In the Blood? 💦

Enjoying Magnolia’s At Home playlist, I’m intrigued by John Mayer’s song, In the Blood. Mayer, a gifted musician and self-described mess, wonders how much of his mayhem will wash out in the water, and how much of it is in the blood.

Great question, and one I’ve personally considered, as a Christian.

The Bible explains that Christians are to imitate God, walking in love, because we are His beloved children. Jesus is our example, and He gave Himself up for us. In doing that, Jesus handed over His blood, and we were cleansed. This cleansing is described as the washing of the water.

So I guess the answer, John, is that while it may always be in the blood, for a Christian it washes out in the water.

In case that last statement causes pause, as it did for me, one lesson I learned in 2018 is that an immoral Christian is not real. I wish I could explain that statement better, but I can’t. In answer to my confusion and suffering, that’s all the quiet Spirit seemed to say.

Note: Facing the Monsters category tag today refers to all of us. Welcome to humanity.

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Love Void? ❄️

Last night, a friend told me she is love void.

No, she’s not.

I love her, but she’s not seeing that. Other friends love her, but she discounts that. God loves her, but she won’t accept that.

I get it. It’s hard sometimes. She’s been through it. I’ve been through it. My daughter’s been through it. It’s a human problem. And I certainly don’t have any answers, on my own.

Christianity explains that the world is broken. I’ve been pondering, as a Christian, scriptures about how creation groans under the weight, and how we groan with it.

My friend wants love. Well, it’s there for her, but it’s quiet. And it lets you have what you want when you demand it. I’ve learned that the hard way.

My daughter, after years of pain in church and in life, finally found a church home. She loves it. She attended at Christmastime a few years ago, and they played this song, which caused her to weep, and the floodgates to open. I share it here, for my daughter, for my friend, and for myself.

 

❄️❄️❄️

 

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Is it? 🔚

Thankfully, poor Taylor Swift is out of the box in 2019, so I caught a little of the Reputation tour on Netflix on New Year’s Eve. The lyrics are stuck in my head again, which is one of her talents. I’ll be working on that, since she’s a big girl now, and she curses. 😁

Today, these are repeating words in my mind. Thanks again, Taylor.

“Is this the end of all the endings? My broken bones are mending.” (King Of My Heart)

That catchy, little ditty speaks to me today. I’m feeling better. And I realize that Jesus is the King Of My Heart. He’s been there, tangibly, through everything. His love fills every hole, even chasms left by the emptiness of idols.

And I’m so, so grateful.

Churrrcccchhhhh. 🙌🏻 💝

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Idols

And the last of them fell by New Year’s Day.

There’s absolutely nothing I can do on my own. I lay it all down in the Year of Light. I am empty.

“I call it cup of dirt. You should just move on, now.” (Brian Regan)

 

Lord, if You want me to rise up out of this, I’ll rise. If You want me to come home, I’ll come.

 

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LIGHT 🌅

My word for 2019 is Light. ☀️

In 2018, I did a lot of pondering of scriptures about light, as they popped up at opportune times, and how light illuminates dirty corners.  At first, those scriptures seemed to be for this new year. They certainly were prominent in the months leading up to 2019.

But as I attempted to use some of those scriptures as I thought about the Year of Light, I seemed to get a tiny tap on the shoulder that whispered, no. God seemed to nudge me to leave those verses in last year, as though they belong there. And immediately, Matthew 5: 14-16 came to mind:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

(ESV)

Okay, I must admit I really didn’t want to use those verses this year, but there they are. I’m learning that the right things in God’s eyes might be things I don’t personally want to do.  😐

Also, although it is not a favorite song of mine at all, Lettered Love by Hillsong Worship speaks to me as I think about these things. Lyrics can be found here.

So, there you have it. I’m moving forward into light, God willing.

All for the praise of Your name, Jesus.

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Lord, have this broken heart, for this broken heart is paid for. 💔🎁

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Why Taylor Swift Is in the Box 📦

Okay, Cousin Tony, I’ll explain why Taylor Swift is in the box for 2018. In case readers don’t want to peruse the linked post, I’m a Christian, and as an exercise, I put three things in a box each Christmas that I want to give to Jesus for the upcoming year.

Taylor Swift needs no introduction here, and at age 59, I’m way outside her demographic. Country music is not my thing, either, which is where she started, but enter 1989, her pop crossover release. The day came when my music snob, soon-to-be-college-kid excitedly called me upstairs to listen to Shake it Off, newly released, and catchy as anything. I was hooked.

