Monday, August 18, 2014

Sleeves and Crying.

So I have one rule on stage for myself.
As you can tell, that rule isn't, "Don't say stupid stuff on stage," because I do that all of the time (on accident- not purposefully). It's definitely not that one! Just watch the beginning of 9:15am service from last week. You talk about embarrassing......
It also isn't, "Don't make a fool of yourself." My band knows all too well how often I do that.
It isn't, "No dancing," or "I'm going to be awesome all of the time," because I love to dance and I'm kinda bad when I dance!

The rule is - no crying on stage. I don't know what's up with me, but I totally get wierded out when people cry on stage, even if it's for legit reasons! I get all emotionally closed up when people cry in movies. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I just don't like it! I think I'm like a man in that way. Have you ever seen someone start crying in front of a man who suddenly doesn't know what to do with his hands or what to say? -Yeah.. That's me.
Some call it being emotionally stunted or cold.
They're probably right.

So this week, I was really caught off guard when I started to tear up during the offering song. I've been singing along with this song and studying the song for weeks, but it wasn't until I was singing it in front of everyone that it really hit me.
Which made me REALLY mad, but also really glad that God showed me a new way of seeing Him.

Here are the lyrics.

It's there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
 There in the very breath we breathe
Your grace grace
Oh such grace
The same for the rich and poor
The same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace
Oh such grace!

As I started singing verse 2, I thought about my life over the past year. 
I thought about my wedding day and how God's grace and presence was so palpable.
I thought about two months before that day when we laid my grandmother to rest. We wept at the graveside and felt God's presence there.
I thought about all of my friends- rich, poor, saints and sinners and how God's grace is covering each of them and shining through them in my life. 
I thought about the months where we've had plenty and months where we've inched by with God's help.
I though about the times where I did the right thing and the times when I messed up horribly. 
My life has been kind of a roller coaster over the last year. It's been one of the most memorable, shaping and wonderful years that I've ever had and as I reflected, I saw God's grace through the darkest lows and the brightest highs. 
So today, I encourage you to look back on your life. Think about your wedding day and the day you wept by the graveside. Think about all of the spans of your life and thank God for the grace that you didn't even know was there at the time. 
And it'll be okay to cry. 
Just not around me. 
Just kidding :).
Yesterday, August 17th, we sang:
"Alive in Us" by Hillsong
"At the Cross (Love Ran Red)" by Chris Tomlin
"Your Grace Finds Me" by Matt Redman
and "Your Grace is Enough" by Matt Maher
Oh. And I forgot about the one other rule I have on stage! I always have to wear sleeves. My momma  pulled me aside one day when I was young and said, "No one wants to see your armpits on stage. Wear sleeves!" and goodness knows that my momma is always right! So you're welcome. You can thank her for that!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Little Opinionated.

A few weeks ago, it was a regular Monday night in our home. Mondays are one of the few days that neither JD nor I have something planned and we thoroughly enjoy rotting our brains in front of the TV and eating cookies for dinner. We talk and joke and enjoy the other's company on Mondays.
On that particular Monday, I happened to be a little opinionated, as I'm apt to do every once in a while.

And this is how people feel about my opinions!
Okay. Let's not lie here. I'm extremely opinionated. It's by the grace of God and a good husband that I don't open my mouth more. I'm so opinionated that I got used to the taste of my foot in my mouth for a while. I realize what an annoying quality it can be, so I try to temper it. But not around JD. He's part of my "free space" where I'm allowed to "share my feelings" - or some excuse that I made up like that. 

So I was sitting on the couch while the evening news played, blabbing on and on about a blogger that writes terrible things in the name of Jesus and how everyone re-posts his really mean, hateful blogs. While I was wagging my mouth, JD was processing half of it and processing the news as well. If you'll remember, a few weeks ago, another plane went down.

I'll never forget the moment that the commercials went on and I finally stopped talking. JD turned around, knelt in front of me and said, "Courtney. I'm sorry that this blogger is driving you nuts. I'm sorry that he is misrepresenting Jesus and leading people astray. But our job is to represent Him well. And today, we will be thankful that we are not in the midst of war or poverty. We will be thankful that we and our families are safe. We need to be grateful to God that one of us wasn't on that plane and pray for the families who face that reality. We will pray for the people around the world who have some bigger problems."
Then he just walked off like he hadn't brought the house down with his words. He acted like it was no big deal and just his normal thoughts.

My little pea-picking brain and my unfocused heart were instantly snapped back into reality. Sometimes I get so upset about things that I think are a huge deal. I get too focused on things that do not even come close to mattering for almost the rest of the world. I get caught up in small matters that don't matter at all.

So today, and everyday since he said that, I've been trying to focus on the bigger pictures. I've tried to focus my prayer life more on other people and less on the things that frustrate me, because I realized that I can avoid and eliminate a lot of the things that frustrate me. I can open my eyes and see more of God and His people around me and less of the mess that folks like to stir up. I can lift my eyes above and see the Lord.

July 13th, we sang:
"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" by Matt Redman
"Beautiful Things" by Gungor
"At the Cross (Love Ran Red" by Chris Tomlin
and "Want to be Real" by Chris August

On July 20th, we sang:
"Lay Me Down" by Chris Tomlin
"Our God" by Chris Tomlin
"Sing and Shout" by Matt Redman
and "I Am" by David Crowder

July 27th, Adam led worship and we sang:
"Heaven Fall Down" by Phil Wickham
"Lord I Need You" by Chris Tomlin
"You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman
and "I'm Getting Ready" by Michael Kiwanuka Here's the original song!

On August 3rd, I braved the waters by myself and we sang:
"10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" by Matt Redman
"Not For a Moment" by Meredith Andrews
"How Great Thou Art"
"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
"We Still Believe" by Kathryn Scott
and "This I Believe" by Hillsong

And last week, August 10th, we sang:
"Savior's Here" by Kari Jobe
"Whom Shall I Fear" by Chris Tomlin
"Cornerstone" by Hillsong
and "Thank You God for Saving Me" by Phil Wickham