Worship Outside the Box {FMF}

What do you do when you can’t sleep and are up in the middle of the night nibbling on a peanut butter sandwich because baby wanted a snack? Oh, just a little free writing with the Five Minute Friday prompt “Worship”…

I’ve been sharing in this story how I was raised with some rather rigid religious ideas. One of which was that worship was a particular sort of music, sung at a particular pace, in a particular sort of church.

As my ‘religion’ has turned into more of a relationship, my understanding of worship has changed. Two light bulb moments illuminated this for me…

The first was a special evening last fall–the last night of the Allume Conference. After Ann Voskamp’s closing session (which was worshipful, let me tell you), there was a scheduled time of worship led by talented musicians. It really felt like the perfect ending to a weekend in which God had showed up way more than you’d expect at a conference that was supposedly about blogging. (Allume is always doing that–reminding you that it’s actually all about God.) Yet, as much as my heart was overflowing with worship, I felt myself drawn out of the room where the band was playing, and into the halls.

A friend asked, “are you staying for the worship time?” And I said something that surprised me when it came out of my mouth, but rings truer each time I recall it. “I think I worship in fellowship, um, just as well?” She nodded, like she understood perfectly, though I did not. But off I went into the halls to have a heart-to-heart with one of my besties. A conversation that would include sharing the deeper heart things, and touch on things God was whispering to us, and beauty we were finding in this season. Conversation that centers around God can be worship, right?

The second light bulb moment happened just last week. Our church had scheduled a picnic at a local park, with the goal of interacting and hopefully ministering with fellow park goers. After burgers and brownies and sweet tea, the musically inclined pulled out their instruments and began to sing. My man was among the musicians. Me? I was watching my kids and…talking. (I do so love to talk.)

The light faded, the praise and worship continued, the conversations grew deeper. At one point I had the thought, born from my good-girl-does-everything-by-the-book days, “I should probably go sit down and sing…” followed immediately by the very strong sensation that, “I was made for THIS. This conversation, this fellowship–this is worship, too.”

I worship most often in the deep fellowship that brings glory to God through stories and sentences.

I love to sing, too. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m learning that there’s more than one way to worship God, and there’s such joy in realizing I can worship Him in various settings, at different times of day, and even without an accompanying guitar.

And I’m so grateful that there are so many ways to worship my God, because every time I turn around, I find more reasons to worship.

Linking up with the lovely Lisa Jo, who is gracious enough to let even those of us who go (way) over time be a part of her Five Minute Friday link up.

FMF “After”

I’m a bit rusty at this. For four months I’ve funneled most of my writing into the shape of a book, and not allowed myself the freedom of writing for even 5 min. just for the fun of it. I’m starting up again today because my friend Gretchen encouraged me…she said “making time for beauty during this busy season is what you’re all about, Trina!” (She writes the most exquisite FMF’s, just so you know.) So, here’s my attempt at creating a little beauty with words in just five minutes…

After

“But Mary was distracted by much serving.”

The words in my daily Good Morning Girls reading scream in my face in the quiet of a rare morning up before the kids, with pink sunrise tinting my livingroom.

Boy, does that ever describe me. 

I’d like to think that the things that fill my day are valid–sometimes even crucial enough that I just can’t take the time to sit down and settle my heart. Let Him whisper. Let Him reshape me just a little bit more.

“…anxious and troubled about may things,”

oh yes. about things I must write, emails to answer, replies to post. About phone calls to make, calendars to update (after I find where the kids took it, that is), piles to sort. Laundry to switch to the dryer before it molds, dinner to put in the oven before I faint with hunger, sourdough to feed before it starves (poor thing!), snotty noses to wipe…

“…but one things is necessary.”

Why is it so necessary? I ask as I SOAP* out the verse for the day. And then He speaks. Because He ALWAYS does. Oh my goodness. I just don’t deserve this kind of attention from Him. But whenever I’m faithful to sit before Him, He meets me where I’m at.

Sitting at my Lord’s feet is crucial to being an effective servant. True service can only happen AFTER I’ve let Him renew my vision, tweak my motivation, mold my heart. Without that time with Him, my service will be for all the wrong reasons, and no matter how hard I push myself, I won’t be impacting the Kingdom.

STOP

*The S.O.A.P. method of Bible study involves writing out a passage of (S)cripture, journaling my (O)bservations, (A)pplying it to my life, and writing a (P)rayer. This method has really worked for me in this season of my motherhood because I can take even just one verse and get so much out of it. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but I feel like I’m getting the maximum impact of the Word. To find out more about SOAP and the online Bible Study Group I’m a part of, visit Good Morning Girls.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday! (Psst! Did you know she wrote the forward for my book?!)

Who is the Author of this Opportunity?

Does opportunity thrill you or scare you?

I’m usually in the thrill category. Anything new and exciting, I’m on it. Somewhere I can embrace my passions and serve God at the same time? I’m on it!

But lately I’ve had a little root of fear crop up. What if I fail? What if I start down this path, and realize I chose wrong? What if it stretches me too much and I break? What if–God forbid–I trip up and set a poor example?

