The song I've been singing in my head all day...

OK...so I heard this song driving into church this morning...it hasn't left my head all day. Not in that annoying kinda way songs can do, but in the way that I have rested in the One True God that I know... Oh to know Him more... Oh to rest in Him... The quality of this audio isn't necessarily the best...but you'll get the point...and probably hear it on the radio soon. It's simple...I like it. I hope you do too.

One True God, by Mark Harris

You can following this link to hear the song...here are the lyrics...

I don't have a God I can put on a stand
Or a God I hold in the palm of my hand
I have a God that's holding me
And I don't have a God that I can create
In the place I live with the money I make
I have a God, He made everything
So I don't need a temporary man made deity
When I got the real thing
I got the real thing

He's the Lord of all the earth
The maker of all things
He alone is the one true God
Kingdoms rise and fall
But even through it all
He remains
The one true God

I don't have a thing that I got on my own
I don't have a care that I carry alone
But I have a God who's carrying me
I don't have sin that He doesn't forgive
And I don't have a heart that is worthy of His
But I have a God who still loves me
So I don't need a temporary man made deity
When I got the real thing
I got the real thing

Who is this King of Glory
The Lord strong and mighty
Who is this King of Glory
The Lord strong and mighty
Who is this King of Glory
Who is this King of Glory

So I didn't know it was Mark Harris while I was driving down the road...or until about 30 minutes ago when I looked it up. This made me smile. Back in the day when I was with Youth for Christ I got to travel a bit to conferences and retreats...and part of being part of the "crew" was being backstage to meet and hang with artists. One such trip I got to sit and get to know the guys from 4Him. Yes, I know...they aren't together anymore. It's old school. But here's what I loved about it...these were just real guys who love the Lord and loved to sing and were friends. It was a great thing to see and witness. And so...it just reminded me of a little time I sat in a Perdido Key, Florida talking with them while we waited for the program to begin... Wow...that was a flashback...ok...sorry --- get back to listening...and singing to our One True God.


A little Christmas cheer...

Clark Griswold would be so proud...


OK...so I just wrote about 2/3 of a blog...and then, deleted it. Why? I don't know that it really made sense to me - not the words (ok, some of them), but the thoughts I was trying to process in writing. I think. Or was I just afraid to post it? I don't think so. Was I wondering what people would think when they read it? Nah... I don't usually think so hard about what I'm writing. Maybe I'm just wrestling...thinking too hard. Reading too much into absolutlely nothing. Or maybe, I'm seeing part of me that I haven't really paid attention to before. Eeeeeek. That could be it. I'm not a super introspective kinda girl. I'm not a big processor. I'm kinda one of those here it is, figure it out, move on kinda people (I think). That's why I think I deleted it. I'm processing. I don't typically work this way. So...who knows, maybe I'll put it in writing a little better for next time. For now...I guess I can just say, hmmmm... next time I'll try not to delete...like now.


If I wrote the rules...

I know I don't get to write the rules of life. I know it doesn't go my way. But, after spending a few hours out in the hustle bustle and chaos of early morning Black Friday shopping it reminded me of my days working retail in the shoe department at JC Penneys. And reminded me of a life-rule I thought of waaaaaaaay back then... I honestly believe that everyone, every person who ever purchases a holiday gift (or intends to enter a retail establishment around Christmas or the holidays) MUST work retail, and MUST work at least one Black Friday and one day after Christmas. You just have no clue about how those days really run until you see it from the company side.

When you look at the consumer side, you get tunnel-visioned (or at least you can). I decided to go out shopping for the 2nd time in my life at the break of day, before the sun rises (which you know is a gigantic stretch for me...). The kids have their "wish" lists...and the major things on the list were mostly 50% or more off...so...for me it was worth it to get my backside out of bed @ 4 am (YIKES!) to head to Wal-Mart. I left knowing that if I didn't get everything I wanted, it was ok. I'm not going to lose Christmas spirit over a sale.

