Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sweet Revenge

I remember the first time I tasted Vanilla.  My mom used to bake with us often, and the sweet aroma that floated from the bottle when the cover was removed was tempting.  We always begged to taste it, but mom would say no.  "You won't like it"

Being young, we thought that was crazy.  How could something that smelled so sweet and delicious taste bad?

One day, she relented.  She poured some in a teaspoon, and had us dip our fingers in the dark, sweet, goodness.  We put our fingers in our mouth, and looks of disgust spread across our faces.  Mama was right...of course.

Whenever I think about the bitterness of Vanilla, I think of life, and anger, and forgiveness.

I have been asked how I forgive the pain in my past. How I move on, and how I let go.

It's because at one point...I didn't.

For ten years, I kept a secret to myself.  Keeping the secret was the first time I remember lying.
I held in frustration and confusion, and gained severe anxiety..attempting to protect others from it.   When things finally came to light, I didn't forgive.

Because vengeance, and anger, and hatred, and bitter feelings are easier.  Because that is what comes naturally to our fleshly, worldly self.  We are in the world, and the world says to hold onto that anger, and to let it feed you.  The idea of anger, and bitter feelings was sweet smelling, and I thought it would be good.  I thought that drinking from it's sweet darkness was going to give me the relief I needed...but once it touched my tongue, I knew that would never be the case.

But I didn't leave it.  I kept going back to that sweet aroma...hoping that maybe the next time I tried it, it would taste better.  It never is.

And when I finally decided that there must be a better way, that something has to help relieve that anger and frustration..I 'stumbled' across Ephesians 4:31-32

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with ever form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, even as God, in Christ forgave you.

And you wonder how you let it all go.

Forgiveness is less like vanilla, and more like the cupcakes.  They take time to mix up, they take time to bake, but when they are finally finished, and you sink your teeth into that sweet goodness, it's delicious, and it was worth the effort that you put into it in the first place.

Sometimes, the anger comes back, and I let the bitterness take over...but I'm quickly reminded that it isn't worth it.

God forgives the dirtiness in me. I have sin too. I have hurt people too. Yet God still loves.

Though I am unworthy, He still loves me.

I am not above anybody else.  I don't deserve forgiveness more than anybody else.  My sin isn't less ugly then anybody else.  Why should I judge someone, and have bitter feelings toward someone, just because they sin differently then I do.

So, let it go. Forgive. Taste the sweetness that it brings.

Secured tightly in His grip,


Friday, September 20, 2013

There Will Always Be Spring

The Leaves, they are changing.

There is a distinct difference between the smell of fresh cut grass in the spring, and the smell of fresh cut grass in the fall.
It's all around me. I can feel it whenever I go outside.
Fall is coming.

I used to despise fall, mostly because I despise winter, and since fall comes before winter, it's natural to despise it as well.

This year however, I've been looking forward to it.  Waiting for the beauty of the colorful mountains and the crisp cool nights.

Winter always comes. In the seasons, and in life.  You can pretty much count on it.

I used to not enjoy the warms seasons of life, because I was too worried about the cold seasons that might pop up.  I was constantly worried about the winter, and not enjoying the beauty of everything in between.

I've learned that it doesn't matter whether it's summer or winter.  Jesus is there. He's painting a beautiful masterpiece in the mountains, and He's writing the book that is my life.

I can't praise him for the beautiful parts, and be angry at him for the hard parts.

All I see is what's placed right in front of me, He see's the whole picture.  He knows the path He's leading me on.

When the sharp winds blow, I can feel him whisper in the breeze. "My love, spring is coming"

And I cling to Him. 

Because even when it hurts, when the cold air is stinging my cheeks. He's there to shield the wind.

And I stay in the warmth of my Saviors arms. 

Spring is coming. 

Secured Tightly in His Grip,


I was raised in the church

I hear people talk about how they were raised in the church.  I was too.  My small church, was a major part of my life.  A group of people that quickly becomes your family.  Family that is there in all aspects of life when you need them to be.

I've known these people since I was too young to even remember going to church.  For 24 years they were a solid part of my life. Teaching me about the love of Jesus, Teaching me to make him my lighthouse through all the dark storms life brings.

The first time I remember being in church was when I was around 3.  I was sitting in 'big people church' swinging my feet underneath my very own chair with a picture bible in my lap.  Every time the pastor would say to turn to another verse, I would flip my pages to another story.  Just to copy the grown ups.

I remember all of the kids and the pastor forming a giant circle up front during worship service.  We'd sing along to all the songs, turning around and around in circles.

My church family helped to teach me about the love of Jesus.  They had a hand in my eventual acceptance of Him, and my repentance.

They were there through hard times, praying with me.

They were family. A big family full of love, encouragement, laughter, and  hearts for Jesus.

Here I learned about my true love of music.  For 9 and a half years I sat at my piano, leading worship.

When I left just under a year ago, I was worried about finding a new church. I didn't go anywhere for a month, because I was that nervous.

I didn't want to be an outsider, infiltrating another family.

But, when I was invited to a church, I couldn't say no.

So I went.

More nervous than going to the doctors as a six year old, knowing you were going to get shots.

But, I went

I've been there every Sunday since.

Sometimes I sing with the worship team.
Either way, every Sunday, I get to sing praises to my Savior with a congregation that loves Him too.
To worship Him, and to thank him for never letting me go.

Sometimes I still ache for my 'Family'. The people who helped me grow in Jesus, that helped me understand Him, and helped me grow in Him. They planted seeds, and watered them, so I now have solid roots in Him.

I still ache for the summer picnics, and the smell of food cooking in the crockpots for lunch after service.  For planning worship music and sitting behind my piano, giving it all to Jesus. For laughter and deep conversations, or for laughter and pointless conversations.
For familiarity.

Every week, as the months have gone on, new things become familiar and my roots continue to grow deeper in the Rock that is my Savior.

It's a new family, and a lot of change.

But, I know one day my kids will be there with me, kicking their little feet under the chairs with their picture bible, copying the grown ups.

Secured Tightly in His Grip,