seasons

It took me years to learn patience.

Oh how I prayed for patience for so many years, and what God sent me repeatedly was times where my patience was tried. I thought, how can this be, but he gave me the opportunity to practice it.

Here in Minnesota, it is now March 2, when many of us are SO. OVER. WINTER. My commute to work is approximately 50 miles (one way) and I spend an average of 3-4 hours per day in the car in the winter. I am by now an expert at patience.

This week of course winter persists, and we all wonder when it will ever be over.
Capture

I thought I’d be giving you updates on our maple syruping project by now, but winter says no, not yet. The piles of snow around our land makes it near impossible to do anything on our homesteading level except to walk out to the chicken and goat barns, which is getting increasingly harder to open and shut the doors without continual shovelling out. The roof of our chicken aviary collapsed under the tremendous snow so come spring, there will be rebuilding.

Do you ever feel like that? Besides just winter. When you want something so badly, but God says, no… not yet.  In their wonderful book, “In the Wait” by Holly Holt, Courtney Bobko, Amanda Jass, Chelsea Ritchie and Heidi Anderson, they beautifully share how God moved through them during seasons of adversity and waiting. How God built their faith and revealed a purpose for the waiting,  through cancer, miscarriage, and more.

Now, I don’t know if we actually need quite this much snow, but I do know that arctic tundra (Minnesota), snow provides insulation for the soil, so that the extreme cold temperatures don’t freeze the soil as deep as it would otherwise. If we had no snow, the cold temps could freeze the soil so much that it would affect roots of shrubs and even trees. It also provides a home for some animals and protects them also from the brutal cold.

I’d love to close out in this song Seasons, by Hillsong Worship. It so beautifully illustrates how God doesn’t give up on us. While we might be in a (metaphorical) season, or in the (literal) winter, there is a beautiful reason for the wait. Even if we don’t know what that is yet.

For all I know of seasons,
is that you take your time
Your could have saved us in a second
Instead you sent a child.

 

Until next time, be well my friends ❤

la

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captain

two years ago today marks the date.

of those non-stop phone calls I kept ignoring.

listening to Oceans by Hillsong United. praying those lyrics and etching them into my soul.

two years ago – reminds me where i’ve been

and where I’m going…

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where i’ve been –
Way back in May of 2013 My co-worker and friend Vanessa had sent me this song over Spotify message that simply said, “Today’s song“. Little did I know that the moment I listened to those lyrics I would make them my life prayer over the next several years.

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To be a woman of God who would get out of the boat and follow Jesus onto the water. To have faith that ran as deep as the Mariana Trench and beyond.

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Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark

After several repeated phone calls from my mother on July 1, 2014 – I answered the phone. Nothing but Jesus could have prepared me for that proverbial gut punch. “Your dad has choked on his breakfast… lost consciousness…heart stopped…. on a ventilator….in a coma…. come quickly.” The words bled together.

Tearing my laptop out of the wall at work – just ahead of the Red, White & Boom! TC Half Marathon that I am Course Chair for – I ripped off to St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood, MN.

… and waited

… prayed

…begged

…bargained

…and while my heavenly Captain knew where we were going, I could not understand the course that He charted for us.

Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass that points me back north

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I believe to this day, that singing those lyrics to Oceans – over and over and over the year prior kept my entire focus on Jesus during the months after. Not projecting, or burying the hurt, but fully trusting that God had it all figured out, and not carrying the burden of trying relentlessly to understand why this happened. Just simply getting out of the boat, and grabbing on to His hand.

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In 2015 I heard this song – Anchor also by Hillsong. Classic. Now that I took the step out of the boat – I had an amazing Anchor of faith to help hold me steady. I knew, whatever the storm was, my vessel would not be blown around, but conversely would stand the test of time.

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That year I saw anchors everywhere. On billboards, Facebook posts, a wedding invitation, and a random gift from my friend Vanessa of an anchor bracelet (which I’ve now turned into a necklace) that I wear to this day.

