Friday, April 11, 2014

Worship Isn't A Song

Worship isn't a song, a tempo, or a sound. And it's not an activity that we participate in every seven days. Those community gatherings (that we often refer to as "worship") are auditory articulation... the verbal and physical expressions of something more. Something intangible and deeply felt in the heart.

We can often place more focus on the symptoms of an illness, than on the actual illness. "She has a fever." So we take her temperature often, administer helpful remedies to reduce the fever, and try to make her feel cooler. We are relieved when the fever dissipates. All focus was on the fever... what temp it was, how long it lasted, what it looked like... not what actually caused the fever.

The fever was just a symptom...the body's outward response to an internal state. In the same way, the expression of worship is an outward symptom of our internal state of adoration. The true worship is our inner, innate response to a growing understanding of His deep love for us, and our appreciation for that love.

When that inner adoration is expressed outwardly, it doesn't have to look or sound a certain way. It can come out in thousands of ways. Like appreciating the smell of a flower He made, caring for a loved one He created, deciding to maintain your integrity in a sketchy situation out of your reverence for His presence with you, whispering to Him a "thank you", helping others when it's inconvenient because those people belong to Him, or improving yourself because you know His plans are waiting on you. All are outward demonstrations of an inner love.

But all these outward expressions of inner worship do have a certain feel to them. They feel like adoration. So instead of getting hung up on what our expression of worship looks like, let's focus on the state of our inner heart toward Him. And then the expression of that adoration will flow easily and come out in a multitude of forms.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Statements That I Never Thought Would Come Out Of My Mouth

1. "Get your foot out of your sister's mouth!" (Said to Selah regarding Aliyah.)

I've decided to start a list. I'm sure anyone with children can relate. Here are the first six... all said within the last two years.

2. "For the umpteenth time, stop eating dog food!" (Said to both Moriah and Aliyah.)

Selah is almost 6, Moriah is 4, and Aliyah is 19 months. 

3. "How did you get your hair tangled in the toilet bowl brush?!" (To Aliyah.)

4. "You were sucking on a chunk of broken glass!?" (To Aliyah as I pulled it out of her mouth.)

5. "You found a penny AND a hair tie in her poop?!" (To Kenneth about Aliyah.)

6. "Why did you let your little sister drop rocks in the toilet WHILE you were pooping in it?!?" (To Moriah. Guess who had to fish those out?? Yep.)

I have a suspicion that there will be more to come.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Ok, God. I will."

 I was shocked at the language my three year old had just used. Moriah!? This is the girl who argues with everything. Just because she can.

“Moriah, you are so beautiful.”  “No, I’m not.” (Completely confident in her denial.)
“Moriah, you are very smart.”  “Noooo! I’m not. (Emphatically shaking her head.)
“Moriah, we’re having eggs for lunch.”  “NO! I don’t want dat.” (Brows furrowed and voice raised.)

So, when I told her to get in her seat so she could eat lunch, I was literally shocked by her response.

“Ok, Mom. I will.” (Head tilted, sing song voice, smiling sweetly.) And. She. Climbed. Up. Into. Her. Seat.

I stared at her. Then caught myself, and started uproariously praising her for her good attitude. What in the world had happened?! Had all my hard discipline work and constant verbal correction paid off?? Had I finally broken down the wall of brick wall of opposition!?? I nearly wanted to scream for joy!

As lunch was nearing its messy end, I brought it up again (didn’t want to lose momentum, you know).  

“So, Moriah. Do you remember that thing that you did a while ago? You know… when I asked you to do something and you said, ‘Ok, Mom. I will.’?” I tried my best to duplicate the cutsie voice she had used.

“Yeeeaaaahhhh.” She looked at me out of the corner of her eyes, hovering over her bowl, her mouth covered with food.

“Well, that was AWESOME.” (More uproarious praise. Big smiley face so she can see how much awesomeness it was.) I was so impressed with you! You didn’t argue, you didn’t complain, you didn’t cry, you didn’t pretend that you were incapable of climbing into the seat or that you didn’t know how to feed yourself or that you couldn’t hold a fork or that suddenly your leg hurt or that you had to go to the bathroom… (oh yes, she may be just three but her creativity in how she chooses to disobey is astonishing)… you just obeyed Mommy with a GOOD ATTITUDE!!” (Another ridiculously large smiley face and exaggerated mommy-head-nod.)

She smiled, pleased with herself, and began to repeat the phrase over and over again. “Ok, Mom. I will. (Big smile.) Like dat? Ok, Mom. I will. Mom, are you sooo impessed wif me? Are you so pwoud of me? Ok, Mom. I will.”

I assured her that I was truly impressed. It felt like it was the first time that she had ever voluntarily agreed to happily do something that she always fought me on. And the relief of not having to “wage war” was like instant sweetness to me. It made my day. I was so happy that she had voluntarily and happily obeyed the first time that I also gave her some of what she really wanted to eat.  And I think she even surprised herself when she found out how good her quick obedience made her feel.

