Tuesday, August 27, 2013

True Love Doesn't Wait: The Marriage Crisis, Courtship and a Generation of Frustrated Godly Youth

Earlier today my Mom read this article to me from Facebook and then later someone anonymously left the web address in response to my last blog post. It's a very interesting article. I agree with a lot of it, but it still leaves some questions in my mind. So, I'm looking for some discussion. And it would be really nice if I could get some mixed discussion, i.e. both guys and gals. If you don't want me to know who you are then leave an anonymous comment, but at least give yourself a codename like Chipmunk or Paintbrush so I can at least have a mental picture of you rather than this empty cyberspace person.......*insert alien music*

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Which Road?

"What do you want me to do Daddy? I just want you to tell me what I should do," was my emotional challenge to my Dad.
"I just want you to do what you want. I don't want little robot children that do things and become things just because that was what their parents wanted. I want you to figure out what you want in life," was his gracious and loving response.
One of the hardest and most difficult things about being an adult if figuring out what I truly want. I would like to say, and I usually do say, that what I want is to follow the Lord's will, but in all reality so often I find myself restless and questioning God.
"Lord, I just have a couple of questions tonight. First of all, am I going to get married someday? Because if I am, it would be very beneficial to my life planning if you could tell me where, when and to whom cause it's pretty slim pickin's out there? Yes, that would be very helpful because then I could plan what to do until he shows up. Wait, what if he doesn't show up? Should I be a missionary? .....I know, I know, I'm supposed to be doing that wherever I am, but what about an overseas missionary? Should I plan for that? Or how about being a midwife? I think that would fit pretty well with the plan I'm making. Do you think I should pursue that or would it be a waste of time? Oh, and Lord, should I take a music theory class? It would probably be good to learn the extra stuff since I'm a piano teacher....which brings me to another question. Am I going to be a piano teacher forever? Or will I eventually quit? When should I quit if I quit? God, do you hear me? Why won't you answer me? Hello.....anybody up there? Heloooooooo....."

Seriously, I realized the other day that even if the Lord was trying to answer my questions, I usually don't shut my mouth long enough to hear Him. Sometimes, it's frustrating to me that the Lord doesn't just drop all of the answers to my questions right into my lap.  I like to know things!
This morning I was reading in Proverbs and this verse sorta jumped out at me.
Proverbs 25:2
"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter."
The question that came to mind was, what if God doesn't want to just hand me all of life's answers because he wants me to seek them out and learn to trust and depend on Him? There has to be a reason that it is the honor of kings to seek out that which the Lord has concealed. And I guess, in all honesty, I wouldn't really want to know all the plans He has for me, because I might just get scared, or worried, or panicky.......or something. :-) Perhaps, what I really need to do right now is simply "Keep Calm and Carry On." God will reveal His plans to me in His perfect timing. It is my job to trust Him as I am seeking out life's answers. What I really need to be doing is keeping calm as I do what He has called me to do and carry on in the work He has given me. That would be much more beneficial than "Freak Out and Act Irrationally."
So now I am trying to stop questioning God and worrying at every stop along the way. Rather, I'm trying to make my prayer be the words to this song:
"If there’s a road I should walk,
Help me find it
If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment
Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will
Can you help me find it."
Wasn't it so nice when we were young and growing up was as simple as graduating, marrying the most wonderful significant other on the face of the earth, and living happily ever after with 16 children in tow?
 Say what, that wasn't your childhood dream??? ;)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Where is my Confidence?

Her fingers touch the ivory keys. She begins her song. Strength flows through the music. Confidence soars through each note. She smiles as she plays. The song is taking over. Faster and faster she plays. And then, a mistake. Small to the listeners sense of hearing, but devastating to the performer. She continues playing but the strength is gone. The confidence has dwindled. The piece has altogether lost its glory and grandeur. More mistakes follow. With each blow her shoulders slump a little more. She ends her piece distressed.

