The season of Lent always stirs up images of entering a desert for me. I am brought back to memories of sitting in our gold van perched in my reclined chair with a pillow as I stared out the car window into the vast abyss of compacted rock forming a sea of brown. I think about the times I’ve been mesmerized by the National Geographic aerial photos, capturing the unseen patterns of the cracked earth worn from years under the piercing sun. The desert can seem mysteriously appealing from afar, yet becomes daunting at the thought of stopping the car, letting go of the security of its protective structure, the comfort of my plush pillow, and willingly walking across the cracked earth to the center of the desert. I imagine willingly following Jesus into a desert. It requires courage to follow Him into the desert, not as a stop along […]
Nearer, my God, to Thee
Over the past couple of weeks as I have been having health issues, I have put together a little prayer area in my bedroom. The space is filled with a “prayer chair,” sticky notes, journals and markers, and paintings for visuals to look up to. When I have not been feeling well, it is hard to pray, or think, or even get up with enough time to spend time with the Lord. Despite those days, this little sanctuary is a daily reminder that His presence never leaves and He is always near. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 At the beginning of the pandemic and into the fall, my prayer time became rich and full as I studied the book Spiritual Disciplines, and spent my early mornings […]
This is my Father’s World
“This Is My Father’s World” is a hymn I was reintroduced to recently, and I have found its words to be calming in the midst of the anxious climate of uncertainties to be found outside my door. This blog is to be posted the Friday before an election that has brought about a great deal of division and disunity during a global pandemic that has also brought about the same. No matter what happens on this earth, the lyrics are a reminder that this is in fact our Father’s world, our future hope is secure in Him, and He is present in the intricate details of the world around us. Maltbie Davenport Babcock not only has a great name, but also wrote the words to this great hymn. Before heading out for evening walks, it is written that he would say, “I’m going out to see my Father’s world.” I […]
Homes To Worship In
I was born in 1990. This means a lot of things: I have The Sandlot and The Princess Bride memorized. I had crushes on Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Sully from Dr. Quinn. I side-stepped most of the boy-band craze by being born into a country music household, but I could sing you Garth Brooks’ whole discography. It also means I use a night cream now. What this meant for my upbringing in the church, though, was I came of age while the church in America was wrestling with “contemporary worship music.” This term has survived for my entire life and can still be found on most church websites when describing their service. Musical worship and service style has probably been a controversial topic since the Reformation, so I don’t want to overplay the rise of Tommy Walker. However, it seems to have been a part of a wider debate in […]
Abide With Me
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16 “Abide in Me,” Jesus says. The words “Abide with Me” to the tune of the hymn have been playing in my mind, over and over again. This season has had many ups and downs. I find that I keep praying for many things or situations to occur or change in my present and in my future when I am realizing the one thing I truly need more of is Jesus. No matter the situation, I need God’s personal presence in every part of my life, and this is a song that pleas for it at the end of every verse–Abide with me. I hope it brings encouragement to you as well. The other evening, I […]
He Has Already Won
Here is another throwback hymn for you! A hymn that has been used often in the past year at my church is “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” by Martin Luther. The words are a powerful force against spiritual warfare and times of trouble. It was not until I sang this song on my worship team that I looked more closely at each word, as it has been so long since I had heard or even thought of this hymn. It has proved to be helpful in times of need. Have you ever been plagued by thoughts at night? Almost every night before I sing on the worship team at my church, I can’t sleep. What happens is inconsistent. Sometimes I will be jolted awake every half hour throughout the night. As I try to fall back asleep, I will ruminate over why I need to be sleeping to be […]
What is your worship style?
A love for music came early in my life. The earliest memories are of a tiny record player, my momma gave me. I was maybe 4 or 5? The base of the record player was white and the top which folded down like a briefcase was light blue with a large, colorful air balloon painted right in the center. Attached to the side of the record player was my favorite piece, a black cord and at the end of it, a microphone.
Have you forgotten you’ve been fully forgiven?
Whenever I used to hear sermons preached for those struggling to believe they’ve been fully forgiven, I zoned out. I’d think, “That used to be me, but not anymore!”
In the Beginnings
As I begin my inaugural blog post for the All the More faithful, so many thoughts run through my head before I feel equipped to begin. Should I type my words out, or write a draft in my journal for a sort of over-romanticized authenticity? When this is posted should I share it, or is that weird and self-promoting? What is a creative process? Is it possible to create meaningful thoughts without past journals to read and reflect on since I failed to bring any of them home for Christmas break? How is the lighting in this room? Do I know how to write? These thoughts, plus one hundred more I will spare you from reading about, fill my brain until I land somewhere quite similar to the ever-wise Calvin:
Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
Here is a hymn that is cherished in my heart. It is written from a singer’s perspective, knowing there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, only Jesus’ grace can give us hope, strengthen our unbelief, comfort us, and heal our hearts when they are broken. I sing this song to myself when times like these arise–sometimes it is hard to find words to pray, but I can repeat this hymn as words in my heart.