Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Better Than a Hallelujah Sometimes

We pour out our miseries
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a hallelujah
~Amy Grant

"You are confused. You think the clay is equal to the potter. You think that an object can tell the one who made it, 'You didn't make me.' This is like the pot telling the maker, 'you don't know anything.' " ~Isaiah 29:16 (NCV)

The clay is not stronger than the potter. In fact, it's purpose is to yield to the bendings and moldings of the potter's hands. But sometimes, the clay is stubborn and resists the molding of the potter. When this happens, the clay becomes dry and brittle at times. And no matter how much the potter tries to salvage the clay by re-adding water, reshaping and creating new ideas, the clay can break. 

Our lives are the clay and God is the potter. Molding, shaping, building. God puts things in front of for reasons. And sometimes we repel against what He wants for us. He bends us, shapes us, sends us on new paths, when we have ventured on "our own" way instead of yielding to His hand and voice. He is happy when we obey him. But sometimes, if we are unwilling, he has to break us. And it breaks His heart to do so. But being broken is a good thing. By breaking, we can become aware of what we are doing or the path that is leading us away from God. And even then, sometimes we refuse to listen to Him. So He will continue to break us until we hear Him. 

God gives us choices on the path of life. Sometimes we ignore the path that He has chosen for us. We ignore the whisper in our ear saying, "Turn right, my child." And defiantly we chose the path that we want instead. And at certain times, God's heart is broken and he has to break our hearts. And like the clay, we become brittle and dry. And then instead of listening to Him, we question Him. "Why? Why did you let that happen? What did I do to deserve this? How much more are you going to throw at me? If you are a loving God, why do these things happen?"

I've asked these questions many times. Sometimes I got the answer that I wanted, other times I didn't. I know it sounds cliche, but things do happen for a reason. Sometimes these seasons are gloomy and we run, run, run from God. But you know what? God is the life giving water that is always flowing. And if we cry out to Him, he'll give us that living water and replenish the dry, brittle substance. And we grow in Him, letting Him reshape us.

Sometimes it feels like we don't want to go on living because one bad thing after another comes our way. And we feel like we don't have the strength to go on. But if we lean on God and those around us for support, we can make it through the day. One step at a time. One breath in and out. God will never let us fall so far from Him that he can't reach us. He's always able to pick us up when we've fallen. His arms are always open, waiting for us to come to Him. His love is as far as the East is from the West. 

I know you are broken and feeling lost at the moment. I know you feel like there is nothing left of you; nothing that you can give to anyone. I know you have been hurt by those you love. But God is here. He's waiting. He's waiting for you to cry out to Him. He may seem far away at the moment, but he will soon whisper, "I'm here! I've never left you!" Your cry to Him is better than a hallelujah. 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I am Gomer, Hosea's Wife

If you are unfamiliar with the story of Gomer, here's a quick background. She was a girl with a reputation. Promiscuous or possibly working as a prostitute. But God told Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman. So he did- he married Gomer. And he fell in love with her. But she still continued her bad behavior. Read more about Hosea and Gomer in the bible: Hosea 1:1-3:5.

Hi. My name is Gomer.

Seems we all can relate to Gomer at some point in our life, can we not? We've all had done something in our past that was wrong. Let me tell you a little story...

In the past few months, I have been Gomer more than I care to claim. No, I have not been sleeping around or selling my body. For the record, and I will never been ashamed of it, I am still a virgin and will be until I find the man I will marry. But, like Gomer, I've made choices that I could have changed. BIG choices. I hurt a few people that I care about. Not once. Not twice. But more than that. I kept getting that little niggling, "Don't do it, Mindy. It's not worth it." But I kept retorting back, "Oh, just this one little time will not hurt." And that one little time snowballed and ended up damaging those people emotionally and physically. But I was only thinking of myself and not the other people that I was hurting. And right now, I'm living with the mistakes that I have made.

I had been forgiven in the past by the people that I hurt, but this time, if forgiveness comes, it will take some time I'm sure. And trust and confidence will need to be built. I grenaded that wall down and now, brick by brick, I'm hoping to build it back with those people. I love them dearly. I learned from my mistakes.

