Tune-In Tuesday: A Mighty Fortress



Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:
  1. Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
  2. Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song. ***Please use the permalink to your post, not your blog's main site. Because of the specialized nature of this weekly series, any links that are not specifically for Tune-In Tuesday will be deleted.***
  3. Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
  4. Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
  5. And the main thing… worship! :)
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My song this week is A Mighty Fortress by Christy Nockels. Listen below as you read.
 
 
Today I am thankful that He is...
  • a consuming fire, a burning holy flame with glory and freedom
  • the only righteous judge, ruling over us with kindness and wisdom
  • jealous for His own
  • exalted on His throne high above the heavens
  • forever worthy
I'm also thankful that...
  • a mighty fortress is our God
  • a sacred refuge is His name
  • His kingdom is unshakable
  • with Him forever we will reign
And I will keep my eyes on Him... so I can set my heart on Him.






Taking In All The Moments




Wow, there are some good waves today.

At first, I was frustrated about staying in the condo because little man needed a nap. But as I sit here on the balcony watching my family play in the ocean, I have nothing to complain about. Typing away and relaxing with my coffee beside me. Finally some me time.

We have such a special family. See all those people in the picture? That’s them. Right now, the adults are standing around talking at the water’s edge while the kiddos are playing in the shallow surf. Jeffrey is testing a boogie board made for little people, while Katherine is carrying a bucket that is almost as big as she is. Yesterday, we watched baby Josh feel the waves hit his toes for the first time.

I. Am. Blessed.

I’m trying to take in every breath. To enjoy every moment I’m given while we are here this week. Vacation goes so fast. Just like life.

What moments have you been missing out on lately? Stop today and just try to take in every moment. They go away too quickly.


A Simple Twinge {Thankful Thursday}



It was strange. A feeling I didn’t expect. I had just dropped off both kids at school for the first time this year and I felt sad.

This summer was tough. There were times that I wasn’t sure I would make it through. Times when I questioned my ability to be a mother to 3 young children. August couldn’t come soon enough.

I was sure that relief would come over me after I dropped two of the kids off. After all, it was a particularly difficult morning. But inside of me, something else took over. A simple twinge of sadness that said a piece of me was missing. Two of my babies were now inside that big building for the day… for the week… for the school year… for a long time.

I’m glad this emotion took over. Thank You, God, for showing me that I do love my job as Mommy. Thank You for reminding me that my family is my greatest ministry. Thank You for not allowing me to feel relief as silence took over my car.

For this simple twinge of sadness that You gave me, I am grateful.

What are you thankful for today? Link up with us and share.

Thankful Thursday Blog Hop



Welcome to a new weekly event at Grow Where You're Planted! I am excited and honored to be co-hosting a blog hop with voiceBoks! The subject matter of this hop is especially close to my heart, as it is all about being thankful. To link up here, write about what you are thankful for in our lives. Grab the button, read the post below, then link up with us!








Tune-In Tuesday: Captivate Us



Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Here is what we do:

Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

1.      Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
2.      Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song. ***Please use the permalink to your post, not your blog's main site. Because of the specialized nature of this weekly series, any links that are not specifically for Tune-In Tuesday will be deleted.***
3.      Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
4.      Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
5.      And the main thing… worship! :) 

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My song this week is Captivate Us by Watermark. You can listen below and then read on...

I’ve been way too distracted lately. Do you relate with Peter? I do. And every time I "look down at the waves" (or at least when I realize that's what I've been doing), I think of him. My heart’s desire is to be so captivated by Jesus that nothing can pull me away from the path God has for me. 

This song is written straight to His heart. Here are some of the words in the chorus that speak to my heart the most:

Devastate us with Your presence falling down
And rushing river, draw us nearer
Holy fountain consume us with You

Captivate us Lord Jesus, with You

But this is my favorite section of the song:

Let everything be lost in the shadows
Of the light of Your face
Let every chain be broken from me
As I'm bound in Your grace
For Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light
You're full of wisdom, power and might

My prayer is that you and I will allow the chains to fall off. That we will be bound only in His grace. And that we will allow Him to consume us... captivate us... draw us.  Not as a temporary fix, but as a permanent life walk.



 

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The Pride Fight {Potty Training 101}



Her face said it all. The corners of her little mouth turned down… her lower lip poking out a little further than the upper. Red blotches covering her cheeks and forehead. Tears streaming, as her eyebrows angrily formed a V above her nose. Mommy was finally putting her foot down. No more pull-ups.