This was my observation of myself on all seven recorded takes of the Pirates of the Caribbean piece I was entering in a contest.  It's a great song, fun to play, full of life, and varying in dynamics, tone and tempo. I had been working on it for quite some time when I heard about the competition. I decided to enter and needed a video recording of it. I was greatly blessed to have some friends with a good camera that offered to help. However, when it came time to record my brain just decided to set up a few blockades. Uncrossable blockades. I did get through the song several times, but I felt so frustrated that I just could not play the song well when I was being recorded. Sadly, this is a problem I have whenever I try to perform anything on the piano under pressure. I can have a song nailed and if I get up to play it in front of people I just lose it.

As I was getting frustrated over the whole matter, the Lord revealed to me that my life is often like those video recordings. I can start out on a spiritual high, serving the Lord, worshipping Him, loving Him with my all, and with one failure I give up. I lose it all. I don't trust His grace and forgiveness. Then I go through a slump. Usually, a long drawn out slump. When I made those mistakes on the piano, I remember feeling like they were just the worst mistakes ever. But when I watched the videos, they actually wouldn't have been a problem if I had just kept playing with full confidence. We all sin, we all fail, and we all make mistakes. The difference is there are those that try to live this life on their own and there are those that live this life in the full confidence of Christ their Savior. When we try to live this life on our own, one mistake is going to get us down because all it does is prove that we can't do it. However, when we live in the confidence of Christ, one mistake still shows us that we can't do it ourselves, but it also shows us how big God's mercy and grace are, because when we are willingly being molded in His hands, He gives us the strength to rise above that mistake. He makes glory out of ashes.

And so, I never was able to upload any of the recordings onto my computer and I ended up re-recording myself. I didn't have the beautiful grand piano, or the amazing quality sound, or the beautifully memorized piece. I played on my own piano, recorded with my moms camera, with the sheet music, *cringe* :-) but I felt a thousand times better. I still messed up, but I kept playing with confidence that God already knew how I was going to play and really, in light of eternity, this song didn't really matter. It was my attitude that mattered. And every time I watch that video I ask myself, "Is my confidence in Christ today?"

Now I am going to shamelessly ask for your votes. :-)
This is supposed to be the link for my song, but I  have had a few people who said it didn't work and a few who said it did. But if you could give a try I would be very grateful. The competition runs through the 12th and you can vote everyday! Thanks in advance.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Could I Ask You For Some Prayers?

Today is my first day working at our local pregnancy helpline. I am so excited and a tad bit nervous. I greatly anticipate seeing the Lord at work in the lives and hearts of the young women that come to us for help. Please pray that God will give me wisdom in my words.

This verse really stood out to me as I was in the Word this morning. Jesus is praying to His Father before He and His disciples go to the Garden of Gethsemane. John 17:26, "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." Jesus' whole ministry on earth was teaching us to love one another as the Father loves us. As Jesus prayed this prayer,  He was preparing for the final act of love for us. When I look at Jesus' life and see how He loved, I realize that love is not a material thing. Christ's love was in the actions He took, the words He said, the time He spent, and the deep, wholehearted love and concern that He shared. His type of love was not simply a once in a while donation. It was a lifestyle of loving people.

My prayer today is that I might love like Christ. Could you please keep me in your prayers as well? I would be extremely grateful.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Barricade

Life has gotten increasingly busier the older I've gotten and sometimes I just really miss playing around with my siblings. This afternoon I found myself with a chunk of time to spare and decided that playing with the little men would be awesome fun. We started out with our traditional, "Let's play battle."
We all have our battle names: Cooper, David, Lone Ranger, and Agent 99.  
We started playing and then a certain someone decided that simply running around with guns was boring so we decided to build a barricade and play "Les Mis."

We, of course, were the French revolutionaries. Just look at those heroic chaps!

Jared (aka. Cooper)
Andrew (aka. The Lone Ranger)

Nathan (aka. David)

A view from the revolutionaries side.

It was a truly heartbreaking moment to watch a comrade fall.....until I caught the look on the Lone Rangers face.

A tad bit mushed perhaps?

And then in one dramatic moment the entire barricade came crashing down.
It was an epic battle.
Agent 99 survived without a scratch.
We celebrated by dancing like Russians, cause let's be honest, Russian dancing is way more celebratory than the minuet. ;) For the record, I cannot dance like a Russian.
Yeah, we don't quite compare.
We have fun here.

Carry Me Now