I was thinking about it later that day when I heard a soft voice in my spirit say, “That’s how it feels.” And it occurred to me that the Lord must feel such a sweet joy when we obey instantly and happily. How many hidden blessings have we missed because we argued or wrestled with what He wanted us to do… only to be forced to give in finally. There’s a lack of peace until the decision to obey has finally been made. We feel frustrated…maybe a little ashamed that we didn’t do it earlier.  We were “waging war” against Him and didn’t even realize it.

So, how beautiful would it be... if, the instant He asked, we said, “Ok, God. I will.”? (Head tilt and sing song voice are optional.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wasteful Spending

No, I will not be watching "Magic Mike" or reading "50 Shades of Grey" with my girlfriends. But not because some consider it to be unGodly.

I won't spend my (valuable) time absorbing those images and ideas because I'm actually intentionally going somewhere with my husband... I'm building something with him.

I understand how undermining and eroding sexual images can be to the intimacy in a marriage. Those images and ideas stick for years and become something that you have to wrestle through in your daily life. Why would I intentionally allow something into my life that damages what I'm trying to do? And I'd actually have to spend $10 to do it!? Ha! No, I'm not interested in self-destruction.

I AM interested in building a strong, powerful, intimate relationship with my best friend... a relationship that provides a secure foundation for our children, and a relationship that pursues and accomplishes the fantastic purposes that God has orchestrated for us.

Nope, not interested in wasting my time or my resources when there's so many more truly incredible things to do. I understand that the NBA championship was a huge win for LeBron, Dwyane and the Heat team... but popping a $75,000 bottle of champagne to celebrate, when there is so much hunger, thirst, and need in our world is just obscene.

Wake up, people! Our lives, resources, and time are not to be wasted on self-destructive, wasteful things. We each have a deep and thrilling purpose to pursue and accomplish...that, if we all begin to pursue, will change the face of this earth. So, let's stop all the foolishness and get to work.

P.S. To those who are flirting with the idea of reading the book or watching the movie because you're curious or because other you know are doing so... (I'm betting that spending $75,000 on some bubbly doesn't have quite the same lure for you)... my question for you is, Where are you going in your life? ...What are you trying to accomplish? If doing those things mentioned above hinders you at all, then why are you wasting your time considering them??

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Surprising Valentine's Prayer

Selah was so excited about our steak family dinner for Valentine's Day this evening. As we sat at the table and enjoyed dinner, she started a surprising conversation.

Selah: "Mommy and Papa, you are the best daddy and mommy ever! I love you sooo much and I am so happy that you are here! (Big smiles.) I'm going to pray that you will never ever fall away from each other." (I blink twice. Did I hear her right?) "I want you (points to me) to always be Papa's wife, and I want you (points to Kenneth) to always be Mommy's husband. I don't want you to fall away... so I'm going to pray for you, OK? (Deep breath.) Father, please keep Mommy and Daddy safe and make sure that Mommy is always Papa's wife and that Papa is always Mommy's husband and that they never fall away from each other. In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen!" (Big smiles.)

Me: "Wow, Selah...thank you so much for praying for us." I look at Kenneth and back at Selah, confused and surprised. "Selah, why do you think that Papa and I might fall away from each other?"

Selah: "I just don't want you to."

Me: "But what makes you think about that? Do husbands and wives fall away from each other?"

Selah: "Yeah."

Kenneth: "How do you know that?"

Selah: "In my dream. I saw it. And God speaks to me and tells me the words to say. So I prayed for you." (Big smile.)

Selah turned four years old two weeks ago.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Some Time Off

I can't keep up! I've taken some time off of my personal blog (as you can see, I haven't posted in FOREVER). Personal stories abound and I laugh often, posting some of the funny comments from my girls on Facebook, but storing away most of it in my heart. My time to process through all that is happening in life has been recently hijacked by the Holiday burglar and the Globalife Journeys train.

In case you'd like to read where I'm currently blogging, then check out the Globalife Journeys blog. It's certainly all about some stuff that is near and dear to my heart. But all the personal thoughts and stories about my girls saying profound and ridiculous things, about me forgetting where I put ANYTHING because I'm pregnant, and all that God is doing inside of me will just have to wait until I can sit down with a latte and exhale.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Time Is Flying

It's been a while since I've posted. It's been even longer since I've journaled. Weeks go by and I can hardly believe that another weekend has come. My days are spent in blocks of time filled with activities that go from one block to the next until it's late at night and my eyes are locked on my bed.

I'm loving this time with the girls... spending time with the girls as they each learn different levels of preschool skills. I spend as much time as I can each week building Globalife Journeys, our non-profit humanitarian aid and missions organization. Then there's also worship to prepare for two services, play dates to organize, library and grocery shopping trips, and let's not forget the ever present cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

I love where we are in life. I love the direction we're heading in. Like my mom used to say, I do wish there were more hours in the day... but the Lord knows that I would just fill it with more stuff. Last weekend, K and I had some time to ourselves on an overnight date. It was fantastic. We both need that time to reconnect every once in while.

I thank God that His mercy is new every morning and He is with me when I rise. He reminds me every day to breathe deeply and not let my desire to accomplish more override His desire for me to simply live loved and love others.