Isn’t the Name of Jesus Beautiful…

As you read the title of this blog, didn’t you just find yourself smiling and nodding your head in agreement?  There is no way any believer in their right mind would say no to that statement.  Because a true and active relationship with Jesus Christ allows for the believer to understand the beauty of whispering the name of the Son of God and knowing what the privilege of knowing Him personally means in their lives.

I’ll tell you something about myself (like you haven’t already read enough about me through this blog!), but I have a weird habit of OCDing (if that is even a real thing) on a song, and playing it over and over and over and over.  I usually will put it on in the morning, hit the repeat button, and walk away while it blasts on my bluetooth speaker. So lately it has been the beautiful song “Isn’t the Name”  by Bethany Music.  I start most mornings listening to the truths inside that song.  It comforts, it inspires and it empowers.

As I listened to the lyrics this morning as I got ready, I found myself sitting there, eyes closed and tears burning my eyes.  Not sad tears, but overwhelmed tears. Overwhelmed by the fact that I have full access to Jesus.  When life is good or when it’s bad, He is there.

The truth of the words “all the world can come to Him and have their sins removed”.  Saving grace in a moment.  Salvation. Surrender, come to Him and He will make all things new. We don’t have to work harder, live better, give more, we just come to Him.  “Eternal King, you will reign forever and we will see the glory of your name.  Be lifted high, for all the world to see, your name is all we need.” His name is all we need.  When we shut out the chaos of this world, the constant social media, the news, the chatter and breathe deep His presence and whisper His name.  He is there.  He promises that.  Over and over in scripture He tells us through words written thousands of year ago, “my children, lost souls, broken hearts, come to me.  Those of you with heavy hearts weighed down by life’s circumstances, call on me, whisper my name, and I am there.”  But we have to surrender our own will, we have to realize He is all we need….His name is all we need. Because, “There’s freedom in the name, healing in the name, there’s power in the name, salvation in the name, there is life in the name, there is no other name, but Jesus.”

So if you are reading this, and your heart hurts for whatever situation or circumstances you feel are closing in on you.  If you feel like the chaos of this world is just too much right now.  If you are dealing with illness, pain or loss.   Perhaps you are looking for something that has meaning and truth.  Let me tell you that there is salvation in His name.  There is power in His name.  There is healing in His name.  Close the door on the world right now.  Close your eyes and just whisper His name.  Call out to Him.  He will be there for you.  Find comfort in His presence.  Find forgiveness in His presence.  Find strength in His presence.  Find life in His presence.

Jesus!

 

Rocking Out With The Eagles…

Last night I rocked out to the Eagles.  Well.  Not the ACTUAL Eagles, but a really good band that sounded just like the Eagles.  I stepped outside my normal, humdrum, square life and went to a concert with my big guy.  He was so excited.  Our daughter and her husband dropped us off at the door.  Our friends, who met us there, gave us a hard time, saying “It used to be that our parents dropped us off at the door….now your kids are dropping you off at the door.”  He was right.   After finding our seats, which were perfect may I say, 3rd row in the balcony dead center.  I started people watching right away.  I quickly surmised that the average age in the room was again 50!  It’s really fun to watch a room full of 50 somethings rock out to a band that 35 years ago they were jumping up and down, screaming and singing at the top of their lungs.  These adults, now all sat in their seats, heads bobbing, and reminiscent smiles on their faces as they mouthed the words to Take It Easy and Desperado.  I felt pretty cool sitting next to my big guy, as he sang every song, word for word.  Truth is, 35 years ago we wouldn’t have been together at an Eagles concert.  He was too cool and I was about a million miles from cool.  After intermission, The Black Jacket Symphony returned to the stage to play the Eagles greatest hits.  I am happy to say I knew most of the songs….but not necessarily all the words.  Near the end of the concert, people were finally getting a little rowdy….maybe because they had had time to loosen up from drinking, and things were really getting cranked, when the band finally finished their last song.  I was again amused by the orderly and quick manner everyone exited the theatre at 10:30pm, possibly a late night for most!  Uber and Lyft vehicles were waiting outside, people laughed and swayed as they left, enjoying the moment of reliving their youth jamming at a rock concert.