It’s a glorious reminder that I am anchored in Christ’s amazing strength through any storm, that I won’t blow away, and an abundance of grace and relentless love – each and every day.

where I’m going –
Held up in genius fashion, yet another song from Hillsong for 2016. And isn’t it kind of weird that they’re all so eerily related, and similar, and perfectly progressive?  All relating so perfectly to water. Perhaps this is a spiritual baptism I’m encountering, slowly being transfigured into a new creation.  As if that God of ours knew, and knows exactly what course He is charting.

Like the wind
You’ll guide
Clear the skies before me
And I’ll glide this open sea

My eyes are still focused straight on him.

I am not saying in the least that its easy, or that I never shed a tear. I shed a lot of tears when I allow myself to think about the tragedy that occurred, and I do allow it.

After all – Jesus wept too.

I find myself completely stunned however –  every time I play back the memories. That really… this was My dad. and he really IS gone, and now this is really MY story.

Knowing though – that I have a Captain that knows the path set before me, and how to navigate through the tough waters makes all the difference in the world. I can glide this craft through all waters with Him.

Just shy of three years ago thirteen of us embarked on an epic houseboat adventure in Voyagers National Park! My dad – the captain…

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There was this spot coming out of Crane Lake into Sand Point Lake called the King Williams Narrows. Now – this doesn’t look like much from the photo, but with our huge boat we had mere feet on either side to clear the passage.

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It took knowledge of the distance between the land masses, the specs on the boat, a steady hand, practice from driving river boats in the Navy – trust – lots of calm and patience, and a whole lot of praying to make it through. We all trusted Captain Rich as we knew none of us were skilled enough to clear that tiny passage.

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In the same way, I trust that God, my Captain knows the specs on my life, and the passages I will go through. “I’ve got this”, he says.

The destination that I’ve ended up thus far has been more mind blowingly beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I know that sounds odd given the circumstances, but my faith has exploded, and the peace I have is unexplainable. While darkness separates me and my dad for now – I know we will meet on the shores again. I’m so thankful to Jesus for giving us the opportunity.

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❤ Linds

Anchor

The last day of twenty fourteen!
I thought it was only appropriate to look back on where I was, where I’ve come and what I have before me. Last year I posted a litany of resolutions, or what I called Purposeful Intent. Something that I intended to do with purpose. While I did some of the things on my list, I failed completely at others.

Instead of a list that will just show me how futile human attainment (for me at least) can be, I opt in instead for a word to focus on, and a verse to pray over. I’m also in the process of writing down A Thousand Gifts – things I love to show me how I’ve been blessed and loved by the Lord, and of course my trip to the BWCAW.

Way back in 2013 I had chosen a verse for the year to focus on. I wrote it out on scratch paper in pen, and taped it to my electronic calendar which was Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in a person’s heart,but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Each day since, I’ve looked at that verse and repeated it to myself. This verse gave me such a great deal of comfort while we waited to find out if our daughter was going to get into the school we desperately had hoped for, and in the aftermath of my dad.

This past summer while my father was still clinging to life in the hospital Proverbs 3:5 just would not leave my mind. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. This was my mantra – and still is. There is no way for me to understand what happened, and all I can do is trust fully in the Lord and know that this is not the end of the story.

After hearing this amazing song by none other than Hillsong United (Who brought us Oceans) I could not get the word ANCHOR out of my mind. In fact I almost named this blog –  littleblessedlife.com with something to do with an anchor.  It seemed so powerful with both me and my dad having served in the Navy and then with this overwhelming desire to go to the BWCAW this upcoming spring I knew that this word was going to be it for 2015. It wasn’t until I started looking for a stock photo of an anchor for this exact post that I came across Hebrews 6:19 and my jaw dropped to the floor.

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The lyrics of this song which will not get out of my head was ripped right from Hebrews 6:19. Oh how I believe in this verse with my entire being, my entire soul! When I came across this song late this fall, the lyrics immediately gave words and real structure to what I had been feeling in my heart these past few months, but could not say myself.  It felt deeply like my postlude to Oceans in a way and to my story. I had been led out into the deep waters, walked on water and am now holding so tightly to my Anchor, my God to keep me from blowing away. I find it difficult at times to explain what I am feeling inside, but this song and its lyrics do it so beautifully.

