“Indescribable”

Have you ever taken a moment to chew on a thought or idea and let its meaning sweep over you?  As a singer and songwriter, I have written and performed several songs that have become so common to me that I hardly stop to think about what it is that I am singing about.  I am thinking this happens for a few different reasons.  First, I do not want to become too emotional in front of my audience, and ever since I cried about midway through a song during a concert, I have tried to detach myself from a song’s deeper meaning.  Second, sometimes, it is easy to think ahead as I am singing.  Often, I find myself one step ahead of myself through the entire song, which doesn’t leave me enough time to truly think about the lyrics.  Perhaps my usual detachment from the lyrics made my recent experience so rewarding.    

Just over a week ago, I attended an incredible evening of worship with worship leader, Chris Tomlin.  During the band’s leading of the song “Indescribable,” originally written by Laura Story, I was struck with the force of this lyric: “You see the depths of my heart and you love me the same.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but there comes a time more often than I’d like to admit when I feel lower than low.  Maybe I am dealing with a poor attitude, the recurrence of sinful acts, or a less-than-enthusiastic response to spending time in the Word.  At those times, I wonder what God could possibly see in me that would make Him proud.  How could He love someone like me… so far from the person He desires me to be?

But the truth is, He does love me… and you, despite everything.  He went to the cross for us, even then, knowing that we would fail Him time and time again.  We can never measure up to His greatness, yet, we were created in His image thousands and thousands of years ago.

That night at the concert, Louie Giglio addressed the idea of we as people being image-bearers of the Lord.  We were created with a purpose, and our DNA and physical make-up are both a pure marvel.  No computer or memory card would ever be able to hold the data for our unique traits or personality.  We are precious to Him, and even though we may not feel we deserve His love, He loves us passionately in return.  He knew our name from the beginning, even before time began.  I love the picture the Psalmist paints in Psalm 139:

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:14-17).

We are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and He knows everything within our hearts before we can even put voice to those thoughts or even utter a prayer.  We serve an amazing and creative God, and we are called to be His image-bearers.  I don’t know about you, but that night at the concert, I truly felt loved— deeply and truly loved by my Heavenly Father.  I’m so incredibly thankful for this simple reminder contained in the lines of one of today’s praise and worship anthems.

Crazy Love: No Strings Attached

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love, which was recommended to me by a friend.  Wow, what a call to action!  I set that book down feeling both burdened and free at the same time, and I’d like to tell you why.

This book reads as a call to love— to love Christ and His people.  Essentially, Chan asks: If we are saved by His great sacrifice and are blessed with His love, why don’t we give that love away in return?  I felt this overwhelming burden to go out and share my love with others, but two seconds later, my thoughts turned to excuses.  I can help others in so many ways, but without transportation and good vision, there is a great deal I cannot do.  It was then that I realized that I had been using my transportation barrier and visual impairment as a deterrent to serve.

I have committed to serve in 2011, so I now ask the question: how can I look beyond these barriers and truly serve others?  Maybe I can’t drive someone to a doctor appointment or help paint their house, but if I put forward the effort, I can do a great deal to reach out.

In order to hold myself accountable, I am posting some of the ways in which I think I can get involved in the lives of others and serve them.  Within the last week, I have already done a few of these just because I felt so incredibly burdened to reach out:

  • Make a batch of cookies to share for no reason other than to bring someone a home-baked treat
  • Sing for the elderly at the nursing home
  • Pay for someone’s coffee at the coffee shop
  • Help a neighbor carry his or her groceries
  • Take a few moments to call, email, or Facebook a friend just to encourage him or her
  • Even better, I could stop at someone’s home just to say hello. 

 

There is so much more that I could do, and I’m hoping to find even more ways to reach out to others.  For so long, others have blessed me through gifts of time and resources to better my life, and now it’s time for me to give back.  Do I expect a gift in return?  Absolutely not!  I pray that I can serve with no strings attached.  If Christ loved me enough to go to the cross for me, then I can surely love those around me. 

