Glory to the New Born King!: Guest Post at Gracefully Truthful

Charles Wesley is one of the greatest hymn writers in church history, having penned approximately 6,500 in his lifetime.  It was within one year of Wesley’s coming to faith in Christ that he wrote the theologically-rich Christmas hymn, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing....

Join me over at Gracefully Truth today to continue reading about this gospel rich hymn that articulates Christ's mission...

Many Beautiful Things

It was about a year ago that I first heard the name Lillias Trotter, whenOxvision films revealed a documentary devoted to unfolding her story - one almost lost to the dust of history books.

Trotter, a naturally gifted artist of mostly watercolors and sketches, was born in the late 1800s during the Victorian age of England. Her mother noticed her talents early on and encouraged her artwork. By the time she was a young woman, one of the great art critics and instructors of that day, John Ruskin, had become acquainted with her work.  He was so impressed by her talent, he offered her a life of full-instruction, exposure and growth as an artist - promising her to achieve more fame than any other English artist of that time.  

At the same time, God was calling her heart and life nearer to His kingdom purposes which included serving the poor, helping prostitutes find dignifying work, and working to provide shelter for women and children on the streets of England.  
Ruskin's proposal to fame…

New Song: Looking for Eden

There is a longing that has been placed inside the human heart, regardless if that heart knows it's there or not. Somewhere in our soul, we know this life is not the way it is supposed to be.  We are looking to be whole, the way we were intended.  We are looking for perfection, in the purest sense. We are looking for redemption.  We are looking for Eden.  

The problem is many of us have forgotten what Eden looks like and we've thrown out the map.  Whether we know it or not, each our human hearts are seeking to fill a space inside of us that only the Spirit of God through Christ can perfectly fill.  

Ecclesiastes 3:11 tell us that the longing we feel is something God created our hearts for - and that is eternity. A longing for something bigger than ourselves.  Something deeper than the surface.  A life that matters past the stuff of earth.  A life of eternal purpose.

These thoughts are where this song was born out of.  

The verses describe what the searching looks like.  

The chorus…

Nothing is a Waste

That's a lot of notes for what is taking a lot longer than usual. 

I've been out of practice songwriting this fall. 

Out of sync. 

This time it's been like pulling teeth. 

I had a chorus but was very unsettled with several verses I wrote yesterday. 

Today was good to be willing to scratch all of my prior work, and re-think the concept and verses. 

It's tempting to think the work done before is wasted...done in vain. But I know better, that this process is part of what is the practice of honing a skill. It could be that the verses were not right with me because I'm becoming less content to just settle on a lyric. 

Maybe that's the growth being honed.

Here's a peak at the chorus lyrics (verses are being honed:) 

We are looking for Eden

Chasing our freedom

Just sure we can find milk and honey

In a wasteland that's nobody's remedy

Just sure we can make this what it outta be

We are looking...looking...looking...
for Eden, Eden, Oh Eden

Do You Have 17 Inches?

It is said that Emily Dickinson, who wrote over 1,800 poems in her day, did so while sitting at a simple wooden 17-inch desk in her bedroom. Her desk and chair faced a window which opened to the flower gardens right outside  her home.  

Seventeen inches. 

Not a custom built-in. 

Not a family heirloom roll-top.

Not from within a personal home-library.

Not among other scholars and colleagues.

Seventeen inches.

Not the latest IKEA built-in. 

Not from within a custom she-shed in your back-yard. 

Not with a Facebook group of like-minded creatives.

Just 17 inches.

There were times, years ago when my children were very young, it felt like a luxury or a non-essential to find time and space to pour out my thoughts into creative work. It felt selfish, self-indulgent, unnecessary, and wasteful. It actually felt impossible at times. 

However, I began to realize that those descriptors are only true if that is the posture of my heart, (and that is entirely possible, let me be clear).  Instead I began to see th…

Mercy: thoughts & a song based on Psalm 23

Update: I wrote this post over two weeks ago.  Little did I know within minutes of hitting 'publish', the mercy of God would chase me down in a very specific way. In a way I knew I desperately needed but didn't know how to ask for. The mercy of God through Jesus is real, unrelenting and good. Always.

Psalm 23 is probably one of most well known passages in Scripture both by the believing world and secular alike. But it's also one that has brought intense comfort to the same respectively, over the ages. At first glance it makes sense's a beautiful image drawn by the Psalmist David, using the metaphor of sheep and their shepherd as mankind with God. 

But what's more is that this brief passage, only six verses, contains the scope of a man's life.  Periods of dark, near-death experiences, even being disciplined and trained by the Shepherd, are sandwiched between the proclamation of…

Safe & Familiar

My older two just spent a week overnight at camp. Granted, this is the same camp we work at, and it is only 10 minutes away, but this was the first time they'd been away from home for this many days, so this was a big deal. I knew they'd have a blast.  I had no problem dropping them off. I knew I had seen enough maturity in them to know they could self-regulate to a degree on their own, they could follow instructions and avoid death for the most part;)

I had braced myself for picking them up this morning, knowing that I was about to gain back two exhausted, hyper, full-of-stories, and perhaps crabby kiddos.  I wanted to be as patient and loving as possible with the transition home and into normalcy....something I needed grace for.  
What I didn't realize is how ready they truly would be to come home. Of course they're catching me up on camp stories about games experienced, songs learned, one-on-ones with counselors, Bible teaching lessons, funny cabin moments, and tough…