Monday, February 22, 2010


**The song I'm referring to somehow disappeared from my playlist... the current song is a great one, too, but it no longer corresponds with this post.**

I don't know about you, but I have certain things that are constantly on "repeat" on my mental playlist. Normal things like, "I need to start a load of laundry." Or, "Better add that to the grocery list." Or, "Uh-oh. It's too quiet in here. What is Tori up to!?"

But then there are also those things that repeat and shuffle on my playlist that I wish I could remove but don't quite know how. (Kind of like my real life level of skill with technology!) Things like rehearsals of things I said in small group that I wish I could snatch back. Or high (maybe unrealistic) expectations of my kids that make me frustrated and short with them when they do the same things over and over.  Or the following self-condemnation for expecting of my kids what I can't even manage myself...consistently making the right and loving choice.

So when I opened my blog this morning, I was thankful for the first song that greeted me from my real life playlist: "Song of Hope" by the Robbie Seay Band. If you stick around long enough to listen, here's what you'll hear:

All things bright and beautiful You are
All things wise and wonderful You are
In my darkest night, You brighten up the skies
A song will rise

I will sing a song of hope
Sing along
God of heaven come down
Heaven come down
Just to know that You are near is enough
God of heaven come down, heaven come down

All things new
I can start again
Creator, God
Calling me Your friend
Sing praise, my soul
To the Maker of the skies
A song will rise

I will sing a song of hope
Sing along
God of heaven come down
Heaven come down
Just to know You and be loved is enough
God of heaven come down, heaven come down

Hallelujah, sing
Hallelujah, sing
Hallelujah, sing
As I listened to those words playing in the background, I thought about hope (Oh, yes, I am quick that way... a song titled "Song of Hope" made me think about hope!) :)
Hope defined as a verb means, "to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence."  The very fact that I cling to hope means both that I am missing something I long for, but also that I believe I will receive it. However, I think I often limit hope to only the first half of its true meaning, focusing on the desires of my heart that are unfulfilled.
Hope defined as a noun means, "a person or thing in which expectations are centered." Where do I truly place my hope? I know I have a lot of expectations, but I think the weight of them usually falls on me or the other people in my life. And that is far too heavy a load for any of us to carry.
So I began to think about why I love this song so much. I wondered if I can belt out all the lines of this song with equal sincerity.
I have no problem offering God praise, telling Him how beautiful, wise and wonderful He is. And I really get loud on the line that pleads with the God of heaven to come down. But immediately following that plea lies these two convictions:
Just to know that You are near is enough.
Just to know You and be loved is enough.
I realized, again, that often my words of praise are as much a request as an offering, a plea that God will really help me believe in the depths of my heart the words that I know in my head to be true of Him. To show me that He's near and that He loves me.
Man, I thought I deleted that playlist several years ago! I mean, it's not all bad because it consistently drives me to seek out the Father and His true heart for me. But you know how you sometimes listen to the same CD over and over until you finally just need to take it out of the rotation for a while? I think I'd like to take this one out permanently and bring it to the CD consignment store for someone else to add to their collection!
But for today, I guess I'll just hit "shuffle" once more and keep clinging to hope, reminding myself where I need to let my hope lie.
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

About Me

I've been tailoring my blog reading specifically to be a source of encouragement and inspiration as I work on some goals for myself, so I've been reading a lot of blogs that really hit home for me. It's such an encouragement to read posts and comments by other women who are transparent about their lives as they seek to be God-followers who live out their faith in their homes.

So anyway, as I've been seeking out topic-specific blogs, I've been leaving a few comments here and there, which I haven’t done much in the past. After receiving a comment today, I realized that people actually may be clicking over to check out my blog, which has been long-neglected. I started this blog primarily to journal and keep track of scriptures and quotes I wanted to remember, so there isn't a lot of information about my family or my life (unless you count my deep thought life last year) included here.

Therefore, I thought a post to introduce myself a bit might be in order. I've made a list of 10 random things about me, some nuts and bolts type info and some a little more personal, just to give a little glimpse of me:

1. I've been married for 16 years to a very sweet and handsome man. Boy, marriage is hard, but I'm seeing the truth of the quote from my last post coming to pass.

2. I'm the mother of 4, three of which God allowed us to think we planned, and one which He planned all on His own and surprised us with. :) They are 13, 10, 8, and 21 months. They amaze me! Seeing God working in their lives in spite of me is perhaps the clearest way God has ever demonstrated to me How He Loves.

3. I process my thoughts best through writing. (Read: My blog posts, though infrequent, are often very LONG.)

4. I am a thinker, and I am always trying to figure out they "why's" and "what if's." I think I say, "I wonder..." in nearly every conversation I have. I am learning to wonder more often about what's truly valuable, and sometimes I'm even wise enough to stop asking questions when the only answer is faith.

5. I am heartbroken for the people and children of Haiti. My brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew moved to Haiti 8 months ago, so my thoughts and wonderings often land there. In the aftermath of the earthquake I long to know how God calls us to "act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly" with the poor, oppressed, widowed, and orphaned of Haiti. The need is endless.

6. I am an information sponge, and I love to hear other people's stories. I read and and read and read. A decade ago I read fiction. Five years ago I read self-help books. Now it's blogs. Seeing how God is at work in other people's lives builds my faith. This is so true, that on a personality assessment I took, "INPUT" was my top character trait. (I'm not sure what good that trait does anyone else, but at least I know I'm not the only one who has it since it had its own category on the test!)

7. That same personality test showed that seeking "harmony" is one of my strongest traits. I knew deep down when I received the results that, for me, harmony seeking = approval seeking, and a quote I just read from Beth Moore's latest book confirms that my need for harmony stems in great part from insecurity. (Did you hear about my love-hate relationship with Beth Moore?) I guess I know which book needs to move the top of my wish list!

8. I strongly dislike hate exercise. I love sugar. If only someone would create a candy or soda that produces muscle tone the more you eat or drink, or an exercise program that required reading rather than physical movement, I'd be set.

9. I am a recovering perfectionist. Not the type that has an immaculate home, has perfectly-behaved kids, or always gets everywhere early (or even on time!) with everything she could need and then some in a tidy little handbag. No, I'm afraid I'm the all-or-nothing type who's most consistent approach has been to think, "If I can't do it the way I'd like, or if there's any chance I may fail, I may as well not do it at all." I guess the nice thing is that recovering from that type of perfectionism actually creates more order and peace than keeping everything perfect would.

10. I'm trying to learn how to structure my life in this physical world to lead me closer to the reality of Jesus and who He wants me to be. It's a tough educational track to choose, but I'm finding it well worth it!

Yeah, well, those 10 things certainly don't encompass who I am, but that's probably okay, because I find that who I am is changing as I continue to turn my focus more and more fully to Jesus... and thank goodness for that!

Coming soon: I'll try to share some of the blogs that have inspired me lately.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

True Beauty

Weddings may be beautiful, but marriages become beautiful.

(Mark Regnerus, Christianity Today)