I’ve been taking myself too seriously. And not taking God seriously enough. We often think we have created an opportunity by being diligent, by sewing seeds, by serving. Then, because we think we created it, we feel obligated to follow through. The reality is,

God is the Author of Opportunity.

Boy, does that ever take the pressure off! If opportunity comes, it’s a gift. It’s not something we must ‘take on’, it’s something we receive. It’s not something we can fail at, as long as we hold the gift with open hands.

The New Year is full of opportunities–both private and public. Ones that will allow others to see God through us, or ones that will allow us to see God in the quiet of our own hearts. I am suddenly relieved by the perspective that these opportunities are not obligations, but gifts. And we need only receive the ones with our name on them. And then God, the author of that opportunity, will give us the grace to walk that path until His goals in us are achieved.

I tell ya’ll, I’m just relieved. Deliciously relieved.

Embracing the opportunity to freewrite with Lisa Jo today. Oh, I apologize if at times in the past week you’ve popped in and the blog looks like a messy closet with clothes thrown everywhere…I’m in the middle of reorganizing and trying on new fonts and colors for my redesign!

Expectation

This month is full of expectation. Especially in the garden.

Every day (Ok, I admit, usually at least three times a day) I look around to see if anyone’s watching  if the kids will be ok for a minute without me, and I run out, barefoot across my new patio stones…

(‘love, love, love’ my feet cry with every step)

…and go to check on my garden.

I’m expecting my broccoli to start to build a crown any moment.

I dream of the Zucchini Fudge Cake we will make from the fruit of this plant.

Zucchini sprouts

I expect a bumper crop of scapes from my garlic.

Garlic plants

And every day another handful of strawberries turns from white to pink, pink to blood-and-diamond sparkles.

My garden is a physical stress reliever. All I have to do is walk between the beds and stress slips off me like rain off a tent fly. I think it’s cause when I’m in my garden, my mind is set on expectation. Because every thought is centered on hope.

I think I should make my whole yard into a garden.

Linking up to Gypsy Mamma’s Five Minute Friday Writing Prompt: “Expectation”. You should try it. (It’s also a great stress reliever ’cause it helps you create something beautiful in 5 min., despite a busy, messy day of motherhood.)

Welcome to Trust

Five Minute Friday: Trust

I came home from Relevant with many goals. New friendships to pursue, stories to tell, and a blog to redesign. But my main goal, inspired by every conversation and speaker, but especially Ann‘s session, was to become an upside-down, spirit-led blogger.

It took several months of processing and prayer and sweat and tears, but in the new year I finally felt like I was getting the hang of it. I felt like I’d found my voice, my footing…but some days it feels like a very, very small piece of property. 

I feel myself lean too far one way {pride} or the other {fear} and I’m lost again.

I want each and every post I put up on this blog to be led by the Lord and bring encouragement and cultivate community with my readers. But it’s so easy for me to get sucked in to passionate pursuit of my own goals, and miss His leading. It’s made me very cautious about what I write and hit ‘publish’ on.

But that’s another form of fear. I want to let go and trust that He will be faithful to inspire and equip and direct my words.  I want to enjoy this journey, not spend it cowering behind the publish button, worrying that I didn’t get it right {again}, doubting I can hear His guiding voice. So, I vow to trust, to embrace who He made me {a writer} and dance in this new space.

{Stop}

I broke all the rules for Five Min. Fridays today (I edited and went over time – gasp!), but the prompt helped me get to the root of what I wanted to express as I welcome you to my new space.

The address is the same and hopefully you don’t have too much trouble coming in and feeling right at home. We’re celebrating some great improvements just for my readers…

  • Comment threading – this means we can actually dialogue back and forth in the comments – yippee!
  • Better organization and access to archives – this is still in process, but feel free to explore the links (and let me know where you see room for improvement)

Thanks to my tireless and always cheerful webmistress, Gretchen, and my patient husband who have both put in hours helping this non-techy gal get all set up in WordPress. Love you guys!

I pray you and I can connect and grow here – to learn to breathe, to celebrate everyday beauty, to listen for His voice, and to trust.

So come on in and make yourselves at home! Oh, and don’t miss signing up for my newsletter, right there in the sidebar It’s  something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – it will be different content than the blog and monthly-ish. It’s gonna be fun!

 

Five Minute Fridays: Vivid

Vivid

When I think back to my most vivid memories of the homestead — those not triggered by the 2 dimensional aid of a photograph — I can almost feel the goosebumps.

There were moments (ok, hours) of intense cold. That second winter when Joel and I crawled around under the log cabin in February working in 18 in. of space and the smell of cats trying to jam insulation between the floor joists to plug the drafts peirciing the floor in the kitchen.

The sting of sleet while Jordan and I straddled the peak of the addition roof, executing an emergency chimney sweep in December. The last thing we needed was a chimney fire.