Flashback about 4 years to when I visited Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving to get a dual screen DVD player. I had no clue that year that people have created an art of the after Thanksgiving sale. They have lists, maps, plans, agendas, partners & co-conspirators. I pulled in the parking lot just before they opened (I don't remember if it was 4 or 5 am) and was SHOCKED to find the parking lot overloaded and people already in the store. I parked in the last row of parking spaces in one of the furthest out spots (not even really in their parking lot). Walked in, and went to where the dvd players were. I was done. I could have been out of the store in 10 minutes. But decided just to check out the rest of the story. It was a frenzy - especially in electronics & toys. And that location still had layaway - and there were people waiting in line with 2 carts while their co-horts raced around the store to grab items and stick them in the carts and head out again. Hysterical to this 1st timer.

This year wasn't much different. Since the store is open 24 hours, people were already inside. I arrived about 4:45 (sales started @ 5 am). And the store was NUTS! I mean NUTS! There were people everywhere - carts everywhere - I heard all kinds of plans brewing. And while I waited patiently to get my items I was pleasantly surprised to find people who were like me - just waiting patiently to get their "deal" - wanting to do something nice for a loved one or friend - showing generosity by sharing carts or letting people in close to them to get the item right @ 5 am. And man, you knew when it was 5 am. items were flying off displays faster than lightning. One woman, Norma, was very sweet - she and her husband had driven an hour and a half to be in Salem for Black Friday sales. Another woman talked about how she had already been to Kohl's and planned to be out of Wal-mart in 25 minutes to head off to Fred Meyer to buy socks (OHHHHHH...we gotta talk about that...)

OH...the sock thing. So...one store we like to frequent here is Fred Meyer - it is the "brother" store to Kroger where we shopped for groceries in Atlanta. On Thanksgiving I see an ad on tv for Fred Meyer - 50% off socks, showing dancing feet for the entire commercial. That's it. SOCKS! I turned to Steve and said that it was pretty ridiculous to have a sale where the only thing you can advertise is 50% off socks. What kind of sale is that? Well, come to find out apparently that's "the" thing here for day after Thanksgiving. Fred Meyers sock sale. Are you kidding me? Socks! Socks! Socks! That's it. Yep. Well, I've heard people talking about it (even in Wal-mart while waiting for their sale to begin)...but I still don't get it. Then again, I don't even like shoes either, remember. Either way - if you've never worked in retail...I dare you to get a retail job for the Christmas season. I triple-dog dare you. You'll NEVER look at shopping the same...and you'll appreciate those behind the counters, or trying to organize check-out lines, and those that are re-stocking the socks as fast as possible. But in the midst of it all, I say...don't let the preparation for the season keep you from celebrating the season...

OK...anyway - while there were the kind-hearted people, we were clearly outnumbered by the selfish, focused, unbelieveably focused and determined. They were every where. This was no more truly visible than the incredibly unfortunate incident at the Wal-Mart in Long Island where a worker lost their life just by trying to open the doors.

I don't get it. Honestly. I don't. Life is sooooo much more precious than stuff. People are sooooooo much more important than a deal. Lord, forgive us.


I believe...but I have so much to learn & so many ways to grow...

The last couple of weeks have been a drain. I admit - I'm not front lines on this. I'm not sitting in a hospital ICU waiting room. I'm not walking in to see the man I love, or my dad, in a physical condition that is unexplained and critical. But, this is all about someone who I admire - a family I adore - and my heart not being willing to surrender.

Our lead pastor, John Stumbo, has been in ICU at OHSU for almost 2 weeks. He's been in critical condition. You'll have to check the church website for all the updates (http://www.salemalliance.org/) - I say that not because I don't want to explain the story, but I know that I'll get the series of reports out of order, or I'll forget to paint the whole story, and I don't want to do that. John and his family deserve to have the story told correctly. I will say that John's been in critical condition - spent much time on a ventilator - has had excessive weakness and swelling - and while we know he's had a rare blood infection, we don't really know a good diagnosis of what's going on. We knew it was critical, but on 11/20 when they gathered us as a church staff at 9:45 in the am, we knew things were not good. We prayed fervently - approaching the throne of grace begging, pleading, petitioning for God, Jehovah-Raphe, our healer, to touch John in a miraculous way. And believing then (and still believing now) He can do it.