Our daughter and her husband pulled up to the sidewalk and opened the doors for us to get in….”Did you crazy kids have fun?” they laughed.  “We did!” we quickly responded, just like two teenagers.

On the ride home we talked about the songs, the people and memories of certain songs.  Then I told my sweet man, “I’ve loved coming to the concerts with you.  I kind of felt like I was one of the cool people for a change.  But, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not coming to hear Led Zeppelin in January.”  He laughed and said, “I wasn’t even going to ask?”  He knows me.

 

 

Other Places….

Eighteen years ago at this moment, I was standing in my living room, my 2 year old was running around singing, carefree, and I was staring at the t.v. watching a plane fly into one of the towers of the World Trade Center, my phone was still in my hand and I could vaguely hear my husband’s voice calling my name.  I remember the words I said to him “Is this real?”.  It was real. Moments later I saw scenes from the Pentagon, a gaping hole in one side of it and people running in all directions. Then suddenly the scenes changed again and I watched first one, then the second tower collapse in a cloud of smoke and debris.  People running from the billowing cloud chasing them, terror on their ash covered faces. They were in shock.  Running for their lives. Then, yet again, breaking news of a plane crashing into a field in Pennsylvania.  By this time, I’m sitting on the couch, no longer on the phone, holding my little girl who was begging me to read her a story.  I couldn’t quite collect my thoughts.  I had a sense of fear creeping up from somewhere inside me. What was happening?  These things happened other places.  Not in America.  People bombed other places.  Other places dealt with this kind of violence on a regular basis, not here.  As I sat taking in scene after scene, I heard my two-year-old ask me with concern “Why you cryin’ Mamma?”  I didn’t even realize that tears had slipped unnoticed down my cheeks.  “I’m okay, sweet girl, let’s find you a fun movie to watch.”  I took her hand and led her to her chair in her room, popped in the first video I came to and she promptly sat down to watch it.

I felt numb.  In a matter of minutes, our world had changed.   Violence and hate from other places had spilled over into our world and now fear was roaming free across our country.

This is the crazy part. I had made plans to go shopping with a friend and her little boy.  For some reason, we decided to go ahead.   Maybe it was our attempt to try to be normal.  Maybe we thought it would make things normal.  It did not.  We drove to the outlet mall, our conversation strained as we talked about shopping, then about the events of the morning, then quiet.  We walked around for forty-five minutes looking, but not really seeing what the stores had to offer.  People were acting strangely.  Awkward. I told my friend I thought we needed to go home, and so we loaded the little ones back up and headed back to the safety of our homes.

I was in line early to pick up my older two girls, so were many anxious parents.  I formulated over and over what I would say to them, how I would explain that our country had been attacked by evil men who hated America. I watched as teachers lead students out, dazed looks on their faces as they watched carefully after their students. Children, kept unaware of the events of that morning, laughed and skipped and held their friend’s hands. “They have no idea.” I thought to myself.

As they got in the car, my oldest who was ten asked “What’s going on today, Mom, the teachers have been acting weird all day.”  So there it was, the acknowledgement that things had changed and they sensed it. “Let’s talk about it when we get home.” I looked in the rearview mirror at their faces as they exchanged looks that said more than words.

At home I fixed them something to drink and we sat down.  I slowly started to tell them about what had happened that morning.  I chose my words carefully.  I did not want to stir up fear in their hearts.  My seven-year-old, in all her innocence asked “Are they gonna blow us up?”  I looked at her and said “I don’t think so, I’m sure we are going to be fine.  But we need to pray for all those people in New York and Washington DC who were hurt, and the families of those that were killed. I’m sure they are all in shock and afraid.”  But were we really going to be fine? My ten-year-old, who was more serious about life, came and sat beside me.  No words were necessary.   I decided that the t.v. would stay off, it would not help them to see scene after scene of the carnage in the aftermath played over and over.

