And A Happy New Year

This year. It’s been eventful, to say the least. Filled with lots of doctor visits and lots of prayers.

My husband has told me many times when faced with a decision, “Follow the peace.” Both of us have been trying to do just that. And we’ve learned so much about the grace of God, the power of His Word and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

We’ve learned that healing begins with forgiveness, letting go of the past and embracing the future. Trusting that God will lead the way, right what is wrong and make all things new.

I think 2016 will go down as the year we cried more tears than ever before. Not just for us. It’s been a hard year for many of our family and friends.

But, as difficult as this year has been, we are both so grateful for the lessons learned, for the love we’ve received from our Savior and from so many of you and we are looking forward to a brand new year.

Our prayer for you and for ourselves is that 2017 will be an incredibly blessed. May we all have a very happy and UNeventful year!

Life & Breath & Everything Else

FTI graphic Acts 17:25When I was young, I fell off of some contraption I was playing on and lost my ability to breathe. “I got the wind knocked out of me,” as they say. It probably only lasted for a few seconds but I remember it was a scary few seconds.

Getting told you have cancer is sort of like that, only scarier. And it lasts longer.

Our lives are filled with moments like this that seem to come out of nowhere and take us by surprise.

Like the day I learned my sister-in law had lymphoma.

And when I heard of our nephew and niece’s newborn who is currently in the hospital battling a heart condition.

Or when I found out last week that one of our good friends had been diagnosed with leukemia.

In these seconds that feel like hours, everything slows. The heart sinks and the air leaves our lungs as we struggle to make sense of it all.

Then, there are other moments. The ones that remind us of our loving Creator. Soul-transcending times when we are startled by grace. Caught off guard by something so wonderful that we have no choice but to pause and give thanks to the One who made us.

Like the day the Lord mercifully reached down, rescuing my heart and saving me.

And the moment me and my love shared our “I do’s”, becoming husband and wife.

Or all the times during my recent struggles that I’ve encountered the compassion of family, friends and even strangers and realized how truly blessed I am.

I’m reminded of that quote that says, Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Those breath-stealing moments, they can happen in good times or bad. Either way, they get our attention, opening our eyes to what’s truly important, making us aware that we are alive.

And we are alive because God breathed His very breath into us. So it’s fitting that we should pour out our praise to Him.

That’s what I’m doing now. Thanking God for life and breath and everything else He’s so graciously given. Want to join me?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

A Reason To Sing

I’m sure at some point, like me, you’ve visited one of those churches where the worship is non-existent. Where the congregation sits expressionless through one lifeless song after another and the poor pastor seems resigned to sad fact that the Spirit has left the building.

(Okay, I know that God’s Spirit resides in believers rather than buildings and worship is more than singing songs, but you get the point.)

“The engagement of the heart in worship is the coming alive of the feelings and emotions and affections of the heart.  Where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead.”
John Piper

When we forget the One who has given us a reason to sing, our “house of worship” turns into just a plain, old house. But God desires the honest and heartfelt praises of His people.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

True worship is communion between our spirit and His. It is a life-source for us, like this umbilical connection with the eternal. And it is birthed out of our appreciation of how great He is and how blessed we are for the unmerited grace He has given us.

And when true worshipers gather together, as seen in the video below, it’s a faint glimpse of what I imagine heaven will be like. The redeemed of God, from all over the world, raising up their voices in one inspiring song of praise.

Now that’s a reason to sing!

Chris Tomlin – How Great Is Our God (World Edition) from chris-tomlin on GodTube.

Linking up with Deidra and The Sunday Community

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.
And they were shouting with a great roar,

“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne
    and from the Lamb!”

And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground
and worshiped God.
They sang,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
    and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
    forever and ever! Amen.”

Revelation 7:9-12