The Canvases

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Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved the Lord with all her heart, mind, strength and soul.  She loved her Creator so much that she wanted to show Him.  She was really good at drawing, and she loved to draw, so she pulled out her favorite pack of crayons.  At first she colored pictures in her room alone.  Sometimes she drew very simple pictures, and sometimes the pictures were very complex and took a lot of time.  She knew that the Lord was creative and hoped He would be pleased with her expression of love for Him.  She wanted him to know how grateful she was, and so she used every color in her crayon box.

She loved the Lord so much, and her artwork showed the goodness of God in every stroke.  She wanted to encourage others to see God’s goodness and show gratitude as well, so she began sharing her artwork with others.  It was a very vulnerable thing for her to do, because when she drew for the Lord, she put all of her heart into it. She knew that others may not like her artwork, but she still hoped that they would see the beauty and goodness of God in it and that they would also be inspired to show love to the Lord.

Some people joined right in with her and started drawing for the Lord.  Some were inspired and used other mediums to show their love for the Lord with their artwork.  The canvases were a vast array of color, structure, and complexity.  More and more people began to express their love for the Lord as they experienced His goodness and power.

At some point, a few of the people began to think that maybe there were too many canvases.  Perhaps they should remove a few so that only the most complex and beautiful should be displayed.  They thought it would surely honor God for Him to only see the best and brightest.  Others began discussing how perhaps it would be better if only the simplest and least colorful should be displayed, because it would show a sincere and humble spirit.  More and more considered that there should definitely be a guideline for what was displayed.  Canvases were slowly taken down, and arguments arose because everyone could not agree what would best show the Lord the people’s love for Him.

One by one, people left.  Many took their canvases with them and split into different groups to find better places to display their canvases. Some threw theirs into the trash out of frustration.  Some threw theirs into the trash out of shame. Others threw theirs into the trash because they were confused.  The little girl became very sad.  She did not understand how everything got so out of hand.  All she wanted to do was express her love to the Lord and encourage others to do the same.  Several people let her know she should not have used so many colors.  Some thought her colors were too loud and distracting to truly please the Lord.  Others thought some of the canvases were much too tame to show genuine passion for the Lord.  Several others told her she really should have used a different medium.  Many gave their opinions on how the canvases should be created and displayed.

The little girl sat alone and talked to the Lord.  The Lord reminded her that He was very creative, too.  The Lord reminded her that He gave her the gift of creativity.  Look at all of the amazing creatures He had designed!  See the vast array of beauty, complexity, and simplicity!  Experience the absolute silence of a snow-covered morning and the extreme torrent of a summer thunderstorm!  He reminded her that He has been criticized throughout all of time, but through it all He remained steadfast in His love for His creation.  The Lord reminded her that though many will lose sight of Him when the canvas becomes the focus, He will continue to reign,worthy and victorious.  The Lord reminded her that He wanted her to love Him with all her heart, soul, strength and mind.  So the little girl went back to the drawing board and continued to express her love for the Lord with every color and design.  The canvas was not for men, but for the Lord, and her heart could not be contained.  It overflowed with joy and gratitude.

The Circle of Ifs

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I have been thinking a lot lately about how communities, cultures, governments, and individuals can so easily get stuck in cycles. Small cycles sometimes, other times very large.  I suppose part of this is that we are creatures of habit, to a degree.  We also tend to make the same mistakes others made in the past.  History class educators always reminded me that we look to the past so that we can learn what NOT to do.  How quickly we forget our education, and how greatly many of us remain ignorant to so much of it.  I cannot claim to know very much, though I believe I have had some very excellent teachers and professors throughout the years. Yesterday, I was in a conversation and remembered a paper I had done for my music history class in college.  It was on the Jewish synagogue music during the 1st century A.D.  Immediately, I searched for it, found it, and read it.  Some of this may bore you, but I challenge you to read it and learn a little bit about our history of worshipping God.

Before the temple of Yahweh was destroyed in 70 A.D., many different instruments were used in abundance to praise and worship Him in the temple and in synagogues. They were used alongside vocal chant.   You likely have learned this from reading the Psalms.  Trumpet, lute (a stringed instrument, kind of similar to a guitar), harp, and cymbal instruments are mentioned frequently.  Various aerophones, which are wind instruments that produce sound by causing the air to vibrate, were used primarily for signaling and announcing.  The shofar and trumpets are great examples.  Chordophones are stringed instruments (like the guitar and violin) which were played to accompany the vocal chant.  The harp, lute, and lyre are the main instruments we know musicians played.

lute

Lute

Percussive instruments included the toph (a tambourine), cymbals, and sistrum.  A sistrum was typically made of a metal frame with transverse metal rods that rattled when the instrument was shaken.

sistrum

Sistrum

Okay, so, are you taking this in?  Can you just imagine the incredible instrumentation?

I love how Psalms 81:1-3 expresses a call to worship:

“Sing for joy to God our strength; shout aloud to the God of Jacob! Begin the music, strike the tambourine, play the melodious harp and lyre.  Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast.”

The vocal chant singing would have been so interesting to experience.  Their voices would have been harsh, gutteral and nasal.  This was due to the lack of vowels in the Hebrew language, but also because the instruments accompanying their voices were so often percussion-type and encouraged that kind of tone.  This definitely makes me think the musical praise and worship could have been very vibrant and passionate.

Also, it has always been so interesting and awesome to me that all of the musicians were well trained.  They were professionals.  They gave their lives for the worship and praise of Yahweh.  They practiced regularly, worked to better play their instruments and sing, and they sought after the Lord’s heart.  It was their livelihood and their honor.

However, their routines were shaken up.  I wonder how many of them left their ministry when Jesus came around.  I wonder if some of them stayed with it, and how it affected their song writing and playing.  We know between Jesus and the disciples, many began to follow Christ.  They gathered in each other’s homes and shared everything.  I wonder how it impacted the synagogues and temple.  It would have been something to witness, let alone be a part of.  Surely, they were in some kind of transition when Jesus swept through and started changing hearts while making some of the Pharisees and other leaders angry.

Then, we know there was a drastic change not terribly long after Jesus was crucified and risen.  Jewish Christians were driven out of town by persecution.   Gessium Florus hated the Jews, but ruled Judea.  He  killed 3,600 citizen in Jerusalem in 66 A.D.  The Jews revolted, one thing led to another, and war commenced.  (The Christian Jews pretty much stayed out of it.  It created a large wall between the Jews and Christian Jews.)  The Jews fought hard, but their temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Jews were slaughtered or sold as slaves.   Instruments were lost or destroyed.  Their world was completely falling down around them.  As the remaining Jews tried to rebuild, some major changes were made to their synagogues and the way the worshiped God through music.

After 70 A.D., no Christians were permitted to enter the synagogues.  Women were slowly removed from being allowed to sing.  Apparently, women and men singing together created an association and symbolization of sexual unification…and women were encouraged to keep quiet in general.  So, only men were allowed to sing.  Also, solo song performance was used less and less.  This had been used prior to the destruction of the temple, but it was phased out.  Pharisees put an end to notated music, too.  Basically, they required the music to be simple, repetitious, and easily memorized.  Also an very incredible change was that musical instruments were no longer allowed.  That’s right.  A Capella.  Only voices could be used to worship and praise Yahweh.  So, basically, their worship time was men singing very simple songs, pretty much by heart, without any accompaniment.  What a stark contrast to years prior with men and women singing alongside each other accompanied by so many jubilant instruments!  I have not done enough research on early Christian church music to share a great deal about it, but I would imagine they had some of their musicians sharing songs of faith, praise, and hope…even if it was in someone’s house or on the road to some new mission.

I think the Pharisees were scared.  They had lost some of their fellow worshippers to a new movement of faith, had their people massacred and their worship center destroyed.  Their world had completely been shaken up by Jesus, who not only healed on the Sabbath (which was horrible to them), but challenged their mindsets and their manmade rules.  Jesus came to make Yahweh’s message clear and  provide a solution to an ever-present problem:  we are messy, sinful, selfish people who could never ever live holy enough to be in the glorious presence of God face to face.  I do not understand HOW the son of God being sacrificed by God’s chosen people fixed this.  I know there are theologies and theories out there.  However, it is obvious to me that humans are so fallible, so prideful, and so selfish.  I am grateful that Jesus said He is enough and was the way to have fellowship with Yahweh for eternity.

So, here is what I draw from this small tidbit of Jewish history:  musical worship of God has changed a lot throughout all of time.  We have circled back to some things from time to time.  We have made crazy associations and crazy decisions based on fear.  Sometimes fear of losing people, sometimes fear of losing control, sometimes fear of something different, or sometimes fear of the unknown.  We have valued things of little to no value much too much.  And we have so often ignored God’s voice (the Holy Spirit) because we just do not want to be embarrassed for being wrong or reprimanded for being disobedient.

