Monday, July 29, 2013

Jesus in Disguise

Last Tuesday I had the awesome opportunity to go with my friend Erin to see Amy Grant and Brandon Heath in concert, as well as spend a little bit of time talking to them beforehand. And when I say it was awesome, that is an understatement. I will freely admit that I was completely star-struck.

While I'd like to think that I appeared cool, calm and collected despite what I was actually feeling, I doubt that was completely true.

Here is how I am hoping it went down:

Me: "I enjoy your music. Oh yeah, I've heard World War Z is a great movie and that will be the perfect way to escape the heat."  See I got this; I'm totally not phased by meeting someone I hear on the radio every day.

To onlookers: "That woman looks so calm and relaxed, she must meet famous people just about every day because she carries on a conversation like a PRO." 

How I'm sure it really went down:

Me: "I know who you are; I listen to your music ALL the time."  Awkward pause when I cannot call to mind a title of any song.  OMG! I am meeting Amy Grant and Brandon Heath. I'm right now chatting with a famous singer, someone who has been nominated for a GRAMMY. 5. TIMES! Yep, that's right 5 times, and now I'm here chatting about the day like it ain't no thang. What is something really cool to say? Why CAN I NOT REMEMBER  the name of a single song! I hope I don't have anything stuck in my teeth. Why do I sound like a teenage girl in my head?!

How I probably looked to everyone around me: "Why does she kind of look like she might pass out any second. She is definitely giggling like a teenage groupie and has not stopped smiling the entire time."

Looking at the ear to ear grin on my face in the picture; I'm strongly thinking that it was the second of the two scenarios that took place, lol. Oh well, at least I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been tongue tied when meeting someone famous.

Besides being silly and star-struck beforehand, the concert itself was a fun and uplifting experience. Amy Grant sang some of her newer stuff as well as some of her old hits. Having grown up listening to her music, I think I knew just about every song.

There was some great worship music thrown in the mix, and throughout the night I was reminded of how truly blessed I am. I am very fortunate to have Erin for a friend and I know that if life hadn't taken the turn it did a few years ago, her and I would not be nearly as close. I am always amazed how God weaves stories together and brings the right people in your life at the right time. Although the story of how Erin knows Amy Grant isn't my personal story to tell, it is another example of how God can set things in motion in ways we never imagined in order to show us His love for us.

One of the songs performed was Jesus in Disguise. It was a reminder of the fact that Jesus works through others to show His love, as well as a reminder that we need to be His love to those around us. There is a line that is repeated:

"So open my eyes wide as I can, blind as I am. Jesus in disguise."

I want that to be one of the prayers of my heart; that my eyes are open to all that He is doing in and around me and that I can also be a reflection of His love for others.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Own Smallness

I was in Tahoe two weeks ago for work and was able to snag a little down time to enjoy all of the amazing scenery. I've grown up visiting this jewel of the Sierra Nevada, and yet every visit still leaves me awestruck. When I come upon views where the lake's brilliant blues seamlessly merge with the deep blues of the sky, I close my eyes and feel this is one of those lovely places where heaven really does meet earth.

On my second evening, I snuck out after our dinner and drove along the lake's shore, stopping often to take pictures. I had planned this evening to myself knowing that friends were joining me soon and the remainder of the weekend would be busy and filled with a lot of socializing.

At one point I pulled over and hiked down a bit to get a better view. The sun bathed the trees and shore in warm light and I felt myself smiling. I was completely alone in the tucked away outlet, which isn't something I always enjoy because I love being social and having the company of others, but this aloneness was different. It was peaceful. The thick silence wasn't even broken by the sound of cars driving by.

I was yet again reminded of my own smallness, which is something that has come up a lot in the last few months. I often try to tune in and pay attention when I feel that God is showing me the same thing again and again.  We live in a society where there is the constant drive to always be bigger and better.

But maybe instead we should delight in our smallness. In recognizing that about myself I am allowing God to be bigger. I am no longer striving to be better than the person next to me, but I am able to rest in God's greatness. And when I see that it is His greatness at work, than all I need to do is ask God how He will use that through me.

I stayed out until the last bit of sunlight was gone, reluctant to leave behind all the beauty I was seeing. With not a cloud in the sky during the day, the sunset's colors were soft and subtle. A gentle whisper of the beauty of His creation.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Camping Sky

We couldn't figure out exactly what direction the sun was going to set behind the mountains and trees we were camping among, so we decided to simply head down to the lake and see what views we might catch of the setting sun. I was not disappointed with the beauty being displayed as the clouds and sky changed from a brilliant blue to dusty rose, soft orange and buttery yellow.

Soon the sun dipped out of sight and the sky became blanketed with a thousand tiny, twinkling stars.  There is nothing quite like the stars when camping. Their light isn't obscured by city lights, allowing them to brilliantly illuminate the dark canvas of night. I look up and I am left amazed and aware of my own smallness.

You might have noticed that I may just be wildly in love with and mildly obsessed with the sky. However, in my defense, my draw to it lies in the fact that when I stand there and take in the grandeur, I am always left in awe. Every time I see a sky splashed with the colors of a sun setting or rising, or a thousand stars dancing across the night sky, I recognize that the creator of all of these things loves me. He who is big enough to set the stars in motion and put mountains in place; He loves me in my weaknesses, in my strengths, in the moments I get it right and in the moments I get it wrong.

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?
Psalm 8: 3-4
The day to day of life can be difficult, busy or mundane, and it can be easy to get caught up in the routine and lose sight of the joy and love offered in our Creator. But when I can stop and notice something like this great expanse we call the sky turn a hundred different shades - a sight more beautiful than any painting - I am reminded of how much more there is to this life. 


Friday, July 5, 2013

Soaking Up the Sun and the Freedom

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th of July. We soaked up the sun; delighting in the hot weather and cherishing the time with dear friends.  We splashed in the pool, enjoyed delicious food fresh off of the BBQ and played hard until the little ones finally crashed from exhaustion. There were wrinkled toes and fingers from hours spent in the pool. There were sticky, chocolate smeared smiles enjoying ice cream cones. There was laughter and contentment. There was the comfort of being exactly who you are with friends you've known since childhood and the fun of meeting new people.

It was a day filled with happy moments and an overall sense of delight. A day of celebration of the freedom we can so often taken for granted.

It is also a reminder for me of the freedom I have in Christ and for that I am truly thankful. So while today is Friday and Thursday just flew by from start to finish; I am taking a moment to be thankful for the freedoms I am offered in my savior:
  1. The freedom to enjoy my life right now, as it is, knowing that He is in control.
  2. The freedom of not facing my fears alone and a God who replaces them with trust and faith.
  3. Freedom from my past mistakes.
  4. Freedom to change who I am and to become the woman He designed me to be through His continual work in me.
  5. The freedom of knowing that my future is already determined.
  6. Freedom to be comfortable in my own skin, knowing that I was designed with a purpose.
  7. Freedom from worry.
I am constantly reminded that because of what He did for me; there is freedom and joy in this life as I surrender it all to Him.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17