The achingly cold water we’d pump from the well into a 50 gallon barrel, one bucket-full at a time, to give ourselves a place to cool off in the baking August heat. (You really had to leave it at least a full day with the lid on in the sun before it was warmed enough.) We would take turns immersing ourselves, then hoisting up over the side of the barrel for the next kid to jump in. Dripping wet, we’d make dark, smacking footsteps on the slate around the pump, rushing to pump another bucket to replace the water displaced from our ‘pool’.

Linked up to Five Minute Fridays at Gypsy Mamma – come play along!

Best of 2011: Freedom Fridays

This spring I discovered the delightful and inspiring Lisa Jo over at Gypsy Mamma and her Five Minute Friday writing prompt. It came at just the right time — on the days when I didn’t know why I was blogging, or the weeks when I didn’t have time to write, or when I felt like I could never write well even if I DID know when and what to write, Lisa Jo set me free to just write.

For just five minutes, with the gumption you find when someone else tells you WHAT to write about, and the assurance that it didn’t have to be RIGHT, you just write. In with that simple recipe, I was able to find my writing voice through the busy summer days and when I’d forgotten why I write or how to *do* it right.

I was hooked! I loved it!
And so did you – not only did you leave such encouraging comments on my attempts, some of you followed me over to Lisa Jo’s and started doing the prompts, too. I loved how I got to know a few of you better through the soul writing that seems come out when we let ourselves just write.

Some of my most honest writing happened on Fridays this year. Your favorite (and mine, too, as it happens) was Grand Canyon, which I wrote from the writing prompt, “Distance”.

You can read all the Five Minute Fridays that I’ve done here, and you can try your hand at it yourself here, at Gypsy Mamma. (P.S. you don’t have to be a writer, have a blog, or even know how to type to participate! There are no rules – you just write. It’s fun – come on and join us!)

With Lisa Jo at the Relevant Conference. Love her and her South African accent!

Connected

Five Minute Friday Prompt: Connected

Now, more than ever, we are connected. Our phones, computers, cars that get us places fast, airplanes, skype, texting – so many ways to stay connected.

But are you connected? Do you use these tools in a way that deepens relationships, or do you use them to entertain, escape reality, kill time?

I used to. It could grieve me (if I dwelt there) just how many hours I’ve used my little laptop to wander cyberspace when I could have been using the time to connect. And, no, I don’t mean making more friends on facebook and leaving comments…

I’m talking about getting vulnerable. Of making a phone call to a friend in the middle of the day, when you may be interrupting her, or you may have a bit too much emotion broiling beneath the surface for it to be a perfectly polished conversation, but you just need to connect.

I’m talking about getting outside my comfort zone and learning to skype so I could be part of a discipleship program that has brought huge growth into my life.

I’m talking about the sweat and tears involved in finally wrangling my computer time into balance so that my time online is spent focused on my goals – connecting with friends who provide inspiration, accountablity, and true fellowship to my days.

I’m talking about keeping that computer time to a minimum so I have time to truly connect with my husband, my children, and my friends In Real Life.

Stop.


I went overtime. I can’t help it. This subject is at the forefront of my mind lately. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much, but it’s ’cause I’ve been connecting with my family, friends, and many of you on a more personal level than the blog. Which is a good thing, right? Don’t worry, I’ll be back to more regular posting soon…Thanks for hanging around in the silence. :)

For the Tired

I know it’s not Friday, but this prompt was dear to my heart. Here’s Five Minutes of me writing on a highly overrated state – Tired. 

What are you too tired to do?

When was the last time you felt truly rested?

Who would you be if you weren’t so tired?

What are you willing to sacrifice so you get the rest you know you need?

As a mother of three young children, sleep is a rare commodity. I’ve had to re-prioritize some things in the last few years to ensure I get a bit more of the precious stuff so I can be the mommy I need to be for them. After all, I’ve defined my key roles as wife, mother, and then homemaker. So, if that means dirty dishes stay in the sink while I trudge up to bed – so be it.

What could you sacrifice to earn more sleep points? I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, what is not worth losing sleep over.
Anxiety.
Keeping up with Facebook.
Being slow to forgive.
Leaving the living room clean.
Even — gasp — Five Minute Fridays (notice I’ve not done one in a while?)

It all comes down to priorities. Where is sleep on your priority list? Do you need to do some shifting?

Five Minute Fridays: Unexpected

Five Minute Fridays – Today’s Prompt…Unexpected

Unexpected
How you come in
Shining light into all my hopelessness
Was it something I did?
Or is it just You
Lover of creating
Surprises
Redemption
And hope
How is it I can never explain
The deepest workings in my heart
The moments you step in and redirect my heart
Change my life?
I guess it’s all just to give you
More Glory
This whole ‘can’t put my finger on it’
‘Can’t explain it’
Thing called Grace
At unexpected times
And places
You write a whole new page
That starts a whole new chapter
Of the page-turner
That is my life.

That’s all I’ve got. Do I have to keep writing? Hello? I’m officially breaking the rules of Five Minute Fridays! :) But this one, like “On Distance” seem to have exhausted me – rung me dry, before the timer dinged. Five Minute Fridays has become a holy experience for me – how about you?