(Once that song went crazy, music snob son moved on, nose in air. 😤)

It didn’t take long for me to realize my granddaughters were ga ga over T Swift, and delighted that I listened. Multiple bumping rides happened in the Honda Civic  with music blaring and possibly one or more of said granddaughters hanging out the sun roof (on remote roads, after dark, driving slowly, yes, yes) and belting it out with arms thrown wide in the breeze. I think the earth shook under the car.

And then, there were the dance parties, on my wood floors, in socks, with hairbrush microphones and huge smiles. And talks. So many talks about lyrics, and musical influences, and music videos, and life things. It was a connection over music, but I admitted to my granddaughters that I struggled with paying too much attention to Taylor Swift’s work. After buying a hard copy of 1989, with bonus tracksI donated it to a charitable thrift store, when I noticed that I listened over and over, while letting other things go. Because on my own, without the granddaughters’ help, I was becoming almost a full-on Swiftie, and at my age, too. 🙄

After failing, along with my daughter and niece, to get through the fan system to get tickets to Swift’s 1989 tour stop in Dallas, life went on. Taylor had a bad stretch in the press, and she took a bit of a break. But I Googled and read. And waited for her next album.

That album (Reputation) finally released in November of 2017, but leading up to that, several songs dropped. In particular, a much-anticipated video to Look What You Made Me Do was to come out on August 27, 2017. I knew the video was coming that day, but I was distracted with my stepmom’s final demise, which hit me hard. In fact, I spent the day at my stepmom’s, and I came home feeling just about dead. I was so low emotionally  and physically that I felt like a zombie. As I was about to drag myself over the edge of the tub to get a bath and fall into bed, I remembered that the new video was supposed to be out, and I stopped to check my phone. Since that video now has over one billion views, some might have seen it, but in case you haven’t, it starts with a zombie Taylor dragging herself out of a grave. And it ends in comic relief, with a parody of her bad press, and by the final second of that video, I was out of that grave with her, and laughing, just for that moment. The laughter was like medicine, and I will always be grateful.

My stepmom died on September 8, 2017, and it was earth shattering to me, for complicated reasons.

When Reputation released in its entirety, I listened on repeat, for hours. I followed everything I could find online about Taylor Swift, I dreamed of meeting her, and I was becoming obsessed. I began to feel twinges of caution, but the night that I couldn’t sleep because I had the lyrics to Dress stuck in my mind, I knew I had a problem. Taylor Swift is talented, and Reputation is a good album musically, in my opinion, but it speaks a lot about anger, revenge, drinking and sex outside of marriage. As a Christian, I let these topics worm into my brain, to an extreme. As much as I disliked admitting it, I knew that I had to stop somehow.

That’s why I put Taylor Swift in the box. In fact, I purged my music library of everything but praise music this year. At one point, during a particularly difficult period, I listened only to scripture lullabies. Hard times made my psyche crave calm. These music shifts gave my mind and heart a break, and focused my perspective in more positive ways. What started as a rather innocent music fast became vital.

Sometimes, things I put into the box are things I want to hold onto, but probably shouldn’t. Taylor Swift’s music was that way for me, at least in the way I was listening. Sometimes, they are things that are precious to me, and I trust God with them, like my heart, the very first gift. Either way, the exercise of giving things to Jesus each year is memorable, personal, and transformational.

After stuffing poor Taylor into a box, I do want to point out that I enjoyed being her crazy fan. She’s relatable, and she seemed real, for someone on top of the hill. And personally, I understand someone who writes to help work things out.

Although my music focus changed with my practice this year, Taylor Swift’s New Year’s Day will probably always be on my New Year’s Eve playlist, as an anthem of sorts to my marriage of over forty years.  Thanks, Taylor.

 

NOTE: When I categorize something under “Facing the Monsters,” it refers to me facing my own issues, and with God’s help, changing them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Words In the Box For 2018 🎁

In December of 2107, I put three words in a box. These were things I gave to Jesus for 2018. The box was supposed to be packed away with my nativity set, but it never made it.

This year’s box holds these words:

  • Fear
  • Perfectionism
  • Taylor Swift

I also left my heart in the box. It was one of my first gifts to Jesus, and I loved it. I reflected on what it means to love God with all my heart in 2017. I’m still reflecting, so I made it a little more special, and left it in there as a 4th gift for 2018.

I guess I should explain the Taylor Swift thing, but I don’t have the energy right now. At least now you know what my three words in the box were for 2018.

Merry Christmas. 🎄

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