Tuesday, December 29, 2009

book review: singing the songs of the brokenhearted

I just finished a book entitled “Singing the Songs of the Brokenhearted” by Bill Crowder. It’s an examination of ten different psalms and taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding each. A recurring them in this book is the fact that even when we feel God isn’t listening to our prayers – that He’s too busy with other things to pay attention to us – He IS listening and He DOES care. “God does not always answer our prayers in ways that we understand, but He always hears our cries. He does not turn His back on us or ignore us. He is not too busy to listen. He is never disinterested.”
Eight of these ten psalms were written by David, each expressing his pain and fear at different moments in his life. “Whereas in brighter days we too often find ourselves warmed by the sun of our own abilities, in times of somber reflection following defeat we are often driven to God. David’s defeats caused him to do precisely that.” As David goes through trial after trial in his life, he is given the opportunity to simply give up and stop trusting God. After all, why would God continue to allow these things to happen to him? Yet David’s faith remains strong. “He will give thanks – even without having yet received relief. He will live a life of witness – even in the midst of mistreatment. And he will seek to honor God as he awaits the response of his Rescuer.” The thing I often struggle with is the difference between my timing and God’s. He seems to take longer in answering me than I’d like and it often causes frustration on my part. Yet trusting that He knows best is part of having faith. “David is so completely yielded to God’s purposes that he is not only willing to seek His help, he is willing to leave the timing of that help to God.”
Another recurring theme is trust. We have to trust God even when our lives seem to be slowly spiraling out of control. We have to trust that God has a plan despite how things may currently look and not let go of that faith. It’s during those times that we seem to cling to God tighter because, sometimes, He’s the only thing we have. We have to always look forward, not allowing ourselves to trip because we’re too busy focusing on what’s behind us. We have to press on, even when we feel exhausted and don’t want to take another step. “We cannot by strength of will extend our lives, but we can – and must – extend the influence of our lives. We can regret the limitations that we endure and live accordingly, or we can live our lives to make a difference. This is a challenge that is not governed by the length of our days, but by the depth of our commitment. Only when we are more concerned with living than we are with dying will we be able to truly live meaningful, victorious, and purposeful lives.”

looking ahead

It's that time of year again. The time when we reflect on the year now behind us and look ahead to the new year looming on the horizon. It's a time of evaluating what all we did or didn't accomplish and making note of what to do differently next time. It's a time of writing the final lines in this current chapter of our lives and preparing ourselves for a fresh start once the page turns. I'm excited about 2010. My pastor gave a message Sunday about things to leave in 2009 and what to take with us into 2010. He challenged us to make goals in each aspect of our lives (spirit, soul and body) and then actively pursue them. He said even if we don't meet every single goal, at least we'll have done more than had we not made the goal at all. I'm using the next few days of this year to write down what I want to see happen in my life next year. I want to have the best year yet, doing more than I ever thought possible. I want to walk in the plans God has for me, letting Him use the gifts He's placed within me. I want to accomplish everything He has for me, having no room for regrets. I'm excited!!!! I think 2010 will be an amazing year and I look forward to it :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

where are you christmas?

I was talking to a co-worker and we agreed that the month of December is nothing more than a blur. It's four weeks of parties, church programs, shopping for THE perfect gift, mounds and mounds of gift wrap and then if there's time, we reflect on the real meaning of December 25. We become so caught up in ways the world says to celebrate Jesus' birth that we lose sight of what's really important. It seems with each year, the push for Santa Claus becomes more and more imminent. We keep hearing the politically correct "Happy Holidays" versus "Merry Christmas." All of it does nothing but attempt to pull the focus from the whole reason as to why we're celebrating!! Saying all of that to say, may we not become so bogged down in our busy schedules that we neglect to remember what transpired some 2,000 years ago in a tiny stable.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I'm learning that while what you say is important what you DON'T say is equally as important. When I'm communicating with people, listening is a vital component to the conversation. The reason is that my voice is currently on vacation, leaving me with nothing more than a whisper in which to converse with others. I'm having to rely on hand motions and facial expressions to do the bulk of my "talking" for me. Because of this, it's so very important that those I'm trying to talk to take into account all of this. It takes patience on both parts for communicating to be successful. It's been an interesting lesson - letting my actions speak for me.

"Silences make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying but the never needing to say is what counts." - Margaret Lee Runbeck

"Saying nothing...sometimes says the most."
- Emily Dickinson