Goodness & Light

 

The house on a hill

The one with some land

Just can’t be true

In life without an ampersand.

It’s more like the fermata

In a musical score

Or the final bar line

Where dreams are no more.

You must look around

To the good in your midst

And find the blessings right there

Embrace them with a kiss.

First it’s my beloved

My treasure beyond compare

Next it’s my safe dwelling

The gardens, the love all in there.

Deeper still is my eternal love

The One Who carries me through

The hell of this Earth

Nothing compares to You.

Your light fills my life

No matter how it feels

With hope beyond compare

A shining city on a hill.

What more could I want

When in forever all will be well

Sing alms to my Lord now

This is a story for now, all to tell.

Goodness and light

Lightness and the good

Oh come Lord, Jesus soon

I need you to soften my brood.

Push my focus out to His love

And all comes back and it is right

His Word shines through darkness

As in the day I shall walk in the night.

 

 

 

Stand Up, Finish, and Win!

Recently a gal came into my life who has a major vocal talent.  I love the full alto robustness of her singing voice and the special emphasis she can put just about anywhere in a song to make a verse, an ending phrase come alive.  Very few musicians can go way beyond the sheet music and take you with them every note of the way . . . as if you are sharing in all of the emotion and beauty pouring out of the Creator’s expression manifest before you.  I love moments like this.  I love listening to her sing.  Her music gives me goose bumps now and always has done so.

I had the privilege of performing and competing in the top choir at my high school for all of my three years there.  Our teacher, Mr. Herr, was an accomplished tenor and pianist who occasionally shared his talent with us when singing the male solos; this included part of Handel’s Messiah one particular Christmas.  Before the concert he took a bus load of us teenagers to an old Catholic cathedral in downtown Detroit to sing the choral sections of the work from the balcony as the giant pipe organ accompanied us at full volume.  I will never forget that sound!  Our voices lifted high as if to touch the vaulted ceilings painted with Biblical scenes that I would not really understand for another decade.  My tender frame shook with the majesty, the magnificence of the moment when all the harmonies blended together in perfection.  The entire church swelled with the sound of music.  What a great experience to carry us through our concert at school shortly thereafter.  Well done Mr. Herr!

A fellow choir student told me early in my senior year that the only reason that I made the Chorale was my ability to sight-read written music.  The comment was a slam for sure.  So my talent wasn’t good enough but somehow my ability to read music made up the difference?  I didn’t understand but still was crushed.  Regardless, I made every early morning rehearsal, class session, and concert throughout the school year.  My mom sewed my blue maxi skirt and plaid outfit herself that all of the girls had to have made for the concerts.  And she did make it to the concerts, thankfully.  She made a point of telling me, however, that I could do better if I would just open my mouth more when I was singing.  Geez.  It’s a wonder I made it through my senior year of Chorale after all of that nonsense.

My interest in singing changed as I went off to college with my 3/4-sized classical guitar alongside me.  My experience got me two “easy  A’s” in beginner piano and guitar classes for creative arts requirements but little else.  Playing popular songs and sing-a-longs diminished from gatherings at the beach with girlfriends (who didn’t mind when the music always seemed to bring the guys around with a harmonica or their curiosity!) to sing-a-longs with groups of patients at various psychiatric hospitals in which I worked as an occupational therapist years later.  Within a decade I had practically stopped everything altogether and my skills, even my voice, eroded.  More recently the serious illness I have been battling has changed my breath volume and vocal cords such that my voice crackles when singing worship songs “in church.”  Although I will still crank the stereo and give it a go occasionally when the Barbara Streisand CD just happens to get turned up really loudly when my hubby is away!  No, no, ain’t gonna rain on my pa–rade!

So I do have a bit of an ear for quality and musicianship which brings me to the point of this discussion:  when a person DOES have a major talent I believe it is a gift from the Lord to be shared openly for His glory.  It really bugs me that my new friend has received “pukey” comments from non-talented, envious people around her.  I hope she can let them go.  We come to faith in Christ and are given spiritual gifts to be used for the Lord’s glory, often showcasing talents or even growing abilities already present in the life of the believer.  Whether we use our giftedness directly in ministry or just to inspire others as unto the Lord, I believe that we are to let that goodness shine!

Matthew 5:14-16New International Version (NIV)

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Especially today for all of us who have a creative ability that stands out from the crowd, my prayer would be that we would stand up, finish the performance out in front of the spaces we are given and win glory for the One Who has entrusted it to our care.  Delight in-and-develop our talent, have fun with it, and don’t let the pukeys, the naysayers get us down.  Going forth with boldness and confidence may just bring each of us the desires of our hearts which is a good thingy, eh?  The Lord may have placed those dreams there, waiting for us to take the next steps He will lead us to and through.  Oh how He loves us so . . . which reminds me of a song . . .

Let there be light

I am so glad I stumbled upon a videotaped performance this evening of the talented and zany Christian communicator, Patsy Clairmont.  My own strength is waxing and waning at the moment so she provided the little something extra I need to make it through to tomorrow.

In her show, Patsy described her search for words to comfort a dear friend battling cancer and found it in Genesis 1:3.  Here God reveals to us through Moses the beginning of the story of life as we know it:

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Patsy points out that the first words the Bible records of God speaking are for there to be light.  Ah yes, light dispels the darkness and guides our way; light is a symbol of God’s glory and presence throughout the Bible, and so much more.  Intended as a meditation for her friend, the simple message of the verse, “let there be light,” became a joyful encouragement to both of them.  I invite you to view the You Tube video for the moving story:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HpRO8g9Qds

This evening was a dark one for my beloved husband, Steve, and me.  He’s exhausted from the demands of work and his heart breaking as he watches his wife thrash about with convulsions every night.  I am broken, depleted  and in a good deal of pain most evenings from the same and the seemingly lack of direction in my treatment.  It seems that every time I start on a new course of treatment for Lyme, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome or the myriad of related conditions I get sidetracked or have to stop due to increased convulsions.  The current pattern of some form of these “seizure attacks” is for them to occur about three times per day on average with one miraculous 23-hour break earlier this week.  Go figure.

I need the verse, “let there be light” to wash over my burdened soul this night.  I need my Jesus to be the light of my sore heart, the light of my weary steps.  I need my doubt to be transformed by blind faith in His shining light.  I need there to be light.

And so I say to you as I write this in the middle of the night, scared to go to bed for fear of more attacks, “Let there be light.”  And to my heavenly Father, “Let there be light.”  And to those exasperated by the duration of my illness, “Let there be light.”  And to all of those who are weary, “Let there be light.”  Together we can find His light and know what that means in our own lives as the night gives way to the day . . .  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz