Tag Archives: Music

Learning – About Who We Are

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About eighteen years ago my husband, Joe, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and my world dropped out from under me. At the time, I was working and Joe was going to college to get an Associates Degree. I was supporting the family and that wasn’t unusual since my husband could only get jobs that were low paying. I had already done my school time and had gotten my Associates, so it was his turn now. But Joe never completed school. He never worked again. He did live for another sixteen years and I became the touchstone that held the family together. Our boys were 16 and 20 years old and this greatly impacted their world.

When you become a caregiver, everything that you want is set aside. The world revolves around the one that you are caring for. And that’s the way it should be. But in that shoving aside the wants and needs that you have as a person tends to make a person disappear. Hobbies go away because you don’t have time, in fact, just to take small bits of time for yourself is a logistical nightmare.

I managed to go to counseling during that time and I still continue to go. I didn’t want to lose myself but I could feel parts of me drifting away. It’s hard to explain to someone who has never been through a crisis situation. When it’s all done and over, if you didn’t have a good sense of self to begin with, you find that all you’ve gained is gone. You feel like you live in a shell and the person that was in the shell is gone for good. It’s empty and scary.

Fast forward eighteen years through all the surgeries and medical decisions and hardship and tears. I look back now and see all the changes that I had to make to my life, some good, some bad. Decisions I made, some good, some bad. The life I lived, some of it good, some of it bad. The point is this: It’s done, it’s over. I will probably still make good and bad decisions. Bad things will still happen in my life.

The one constant that I had during this time was my faith, it actually got stronger. I learned to lean on Christ, who always gave me strength to go on. Now I’m learning to live again, who I am. I’m not going to be the same person that I was eighteen years ago, and now that I think more about it, I don’t want to be that person again. I’m a new, improved version. Yes, I’m a bit ragged around the edges and I still have my bouts with depression and sadness. I have a goal now. To be the best me I can be.

Being the music person I am, I have to post a song. This song touches me and the tears start flowing when I hear it. It so strikes my heart because this is what it’s about. Coming out of the shell and being the person God wants us to be. Thank you, Danny Gokey, you’ve really hit the mark on this one. What follows is the lyrics and a link to the song:

“Tell Your Heart To Beat Again” by Danny Gokey

You’re shattered
Like you’ve never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you’re never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Beginning
Just let that word wash over you
It’s alright now
Love’s healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story’s far from over
And your journey’s just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

Tell your heart to beat again by Danny Gokey

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Servant Relationships

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This song has been a favorite of mine for a long time. It reminds me of a quote from one of Martin Luther’s  earlier books, The Freedom of a Christian (1520). In it, he wrote,

“[A]s our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor through our body and its works, and each one should become as it were a Christ to the other that we may be Christs to one another “

Come To The Table

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I have recently been hearing this song on the radio and it strikes a chord deep inside – Remember He came for the sick and sinful – of which I am one. So come join me at His table I look forward to seeing you there.

“Come To The Table”

We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry, we were thirsty
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us

He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table

Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thiefs
There’s no one unwelcome here
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
Let mercy draw you near

Come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come to the table

To the thief and to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young and to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last and all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you’ve been forgiven
All who dream and all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained and all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who’s been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who have been labeled right or wrong
To everyone who hears this song

Ooh
Come to the table
Come join the sinners you have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Oooh
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come to the table
Just sit down and rest a while
Just sit down and rest a while
Come to the table

Credit for song to Sidewalk Prophets

Listening to Music

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Yes, I spend some of my time listening to music.  While I drive to work and back I listen to the local Christian station.  I pick up new songs and sometimes the songs I listen to just uplift me.  I sing along if I’ve learned the words and just have a good ole time.

I have a new favorite:  I Got Saved by Selah.  Selah always has good music and I have several of their CD’s.  They have a Traditional Hymns CD that is wonderful.  Their arrangement of “There is Power in the Blood” is fantastic.  Anyway, I digress.

This song takes me back to my childhood when my Aunt Viola took us to a gospel sing at a local arena or theater.  All this song is missing is the really low bass.  Otherwise, it’s a wonderful song.  I love the line “I’ve Got Jesus, How could I want more?”

 

My Spiritual Past

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We all have them.  Looking back you can see how you’ve grown spiritually.  I guess this will be a remembering of how I’ve grown.

I was raised in the Lutheran Church.  We went to church and Sunday School regularly.  The church was my family’s church and I was surrounded by my Grandparents and great Aunts and Uncles.  But by the time I reached Confirmation age (12-13), my parents stopped going regularly and so did I.  We would be put into the C & E category, you know, Christmas and Easter.

