Impromptu Worship

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This morning I was feeling a little giddy about sweeping my kitchen floor.

“What’s that, you say?!?”

Yes, I was feeling happy that I could actually sweep any floor at all.

For those who have ever put your back out, you know exactly what I’m sayin’! It’s a Hallelujah-moment when you can move and twist your body in blessed normality after a week of suffering through the pain of just walking across the room. If sitting in a chair was a bear then standing still in one place was a grizzly. Made me act like one, too. (Actually, I think I held up pretty good. If you ask my husband he may testify to this…I think.)

All I can say is…Thank You, Jesus, for takin’ my pain away and strengthening the muscles in my back once again! I can actually breathe with a huge sigh of relief.

My house has been sorely neglected the past week and a half, so today I’m attempting to do a little house cleaning.  There I was…in the middle of sweeping my kitchen floor with some I Love Lucy dvds on the telly to keep me company…when all of a sudden, my spirit began singing,

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature, O Thou of God and man the Son;

Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor, Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown. 

When was the last time I heard this song? I have no idea, but this heart of mine has a lot stored up from days of my youth. Years of Sunday School, Bible study, Scripture memorization, and listening to the words of the old hymns of faith week after week have left an imprint on my soul I just can’t wash away.

It’s such a beautiful thing.

Oh, Jesus, You’re my soul’s glory, joy, and crown! 

Anyways, I stopped sweeping right in mid-swipe and went to retrieve my hymnal. After checking the index I sat in a chair and sang all 4 verses. Before I knew it, the tears were flowing and I am…well, what am I? I guess I just love it when my heart sings.

It occurred to me that I’ve had several moments of impromptu worship the past couple of weeks in spite of the fact that my ordinary life has encountered some unordinary circumstances. Like putting my back out. Like learning to keep myself moving in spite of the physical pain. Like making myself do things that my body screamed NOT to do. Like learning how to focus on doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Because I think it becomes extraordinary whenever we have to make changes in the way we normally do things to accommodate the abnormal.

Can I just say? Sometimes I think my whole life has been learning how to accommodate my ‘abnormalities.’ In fact, I’ll tell you the honest-to-goodness truth. When I found out I had a brain tumor back in 2002 and the doctor told me there was a very good chance I might lose ALL of my hearing in my left ear I actually said, “Well maybe God has been preparing me for this my entire life!”

Since I was born with hereditary, degenerative hearing loss I learned early on how to read lips fairly well. Not perfectly but well. It was such an amazing thing for me to realize that losing my hearing completely would not mean the end of the world.

Glory-Hallelujah!

I just love how God gets in a plain ol’ ordinary day. I love how He stops me in the middle of sweeping a dirty kitchen floor and calls me to worship. I love how He stopped me in the middle of a painful day just last week and called me to worship in spite of the pain. He sang to me that day, too. (You can read about that on my Facebook Page, Reflections On The Word.)

See, God gets in the middle of my messy days, no matter what. Whether I’m cleaning my messy house with Lucy Ricardo making messes on the tv screen or I’m pacing my house praying my little heart out fighting waves of panic and fear for those I love, I just love how God stirs my heart to stop and worship.

How can I not cherish and honor the One who has captured my soul with the light of His glory, the wonder of His joy, and the beauty of a crown on my wrinkled brow?

To focus praise on Jesus in the messiness of life is worship.

He is the fairest of them all. I guess my spirit just responds to that and my heart just had to stop and tell Him. So sing I did…

Fair are the meadows, Fairer still the woodlands, Robed in the the blooming garb of spring;

Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing.*

And this woeful heart cannot be woeful forever when Jesus gives me a song to sing.

*(Fairest Lord Jesus, Anonymous German hymn, source unknown)

Princesses Don’t Whine

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I remember the first time I realized I was a whiner. Yes. I remember. I remember distinctly where I was and what I was doing. It was 35 years ago and I was fussing about something (the something is what I canNOT remember).

Seriously…when I fuss it can be quite comical. Animated. Hands flying everywhere. The facial expressions, the body language…goodness, now that I think about it, it’s quite exhausting.