For months, we have struggled with the potty. Good days and bad days. The bad days dominated by stubbornness and a need to be in control. Hmmm… Katherine is definitely my daughter. She has moments where she fights me with every bit of physical and emotional strength she’s got.

But I love her. With every bit of strength I’ve got.

I guess God often sees me as I described Katherine in the first paragraph. Still fighting  to get my way. Still holding onto my pride. My need for control. My need to have it “my way.” Becoming weaker by the minute.

The pride fight is especially tough for me. Sometimes I think I struggle more than others. Remember The Truman Show? Somewhere in the deepest part of my soul, in the parts of me that I don’t like to examine or talk about, I feel like I am supposed to be Truman. The world is supposed to revolve around me. But that is not who I really want to be. It’s just my selfish human nature. 

My pride gets in the way of so many blessings that God has prepared for me. Somehow I get mixed up, believing that the things I WANT are the blessings God SHOULD want for me. And holding on to those wants is exactly what prevents me from receiving God’s true blessings. I can only find out what He really wants for me when I give it all over.

Sure I have (a lot of) moments where, like Katherine, I fight Him with every bit of physical and emotional strength I’ve got. And in the same way that I love Katherine with everything I’ve got, I’m thankful that…

He loves me. With every bit of strength He’s got.


Tune-In Tuesday: Strong Enough



Welcome to Tune-In Tuesday! If this is your first time visiting on a Tuesday, I hope you will find this as a place to worship together. Here is an explanation of what we do:

Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

1.      Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
2.      Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song.
3.      Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
4.      Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
5.      And the main thing… worship! :) 

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My song this week is Strong Enough by Matthew West. Play the video and listen while you read below.

This song has spoken to me quite a bit lately. At times, life seems overwhelming. Motherhood is a challenge. Life change is a challenge. Depression is a challenge. Strongholds are challenges. I can easily get wrapped up in my own little pity party… and I have for a while.

But I’m seeing light now. In which God is giving me a perspective change… really it’s more like a knock down so that the only way I can look is up. And out...

...to others who have it a lot tougher than I do  ...to others who I just need to love.

God is forcing me to notice once and for all that life on this planet is not about me. And with Him as my strength, I am strong enough to overcome anything that is in my path.

I know I’m not strong enough to be everything that I’m supposed to be; I give up…

WITHOUT God, I am weak. Defeated. But WITH Him, I am strong enough.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength… 

I. Am. Blessed.




Tune-In Tuesday: Christ Is Risen {Come Awake}



It's Tune-In Tuesday again! A day where we meet together to worship. Here is what we do on Tuesdays at Grow Where You're Planted:

Each week, I share about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

1.      Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
2.      Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song.
3.      Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
4.      Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
5.      And the main thing… worship! :)

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Some days, Katherine goes to bed singing… then she wakes up singing. Definitely a music lover to the core. (I have NO idea where she gets that from!!) :o)

These lyrics are some of her favorites… “Christ is risen from the dead. We are one with Him again. Come awake, come awake, come and rise up from the grave.” If you haven’t heard Christ Is Risen by Matt Maher… listen to it below. In fact, play it while you’re reading the rest of this post. Awesome!



One day, Katherine kept singing the same lyrics over and over again. So, I decided to play the whole song for her on my iPhone. For the rest of the day, she asked for it again and again with a big smile… “Play Come Awake, Mommy!” “I want to hear Come Awake!” You know what's funny? Come Awake is not the title of the song. Sometimes I think we should let the kids name the songs.

Think about what the lyrics are saying to us. So often, we remain in our guilt and shame. We take up residence. We dwell on the past. We dwell on the regrets. Yes, I do it. (By the way, if you missed my testimony, you can read it here on my friend Karen’s blog.)

This song has taught me that if I choose to stay in my guilt and shame, I am not doing what God has called me to do. Christ died and rose again so that we would “come awake” and live in the risen mindset. He doesn’t want us to stay dead in our sin… in our shame… in our regret. If we have truly repented, then He is calling us to wake up. To let go of the past and reach FORWARD! In the RISEN life! In Philippians 3:14, Paul calls us to “…press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

If we live defeated lives, we are useless for the kingdom.

How are you doing in the regret area? Have you realized that all of your past sin can now be turned around and used in others’ lives? Do you seek out opportunities for God to use you to help others move out of sinful patterns and lifestyles? Or are you still dwelling on the sin? If we try to forgive ourselves in our own strength, we will just stay in a defeated cycle. But with Christ in control, we can put the sin behind us so that we can come awake and live again. A new life! A new day! A new song!