It is so easy to make the same mistakes over and over.  It can be terribly difficult to break the patterns we’ve learned to find comfort within.  However, I think that is just what God wants us to do:  break our religious patterns and show us something new that can benefit His Kingdom.  Holiness does not change.  His worthiness does not change.  Our sinful nature does not change (though our responses can).  So much else changes around us, though.  There are so many new ways of communicating, building, restoring, and creating.  Some can really benefit the Kingdom of God.   It can be scary to utilize new methods or revive old ones, but if we weigh against the Word of God and truly pray for God’s guidance, we can discern whether or not they are beneficial.  And if we are willing to sacrifice for His Kingdom, then with the Holy Spirit’s directing and the Word’s power, hearts can be changed, lives can be renewed, strongholds can be broken, and God can be exalted.  Hallelujah!  And as long as the songs lift up His Name and speak words of truth, the music can be as simple, complex, extravagant, jubilant, or sweet as we desire.  There is no law against making music for Him in His kingdom, and for my musician hands and voice, that is something to rejoice about. 🙂

 

 

 

Because He IS

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I am sitting here just crying, trying to find the best words to share this overwhelming joy in my heart.  For a few weeks, I have desired to take the time to write again.  There never seems to be enough quiet time.  Between my miserably teething 1 year old and my always energetic 4 year old, our house is a circus.  Already I have been interrupted twice writing 4 sentences.  I want to scream, but then I remember again how incredibly grateful I am for this noisy, messy life.  All I have to do is recall where my mind and heart was 11 years ago.

Yes, I have shared my testimony before, but God continues to work on me and bring to light more and more ways He is Providence.  I have doubted Him more times than I would like to admit in my life.  Between my church families and my blood family, the groundwork was laid very early on.  I am so GRATEFUL that I was taught throughout my childhood of God’s strength, refuge and ever present help in trouble.  Due to this, it became instinct for me to turn to His Word and to prayer when life confused or hurt me.  However, this groundwork did not prevent mistakes on my part.  It did not keep away the shadows of doubt.

11 years ago at around this time, I thought I could not take any more.  I could not see the good things God had done.  My heart had been broken over and over and over again.  Earnest prayers to God had seemed pointless.  I felt like I had been praying the same prayer for almost 5 years, and it seemed like He did not care.  I thought I had been patient.  I thought that I had been living according to His will.  I thought that no one else understood.  It seemed like I was the only one who had ever been in that situation, and I felt so alone.  Everything around me started to crumble.  I got really sick, and I did not want to get better.  I wanted to turn off the pain.  I wanted to end the heartache.  I did not know how to let go….I had been fighting for SO LONG. I was so tired of trying to explain it all.  No one could understand.  It came to the point where I thought, “I have been trying to be strong for so long, and I have prayed so fervently.  For nothing.  Nothing will ever change.  I am worthless.  Either I am worthless, or God doesn’t care about me, or God has not been here all this time.  Whatever.  What is the point?”

I shut my door, turned the lights out, and laid in bed for days.  I took a lot of medicine without measuring.  I just kept waiting for everything to end.  No one cared.

Except that was a lie.  So many people cared.  Perhaps they did not really understand, but there were so many that cared.  God cared, and He had not left me.  Before I could put the nail in my own coffin, someone that cared stepped in.  It took me a while to start really believing that I was loved, but God did not give up on me.  Even though my heart was weary and my mind was dark, He carried me.  I felt completely defeated and worthless, but Jesus whispered to me as He carried me, “I am the way.  I am your worth.  I am your victory.  I am with you.  I will never leave you.  I will never forsake you.  I am your advocate.  I understand.  I care.”  Little by little He dissipated the lies.  Little by little He pushed out the dark.  Little by little He built me up and made me strong again.  I was strong because He is strong.  I was not worthless, but worth it-because He made me, and the Creator does not make junk (even if we do junk.)

My hopes and dreams were not pointless, they were delayed…and I was being refined (as I am yet today.)  Pastor Michael Ross’s message Sunday reminded me again.  “When He is slow in coming, there is something greater that is going to happen. I don’t know why Christ seems absent sometimes.  The result is always greater.  There is something to learn.  A virtue to embrace. A truth to understand.  A flaw to be removed, or a prayer to be prayed.  But when you come out of the darkness, you will be more like Christ than you were before, and so you were blessed with His absence.”

There have been many difficulties since that breaking point 11 years ago.  I have cried more tears than I thought I would again, and my heart has broken again and again and again in fresh ways since that day.  Today I am not redeemed and joyful because God provided the man of my dreams and 2 beautiful children I never thought I would have.  I am redeemed and joyful because God IS.  I am grateful because God never leaves me.  I praise Him because He makes a way for ALL of us.  No one is too far gone.  No one is hopeless.  I rejoice because He sees deeper and truer than our hearts and minds can.  I am alive because HE IS ALIVE! Hallelujah! And I give this testimony because I know there are many hurting, doubting, and lost.  I pray that God moves them to read this, and that the truth of God’s existence and the power of His love inches its way into their hearts so that with absolute certainty they can proclaim “GOD IS MY REFUGE AND STRENGTH, AN EVER PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE.”

