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Monthly Archives: November 2011

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Simple Praise

I sit in awe as he ponders life from the bed in which he heals.  A stroke put him here, and it’s not been easy.  Unyielding, in fact.  For the breaking of a man is never painless.  And the breaking of this man, especially.

I prayed for him as a schoolgirl who wanted to know she would see her grandpa in heaven someday.  The prayers never stopped.  Thirty some years I prayed for his spirit, for his faith in Jesus Christ.  Many of those years I wondered, not knowing, only hoping.  But praying just the same.

I sit with him now and marvel at his spirit.  The faith that God has sparked in him.  The depth of genuine sincerity with which he now expresses his care about the deep things of life and the searching of the soul.  I love this man so dearly.

And I catch myself surprised at God’s very real answer to my thirty-year prayer.

Thank you, God!

That Almighty Maker of Men and Healer of Broken would hear my cries and finally answer simply stuns me.  I am honored to know this God.  I am honored to know this man.  And now they know each other.

And a simple answer to the simple but long lasting prayer of my heart inspires a certain praise in my soul that will quite literally last much longer than the 30-years from which it came.

From the depths of my being, my soul cries out astounded gratitude.  But the only three words I can get my mouth to form are quite simply

Thank You, God!

Inspired Praise, part 2

The quiet today starts in my belly.  Or my heart, I’m not sure.  It’s a quiet that God has been whispering lately to my soul.  An inner peace that somehow works against the loud of life, even in its roar.

He whispers in the praise we sing out from our hearts in worship on Sunday.  He whispers as He shows me a leaf dancing across the street, moving to the beat of the autumn wind.  He whispers in the early morning laughter of my little girls with their daddy and the warmth of my coffee mug.  He instills quiet in my soul even through the ebb and flow of to-do lists and deadlines.

He whispers small and tranquil and faithful.  He quiets my soul with His message of the still.  And my soul, though quiet, overflows with the praise He inspires.

Inspired Praise, part 1

The dark descends earlier than I’m used to this week.  Change has fallen.  Fall has changed.  As the dusk moves in over the trees through the sparse gray clouds that hover to the west and the east and over my head, I look to my left and feel my heart skip a beat.  My breath stops momentarily, and I struggle to keep my eyes on the road that takes us home from piano lessons and the busy of the day.  As I drive through the end of my busy, the moon drives away the daytime with a light of its own.  It ushers awe straight into my soul.

And I praise the One Who formed the orb and put it right there for me to see tonight.  How can I not?  He knows the sometimes dark in my soul.  The often fear.  The stress.  The very God Who lit the moon, lightens my heart with the same power and love.  He uses the rhythm of the day to regulate the rhythm of my soul in this crazy season that is my life lately.

I pull into the driveway and run to my camera.  I want to capture the beauty, the purity of the light against the almost-dark.  And I think of Ann Voskamp who chased the moon and found 1,000 Gifts for which to thank God.  And my Canon Sureshot doesn’t do it any justice.  I can’t capture the glory of the moment with my lens.  So I hold onto the moment with my soul instead.

And He inspires praise with the end of a day and the quiet of a moment.

Thanking God tonight for the praise He inspires and the quiet He gives.

Thanksgiving Preparations

It’s become an unplanned tradition.  I wake on Thanksgiving morning and start to think about all the things I’m thankful for.  But then the turkey gets served and the corn casserole constructed, and the Cool Whip drowns the pumpkin pie as we pause for a lovely and thoughtful Thanksgiving prayer and my pants get tighter.

Then I remember again the things for which I am so grateful. My family.  Our health.  The fact that God involves Himself in our daily stuff.  His goodness.  Our home.  The beauty of Creation.  Friends.

The day passes before Christmas spirit starts to buzz and cards get signed and pictures taken and pens cross off lists that quickly reproduce.  Then suddenly I find myself in the middle of December trying to remember what I was thinking when I agreed to work the Santa store at school and participate in the cookie exchange at Bible study, not to mention planning my December 28th birthday girl’s party.  And, what the heck am I gonna’ get to fill my kids’ stockings?  And the beauty of Thanksgiving is lost in the crazy of December so the worth of Christmas becomes somehow cheap at best.

But what if Thanksgiving were to usher in the Christmas spirit altogether differently?  What if the turkey started the gratitude instead of ending it?  What if we were ready for the thanks and had so much of it that it overflowed all the way into Christmas?  What if starting now, with the Fall decorations out and the turkeys on the menu, we ready our hearts for the gratitude and thanks that comes that last Thursday of November and then we don’t stop?  What if we ask God to prepare our hearts to truly experience the wonder that is Christmas by letting Thanksgiving be the catalyst for it?

I’m starting now.  Asking God to fill my soul with inspired praise that will last even into next year.

Lord, give my spirit the kind of eyes that see Who You are in such a way that I am inspired to praise You with my words and my thoughts and all that I do.  Amen.