Sunday, April 29, 2012

Moving Heaven and Earth

As I write this blog entry, I am overwhelmed at two things.  One is how great God is in His provision, power, love and ability to surprise the socks off me.  The other is how I often forget that His plan and provision and love is sufficient.  It seems I never will learn that lesson, yet He continues to bless me beyond measure.

About a month ago, I was at our regional music therapy conference with some friends and students.  My friend and I were talking and it came up that my apartment lease was up in June and that I needed to remember to renew it.  My friend mentioned that she was interested in renting out her house so that she could move closer to work and stop commuting.  She really loved the house and wanted to keep it but would have to rent it out to be able to keep it while also renting herself.  So I told her I would come look at it, but at that point I was kind of thinking I wasn't that interested.  Little did I know that God was working out something that I was yet unaware of.

My friend had to leave the conference early due to her grandmother's illness and eventual passing (please continue to pray for her and her family).  I came back home and resumed my routine.  We talked several times over the next couple of weeks...about losing someone so special, about life, about TV shows, about other routine things.  And I kind of forgot about the house.  But then she asked me to come look at it.  So I did.  And I fell in love with it!  It was more than I could ever imagine I would want in a house and the rent was cheaper than what I was currently paying.  I asked all the questions about cost of electricity, insurance and everything else I needed to know.  And the other bonus is that the set up of the house is perfect for starting a private music therapy practice...complete with a room I can use as my office/session room and doors to shut off the rest of the house when clients are there.  I went home and began praying that God would give me guidance as whether or not to rent the house.  I knew I wanted it, but I also knew that I wanted to look at it realistically and not rush into something based on feeling.

I called my dad, and he was excited about it and also began praying about it.  Over the next week, God began to show me in the strangest and most exciting ways that this was something He had been working out for me.  Things from money to issues at my apartment to finding out that my college roommate has family that lives right down the street to friends who are willing to help me move.  The other issue we had to pray about was that my friend would find a house to live in where she worked.  So we did.  And she has received a very promising lead that will hopefully pan out this week (please be praying).  

Some may think that this is no big deal...I'm just renting a house.  But I see so much more!  I see how before I even knew it, God was working out something that was so much better for me than I had planned.  See, my plan was to just rent an apartment until I finished grad school and then see where life took me.  I knew that I wanted to stay in this area and that I would eventually want a house.  And I've been ok in the apartment...but it has never felt like home.  I feel like I'm in a dorm.  And though I never really voiced that until now, the Lord knew that and began planning something better.  Somewhere I could feel like I was home and could entertain and cook and sit in my backyard and see music therapy clients.  I see now that God has been in the details even before I knew I wanted a house.

I have just been overwhelmed this week at how good God is.  Life has been tough these last few years, and there have been times I wanted to give up, times I've been upset with God, times I've doubted.  But over and over, God shows His love and provision in ways I cannot even imagine...even in the midst of pain and sorrow and heartache.  And I'm trying to learn this lesson.  And at times I feel like a spoiled child who just isn't satisfied.  I know God has blessed me beyond what I deserve, but there are still a couple of desires I have in my heart that I wish He would provide.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful...beyond what I can express.  But I still long for those things.

However, God has used this past week and this situation with this house to show me in a very concrete way that His plans for my life far outweigh any I could have for my life.  That doesn't mean I don't have days where I still doubt or wonder.  Last night, I had a conversation with a couple other of my single friends wondering where the godly men were and why God hadn't brought them to us yet.  And then I watched Courageous (if you haven't seen this movie, do it!) this morning and found myself again wondering where men with that kind of integrity and faith and compassion are or, if they are out there, why aren't they interested in me.  I know they must be out there somewhere, but I still question why God hasn't blessed me with the one He has for me yet.  But I know He has his reasons.  I know His plans are higher and better than my own.  I know that my God has something wonderful in store for me.  

And if this past week is any indication, I know that when He does provide this desire of my heart, He is going to blow me away with how He does it.  So I rest in Him, "expectantly hopeful" that He is, even right now, working on my behalf, willing to move heaven and earth to provide and show me how much He loves me.  I am so thankful...thankful for parents who raised me to have faith in such an amazing God, who demonstrated in front of me what a Christian marriage should be and who loved me in such a way as to be a true example of God's love for me.  

