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There’s a line in “Pieces” by Amanda Cook that gets me every time. Every time I hear…
“It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed. Your love is proud to be seen with me.”
My mind is filled with an image of me at my worst. Then Jesus in white extends His hand to me to help me up. I’m muddy, scraped up, and bloody…but Jesus holds His arm to me, and escorts me through the crowd. He puffs His chest out like I’m the most gorgeous gal in town, and escorts me like a gentleman. Proud.
Not pride in a bad way. But in a way that says, “I know this woman. I love this woman. And I don’t give a damn what you think of her, because to me she’s worth everything. Even my life.”
Then my heart melts into a gooey blob…and I get teary. Leaving me all a fluttery and reminded that I am loved.
So thank you Amanda Cook for this amazing reminder of His love for me.
The link to lyric video is above…or you can read the powerful words here…
Point to ponder while you wander…You are loved. Right now. Right where you are. Period.
Music. I love it. It is one of the greatest gifts God gave us. And the people who make the music, they are gifts too.
I’ve always desired to be musical. I joined band in elementary school. Probably the worst flutist ever to pick up the flute. I begged for a keyboard and piano lessons. I got the keyboard, but that whole two hands doing two separate things at the same time thing. Yeah. I cannot do that. I was in elementary school choir. I was in junior high choir too. In eighth grade, I was directed to sing so softly that I couldn’t be heard at a concert.
I realized then that maybe music wasn’t in the cards for me. Didn’t stop me from singing, I sing all the time. I also dance (AKA flailing) and paint (AKA creative therapy). But those are stories for another day.
What’s the my point? There is only one Kim Walker Smith. There is only one Martina McBride. There’s only one Natalie Grant. There’s only one Loretta Lynn. There’s only one Aretha Franklin. There is only one Doris Day. And there’s only one Jill Nicholson.
Jill Nicholson? Who’s that?
That’s me. I am Jill. I have gifts and talents chosen by God and entrusted to me to cultivate and grow. But for years I felt that because I couldn’t sing like I wanted, that I wasn’t talented at all. That is a lie straight from the enemy. Unfortunately, I believed it for too long and wasted years I could have been tending to the natural abilities I WAS entrusted with.
I believed the lie. So I took my ball and went home.
The parable of the talents comes to mind here because I did bury what I had inside and hide the talents I did have. I didn’t take photography classes because I was afraid I’d be told I wasn’t good at it. Then I couldn’t take photos anymore. I didn’t want a repeat of the choir concert incident. I only wrote for class assignments. Research papers and essays essentially. When I did write other things, I didn’t let anyone read them. I still struggle with letting people read my creative stuff.
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” John 12:24-25 MSG
I know the context of this verse is Jesus speaking about His upcoming death, burial, and resurrection. But this is what Jesus woke me up at 3:30 am to show me…If we take the gifts and talents that we have been entrusted with by God, both spiritual and natural, and we keep them to ourselves they are wasted. But if we take the time to develop them, and sow them into His kingdom, those gifts are multiplied beyond what we could ever imagine.
Nothing given to Jesus is ever wasted. It’s always multiplied in some way. I’m still chewing on this, because I know there’s more here, but this is initial revelation.
Point to ponder while you wander…Appreciate the gifts and talents in those around you, not be envious or jealous of them. Be grateful for the abilities YOU WERE given and be good stewards of them.
PS: Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25.
When ever I listen to Billy Joel, I’m like man oh man…I love Billy Joel. The song that got me this time was Leningrad.
The lyrics are poignant poetry…take a gander…
Viktor was born in the spring of ’44
And never saw his father anymore
A child of sacrifice, a child of war
Another son who never had a father after Leningrad
Went off to school and learned to serve the state
Followed the rules and drank his vodka straight
The only way to live was drown the hate
A Russian life was very sad
And such was life in Leningrad
I was born in ’49
A cold war kid in McCarthy time
Stop ’em all at the 38th Parallel
Blast those yellow reds to hell
And cold war kids were hard to kill
Under their desks in an air raid drill
Haven’t they heard we won the war
What do they keep on fighting for?
Viktor was sent to some Red Army town
Served out his time, became a circus clown
The greatest happiness he’d ever found
Was making Russian children glad
And children lived in Leningrad
But children lived in Levittown
And hid in the shelters underground
Until the Soviets turned their ships around
And tore the Cuban missiles down
And in that bright October sun
We knew our childhood days were done
And I watched my friends go off to war
What do they keep on fighting for?
And so my child and I came to this place
To meet him eye to eye and face to face
He made my daughter laugh, then we embraced
We never knew what friends we had
Until we came to Leningrad
Point to ponder while you wander…
With so much ideological hating going on in the world…this song reminded me to remember this….”We never knew what friends we had Until we came to Leningrad”
I detest some of the ideologies out there in the world too. I am not ignorant of the violence and destruction. But the people are still God’s creation, that He loves. So pray big and be kind.
I’ve been playing Scrabble with my Nana since I was about 10 years old. I didn’t win a game until I was 19! Not a single solitary game. Nana never just let you win. She said, “You never learn or get better if someone just lets you win. It is about playing your best game whether or not you win. It is about learning new words and how to play strategically.”
So when I started jumping up and down, celebrating my first victory, she told me she wasn’t going to play with me anymore if this was my sportsmanship when I won. I have learned a lot from my Nana.
The best was when we could play on the deck when the weather was nice. I even made a Nana Playlist on my iPod of Glenn Miller Band, Bye Bye Birdie Soundtrack, Beach Boys and other oldies, silly songs, and Disney soundtrack tunes to listen to on those days. I’d crack up because inevitably she’d get up and start dancing when one of her favorite songs would come on.
I lost my Nana on March 11th. And the thing I will miss most this summer is those games and her dancing on the deck.
So in honor of her…here’s two of her favorite dancing songs from the Nana Playlist. I hope they inspire you to dance.
The Rivingtons- “The Bird is the Word”
Glenn Miller-“In The Mood“
Today’s Musical Monday is Good Good Father by Housefires. This has been one of my go to songs for quite a while now.
It’s a great song about identity and how we see ourselves and Papa God. He’s a Good Good Father it’s who He is. And we are loved by Him, that’s who we are!
If you prefer seeing the lyrics, here’s Bethel’s version with the lyrics.
Something to ponder (and declare outloud) while you wander…The Great I AM is Love and I am His beloved.