Making God Sing

The following is a Journal Entry from March, 2011:

I awoke to the Spirit singing to me this morning….a joyful song about dancing, and sadness fleeing away. I’ve awakened with music in my spirit before, but usually it is clear that MY spirit is singing to the Lord. But this feels really different, especially in light of the lyrics. Lord, can you really be singing that to me, about me? Usually I sing that about you. Can it be true that you were sad, and that I did something that turned your sorrow into joy?

The answer comes without hesitation, “Yes.”  

Then immediately to my mind comes a moment from the day before when my heart was pondering choices, and I quietly made a choice to trust God in something.

And I saw that in that moment I had turned from the Tree of Knowledge to the Tree of Life….for it is increasingly clear to me that we continually live in the presence of these two trees, or what they represent.

And I remembered also that there had been a noticeable strength present in me the rest of that day, a quiet strength of discipline. It led to some good choices, and I awoke happy about them. And that happiness overflowed to how I embraced my husband and how I looked forward into the day. And best of all, it made my God happy in me.

My pondering had been about some upcoming ministry time, and how, when I saw that I was reverting to old patterns of preparation — which looked like study, study, study, write, write, write, think, think, think — and then I remembered that when I had asked the Father how to prepare He gave me two simple instructions. I had been following them, though in a little sluggardly fashion — but then ADDING all that other stuff, stuff, stuff! And then I said quietly in my heart, NO. This time (because I’ve been here before, how many times?) I will simply trust and obey my Lord, and rest in His words.” It was a little quiet vow, made while dressing to go to a funeral, and then I walked out the door to attend that funeral and left that all behind to immerse myself in that occasion.

Here’s the cycle as I see it:

  • I make a little quiet choice to do it God’s way.
  • When He sees this, He undergirds me, filling me with strength to carry out His will.
  • In that strength, I go forward doing things that I ordinarily could not do, in my weakness.

I tell my disciples often, “I’m as weak as they come.” And it is true.  I make better choices when I walk with my God in His ways and abandon mine. More life comes. Rest comes to my spirit as internal struggle fades away. And I’m nicer to my guy. Everybody wins. And maybe, just maybe, God sings a happy song to me later to celebrate. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned about this God, it is that He is into celebration.

Taking Care of Business

Covenant relationship looks like this: if I give of myself to take care of my covenant partner, tending to what is important to them; and they give themselves tending to what is important and needful to me, we are both satisfied! We love well. We have mutual joy. There will be no no lack, no sorrow, no striving. We both have rest in the heart of the other and in all that concerns us. All expressions of rest — such as safety, provision, nurture, love — are met in this kind of relationship.

I’ve learned this more than once in my walk with God, but especially when we were needing to move to the Texas coast in 2013 to be near my parents to help care for them. We needed to find a new home, and I wanted to go out and spend all effort and time finding it NOW. Yet life kept happening, and getting in the way! People kept needing things that stopped us from going at our search full speed ahead. I stewed and fretted some, with the Lord occasionally reassuring me that he had already secured a home for us.

I believed, yet still, in all honesty, it was hard to focus my attention on anything but finding that new home, until one day the Spirit dropped these words into my spirit: “Be about my business, and I will be about yours.” The Lord has a way of saying the one thing that changes everything. He had things we needed to do for him, things with and for people. I wish I had a dollar for every time the Lord has revealed that it isn’t people I am pushing against, it is Him!

The Lord reminded me that I could REST concerning our great need, because He was at work securing it all for us. Meanwhile, He needed me to be about His business in a wholehearted way, tending to the people he wanted to love on through us.

I realized what a perfect relationship this is, this reciprocal covenant love and care. It nips selfishness and self-centeredness in the bud. Joy seldom fails to come when you give of yourself to someone else. One may find some pleasure in giving themselves what they need, but nothing like the pure joy of giving oneself for others.

So, as we waited for our whole lives to be moved and rearranged, tending to my Father’s business produced in me joy, and rest, and hope, and fruitfulness. It was a good season, and my heart relaxed into being fully present for the people in our lives. The Lord was served, the people on His heart were served, and He did indeed secure for us the most delightful, perfect home here on the coast. It all came together in just the right time, and I hate to think of what we might have “settled for” in our own impatience and striving! I am so glad we did not, that he gave us the grace to rest both in what He promised and asked of us in those days.

So be about the Good Lord’s business, and He will always be about yours. That is covenant faithfulness, covenant care, covenant love. That is taking care of business, God’s way.

A Verb Looking For Its Object

In preparing for my most recent Women’s Retreat, the Holy Spirit taught me something new about surrender. Our normal concept of surrender to God is to give everything up, or lay everything down, abandoning ourselves, yielding entirely to Him — and this is certainly true. “But you don’t finish the sentence,” the Holy Spirit said to me…don’t say, ‘I surrender,’ say ‘I surrender to your love!'”

Yet another occasion to love being taught by the Spirit of Christ….He shows me things and connects things I would never have come up with intellectually or theologically.

Surrender is a relational transaction, always something or someone. Dictionary.com says of the verb surrender that it is used with an object, and means:

  1. to yield (something) to the possession or power of another.
  2. to give (oneself) up to some influence, course, emotion, etc.: He surrendered himself to a life of hardship.
  3. to yield or resign (an office, privilege, etc.) in favor of another.

For a Christian, the true object of our surrender is the Person who is the only truly good being, the unfailing lover, the one who died to give us real life. At a women's retreat.At that women’s retreat in the Michigan woods I asked each woman to fill in her blank at the end of the sentance, “I surrender to ________.”  A sampling of the answers:

  • I surrender to His goodness
  • I surrender to His rest
  • I surrender to His faithfulness
  • I surrender to His peace
  • I surrender to His grace

I invite you to fill in your own blank, and surrender anew to the Lord who asks you to yield all of your life and being to Him, and gives so much more in exchange!

Bless you in knowing your God,

Tonia