And even though I feel like if I were them and I wouldn't ever forgive me, I deep down that God has forgiven me. He is Love. And he loves us unconditionally, just as Hosea loved Gomer even though she continued on her path of wickedness. But, just because God forgives us daily and days are made fresh and new in his love and mercy, doesn't give us free reign to go and continue to do the bad. Sometimes, it's going to take more than once, twice or three times to get it through out thick skulls to NOT do something that could be potentially harmful to you or others. *points to self * case in point. I hurt others over and over again, but this last time was the final time. I learned my lesson. This is an opportunity to learn from the wrongs and grown in character.

Just as God loves us and forgives us, we are to love and forgive others. It may not be immediate like God does, but eventually time will forgive. I need to take the "ME" goggles off and think before I speak or do something. I can stop the cycle.

Hi. My name is Gomer. And I have done things in the past that I am not proud of. But I'm willing to change them.

I just spoke silence with the seeker next to me
She had a heart with hesitant, halting speech
That turned to mine and asked belligerently
"What do I live for?"

I see the scars of searches everywhere I go
From hearts to wars to literature to radio
There's a question like a shame no one will show
"What do I live for?"

We are Hosea's wife
We are squandering this life
Using people like ladders and words like knives

If we've eyes to see
If we've ears to hear
To find it in our hearts and mouths
The word that saves is near
Shed that shallow skin
Come and live again
Leave all you were before
To believe is to begin

There is truth in little corners of our lives
There are hints of it in songs and children's eyes
It's familiar, like an ancient lullaby
What do I live for?

We are Hosea's wife
We are squandering this life
Using bodies like money and truth like lies


We are more than dust
That means something
That means something
We are more than just
Blood and emotions
Inklings and notions
Atoms on oceans 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Be Still and Know

It amazes me how God can speak to someone. So many things have been going on in my life. So many crazy and wild ideas have been floating in my head.

For example, I wanted to get the How Many Kings tour with downhere and Mark Schultz, but it wasn’t in the plan at the time. The tour booked up fast, which is good, and there are still 2 dates coming to WI, so I’m happy.

Then, a little seed that had been planted a couple of months ago started to blossom one Sunday during the sermon. Horrible timing, I know. But, I got to talking with the pastor’s daughter and she thought the idea was awesome. Oh, I should tell you what it is: it’s for a girl’s conference and a concert with Lanae’ Hale and Jaime Jamgochian. We did some talking and to start, we thought maybe a “half day” concert would be best to start and work from there in future years if it all goes well.

Then, I started thinking, “You know what? I really like the whole promoting and getting concerts and things ready…” So, then I started looking up information on going to college for Marketing. I settled on doing courses through Berklee Music on Artist Management and Music Business. The only thing with Berklee online courses they don’t accept Financial Aid, Scholarships, Grants, etc. So, I am trying to find funding on my own. I decided to go with the Winter term which would start in January 2011. Each is a 2 year course, so I should be done with stuff in 4 years.

All of this has taken place within the past couple weeks. So my brain has been on high gear and frazzled at the same time. So many choices. Where does God want me to head? And for those of you who know me, public speaking really isn’t my thing. And what has been going on? Public speaking projects. My goodness.

Then to top this all off, my sister-in-law told me about a job at another car dealership. It’s closer to home, the hours would be great; no nights or weekends. And then I could really push my singing for weddings. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job where I’m at, but the late nights and every other weekend has really started to mess with my lifestyle. I am missing things at church on certain nights that I would love to attend, but can’t because I work until 8 or later, depending on what we have going on. So I applied for the job.

Then this morning, I was doing my Bible study and it’s amazing to me how God can come to you when you need Him. I was working on my assignments and all of a sudden this little voice came into my ear.

“Mindy, slow down. Stay where you are. Sit tight. I’ve got some surprises and plans for you that I can’t wait for you to see. So, sit back and relax.”

I nodded. I would obey and listen to him. So, I’m staying where I am at with work. He hasn’t told me “no” to the school or anything else. I keep getting more and more ideas, so we shall see where he is leading me.

I also keep thinking about the little “banter” between God and I about a year back. He had planted an idea in me and I came back to Him and told him straight out “no-I stutter, I ramble, I get off track, I ramble some more. I’m not made for speaking in public. That’s why I sit behind a microphone and sing.” He came straight out and told me: “Yah? And? Look what I did with Moses.” Silence. Me: “Touche.”

