Held

Natalie Grant made this song popular a few years ago.

The lyrics of this song would probably shock anyone who doesn’t understand the peace that God provides in the darkest times of our lives. Regardless of what has happened, we can trust that He is in control and He is our comfort.

I’ve always wondered who wrote the song and today I stumbled across her website. She has a post that describes the three stories of the ladies who inspired her to write that song. The URL is below.

Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Is appalling.

Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We’re asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It’s unfair.

Chorus:
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred numb our sorrow.
The wise hand opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow.

(Chorus)
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

Bridge:
If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

(Chorus)
This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

Christa Wells describes her inspiration for the song “Held”:

http://www.christawells.net/what-it-means-to-be-held.html

Natalie Grant’s rendition of “Held”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOufqWodFNo

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Alive Again

A recent artist I’ve been listening to is Matt Maher. He’s a Catholic CCM artist who mostly focuses on worship songs. My favorite is Alive Again. I love the way he belts out the lyrics! He has described the scene that inspired him to write that song in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyBkwpsAb4Q

If you’ve ever been up and outside before the sun rises, you know how beautiful it is. Slowly, you begin to hear a bird here and there chirping. The sky gets more and more beautiful in the east as well as in the west. The gentle breeze begins to blow, the product of heat from the sun. And then it is day.

Here are the lyrics to his song, Alive Again:

I woke up in darkness. Surrounded by silence. Oh, where. Where have I gone? I woke to reality losing its grip on me oh where, where have I gone? I can see the light before I see the sun rise.

You called and you shouted. Broke through my deafness. Now I’m breathing in and breathing out. I’m alive again. You shattered my darkness, washed away my blindness now I’m breathing in and breathing out, I’m alive again.

Late have I loved You. You waited for me; I searched for You. What took me so long? I was looking outside as if love would ever want to hide. I’m finding I was wrong. Cuz I can feel the wind before it hits my skin.

Chorus

Because I want You, yes I want You, I need You and I’ll do whatever I have to just to get through cuz I love You and I love You.

Chorus

Traveling

Last weekend, I went shopping with Emily and found 2 coats (with sleeves long enough for my arms) and one pair of “touring shoes,” made by Merrell. The two coats were on sale (Feb. is a good month to buy winter coats), but the shoes set me back 95 bucks. In CASH, Dave Ramsey. No worries! I’ve come to the conclusion that I am going to have to plunk down the dough if I’m going to wear shoes that support me and are comfortable. It’s worth it! My Merrells are awesome.

Those items were purchased in anticipation of our upcoming DC Trip! Andrea and I are taking 14 students on a trip to our nation’s capital over Spring Break. I am very excited about this since I’ve always wanted to see DC. I love our nation’s history, and I can’t wait to walk on the same ground so many great leaders walked on before me. Abraham Lincoln is probably my favorite president. Such courage in such a tumultuous time. I’m hoping to get through a book or two about him before the trip.

My college friends and I are planning a trip to Chicago this summer. I went to Chicago with Upward Bound when I taught with them one summer, and I fell in love with that city. It is fantastic! The people are friendly. The city is clean and full of things to do. I can’t wait to hang out there with my good friends (and relax from cramming for my comps and prepare for my last month of MA classes). We might go to the beach at Chicago’s waterfront.

Traveling is so much fun. I hope that as a teacher, I will be able to use my summers off for traveling. However, it would be very interesting to travel in the fall. Cheaper rates on flights and hotels, beautiful autumn foliage, and mild weather. If I ever have a year off from teaching . . . I know what I’ll do . . .

When Someone is Here

My house has so much more life in it when someone comes to visit me. I really enjoy it! Dad has been able to stay overnight on his truck routes twice this year, and Emily came for the whole weekend. We’re going to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a shopping expedition!

There are many reasons I love having someone else here:  I actually have someone to talk to, I can cook good meals, my fridge isn’t quite so bare, I can share all the things I’ve been learning, and I feel SO loved! It’s an emotion I can’t quite explain. I hope it’s an inkling of what it might be like to be married. Maybe it’s a feeling of security. Maybe it’s some source of motivation, having someone around. I don’t know what it is, but I really like it.

This feeling I get when “someone is here” can be somewhat counterfeited by Facebook. In the past, I’ve used Facebook as a source of interaction among my family and friends. However, I’ve seen how counterfeit this interaction is, and I’m currently on a Facebook hiatus.

There are several reasons why I love Facebook: I’m far away from friends and family, so I go there to catch up. I’m an extrovert, so seeing what everyone is up to fulfills some sort of social need in my life (though it’s not as effective as actually being with people; it’s counterfeited). I am at the stage of life where people begin getting married and having babies, so it’s lots of fun to look at how my friends’ lives are changing.

However, these positive reasons bring up other negative aspects of Facebook for myself: I use Facebook as an excuse to not do my work. I use Facebook as place to go when I’m depressed or  overwhelmed. I compare myself to other people (which I already do too much anyway!) and become unhappy with where I am in life.

So, at this point in time, as I’m facing a time crunch with my Master’s degree and living a fulfilling single life, the negative aspects of Facebook outweigh the positive aspects. Will I stay away forever? Probably not. Facebook is a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends and family. And, I enjoy posting photos of what I’m up to on Facebook. Nonetheless, for now, Facebook has been put on the back burner.


Snow

Tonight on my way back from watching the Super Bowl, the snow was falling in wet, heavy flakes, forming a thick layer of white on the trees and power lines. It was such a peaceful snow I had to write about it.

Peaceful snows like this one are comforting. They muffle the sounds of nature, quieting my heart. This kind of snow makes me think of a fresh start. The kind of fresh start God gives us every day. I’m excited to have the privilege of waking up in the morning to a fresh crust of snow. The kind that inspires a fresh start in the daily struggles of life.

Thank you, Lord.

Tim Tebow

After discovering this guy about a month ago (I know, I know, he’s a bit legendary, but, hey, I don’t have a TV!), I’ve been so encouraged in my beliefs and values in life. He stands up for what he believes and seeks out ways to help people. He is who he says he is. Of all the males I’ve met in my life, the ones I respect and love the most are the ones who are who they say they are. I hope to marry a man someday who is who he says he is. Integrity. That’s what it is.

Lots of writers are focusing on how Tebow embodies what we really demand of our celebrities. We want to know what they think about issues, we want to see them stand up for their beliefs, and we want to see them be real. Tim Tebow is that. So much so that he has agreed to help Focus on the Family make a Super Bowl commercial about their organization.

This is really big in the news right now. Just google “Tim Tebow commercial” and you will find many, many interesting articles about it. Not only does the ad come from an organization many view as too conservative and right wing (too polarizing. . .go figure, a Christian organization is too polarizing. . .), but also the ad touches on the topic of choosing life over abortion. Now, it isn’t clear how much of a pro-life message is evident in the ad (since nobody has actually seen it), but if you read about how some of the women’s groups are responding, you would think this commercial is screaming obscenities at women who have chosen abortion.

All I can think about is how much we need to pray in this situation. Pray for Tebow, that he would be strong and continue to live in the world, but not of it. Pray for Focus, that they would be able to weather the storm of controversy and then the flood of business they receive after the commercial from families who need help. God is doing something big in our culture war with these events. Pray for all involved, and be encouraged in your beliefs!