Friends, family, those I do not know well or know at all, He is alive.  He is present.  He is able.  He is more than your words can express.  He see it all, knows it all, and goes before you.  He will never leave you.  He delights in YOU!  He makes a way for you.  He will not give up on you.  He is perfect in all His ways.  Yahweh is beginning and end.  Yahweh IS.  His ways will not be your own, but they are OH SO GOOD.  He is Providence.  Trust Him, and you will see the footprints beside you and underneath you from time to time….especially when you look back.  Trust Him, and you will not regret it.  Believe in Him.  He is worthy.  And you are worth it.  He died and rose all for you.  All this world was made for His glory, and you are made for His glory.  Really, truly…..believe in Him, really believe that He is and is for you, and you will never be the same.

Enough

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It is days like these that I get this ache to write.  So here I sit, with fleeting moments of quiet while kids slumber…and there is just so much in my heart.  I am turning 38 this year.  This seems impossible.  Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was a college student working towards my music degree?  Didn’t I just get married?  How did this year come so fast?!  It seems like I should have so much more under my belt and have so much more on the horizon.  So many expectations I had for myself.  I think others had expectations for me as well.  I remember a college professor try to convince me that I should consider changing my major from music to writing.  I don’t even remember batting an eyelash when I let him know I was quite determined to stick with my music degree.  Yet, I did not really have a plan.  At one time, there were dreams.  Sometimes they were extremely reasonable and attainable.  Other times, they were very lofty and would have required an enormous amount of time, money, and dedication.  Some of those desires changed.  Some of them just fell through for one reason or another.  Others I honestly just did not care enough about to really pursue.  I don’t really feel like I am missing out on anything. Truly, I am grateful that God allowed choices I made to bring about the wonderful blessings of my husband and two precious children. I have more than I ever imagined I ever would.

Even though some days are hard and uncertain, the Lord keeps reminding me that He is present and loves me.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed.  Some days are SO exhausting with a 9 month old that fights sleep and a 4 year old that never stops.  Often I expect too much of myself.  Sometimes I let others’ expectations of me bring me down.  It happens. Life is just not a simple, carefree ride.  Even so, the peace of God is SO incredible.   I can speak a million miles a minute with chaos surrounding me, yet it rests there in my heart, reminding me that no matter the outcome, I am not alone and I am not without hope.

I don’t know it all.  I don’t have all of the answers.  I am probably not wise beyond my years, but I have lived a lot of life.  I have a full and fulfilling life.  There are plenty of regrets, and a long list of heartaches.  Even so, God is good and proves over and over to me that He loves me immensely.  The blessings are more than I could ever account.

When life is not what you hoped, and when you do not know what to do, allow yourself to rest in the remembrance  of all that is good in your life and all that God has provided.  When you feel empty or lonely, and when you are hurting beyond belief, do not give up on your life.  Reach out to someone for comfort and encouragement.  God has not left you.  He has not given up on you.  Know that He sees every tear and knows every desire, no matter how small or how deep.  You are loved, and you are precious to Him.  And even though I may not know you, you are precious to me too, because you are God’s creation.  I will pray for you and mourn with you, as others in my life have prayed for and mourned with me.  If you dance, I will rejoice.

I know I have gotten way off of my initial intent for this blog post, but all this to say that there is great contentment to be found in a relationship with Yahweh.  It is so much more than feeling happy about life or a striving to do good.  It does not even compare to that.  It is steady pulsing that feeds the soul and an anchor that grounds the mind and heart.  It is a constant that even though may sometimes feel distant or lost, sits within your heartbeat and rests under all of your thoughts.

Filling the Tank

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Levi absolutely adores his new baby sister.  He has been excited about her from the very beginning.  However, another child means Levi has to share mommy and daddy’s attention.  That has been hard on him.  The last two months have been very challenging because Levi has been “acting out”.  He does things he has never done before.  He throws tantrums that he has not thrown since being 2.  He suddenly has “forgotten” how to put on his shoes or pants.  He needs more cuddle time.  This is a good kid that is normally pretty easy going, bright, and happy. He is not perfect, and he has had his moments during his lifetime, but there was a good two solid weeks I thought someone had taken over my child’s body. His behavior was downright awful, and his attitude was just plain nasty.  James and I knew the source of his problem:  his tank was not getting filled.