When your heart is fully open to him, it’s crazy what you can do. I never really took the time to open up and let him really come in and mold me. He’s doing a number on this piece of clay and I can’t wait to see what the final result will be in the very end.

Keep on molding, God. Keep on molding.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Heroes are made when you make a choice


I just had the most beautiful breakdown. A breakdown that was long overdue.

I am going through a Bible study called "He is my life" by Debbie Alsdorf. It's about loving others as Christ did. I think I mentioned this a couple blogs back.

I just finished my third week, and I can notice a difference in things. Yes, there are still some things that I am still working on, but I can feel a small difference. I'd rather take small steps and inch my way closer to my goal and climb to the top of the mountain verses taking giant leaps, reaching my goal in record time, only to fall and fail. I am learning to enjoy the obstacles in the way; they are helping me to grow and learn from my experiences.

Here is an example from this week. There is a salesman at work that, for some reason I can't quite figure out, I can't stand. Don't ask me why. I don't think that he ever did anything to me, and if he did, it was probably over something so stupid. Well, he came up to me at the window. I actually politely spoke with him. I wasn't short in answering him nor did I give him one word answers. I looked at him. I smiled at him. And I think that we actually laughed. Huh. Breakthroughs can be done.

But today, about a half hour ago, is when the breakdown came.

If you haven't seen the movie "To Save a Life", I really think that you should. I have heard nothing but good reviews about this movie, but then, I have heard reviews of other good movies only to be let way down.

This wasn't a slap in the face movie. This was a, "Mindy, I'm going to really open your heart and cause you to see what I see" moment. I watched it.

I became emotionally drained. I couldn't help but think of all the people that I have past on the street that probably needed a smile or a simple wave. Or the person that needed a door opened for them at the grocery store because their arms were full. Instead what did they get? A silent judgment. A glare. A "I'm better than you, so why would I associate myself with you" thought.

Some Christian I can be, huh?

I am so glad that God opened my eyes. I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be. But too often, I become this person that I want the most not to be just to "fit in". Why? I can't take whatever I have here on this earth with me when I die.

Would I rather have a handful of gadgets that will last for a short period of time only to change in a matter of minutes? Or, would you rather have that warm, bear hug saying, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."

I think I would chose the latter. At least, I knew I would have saved at least someone's life down the road instead of drowning myself in my headphones or games. No, I'm not saying that they are all fun. But I think I would like to see that person that I might have passed up smile and welcome them home when they pass from this world to the next.

When you feel that little tug in your stomach, don't ignore it. It's probably God tugging at your heart, breaking it to feel what He feels when He sees someone lonely and lost.

Here's a little phrase I came up with that I am trying to live by:
You can't say no to His go.

Sure, you can try and go a different path, but He's always going to lead you back.

Are you going to be a hero?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When Opportunity Presents Itself

I had no intentions of writing or recording a song today. I was only going to sit at my piano and practice some music for an upcoming church service. Not sing. Only play. I put myself on vocal rest for goodness sake.

But, God had other plans.

I have been really getting into this Bible Study called "He is My Life" by Debbie Alsdorf. I just finished the first week today and I am enjoying being broken and made beautiful by the words God is putting on my heart.

I have no hard time showing love to those that I love, but when it comes to showing love to the enemy or someone I don't want to be seen with, that's another thing. I am learning to be challenged by loving others as Jesus loved(s) them. It's not easy, but one small step, two at a time, I will get there.

The verses that have been really laying on my heart the past couple days in regards to loving as Christ does, are these:

1 John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 

Please take a listen. I hope it moves you to be the hands and feet of Christ. Don't mind the rough piano or vocal parts. I was so excited about it, that I wanted to get it out there for you to listen.


If every word I spoke- was lifted to the sky
But my heart quickly denied Your love
If my feet would walk the earth- to dry a crying eye
But the only thing they collected was dust
I would be nothing without Your love

Bind my heart to you, Jesus
Make it ever true
Flow into my veins and help me see
That every opportunity that presents itself is sure
To be my chance to be Your hands and feet

If for a moment I befriend- the loneliest of men
But turn away and forget his face and name
Would he truly see- You living in me
Or would my testament just be a chance at fame
I'd be nothing without Your grace


Take this heart of stone- mold it to fit Your own
Break the barriers hiding me from You
Let it be said of me- That the only thing
Is knowing how to love like You


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

American Idol: Cure or Curse?

