playlist

Mmm let these melodies sink into your soul. They are like medicine to mine. Some of them are straight from the Good Book and others sound more like foreigners, but each is part of what keeps me singing and I thought I’d share with you.

Here is an album I’m really excited to get to know more. Songs for the Book of Luke is an album “by the church, for the church” and it accompanies the Gospel Coalition’s National Conference in Florida coming up in April.

This is a song I like to sing to chase fear away. Maybe it will help chase some of yours away, too.

Sometimes it gets dark, real dark… and you forget that the night is followed by morning. Well, I forget that God has promised dawn – a bright and beautiful dawn in the work of Christ and it is sealed in our hearts. This is for those times when I need to be reminded.

And this is for those days when you just feel like you need…. more time.

And these…. these are just for fun.

praise is what we do when…

This day is a doozy – a still-in-process and not-quite-done-yet, full on doozy.

This is exactly the kind of day that is in need of serious praise. On days like these I like to call in old standards. You know? The classic kind that just settles deep and reminds you that your heart cannot run ahead of the Spirit’s rhythm.

Actually, I think the reminder is more that I shouldn’t want to run anywhere but here – in the middle of the Spirit’s metronome, singing the doxology.

Because praise is what we do when we remember that God is faithful and true and a keeper of promises. Praise is what we do when we believe God is full of grace extending out and covering this moment as well as the next.

Praise is what we do when our lives try to run ahead of the Spirit’s rhythm because praise dances in step to His grace.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow on this, the second day of Spring!

let LOVE fly like crAzY

shaken and stirred

Kris Orlowski is not in the indie/folk Nashville crowd I usually electronically network to mine for new melodies, but maybe that’s why I’m hooked to his arrangements.

They are not simple – they didn’t just accidentally happen in someone’s garage (nothing against spontaneously inspired music in the middle of the night after friends reunite). These notes are artfully placed – pulled by strings and strums and voices and drums.

Maybe I’m just in that kind of place where music has more sway, maybe I am vulnerable to greater affection. Maybe. But maybe we are designed for such affections to stir us awake. Maybe we are far too easily pleased with the aesthetic menu of the top 40.

I think it’s more than maybe.

I know, not everyone feels a shift in his or her soul at the same sound, it would be silly to expect such a thing in a world with so many glorious differences. But, I do think we were created with a soul that senses beauty and greatness and … well, the fingerprints of the Creator in this created world.

When we have those moments of sight or sound or touch, I think our soul is shaken out of the far too easily pleased rut to desire more of the best the Creator offers. The beauty and earthly glory in music is a signpost that awakens my heart and points to what is most beautiful. Lesser things start to sound flat and dull and pale.

My musical preferences may not be for everyone, but I do believe God is inviting my soul into wakefulness to appreciate what He has made beautiful when the world settles for far lesser things.

This past weekend, I heard the acoustic version of this new song by Leeland and the story of how the song came about. The original words were penned by Lawrence Tribble in the 1700s after he was inspired by the famous preacher George Whitefield (more here) who preached revival during America’s Great Awakening with Jonathan Edwards.

Are we ready to be awake again?

Here are some of my new favorites, shaking my soul from its “too easily pleased” stupor.

Kris Orlowski – All My People
Myles O’Mainnian – Incandescently Happy
Cody Fry – Underground
Sea Wolf – Old Friend

What music shakes YOUR soul into wakefulness?

and the nightmares and monsters

…and your biggest fears seem lightyears away, no they won’t find you here.

This saturday feels like a sigh I’m not afraid to sink into.

There’s a lot of rushing that happens Monday-Friday, even if we don’t admit to being in the race. At about 6 o’clock Friday night after my last appointment, I started sinking – the good kind of sinking.

I have this crazy determination that there won’t be moments or days or phases of my life that I have to hold my breath to get through. You know the kind – where you play, “Just get through it” over and over in your mind. Maybe you fix your eyes on the end of the tunnel and haul out in a full-on sprint?

Do you know the moments and days and phases I’m talking about?

Well, I never want to hold my breath because I believe there is grace enough to breathe in every moment. There is grace enough to take deep breaths and conquer fear and worry and pain even while I’m stuck inside all of it.

That said, 6 o’clock yesterday was like the perfect breeze. It was extra grace – more space to smile and laugh and stretch my hands out to feel the motion. And the nightmares and monsters of the weekday grind fade for a little bit while the weekend happens.

There is a special kind of grace that allows for us to rest.
This is the grace of my saturday sigh and I’m not one bit afraid to sink into it – that place where those weekday things seem lightyears away.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

a tree I’ll grow

I had a no-show today and it’s tearing me up.