So I'm waiting expectantly, knowing that if God is willing to give me things I didn't even know I wanted in such an amazing way, He will also provide the desires of my heart...  But until then, "I'll run into Your arms, the riches of Your love will always be enough..."

PS:  This is the final scene from Courageous...and this is the kind of man I am asking God to send my way.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Time In Between

Today as I was driving back from a visit home, I was blasting some music and singing at the top of my lungs and having a grand old time.  I love music.  It is my life.  I was born into a musical family and even chose a music based career (music therapy) as my life's work.  I find such power in music and am always amazed at how God can use a song that I've listened to over and over and over again and show me something new.

My last post was written out of a dark place where I just felt like I was watching everyone else receive the deepest desires of their heart while I just sat and got passed by.  Even though I'm in a much better place now, I still have moments where I feel that way.  However, today, driving back, God spoke to my heart through a He often does.

I was listening to Francesca Battistelli.  I love her music and love to sing along to it.  A lot of her songs have powerful messages.  And one in particular had the message I needed to hear today.  "The Time In Between' is song that I have listened to and sung over and over.  I've always loved it, and I've listened and read the lyrics many times.  However, today was different.

The song talks about the importance of the time in between events...the time in between Jesus' birth and death and the time He spent in between the two thieves on the cross and how those moments shaped Christianity and our lives forever.  But it was the middle verse that stood out to me today.

As I've said before, Psalm 37:4 is one of my favorite verses and a promise of hope from God Himself.  It says that if we delight in the Lord He will give us the desires of our heart.  Now, I have studied this verse and thought of all the things it could mean...does it mean that He places the desires He has for us in our hearts or does he grant us the deepest desires we have for ourselves...and I believe it means a little of both.  I've prayed that God would place His desires in my heart and that He would give me those things I so desperately want.  Not things like material things...but things like a husband and children, things like a place where I can use music and counseling to help families affected by poverty and all that brings with it.  Things like those that are not simply material things but things that I feel I was placed here to do or be a part of.  And while I feel I'm on my way to some of those desires, there are others that seem so distant and make me wonder if I'll ever have them.

So back to the song.  Like I mentioned earlier, my last post was kind of dark and depressing.  But the devil has a way of attacking me in this trying to tell me that Psalm 37:4 wasn't meant for me, by telling me that God is leaving me out of the happiness He bestows on others, by telling me I'm not worthy enough or good enough or pretty enough or thin enough or talented enough or whatever else I happen to be struggling with on any given day.  And he hits hard!  So today when I started singing along to the middle verse of this song, it was like God said, "see, I do have your best in mind and I WILL give you those desires in MY time and in MY way...even when you don't understand...and no matter what the devil tries to tell you, trust ME for every desire of your heart...both big and small."

See it's in these times of waiting that we grow and develop into the people God made us to be.  It's not easy, and it's not fun.  And I spend many days wondering what the purpose in the waiting is.  But just as the potter places the clay on the wheel and forms it and then has to fire it in the fire to make it shine, God is forming and molding and shaping me.  And even though I don't understand it or see it, there is a purpose in the waiting.  And I have a choice.  I can listen to the voice of the enemy or I can listen to the voice of my Father.  On good days, that's an easy choice.  But on those bad days, it's hard to drown out the lies and hear the truth.

The song says, "Don't take much for this crazy world to rob me of my peace.  And the enemy of my soul says You're holding out on me.  So I stand here lifting empty hands for You to fill me up again.  But it's the time in between that I fall down to my knees waiting on what You'll bring.  And the things that I can't see.  I know my song's incomplete so I'll sing in the time in between."

So here I sit...still waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.  And I now that my song is incomplete...and until HE chooses to complete it, I'll keep singing.  And trusting.  And believing that He, who is my soul's deepest desire and who loves me more than I could ever comprehend, will bless me and fulfill me with every desire of my heart.