Oh church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!
Our God is not dead! HE’S ALIVE! HE’S ALIVE! 

We can learn a lot from our kiddos. When I keep my eyes open, our little ones teach me something every day. They view life from an innocent perspective. A point-of-view that we grown-ups sometimes miss because of the doubt, regret, and fear in our lives. I'm thankful that God used our little girl to remind me to come awake!

Your turn! :) Don't have a blog? No worries... Just comment below. Thanks for stopping by.




The Wave




Panic must have swept over my mom as the wave pummeled me from the safety of my raft. I was only about 5 years old at the time, and very independent. The mission in my oh-so-young mind was to test boundaries, and the ocean was no exception. This day was not one for venturing only to where the waves lapped over my toes. It was a day to go a little further.

All I knew was that I was spinning over and over again. I couldn’t pull myself out and I couldn’t get a foot on the ground either. With each flip, I drank in too much warm salt water and lost more breath from my body. I was scared. Petrified really. At that moment, I would have given away my independence just to hold my mom’s hand.

Then suddenly someone reached in and grabbed me. A friend pulled me out of the water just in time to catch my breath. As I sank into the sea-covered sand, I felt grateful.

32 years later… that day still comes to mind from time to time. It really hit me yesterday that my spinning wave was a cycle, one that I couldn’t pull myself out of. I needed someone to grab me and pull me out. Not the most fun realization for an I-can-do-it-myself type.

So here I am… getting close to 40. Still stuck in my pet cycle. The one that I have dealt with since I can remember. It has led to lots of little sub-cycles. One of those sub-cycles caused me to be unfaithful to my husband, and still creates struggles in my thought life. Another sub-cycle causes me to give up when I don’t feel like I’m good enough. The sub-cycles go on and on, but they all come back to the mama cycle: insecurity and doubt. Insecurity about myself. Doubt that God will take care of me. They keep me spinning.

But you know what? I’m tired of senseless effort. Only God can reach in and pull me out from under this wave. I can keep wrestling for the rest of my life, but my foot will never be able to get hold of the ground. And He doesn’t want it to. He simply wants me to stop fighting and let Him pull me out.

So what about you? Do you have a pet cycle that you’ve been fighting? Are you ready to let God pull you out?

Tune-In Tuesday: Draw Me Nearer



Once again, it is Tune-In Tuesday! A day where we meet together to worship. Here is what we do on Tuesdays at Grow Where You're Planted:

Each week, I share and write about a song that God is using in my life. One that is speaking to me in whatever season I may be going through. The invitation is for you to jump in and do it, too! Here are the steps:

1.      Pick a song that is especially meaningful for you at this time in your life and write about it. Really think about the lyrics… and let them change you.
2.      Link up here using the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Use the name of your song as the title of your link. (If you haven’t done this before, feel free to email me with questions.) If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment sharing your song.
3.      Visit other people’s blogs and worship with them.
4.      Spread the word. Grab the button in the left column and add it to your post. That way, others can link up, as well. Tweet about it… Try to get others in on the conversation.
5.      And the main thing… worship! :)

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My song today is Draw Me Nearer by Meredith Andrews. Listen to it below and then read on...


Our family has recently been battling spiritual warfare. Some days are harder than others. I am coming to some ugly realizations about myself. Painful. But God is trying to break me of some need-to-be-broken habits. Along with some extremely sinful attitudes. Again, painful.

As I was running last night, this song came on my Pandora station. It hit me pretty hard that if I don't let HIM draw me nearer, I'm always going to be searching. Not that I didn't already know this. I'm the good church girl, right? How many times have I responded with "I know" when confronted with a truth. But my very wise hubby has always told me that until something becomes a revelation, real change won't come. (See Babe, I do listen.) :) Hopefully, this time it's all sinking in.

So, now all I want is for God to draw me to Him. To pull me away from the shell of myself that will never be complete until He fills it with Himself. He has been tugging at me for a long time, yet I've blinded myself to the goodness He wants for me... and for my family.

As I ache today, only from self-inflicted pain, this song is ministering to me. I hope it will minister to you, as well. The answer to all of our heartache, pain, sorrow, guilt, frustration, tears, anger, and everything else in between is found in letting Him draw us near.

Your turn. What song is God using in your life right now?

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