I teach 11/12 grade girls in Sunday School, and I realized a few weeks ago that to them  9-11 is just a history lesson.  Something they read about in school.  Just like I did when I was in school when I read about Pearl Harbor or WWII.  They don’t know that life was different before that day.  This life they live now is normal for them.  They live in a world that is a constant intake of news and media in the palm of their hands.

So today, we remember. We remember all the lives that were taken by people who have some twisted reasoning for causing so much death, so much damage, so much fear.    We remember a day when bombings or shootings were not news worthy for a moment, until the next act of violence grabbed the media attention.  We remember a day we didn’t look at people who were different than us with some trepidation.  We remember the heroics of the police, the EMT’s, the firemen, the medical personnel, the average man or woman who ran to help others.  We remember the victims on board those planes, who knew in an instant that this was the end for them, yet they still bravely fought back saving lives and losing their own.  We remember a president who we didn’t always agree with, yet he stood on that mountain of what was left of the World Trade Center and shed tears and hugged average people who had done above average acts of bravery.

People in other parts of the world say we are indulged Americans who are self-centered and arrogant. Maybe so.  But we average Americans love our country and we love helping people. We live in a world now where we are more aware than ever that violence and hate roams within our borders.  We are more aware of the dangers.  How could we forget because the media tries to keep a spirit of fear stirred up every day.  But there is still goodness in this world.  We Americans may not agree on a lot of things:  politics, immigration, and global warming, all are topics that stir up heated discussions and anger, but one thing ties us together…we are Americans.  We come to the rescue of the injured, the weak, the hungry.  We send food and medical help to people who are suffering in disasters or war-torn countries.  The world may say they hate us, but they come to us first when they need help.  I believe, that if the need arose, we Americans, we would stand and defend our people, our country, and our borders, against a twisted religion that condones violent acts.  We will stand up against a people who are invading our country under the guise of pursuing the American dream, only to try to force us to change our laws to their laws, or force us to accept their mindset.  We won’t do it.  We may make efforts to respect your beliefs.  We may offer help if you need it.  We may even try to call you friend.  But we are not ignorant of your hidden agenda.  We are not idiots.  We see. We listen.  We stand against the ugliness that has taken root in your mind and in your hearts.  We were not defeated or disabled on September 11, 2001.  We were awakened.  We were educated.  We will remember.  We will teach our children to remember.  We will remind each other of what is right and good.  To all those families and friends who lost people they love on that day. We remember and we pray for you.

What’s the next step?

Since my rant on “I’m in a weird place” and my 2:48am episode with caffeine induced sleeplessness, things have calmed down.  This is the first week I have started to get a picture of the next season of life.  I mean, not fully, but a glimpse maybe.  Monday was Labor Day and my big guy and I just hung out around the house, then spontaneously went out to dinner.  Yesterday I cleaned our bathroom from top to bottom, pretty much. I cleaned our bedroom.  I cleaned the kitchen.  Then I chatted with our 20 year old when she came home from her grown-up job.  Today a friend rode with me to the wedding venue where my baby girl is going to get married to measure a few things.  We had lunch.  Then back home.  Chill.  That is a good word for the last few days.  I’m trying to figure out a schedule, or plan or something for this season of life.  It feels strange to not be working, not be running children somewhere, to not be planning dinner, washing mountains of clothes.  But I am trying to gather my thoughts.  MY thoughts.  MY plans.  Trying to find who I am now that I won’t be helping, nurturing, feeding, chauffeuring, disciplining, clothing, and parenting busy, loud, beautiful daughters anymore.   I’ve spent the last 28 years happily being a Mom to 3 amazing young women.  But now, it’s time for me and this big guy I’ve been married to for the last 30 years (this month) to figure out what it is we want to do.  It’s time for me to figure out what I want to do.  It is time for me to sit down and be still and hear what God wants me to do in this next season.  I have to admit, I have a feeling of anticipation.  Not dread, not sadness, not lost or useless.  I feel like God has something cool in store, that this new season will be just as interesting and exciting as the last.  So.  Here we go!!!!