Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Orchestra Living

Our lives are like one giant orchestra. We each have so many different gifts, talents, roles, responsibilities, and seasons of life. We have so many facets of life that are wrapped up within you and me.

You and I are orchestras. The conductor of this orchestra is God, whether we choose to acknowledge this fact or not.

Have you ever heard an orchestra tuning their instruments before a big show? It can be pretty, but it basically hurts your ears at the same time. It's a beautiful mess of sounds all jumbled up and out of order. However, as soon as the conductor lifts His hands to direct the song he knows so well, all goes quiet. Each instrument and its steward recognize the role of the conductor and they wait for His direction.

There is a peace in knowing that there is someone in charge who knows what he is doing. Someone who knows the music and will lead you where you need to go.

 Waiting for the direction of the conductor is key to the beauty of the song. If even one little section gets impatient and jumps the gun, it kind of smudges the whole effect and distracts from the beauty of the plan for those who wait.

When each musician  in the orchestra surrenders their will to be in charge and decides to follow the lead of the one in front who holds the master plan, that's when the true beauty begins to manifest itself and begins to fill the air.

 When each instrument is in accordance with the plan of the Conductor, and is content to trust His all knowing hands, everything is in order to bring forth the beauty that glorifies the writer of the song.

Its SO easy to compartmentalize our lives into areas we feel matter to God, and areas we feel do not really matter so much at all. i.e. what we say with friends from school and what we say with friends from church. How we treat our friends and how we treat our family.

Separating our lives into categories like this is like letting only half of our orchestra participate in the song He has for us. It is so not how He designed the music, nor intended it to be played.

It is not always easy to surrender the will of that little flute that I feel already plays my song so well. Or the violin that matches its song with my whining spirit that would rather have things go my way. Or the drum that plays my own beat so comfortably and easily. But if they do not give up their comfortable ways and conform to the way of the Conductor, then there will be a noticeable difference between the song of the Conductor and the song of mine.

His song will be beautiful always, but the sound of my little beating drum and my little whining violin will taint the song of His and will not give it the glory that is due. My song cannot thwart the song of His; His will go on. However, I can taint others view of His ability to conduct music well. I could be a poor representation of who He is and the beauty of His plan if I choose to ignore the tempo and the key changes and the sharps and flats.
That would be the worst realization of all. To know that because of how I ignored His instructions, His beauty was not allowed to be portrayed in that area of the orchestra.

We are all given a life to live. A symphony to play. A choice of how we are going to choose to play it. Who are you playing your symphony for?

I am choosing to trust that even in the midst of the difficult parts of this song He has given me to play, the parts where I don't know if they will just end in dismal, melancholy keys, I choose to trust that He knows where it will end. He has promised that it will end in hope and life.

 I am choosing to trust Him in the easy parts where all is sunshine and roses, because He has promised that It gets hard. And I am choosing to trust Him in all  of the crazy parts in between. I choose to trust Him to direct each part of my life and to work it all together for His glory. I know that He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Who can help but play His song with joy when we realize the goodness of the Lord?

May He grant us all the grace to trust His ever loving hands to lead us through the dark shadow filled valleys, to those green pastures and quiet waters where He restores our souls.

And I know this Conductor is not half as cool as Jesus, but I love this song. It makes me want to close my eyes and dance all around my house.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankfulness of 2010

I am SOsoSOsoSO blessed.

Beyond Measure. All the measuring cups in the world can't contain the blessings that God has poured out on me in the past year, let alone in my lifetime thus far. These blessings aren't always glittery and exciting from the start. However, not all that is gold glitters. I have seen the most grungy of circumstances turn out to be the most lovely times of trusting God's plan to bring beauty up from ashes. He is truly worthy of our trust. I am learning to live with faith in the one who sees all that I cannot. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things that I cannot see with my eyes.

I have seen God perform miracles the way He did for Moses and Daniel and the Old Testament men of Faith and All Things Good. And I'm not even cool like them. I am the chief of sinners, the lamest of the lame, the weakest of the weak, the fearing-est of the fearful. Yet God has allowed me to see Him move so mightily. I am so undeserving...but I am so thankful.

