church is filled with some lovely people.

So, I am sincerely sorry for the judging that I do far too much. From here on out, I vow to do my best to drop my guard and let people in.
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And I hope the only crossing of my arms is from being chilly in church.



I’m proud to announce that I have an original song recorded. My sweet husband has been working so hard to learn the recording software we have now, and to mix the music we’ve been working on. My good friend, Glenn, was wonderful to lend his amazing percussion skills as well.

Click here to hear my original song, as well as a Coldplay cover we’re playing around with.

Happy Monday!


My starved imagination

This blog originally appeared in July of 2012.

Ever had one of those days where all you want to do is go home and hide under a blanket with a good strong drink? I have a lot of those days. The sad thing is that it's usually just one incident that spoils every other good aspect of the day. I have a hard time overlooking that one bad thing.

One day I came home, fuming from the grumpiness that had overtaken me. As I pulled into the driveway, I climbed out of my car and noticed a little something on my deck chairs. A butterfly. Just chilling out and fluttering it's wings quietly.

For a brief moment, I was able to put my annoyances from the day to the side. This calm little creature reminded me to do just as it was doing: calm down.

I believe that God places such things in my path to get my attention. Often, I'm so wrapped up in my seemingly deserved self-worth that I saunter right on past. The attention grabbing is usually done in very subtle ways; flowers in bloom, a cool breeze, warm sun rays on my face, a smile from a stranger, a comforting scent or sound.  I hate when I get to the point that I miss all of this.

In my favorite devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers states:

“In every wind that blows, in every night and day of the year, in every sign of the sky, in every blossoming and in every withering of the earth, there is a real coming of God to us if we will simply use our starved imagination to realize it.”

I think my imagination has been starved, because I feel as if I'm not picking up on much of this lately. Sadly, I walk right by every blossom and every withering, too self-absorbed to truly take it in and see God.

What a way to worship; noticing God in all the little things around me. I used to be good at this. A warm breeze would wash over my face and I'd close my eyes and raise my face to the heavens. Beautiful clouds in the sky made me thank God for His creativity. The sound of birds chirping brought a smile to my face.

Now I just plow right through my day, oblivious to the small signs that God places in my path everyday. I hate that. I pray that I can return to that childlike awareness and not miss those sweet, subtle signs.

Question: What was the last subtle sign God placed in your way?


Contact lenses and thunder: Gratitude List

What are you thankful for this month? Here’s my list.

  1. The end of summer. I am thankful that summer has been mild, but I’m also glad to see it winding to a close. I just can’t take the Florida heat anymore.
  2. A long weekend. Time to rest and read and write and yes, even clean house. Happy Labor Day!
  3. An upcoming road trip. I’m excited to get away for a few days.
  4. Texting. I have a friend going through a rough time right now, and it’s nice to be able to send a quick text her way to let her know I’m thinking of her.
  5. A home recording studio. My hubby has slowly built up quite an impressive little home studio. Stay tuned for some music…
  6. My very smart and supportive husband. I love that he was able to put together a studio and support me in my dream of music.
  7. Thunder. I love thunderstorms, and the sound of distant thunder makes me content to be cuddled up at home.
  8. Contact lenses. Now that I’m more adept at getting them in and out, I love not having to wear glasses all the time.
  9. New challenges at work that keep me thinking, engaged, and on my toes.
  10. Music by Derek Webb. His new album comes out tomorrow. Click here to check it out.

The most perplexing Man I know

The first time I picked up a Bible I could understand, I was hooked. I read through the gospels and was intrigued and confused by Jesus. He compelled me. I longed to know what made Him do and say the things He said. He never made excuses or apologized. He didn’t seem to care what others thought of Him.

Throughout this whole faith crisis, I am happy to report that my belief in Jesus has never wavered. Every time I return to the gospels, I see a man that I am proud to worship. I see someone full of faith, love, compassion, and all things good. I still see that complex man that I could not figure out that first time I cracked open the New Testament and couldn’t put it down. He still perplexes me as much as he perplexed college me.

If every other foundation of my Christian faith were proved false, if all the rules and truths I’ve been taught crumbled to pieces, I would still come back to Jesus. I would still serve Him, even if it meant completely going back to the drawing board, reworking every part of my life that I thought was so sure.

If I believe in nothing else, I will always believe in Jesus.

Community is Messy

I recently joined a rather large Facebook group. It’s a great community of people. But with so many people, it gets a little overwhelming.

Someone posted some concerns about the group, one of which was the constant posts. He probably could have worded his comment better, but I admired him for his honesty. Not everyone agreed with me.

People labeled him a “hater.” There were snarky comments about how he could just take his negative self and leave the group. I was annoyed at how quickly he was written off.

It reminded me of some resentments that I had stuffed down and forgotten about.

Years ago, my husband and I attended a church. We served in a few different ways and connected with the community there. Then something changed. We weren’t sure what. We just realized we were uncomfortable with how some things were being done.

We realized the problems may have been with us. We were willing to admit that, but we wanted to talk about it. My husband spoke up, sharing his concerns.

His comments and critiques were not taken well. He was essentially told, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I was stunned that the community we trusted told us to put on a happy face. Instead of talking through it (which was really all we were asking for), the situation was shelved, and we were left hurt and more than a little bruised.

We didn’t need to be right. We just needed to be heard.

In community, there needs to be freedom to speak up and share. Even if the things shared are not so positive. Even if we don’t want to hear them. Let people speak honestly, and then encourage healthy communication. Realize it’s okay to disagree. Don’t just tell someone to play nice, or label them a hater.

My guard is up. I’m afraid to trust people again. I feel like I have to keep the fake smile on and just act like everything is okay.

I’m scared to really engage in any other community.

Luckily, in that Facebook group, not everyone labeled that poor guy a hater. Several spoke up and shared that they had similar concerns. Including me.

But the best response was from a friend of mine:

“Community is messy. Let us know how we can encourage you.”

I long for this. The recognition that it’s not always wrapped up and pretty. Things get messy, but if we give each other the freedom to speak up without fear, without judgement, that is the start of something beautiful.