On any given day when I felt the tides rise up, ready to wash over me I listen to this song with arms stretched out and face lifted, and immediately feel the Lords presence surrounding me. Its strange in a way to me how deep my faith has grown since July. Its not as though I grew up with unbelief. From as long as I can remember I believed in the story of the cross, but some how I now just know its true. Every time I sing to God, and pray I feel my dad right next to me.

In these storms it is so easy to drift, and be consumed with the rains beating down on you –  but with the Anchor holding me in place I will not drift, I will not fall I will not be consumed with fear and despair, but consumed with faith, hope and love. Love that was nailed to the cross.

My Father has been so present in my life these past six months, its overwhelming to the point of tears when singing worship songs. I can’t imagine how my father feels being face to face with Him.  “He gave everything to save the world He loves”.

Hope. What brings joy to the heart, which brings light to the world, and the laying out of full trust in the Lord. Drink in these words with me. Let them wash over you, and I wish you each a blessed and remarkable 2015 where you grow closer to the Lord.

These words are my anthem, my battle cry.

I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to You

With endless love
All my fear is swept away
In everything
I will trust in You

There is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world You love
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand
Unshakeable

Unchanging One
You who was and is to come
Your promise sure
You will not let go

Your Name is higher
Your Name is greater
All my hope is in You

Your word unfailing
Your promise unshaken
All my hope is in You

I am such a sucker for acoustic versions of songs- so when i found this there was so much joy and elation in my heart! I hope you enjoy!

 

Sing Oceans

I’ve heard from several people recently that they do not like singing the song Oceans – by Hillsong.  Up until very recently could hardly sing it anymore without bursting into tears. It is a song, made up of lyrically powerful stuff! And I get it. I get why they don’t want to sing Oceans, or why people even suggest that you don’t sing Oceans – but I say sing it, mean it, live it.

If you’re not familiar with the song, or are just joining my blog for the first time, here are the lyrics.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will standAnd I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mineYour grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine[3x]

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine.

To me this song is a pure and powerful prayer that does not hold back. It is an invitation of the Holy Spirit to the soul, but one should not be afraid of the lyrics. Its not saying, Lord I will do all of these things if you bring hardship into my life, or please Lord bring hard things into my life so that I can have a deeper understanding of you. No… I don’t believe that’s what this song is saying at all…

There will come a time in your life when the proverbial shit, hits the proverbial fan. We live in a broken world that is not fair, or just, but God is. If i’ve learned anything in my life I’ve learned that none of us are promised an easy life – but we can choose how we overcome these hard times. If you haven’t experienced hardship yet it will happen… but you don’t have to do it alone.

Let your faith run deep, wild and free – because as I was saying this prayer over the past two years it built up in me a strength I honestly do not believe I would have had if i hadn’t prayed these lyrics. I don’t think by singing this song constantly over the past few years the song invited my dad to choke to death. That was due to a series of terrible fateful things lining up with terrible timing and circumstances. I don’t believe it was the Holy Sprit saying, Okay Lindsey – you’ve prayed the prayer here you go, here’s your hardship so that your faith can grow deeper,  but rather Lindsey – this is the situation. I’m sorry, but its time to get out of the boat. You’re going to have to trust me that I will catch you.

Whether you sing this song or not, there will come a point in your life where things are going to be hard. That is life on this side of heaven. Maybe it’s deciding if you have the financial means to be a stay at home mom, or if you should choose a college that is close to home, or across the country, maybe you’re facing a tough time at work, trying to raise half a million dollars for a church, or several thousand for a mission trip or facing a sickness, or a sudden death.  Whatever water you face which is unique for us all, there is a savior that says to all of us, “Do not be afraid, I am with you.”. (Isaiah 41:10)

There is a game my daughter learned this summer that many of us adults know, and its the trust fall game. Where you and a partner stand next to each other, and the first person closes their eyes, stretches out their hands, and falls back towards the ground and your partner catches you. Oceans is just like that. Its saying, you know what. I will trust you so deep Lord that I will let go and when I fall I know that you will be right there to catch me.