The decision was made to cancel all our Wednesday night activities (including Crash and kids activities) to have a prayer/praise service for the whole church family that night @ 7 pm. To say the worship center was packed out is an understatement. It was soooooooo amazing to see the "family" come together to sit at God's feet and pray for healing for John. I admit it. I haven't gotten to know him (or others) at church as well as I'd like to. But John has this way of getting right to the core of how you feel. A way of reaching in and knowing exactly where you are, and gently acknowledging it. I remember last Christmas at our Pastor/Elder Christmas gathering while sharing with everyone he looked in my eyes and says he knows some of us have sacrificed a lot to be sitting in the room - a simple statement that even now as I type cuts to my heart. He is annointed by God to do a mighty work. I truly believe it. I am grateful he is my pastor. I am grateful to learn and grow through his words and the words of the other teaching pastors on our team. I really like his wife Joanna. She is a kindred spirit of sorts. While our interractions have been too short and sweet...I really like her...plus, she loves Diet Coke as much as I love Coke. Whew! And Drew, their son, is a good friend - I've had a great time serving alongside him with the middle school ministry at SAC. He's such a blast... And it was not a stretch by any means to join with 1000+ others to beg God to heal John and to strengthen him & his family.

Now in that I admit - I'm selfish. God can choose to heal however he sees fit. (This is where the I believe but I have so much to learn comes in)... That night we had an amazing night of worship - I honestly felt lifted to heaven, being in God's presence and just singing to Him and resting in His presence. Then we start singing I Surrender All. I admit it. I couldn't sing it. (OK, brutal honesty coming here...) I couldn't sing it. I couldn't say I surrender all. I'm not willing to surrender John's physical healing. There - I've said it. I believe God can and will heal him. Even now as he is back on a ventilator. I believe God can heal him. I think I see surrender here (as I'm letting my pea-sized brain process it) as physical defeat. I'm not willing to surrender that. In that moment I felt like to say "I surrender" was saying I can stop praying. I can't. I can't stop. I can't stop begging God to heal John. I can't stop trusting God to heal John. I can't stop believing God can heal John. I won't. I know there is a bigger surrender here. Yet there was still part of me that couldn't utter the words. Call it whatever you want - but I know I have a lot to learn. I know I need to grow. But there's just something about admitting that you don't have it all together that is vulnerable - that is scary - that is frightening. There's also something selfish about thinking, God there is no other way that you can take care of this - or that I can't wait for the day when John is standing before the congregation to preach next, personally or corporately. I want to see him standing before us. I want to hear what God has to say to us through him. Is it selfish? Is it faith? Is it naive? No...I just think it's my heart. I'm not surrendering to the enemy who wants me to forget to pray. I'm not surrendering to the enemy who wants me to believe that God can't heal John. I'm not surrendering to the enemy who wants me to surrender hope. And I'm not surrendering the belief that John will be healed. And so...I hold on to these verses...

Isaiah 40:28-31 - Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

And so...I hope. My hope alone is in Him. I don't get it. I don't understand it. I'd like some answers. I'd like healing to have happened 5 weeks ago, before the first hospital visit. But I hope. I believe. I trust. And God...Teach me to surrender. Thanks for grace when I hold on tightly to my dreams, and for gently prying my hands open and holding on to me as I let go of what I was holding on to. OK God - I surrender my selfishness to you. (ugh...that was hard to write...

All to Jesus, I surrender. All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him - In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to thee, my blessed Savior,I surrender all.
All to Jesus I surrender, humbly at His feet I bow
Wordly pleasures, all forsaken, take me Jesus, take me now.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.


©2009 Until... | by TNB