If anything, Chan’s book encouraged me to be a better servant of Christ.  In addition to feeling the call to service, I have found a new hunger for the Scriptures and memorizing His Word.  I can’t seem to get enough of His promises, and I pray that this time of renewal will not just be a season.  To serve and to grow in Him: both are my call to action for 2011 and for as long as God blesses me with opportunities.

Falling

So today is Valentines Day.  Do I really need reminding?  A single girl like me can’t help but be reminded every time I turn around.  But before you start to think that I’m bitter about being alone, think again. 

A few weeks ago, I finished Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love.  I’ll be talking about my experience in reading it next week, but I thought I’d take the time today to focus on this thing we call love.  What does it mean to fall in love?

I’ve never felt a deep love for a husband or significant other, but I can definitely say that I have known great love.  I love my parents and siblings, and I know they love me in return.  I have friends that I love as well, and I pray that they feel the same toward me.  But even greater still, I have known the love of my Heavenly Father and His Son, my Savior.  I accepted Christ into my life at the age of nine, and after growing up in my home church, it was my defining moment in which I said, “Yes, I will follow You.”

I have heard others share about their conversion experience— the day when they came to Christ for the first time.  They speak of an overwhelming joy as they recognized the great love that Christ displayed toward them as He sacrificed His life for their sins.  Emotions are high, and spiritually, this person is at the top of the world.

It makes me think of a person in love.  My editor and I call this being twitter-pated.  You are so in love with being in love that you can’t get that silly grin off of your face because it’s all you can do to keep from thinking of the one you love. 

After reading Crazy Love, I was hit with this realization.  Why, after all He has done for us, do we not respond this way to Christ’s love?  He has pursued us with a passion beyond our comprehension, and yet, we just give Him mediocre devotion in return. 

I don’t know how many of you have heard of Jason Gray’s song “More Like Falling in Love.”  If you are familiar with it, you already know it is a song that will stick in your head all day long!  Go listen to this tune when you get a chance and pay close attention to the chorus.  Think about what it would mean to fall in love with Jesus this Valentines Day… and every day.

Just to give you a peak, I’m posting the lyrics to the chorus here.  Happy Valentines Day, friends!

Its gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
Its like I’m falling
Its like I’m falling in love

The Huddle

Like many of you may have done last night, I watched the Super Bowl and cheered on my team, the Green Bay Packers.  They brought home a win, and I am beyond excited!  But this morning, the Super Bowl win is not my focus.  Thanks to a simple children’s message at church yesterday, I now see the Super Bowl and performance through new eyes.

During the children’s message yesterday, one of our members gathered the kids around her and asked what each of them what day it was and what would be happening that afternoon.  Almost immediately, some chorused, “The Super Bowl!”  She then proceeded to talk about the players as they huddled together during certain parts of the game.  “What do you think they are doing when they huddle like that?” she asked.  “Well, they’re talking about their strategy and how they can win the game.  Really, they’re encouraging each other.”

I couldn’t help but laugh a little as I watched the game last night and saw the players huddle on numerous occasions.  Yes, they were certainly encouraging each other, and in order to pull off a Super Bowl win, a team needs to work together to accomplish the goal of winning.

This morning when I turned on the news, the anchors were talking about Christina Aguilera and her mistaken lyrics on the “National Anthem.”  While one anchor criticized her for poor musicianship, the other anchor responded, “I just don’t understand why we have to put others down.  She made a mistake, but who cares.  Let’s move on.”

Wow, what a refreshing spin on a negative news story.  If only we as people could respond as the second news anchor did.  Everyone makes mistakes and needs some encouragement now and then.  I don’t know about you, but as a performer, I can identify with Christina Aguilera.  There is nothing worse than forgetting the lyrics to a song and then freezing in that moment in fear because you realize that you don’t know what to do.  I give her credit for continuing on and finishing as strong as she could.  As for the rest of us, I think we can be better models of love and encouragement.  She did her best, and that is all that matters.

So today as I glow in a Super Bowl victory, I think of those that may have received devastating news this week or need a listening ear in difficult times.  May I be that word of encouragement they need today and in the days to come.  I call each one of you to step up, huddle with those around you, and encourage the team players in your day-to-day life.  Go team!