When I was a junior in High School I was asked to come join a group of teenagers that sang.  Now, I loved to sing; I was in the choir at school.  So when Beverly asked if I’d be interested, I jumped at the chance.  Wow, I didn’t have to audition, just show up at a practice (which were held weekly) and start singing.  The group was called The New Life Singers and at the point that I joined there may have been about 15 to 20 of us, lead by a gentleman named “Doc” Mercer.  We sang Christian Musicals that were popular back in those days, “Tell It Like It Is”, “Come Together” and “Celebrate Life”.

The New Life Singers would travel to different churches and sing our musicals or sometimes we would do special music.  One time we learned some Jewish folk songs and, along with our usual Christian music, sang at the Hebrew Home near Washington, DC.  One year we sang at the Festival of Lights on the Mall in Washington DC.  Our group was based in Damascus, MD, but we went on tours during the summers, into Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.  One year we toured all the way up into Maine and back.  What a wonderful experience.  Something that I specifically remember is what happened when we stopped to eat while on tour.  We tried to stay away from fast food, but couldn’t all the time.  We would all get our meals and then, at a signal from Doc, break out singing the Doxology (in four part harmony) in the middle of the restaurant.  What fun!

Unfortunately, The New Life Singers disbanded when I was in my 20’s.  We all grew up, went to college and started families. At this time in my life, I’m active in Via de Cristo.  I’m still singing, bringing music to these renewal weekends.  It has strengthened my faith to be a part of a larger group that brings the Lord Jesus to others.  My faith was burning bright back when I was younger.  In between, well, not so much.  It was like a small flame, just behind a small shade.  Not bright, but still there.  After I walked on a Via de Cristo weekend, the shade that shielded my “flame” was taken away and it started burning bright once again.

I’m so glad that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of a ministry again.  I really missed being a part of a larger ministry while I was raising my family.  This time, no matter what, I will let the flame burn bright in my life.

 

What is Via De Cristo?

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I just came back from serving on a weekend with the ladies & gentlemen of the Vineyard Via de Cristo movement and was asked to write something about my experience. What should I write? It is a lot harder than you would think because there are so many things that go into a weekend and contribute to the experience that is shared by all.

But what I can tell you without any hesitation is what it is not. It is not a cult – we do not try to change your beliefs, initiate you into some kind of weird teachings, or brainwash you. It is not a weekend of rest, relaxation, maincures and pedicures.

It is a 72 hour immersion into the word of the Lord. There is a lot of singing (I managed to lose my voice this weekend, much to the delight of my fellow weekenders), food, talks on tools that can help strengthen your walk, tears, laughter, clapping and the list goes on.

Whenever, either my husband or I participate in a weekend, we always ask each other – What did you bring home from your experience? This time I told him that I needed to show the world more of God’s love in the way I live and talk.

This experience will change you, I guarantee it, but YOU have to be willing to change. To all me fellow walkers – Thank you for all the support you give and the love I feel.

God Loves You And So Do I (GLYASDI)

Michele

Precious Memories

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 Precious Memories was written by John Wright as he reflected on the loss of his parents and son. The song explains why the memory of the righteous is blessed.  Published in 1920 it quickly became an immediate hit with average people everywhere. Unfortunately the publishing company did not honor their original contract and John received only $36 for his song–the first and only payment.  He ended his life as a janitor of a local business.  How has God blessed you with precious memories?

The Potter, Abba

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Joan’s post reminded me of a song “Abba, Father” that, as a christian musician, I have played for years.  This song is an acknowledgement that God is the creator and guidance for our lives.  Just as parents try to raise their children, God is trying to “raise” us, to make us into adult children.  God wants us to trust and follow Him just as children will trust and follow their parents.

This song can have so much impact.  I’m sorry that the video (link below) can not capture that.  As you listen, imagine this song sung by 100+ people, full of power and the glory of the Lord.  When I’m playing this song on my guitar for a group that large, I forget my instrument.  I find I miss chords, stop playing; I’m so riveted in the music surrounding me.  When you’re leading the song this could be a bad thing, but no one has ever mentioned it.

I hope you enjoy the song “Abba, Father”

A Sacrificial Change

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“…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”  Philippians 2:5-6

We think of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross, but do we even remember His first sacrifice?  God Himself gave up the glory of heaven to be incarnated as a helpless human baby.  What a humiliating change!  You might compare it to one of us becoming an ant, or a worm.  Yet He made that change for us. It reminds me of this beautiful hymn:

What Wondrous Love Is This
By: American Folk Hymn

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Remember the resurrection could not have happened without the incarnation.  They are chapters of the same story — the story that changed us from being dead in our sins to alive in Christ.