The one who was listening patiently to my rant waited for a pause, looked me right in the face and said, “Can I have some cheese with that whine?”

I stood there with this ridiculously dumb look on my face, I’m sure, and replied, “Excuse me?”

I didn’t get it and she didn’t bother to explain herself.

Isn’t it funny how I’ve never forgotten that? Maybe it’s not suppose to be funny, but as age and wisdom have grown on me it now brings a smile to my face. What does God think of my whining? I’m at this place in my walk with the Lord where I picture Him hanging His mighty head and shaking it back and forth while He declares to His Son who sits at His right hand, “Here she goes again.”

Lord, have mercy.

Whining is something the good Lord and I have battled with for a long time. Some habits are hard to break. It takes persistence, perseverance, and patience. It takes the power of God.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation, in which you shine among them like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.”  Philippian 2:14-16

I am a child of God. As His child, one of His greatest desires is for me is be conformed to the image of His Son and Jesus didn’t whine or complain or grumble. His Spirit will forever work in me as much as I give Him control, as much as I rely on His power and strength, as much as I depend upon Him…I can become like Jesus, not because I have to, but because I want to.

And Jesus shines not whines. He lights up the world. He radiates. Like a star in the nighttime sky, He glows. He sparkles.

Whining extinguishes the light of Jesus within me. Whining robs me of my joy, but here’s the clicker…

whining has the potential to steal the joy right out of every single person I unload it on.

Sweet Jesus, who wants to eat my whine, for crying out loud?!? For all the cheese lovers out there, I don’t care what your favorite cheese is, I don’t think there’s any kind in the world that will improve the taste of a whine, no matter how animated it is.

The book of Philippians is often referred to as the “book of joy.” It’s the underlying theme in all 4 chapters of this tiny book: joy in suffering, joy in serving, joy in believing, joy in giving…these are the chapter titles in my New International Version of the Bible. In chapter 2, Paul reminds us of the joy Christ had in serving people and He’s reminding us that we’re to imitate His example in serving others. He reminds us,

“…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” verse 12

Immediately following is the admonition to “do everything without complaining and arguing.” 

The life of a child of God is a high calling. It comes with a responsibility to grow up in our faith. Becoming more like Jesus is a work in progress. A journey. A progression. Because of Christ’s love for me and because of His example, I want to grow up in my faith. I want to accept the responsibility that comes with a continuous work to change the parts of me that don’t shine, that don’t radiate, that don’t sparkle. That means I want Jesus to have His way in me. I want Him to change me, to make me more like Him. I can’t do it on my own. I need the Holy Spirit’s power within me.

I want to act like the princess I am as a child of the King…

…and princesses, as part of their royal heritage, are called to serve. Before a princess can even rule as a queen, she must first be trained, taught, even tested. A princess learns to lead by example by watching and learning from those who have gone before her. A princess learns to love her people. She learns early in life that to be royal means accepting responsibilities that come with her position. It means the eyes of the world will be on her. She has to understand her calling.

The eyes of the whole world may not be on me, but in the little part of the world where God has planted my feet I want to shine like a star. I want to let God work in me so that He can work through me. That’s why I persist, persevere, and patiently depend upon the power of God to change me.

When I take my dogs out for one last potty run at the end of every day, I realize how very blessed I am to live in the country. When there are no clouds in the sky, I look up and find myself in awe of the stars in a vast expanse of darkness. The darkness doesn’t seem so dark because the stars really do sparkle and shine. It’s a happy feeling. One of joy. I’m reminded that I’m to shine just like that.

I may still stumble and fall as I work out my salvation, I may still succumb to bad habits on occasion, I may still throw my hands around and fuss every now and then, but I think the whining becomes less and less as time goes by. As I give Jesus control, as I depend upon His power, as I learn from His example, as I accept my responsibility to grow up in my faith, I learn to shine like a star.

I picture God lifting up His mighty head and nodding it up and down declaring to His Son who sits at His right hand, “Do you see that? She’s getting it! I’ll have some delight with that shine!”