How can you just not show up to see your little baby girl? What is more important?

I’m shaking off my judgments and getting a good helping of humanity today – the unfinished, raw, and unruly kind of humanity. We are all capable of this, we are.

Still, it’s tearing me up.

This is the love I wish all the children could crawl into – the kind that never leaves and always stays, the kind of love that is older and stronger than this breath of life, the kind of love that has roots deep like a tree.

I don’t know who this song is sung to, but I’m singing it today.

Sometimes melodies are just better than plain words.

 

like magic

Everyone warned me – these kids were going to go ballistic when they left their mom.

My heart melted a little bit when the little guy practically raced into my arms at daycare; it was like he knew where we were headed. We gathered up all the day’s things (and mercy! the day has so many papers and mittens and shoes and stray toys) and then we gathered sister and got into the car.

I had been told they didn’t do well in the car, especially little Mr. Man. But apparently the other folks didn’t know the secret. The little fusses almost immediately died down when we set out on the road and I cranked the tunes.

It was like magic.

I saw heads bopping and I think I heard a few notes floating around in the backseat, too. We got into a groove, those kiddos and me. I finger played my steering wheel like animal on the drum and that was a big hit. Sister shouted accounts of the day’s events while brother cooed and I multi-tasked my prayers for safety and peace and joy and the classic “help!” And we made it. We pulled up still friends with dry faces.

After the visit with mom, we gathered all the day’s things once again (how they can get multiplied and strewn about, I do not know) and I braced myself for the breakdown. I had been warned that it would get apocalyptic up in my car once they said goodbye. I got quiet and let the farewells fill all the space in the air. Mom loves these littles, of that I am sure.

They got belted in my backseat and there was a moment we just kind of teetered there on the cliff. Would we fall over that edge and spend the car ride in apocalypse freefall or would we fly instead?

The music accompanied our ascent and we sang all the way home.

It was like magic.

Why is this round trip car ride so significant? Does it deserve to be published into anonymity on the internet? I say yes and let me tell you why.

These little ones have had life ripped out from under them like a rug. Everything familiar and everything “home” is no longer true – it’s all turned upside down. Nothing is as it should be and no one makes sense when they try to explain it to their sweet little souls.

And then they get into my car and I get overwhelmed at the moments we share. What do I say? How do I pour out dump trucks of love when they are belted in the backseat and we only have 30 minutes? How do I become someone familiar?

I’ve never been so thankful for Christian radio in my life. We sing, I drum, they hum, and we all bop our heads to the sound of truth making melody.

The reality is I don’t know. I just don’t know how to make them believe they are precious and all this mix up isn’t their fault. I don’t know how to tell them that their little people world is turned upside down because some big people made bad choices. I don’t know how to make them understand there is a God who made them, loves them, and wants to be known by them.

And so we sing.
And I pray with broken heart that the truth sinks in: Jesus loves them and keeps every promise He makes.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy


Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout Your name in victory
When we love, when we love the least of these
When we love the least of these

Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around
These are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

If not us, who will be like Jesus
To the least of these
If not us tell me who will be like Jesus
Like Jesus to the least of these

**As part of my job, I regularly supervise interactions between children and parents with the hope that they can be reunified after the issues have been resolved.

I don’t know, it’s pretty dark out there…

When you can’t find a match to light the flame, sing.
When the rain refuses to let your fledging flicker burn, sing.
When the darkness is thick and the sunrise far-off, sing.

Soon enough, your heart will sing in sync and Truth will push out lies. Soon enough, despair will be displaced and death will be defeated no matter how deep it has settled into your bones.

Truth always wins.

Always.

And when the darkness creeps back in to whisper your heart into doubting, “I don’t know, it’s pretty dark out there…”

Truth still always wins, even when doubt whispers otherwise.

Truth is a fire that doesn’t go out.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

oh, how I need You

Today, I need my Savior because there is nothing else to need. Sometimes that need looks like a monster and sometimes it looks like a paper airplane and sometimes it looks like a hideaway. But, it’s always there – my need.

Today I am reminded that all I need is Christ and all I can give is Christ.

Words fail and the world falls apart and I need.
I need, I need, I need.

And the world aches with need, too.

for the beauty of the earth

I keep being drawn into an Amen! during this season and “for the beauty of the earth” seems like a good way to be in agreement. Though the title sounds like the hymn just for hippies, the verses all lead to the chorus which goes like this,

Lord of all to Thee we raise
this our hymn of thankful praise

Here are some amen moments from recently.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy