Known…

Have you ever met someone that compelled you to confess, “I’m better for knowing them.” That person truly opened the door for you to explore your heart and mind without even trying. They assisted in making your existence better?
Well tonight, I had the opportunity to bless that person through supporting her talent. The words in some of the songs I heard tonight filled a void left by my inability to convey my heart verbally. Two songs “Curious” and “All of me” – captivated me. We all have a desire to be known, understood and accepted WITHOUT compulsion,  compromise or manipulation…purely to be accepted…to just be…
Tonight,  confirmed convictions and cancelled doubts in my heart. And all because of the blessing of supporting an amazingly talented, humble, and loving human being who I am better for knowing.
Thank you, Nikki Lerner…

If you want to hear Nikki sing, check out her website and find those songs on her latest project, “LONGINGS”…you will understand why I had to thank her!
www.nikkilerner.com

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From Worry to Worship

Today, I was blessed and excited to experience a celebration of God’s Glory…it is called the “Feast of Tabernacles” or the “Feast of Booths”. This was my second year of participating in this amazing event and it seemed ‘different’ this time.

A brief synopsis: The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of God’s glory – His manifest presence amongst His people. It’s a yearly celebration that the jewish community (and many Christians) celebrate in rememberence of the fact that God tabernacled with His people. You also bring a special offering as thanks to God for all He has done for you. As a Christ follower, this is even more significant because we see this in Jesus coming to walk with us on earth and the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. You can read more about it in Leviticus 23:34-43

So as I prepared for this celebration today, I reflected on how the Lord has manifested His Glory in my life and if I’ve thanked Him for it…or have I just glossed over it as if it is a privilege I am no longer impressed with; it made me wonder. Upon arriving at the church, I was anticipating and expecting God to show me something about Himself and about me. Can I just tell you that church is a VERY different experience when you actually expect to hear and experience God. As we sung songs, danced, waved our palms and just expressed our gratefulness to Him, I began to sense that the Lord was about to answer my prayer…and He did!

The speaker began to share his message and it became clear why I was feeling as I did that morning. He spoke about Jubilee and freedom…freedom in Christ and whether or not we are truly free. He asked two questions, but the first question stood out: “Am I free?” He taught from Luke 4 when Jesus opened the scroll and read those powerful words from the prophet Isaiah. (Luke 4:17-21) Now, Jesus said who He was and why He came…but did I believe it?

I sat there and thought about the years prior filled with worrying, fretting, obsessing about my future, my family, my life, my finances…just a life of constant fear and worry. I would pray for freedom from worry…from those chains. I would get off my knees only to go back and pick those chains up once again…and again, and again. But, thankfully, I kept praying, I kept asking and kept believing…that I would be freed from this thing. This year, I realized that He has allowed my eyes to see and my mind to accept that fact that I am free from those chains – but I had to choose to accept and walk in my freedom. So, when the teacher asked, “Am I free”, I finally realized that I have always been free, but now I am walking in it. Those chains have been nailed to the cross for a long time and captivity is done…it’s done, Dawn.

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So, today as I celebrated the Glory of the Lord among His people, I worshipped Him differently. My thankfulness was not some obscure Christian ideal…but a real, present response to a real and present God. Today I celebrated my gift and journey from worry to worship.

Amen!

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It’s my pleasure…

Tonight, I was asked a question that captivated my mind for the remainder of the evening…

I listened to a brief sermon on God’s Pleasure – what brings God pleasure from His creation. We journeyed though God’s Word to show how time after time, God has shown pleasure in  His children and we read this verse that intrigued me -

Psalm 69:30-31 “I will praise God’s name with song and exalt Him with thanksgiving. That will please Yahweh more than an ox, more than a bull with horns and hooves.”

I let that sink in for a while and my thoughts moved towards dance and the season God has me in.

As I sat and engaged in my weekly prayer meeting and prayed for others, the question that came to me was this, “Have I found MY pleasure in pleasing God?” When I dance for Him, am I lost in His presence? Does my soul rejoice simply because I’m doing this all for Him? Or is my mind so overloaded by my own burdens that dancing for His glory is just a dull residue of my movements?

Have I found my pleasure in Him…or have I found my pleasure in the gifts I give to Him? As ‘perfect’ and ‘excellent’ as they may be ( like the Jewish offerings of oxen  and bulls), He is not pleased by them.

We all want to do so much to please God…to bring a smile to His face. We read books on how to please God, we try to ‘be right’ in His sight, we try with all our human abilities to please God…we try. I know that God has blessed me with the gift and passion for dance and I strive to use my gifts to bring focus to Him.

So now, as I stand before His people with a song of praise floating through the air and as I exalt Him with movements of thanksgiving, I will first lay my talents aside and find my pleasure in pleasing God.

…amen (let it be so)

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Just returned from a funeral of a 23-year-old young man. I sat and observed for a while in support of a dear sister and her husband (the young man’s uncle). I sat there mourning with those who mourn as the Word tells us to do. I prayed for those with whom I crossed paths with and sung praises to God for who He is. But then, God did something…as I listened to family members who were pastors and teachers speak about the young man, I crossed a line – from spectator to participant. As these men spoke, I began to see my son in the stories. I didn’t hear or see anyone else for a moment. This young man did not die as a result of gang association, shooting or drugs – he died from a poor decision that led to a unforseeable accident. Poor judgement and lack of situational wisdom was his demise. Despite best intentions and deep desires to change, lack of wisdom was his path out of this life. And I thought of my son…thought of how my husband was inspired by God to review the book of Proverbs with him prior to him going back to middle school. I thought of my son as they read a letter written by the young man’s mother…a letter that I could have easily written about my son…my son.

And that’s when God corrected me, “He is MY son and I will do with him as I please when I please.” I paused. I asked for forgiveness at that moment.

At any time, God can call my son back to Him and I must be ok with that. I can teach, correct, guide and protect, but in the end, God’s Will be done. And for me to arrogantly believe that because I do ‘what is right’ with my son somehow makes him immune from the hardships or ‘early’ departure from my life is utterly and completely…human of me.  That’s a normal human mindset to have as we journey through this life, but I try to remember this truth – we are spiritual beings having a human experience. My humanity blurs my vision most days…death sharpens that lens for me. (Lord help me keep Your perspective.)

Heard a story that encouraged and blessed me at the service…it reminds me that God handled it all for me and my son…

“A father was on the road with his children in the back seat asleep. The kids were suddenly awoken by the buzzing of a bee flying about the inside of the car. The kids began panicking and saying, “A bee, dad! A bee!” The kids noticed how calm the dad was and asked him why he was not afraid. The father said, ‘As you slept, I saw the bee fly into the car. I extended my right arm and allowed it to sting me. It has no stinger any longer so it’s just flying about in here – so there is nothing to fear.”

I thanked the Lord Jesus for taking the sting of death away from us and for removing all fear associated with it. Remembering this truth helps me to freely hand my son and his future over to the One who holds it all.  I am still humbled by this experience today…I had no idea what plan God had for me in simply supporting my sister in her time of need. But clearly, she was not the only one who needed to be comforted today.

Thank You, Lord for seeing the secret places of my heart and healing them. Amen

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Good vs Best

As I listened to a friend speak about their life and choices they are making, I couldn’t help but wonder, “This sounds good, but is it what’s best?”

Isn’t that where we get tripped up? A seemingly perfect job, relationship, vehicle, business deal…they all are good things – could possibly benefit our lives – but is it what’s best at this leg of our journey? This comparison cannot be discerned easily, but it required the Spirit of wisdom to illuminate the truth.

I’ve made plenty of ‘good’ choices in my life and they did not harm me (immediately). But, looking back, I see that those choices were not ‘best’…not God’s best for me. If I had waited on His decision….if I had stepped back to view the bigger picture, I would have moved forward with more peace ad contentment.

The fine distinction between ‘good’ and ‘best’ is very similar to the sharpening of a camera lens. A slight rotation can turn a great shot into a captivating shot. At the break-neck speed in which we live, pause long enough to ask the question – ‘this is good, but is it what’s best for me?’

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Second Chances

I’m reflecting on the past 24 hours and how God has taught me so much in that time. He has shown me the awesome power of faithful, confident prayer. He has healed a mother’s heart. He has knocked down walls that were erected out of fear and rejection. He has shown love, mercy and grace towards me and my loved ones…and that’s just what I am aware of! (If you didn’t know, I believe God is AWESOME!)

So what was the lesson? My take away from September 3, 2013 was this – God has the final say on the outcome of my day IF I give Him room and access. I wondered today how this current challenge in my life would have flowed if I refused to make room for God to move…where would my heart be right now if I responded as I did in the past? Thankful and grateful is what I am today…thankful for second chances.

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Shouldn’t we all do this?

Shouldn't we all do this?

I love dance:)
I am my happiest when I have just come from a 3 hour rehearsal or just finished watching SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance?) When I saw this picture, it just made me smile! Hope you’re smiling too :)

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