  I am so undeserving of the family that God has given me. He put quite a bit of effort into bringing my family together. He had to find us all in remote corners of the earth- and boy am I glad He did. I sometimes feel bad that He put so many extremely wonderful people in my family though. Sometimes I feel like some of them should be less cool, just to be fair to the rest of the world's families. Oh well. Sorry yall.

I am so thankful for God increasing my faith in Him and deepening my relationship with Him this year. I have seen Him working and moving in ways I never saw Him move before.

I am so thankful for my new brother, Solomon! He's the greatest.

I am so thankful for Taekwondo. I'm so thankful for the wonderful friends I've made and the helpful things I've learned. :)

I am SO beyond thankful that God took me to Uganda this year..and with my brother Jonathan! It was an incredible journey and being able to experience it with my big brother was such a blessing that I will always treasure.

I'm thankful that my family has clean water and a mosquito free house to sleep in at night.
But I don't want to just sit and be thankful that My family doesn't have to worry about those things. I pray that God uses me to help bring these worries to an end for the beautiful families of Uganda.

God has surrounded me with the most amazing circle of friends who love me so well and hold me to a very high standard.

I am thankful for all of the opportunities that God has given me to speak up on behalf of orphans this year. Three years ago this past week, I was crying on an airplane out of Ethiopia, begging God to use me to help all of the children that were not able to come home with my parents and I. Nati and Meron and Selam. Haileyesus and Habtamu and Solomon.
 He has answered my prayers by allowing me to speak up for them and I hope that He continues to do so.

I am thankful for Our Ethiopian Littles who have been home for THREE YEARS! They are such treasures and I can't imagine life without them!

I'm thankful that God is speaking still and is not silent and impersonal. I am thankful that the Bible is His inerrant word. I'm thankful that the Gospel is true.

I'm thankful for the classes I've been able to take at Southeastern this year. I have benefitted so much from them.

I am extremely thankful that even though I don't know what next year holds for me, God knows it all and holds it all in His hands. He has a perfect plan. He has orchestrated my past, my present, is is orchestrating my future as well.
My hope is that I never lack in trust and faith in Him, and that I would allow Him to conduct every part of my life. I want to live a symphony of praise to my King...Jesus.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mary {Nalongo}

I don't even know where to begin telling you about this incredible woman. She was one of the most vibrant, joyful, caring, loving, people I have ever met. I only knew her for two short weeks, but I grew to love her and respect her deeply. People who knew her called her Nalongo- "Mother of Twins".

She went to seminary in Uganda to be able to better teach those around her about the good news of Jesus. She wanted to be a missionary to her people- and she was. She LOVED Jesus. She served faithfully, she visited those in need, she shared the Gospel almost constantly. She played the African drums quite nicely. Almost every time I saw her she was dancing and singing. She laughed so sweetly and would bend over to slap her knees when something was especially funny. She was a beautiful, beautiful woman. She could chop up a tree better than any woman {or man} I've ever met. She was such a strong, hard worker.

 I am so thankful for the words she spoke to me about Jesus that day as she held my hand and walked  down that orange dirt road on the other side of the world. She called me "'Ow-ah'{our}Smallest Missionary". A title I didn't feel worthy of, but it blessed my heart.

I was looking forward to seeing her again one day when I return to Uganda.

She went to her true home yesterday to be with Jesus. This side of the veil, we are so sad. But I know that she is rejoicing and has been made whole. The Gospel is so true. Heaven is so real. God is so good. We are so very redeemed and we have such a beautiful inheritance. We have such a hope in Christ. We have been redeemed and adopted into God's family. We are heirs with Christ.

I can't wait to see her in heaven, dancing and singing, walking down streets of gold- no longer just talking about Jesus together...but seeing Him face to face. She is truly alive and I will see her again.

We have this hope as an anchor for our souls.

Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Romans 6:5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

{Photo cred: Hayley Catt}