So, my cousin-in-law called me today and asked if I was standing in line for American Idol auditions in Milwaukee, WI today. I told him no becuase there would have been no way of getting off of work, and I put myself on vocal rest becuase my voice has been acting funny and I have a bunch of weddings and other things coming up that I don't want to blow it out. My voice is my other sources of income.

I told him this and he was like, "Well, I guess you don't want it enough."

This is where I got defensive. Ever since people heard that American Idol was coming to Milwaukee, I have been getting asked if I was going or not. I told most people "no" because I knew I didn't want to go. A bunch of my family members got upset and told me that I obviously don't want it enough.

Want what? Fame? Fortune? The chance to live my dream?? Of course I want it. But my priorities have been reshuffled since I first heard about American Idol back in the day.

I don't understand why my family thinks that I HAVE to do American Idol and if I don't, I don't want to live out my dream enough. And when I tell them that it's not what God is telling me to do right now, they get all funny and come back with the "I don't want it" thing again. I'm giving back my talent where it belongs: back to God by writing, singing, and worshiping. I don't have to be rich and famous. That's what they want for me and they want to live vicariously through me.

I think as a family, they should be happy for me and my decisions. I have so many opportunities presenting themselves that I'm excited and scared. God knows what's best for me. And now that I think of it, I remember Dad saying one time, that I would never make it on Idol. Not because I don't have the talent, but because of the atmosphere. The "Hollywood" side of music is not for me. And I knew exactly what he meant.

My music is about God. God is my music. And I want to write, sing and perform just for Him. I want to give everything I have back to him. I don't want to parade on a stage in front of millions of people, hoping and wishing they vote for me to make it through to the next round. My only vote that matters is the one from God.

And His plan for me is all that should matter. I'm trusting Him. I'm leaning on Him. I am trying to decipher if it's my voice or His when I make a decision. And the decision to not do American Idol was not mine. I fought it for seven years. And God won.

I just wish my family would be happy and support my decisions. I get defensive when they tell me that I don't know what I want or that I am giving up on my dreams. I shouldn't have to defend myself. But I do and I get upset and it shows.

I am praying that God lays on their hearts and sees that my choices are going to be what's best for it at that time in my life. It just aches my heart when they can't see that God is moving. It's hard being in a family that doesn't understand my faith. They support it, yes. But I can't discuss it with most of them. They start to fidget and turn away.

God, you know what best and I am trusting you.

Good luck to all those that actually do try out for American Idol. My prayers, thoughts and wishes are with you.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Six Impossible Things

In honor of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, I have decided to take Alice up on her "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" quote. Here are the things that I have learned about myself in the last couple of years:

Wrong is right, right is wrong, left is right, right is left. Safely put: GOD IS GOD and His ways should be my own.

I've done a lot of tings over the past couple of years that I never would have dreamed ever doing before. Stepping out and just doing them, I proved to myself that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Yes, it will feel scary at first, but in the end, it will feel great to do something that you never thought you could do before.

I never really truly applied myself before. And when I would, I would try and achieve something so far out of my grasp that I would give up. Start small. Move up the ladder slowly. Revel in the climb to your goal; whether good or bad endings, big or small.

For so long I have tried to fit into society's mold of what is pretty, good and accepted. I have learned over the years that God loves you as you are, right where you are. Love yourself, then it will be easier to love others. If you are bitter with yourself, it will show when you speak to others. I am learning as I get older to be happy in my own skin and what God wants me to be.

I've met so many great people through message boards online. I thank God for the opportunity to meet all these lovely people with whom I've *hopefully* created lasting friendships with.

God laughs. So I, too, shall laugh, cackle and gafaw. Life is too short to be a stick-in-the-mud. I am goofy, odd and completely me. I dance, sing and entertain in a style all my own. That's how God made me. I like being different. And different is quite alright by me's your turn. I want to see what six impossible things you have learned about yourself or obstacles you have conquered in the past few years. Don't be shy. Step up and celebrate who you are.

Ahoy! Thanks for stopping by. Sometimes life should be an open book and here you will find that true. My mind is always on full speed and I will be heading over many waves. I hope this journey is as much of an adventure for you as it is for me~ ~Mindy