Yep, I'm still out of town, but thankfully, my friend Julie has one more blog post for you so we can keep the "Love"ly thoughts going as we finish our countdown to Valentine's Day.
Today's message is a powerful one and I know it will encourage your heart as it did mine.
Love you friends!
“For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God.” - Psalms 86:10
One giant goosebump. That’s how I’d describe it to you. Yep, one goosebump!! Tonight, I went to see some old-school Christian music icons of mine in concert.....Sandi Patty and Larnelle Harris. Their concert did not disappoint....I was glued to the edge of my seat for every minute of the entire two and a half hours....and loving every minute of it. I’ve always loved music because of the emotions it can invoke, and the feelings it can bring back.....as if they just happened yesterday. Or, in my case....22 years ago....when I first heard Sandi and Larnelle sing.
The year.....1991. I was 25 years old; I had been married to Mark for three years, we were living in Tallahassee where Mark was coaching football for Florida State, I was teaching high school English, and to my inexperienced mind....I was living the dream. See, up to that point, nothing much had happened to me. Honestly, I felt as if I was pretty much right on track to my “white picket fence” existence.....I even had the requisite Golden Retriever! I knew where my life was headed, because I had it all planned out.
1991 was also the year I happened upon a new Sandi Patty cassette. (There, I said it....cassette. Remember those?) You need to understand.....I love to sing....all different types of music. But Christian music has always held a special place in my heart....and in 1991, Sandi Patty and I were rocking it in my shiny new silver Cutlass Calais! One of the songs on the cassette was titled “More than Wonderful”, and it was a favorite! Part of the lyrics go like this....
“For He’s more wonderful than my mind can conceive
He’s more wonderful than my heart can believe
He goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams.
He’s everything that my soul ever longed for
Everything He’s promised and so much more
More than amazing, more than marvelous
More than miraculous could ever be
He’s more than wonderful, that’s what Jesus is to me.”
This time, when I heard Sandi and Larnelle sing this song, I started to cry. (Oh don’t worry, it was a happy cry....not the ugly cry that only girls can relate too!) I cried because the 46 year old Julie, is a different girl than that young 25 year old of 1991. And if I’m being honest....a better different. When I sang those lyrics as a young adult, I sang about “my highest hopes and fondest dreams” with ease, because they were all coming true. I was on easy street, and I was taking my God there with me.
However, as a 46 year old, I’ve lived a little more life. I’ve dealt with the bitter disappointments that only infertility can bring. I’ve seen dreams taken, and doors closed. I’ve been through job losses, starting over, moving, cancer, both crippling success and paralyzing failure......and if any one of these experiences could cause one to question the whole “more than wonderful” thing....I think the entire lot of them could!
Still, don’t get the wrong idea. I’m here today, 22 years later to tell you this.....Jesus is still “more than wonderful”. He’s “everything that my soul ever longed for”......and “everything that He’s promised, and so much more”. Because in the midst of every challenging “life moment” I had, He was there.
I’ve seen Him take bad, and turn it for good. I’ve seen Him be faithful to me in the form of a precious baby...my now 16 year old son, Matt. I’ve seen Him heal my mother of brain cancer, not once, but three times. I’ve seen every job loss become a new job opportunity. I’ve seen Him move my family to Nashville, where we are surrounded by so many who love and bless us.
I’ve seen Him bless me in successes, and make me so much better through my failures. So, that’s why I cried.....because now I really know what those lyrics mean. And every syllable of them are true for me....and they can be for you too.
That’s what Psalm 86:10 means, in fact. David wrote that Psalm, and he actually wrote it during one of the many times he was under attack. (That David, he was a warrior!) Psalm 86:14 goes on to say,
“Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God; ruthless people are trying to kill me - they have no regard for you.”
The lesson that David learned, and that I am reminded of, is that circumstances don’t dictate God’s power, His majesty, or His awesomeness.
He is powerful, majestic, and awesome simply because He is God. I think that sometimes, we want to attribute those characteristics to Him in the good times, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But the real lesson, and the real strength of conviction, is when things are really hard.....and we KNOW (not just say it) that God is STILL powerful, majestic, and awesome.....that He is not a vapor who’s very character changes according to the whims of fate.
He is God. He is constant. And He still “goes beyond my highest hopes and fondest dreams”.
Thanks for the reminder, Sandi and Larnelle!