To me this song is all about preparing your heart and soul now in a deep relationship with Christ so that when we face hard times we know without a fraction of a doubt that Jesus is with us. This song is all about building a relationship with Jesus about inviting us to trust God deeply, not invite hard times in our life. That will happen all on its own. I don’t know about you, but when I am in the boat of life and the waves start to grow bigger I thank God with all of my might that Jesus will be there with me. I do not think it was an accident that I was singing this song with all of my might the moment I got the call about my dad. It was God who knows all things, knew I needed to be reminded of these lyrics one last time before I heard the news.

So sing Oceans. Don’t be afraid and sit on the side lines of faith. Nothing great comes from sitting on the sidelines. Peyton Manning did not beat Bret Favre’s career passing touchdown record by sitting on the sidelines, Wayne Gretzky, and Michael Jordan did not get where they did by sitting on the sidelines. Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks did not change history by sitting on the sidelines, and I am not just “handling my dad’s death” by sitting on the sidelines. I am living each day the lyrics of Oceans. Each day is not easy, but each day i know that when I call upon His name, God is rushing to me, embracing me with his kindness, and grace.

I will keep singing Oceans and asking God to continue to lead me where my trust has no borders. I refuse to put God in a box, but will let him touch all areas of my life and beg him to take me deeper in faith then my feet could ever wander on their own… so when I have a hard day – or something else strikes I will be ready.

Invite the Holy Spirit to do great things in you. Sing Oceans. Sing it loudly in your car, sing it quietly before bed, and let your faith run wild and free in the deep waters.

I know I have linked to this song before, but this is my most favorite version of the song.

Take me DEEPER than my feet could ever wander

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This past week has been hard. Reality is starting to sink in and I realize I need to cling to our sovereign Lord  tighter than ever before. Each night when my head hits the pillow and I go to finally shut my eyes I just find a flood of tears rolling down my face. I think this is okay and I find it healing.

Sometimes its just good to cry, and let it all out. I’ve been finding myself, when feeling choked up to choke it back down. Not for any particular reason like not wanting my friends to see me cry, because I’m a pretty “wear my life on my sleeve” kind of gal, and I’m not trying to be, “A strong christian woman” who never cries, because as we know from John 11:35 “Then Jesus wept”; God cries too.

We have a God who loves us, and empathizes with us and weeps openly with us. Perhaps I hold it in because I know once I start I can’t stop, or perhaps I’m not in the mood to grieve, or I’m having a good moment. This past week though, involuntarily as soon as I shut my eyes at night I too weep.

My Shepard is leading me DEEPER than my feet have ever wandered before. To a place that is the holiest of holies. The lyric in the song by Oceans says, Take me DEEPER than my feet would ever wander, where my faith would be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior…

I feel closer to God than ever before and today at the spur of the moment I decided to go back to Eagle Brook Church for worship and I’m so glad I did. I was treated to Pastor Steve’s last day there. He is the worship pastor and his musicality is unlike anything I’ve ever heard in my life. Today of all days was his last day as Worship pastor at EBC. I’m disappointed that he is moving on, but I was so lucky that I chose today of all days to worship with him to worship the God of the universe.

During the message we were invited to memorize our key verse which was so fitting for this season of my life, “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!” ~ Psalm 42:56

I was locked in with God this morning, and will praise Him again and again. I do know why I am discouraged and why my heart is so sad, and I will still praise him again and again and again! Because of what He did on the cross, He broke the curtain that separated us from Him. My father is worshiping with my heavenly Father and someday I too will join them! There is a tender loving reason to celebreate.

He brought me deeper into worship than my feet would have ever gone by themselves. During the song posted below I drunk in each word, and the tears flooded down my face as I could barely sing any of the words aloud.

My Lord is my first, He is my last, He is my Future, He is my past.

I’m so thankful down on my knees that I’ve known Jesus my whole life. He is my first and my past because of my dad [and mom] who faithfully lead me to church every Sunday growing up. My dad pointed me towards this loving God of the universe, and through his own life imiated Christ. He showed the world what it really meant to love one another, and extend mercies beyond all understanding.

I’m no closer to having any answers, but I’ve leaned into God more this week than I have ever before, which is exactly where I think God wants me to be. He is my Future and always has been, but i just see it so much clearer now.

I invite you to listen to this beautiful song that in the words of Pastor Steve, made my eyes sweat today!