Baby Imogen has needed a lot of extra attention.  As much as Levi loved his sister and kind of understood she needed our focus, he still needed quality time.  That is one of our child’s love languages.  He appreciates quality time.  When people come over, he hopes it is so that they will play with him.  He hates seeing people leave him, and he absolutely loves church because it means he gets to spend time with a lot of people that he enjoys.  We kept Levi away for a few months to prevent him from getting sick so that then hopefully Imogen would not contact RSV or some other illness dangerous for premature babies.  This was torture for him.  Every day he begged to go to church or to see one of his friends.  His “love tank” emptied quickly every day, and he required more from James and I than we could give.  So, he started behaving badly to gain our attention, even though it was negative attention.  Negative attention is still attention.

We adults do it too.  It is not usually a conscious decision.  I do not think we always realize our tanks have emptied.  But when we are not receiving the language of love that edifies us and helps us move forward emotionally stable, we tend to respond to stressful or frustrating situations in abnormal ways.  Or ways that most people would not approve of.  Our instincts may be to discipline immediately.  “Oh, that is not how Christians should behave.”  Reprimanding ensues.  When we are reprimanded, our tanks drop even more.  I hate the phrase “constructive criticism”.  Criticism is still criticism.  It still knocks a person down.  Sure, we all need to be corrected from time to time.  Our children need to be disciplined.  We should be helping each other by holding each other accountable and reminding us when we stray that God has a better way for us.

However, when someone is getting beat up over and over and over again….when someone’s tank has been emptied again and again…when you know there is something going on in a person’s life that could be causing problems:  STOP.  Pray.  Don’t jump in immediately and find fault.  Don’t try to fix it.  Don’t ignore it, either.  Galations 6:1 says “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”   So, be careful not to also behave badly as you approach that person.  Show  love for that person.  Be gentle.  Be compassionate.  Be generous.  Be thoughtful.  Be gracious.  Be merciful.  Be caring.  Encourage that person.  Fill that person’s love tank.  Sometimes it means spending some time.  Sometimes it means giving verbal affirmation. Sometimes it means feeding that person.  Sometimes it means giving that person a big hug.  Sometimes it means cleaning their house.  Maybe a combination of the above is needed.

It can be easy to think, “That person has so much!  Why are they so down?  Why don’t they realize how grateful they should be?”  No matter how much we have or how grateful we really should be, if our tanks are empty….life feels hard.  Let us not judge.  It is very likely that person is not getting the kind of love language he or she needs.

Truly being an example of Christ to someone may require that you take care of that person’s needs instead of correcting the behavior.  At least initially.  Even though reprimand may be done because people love us and want to see us  handling things well and living in a Christ-like manner, when we are feeling low, lost, hurt, or scared, reprimand can sometimes push us away.  It is easy to think, “They do not really care about me.”  If we make people feel that way, we have already lost the battle.  We have already lost that person.  Whether or not that person is a Believer, souls are at stake.  If a Believer’s tank is empty, how can he or she fill someone else’s tank?  If a Believer is feeling useless or unwanted or hurt, it is really difficult for that person to then go out and reach others for the kingdom of God. 

We are so busy.  It is easy for me to get too busy for my family.  It is easy for me to get too busy for the church.  When we are too busy, we do not give people the attention they need.  The church is too busy sometimes.  Too busy trying to get surface matters accomplished.  Our mission is to share Christ with the world.  If we cannot be an example of Christ effectively with our own fellow believers, how can we effectively share Christ outside the Body? 

God desires for us to love one another.  He has told us to love our neighbors as ourselves.  We need to stop expecting Believers to behave perfectly all the time. We need to start being honest with each other, dropping the façade of “having it together all the time.” We need to remember that everyone needs their love tanks filled to overflowing.  If we want to be an effective body of Christ, we need to take care of each other.

I am challenging myself as I challenge you:  pray that God shows you someone in the Body that needs their tank filled…then fill it.

It’s Not Yours

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Change is not always fun.  I absolutely love changing my hair color, the flavor of my coffee, or the scent in my oil warmer.  However, some changes are just downright painful.  And scary.  It is so easy for us to feel unstable during transitions.  The world quakes around us, and we cannot trust our instincts.  Our emotions can overwhelm.  I think that God created us with these flooding feelings so that it will force us to stop everything we are doing and just grieve.  Yes, grieve.

We are too busy, and we take on too much.  We have extremely high expectations for ourselves.  I do not think God judges us one bit for taking a breather and mourning losses of all kinds.  Change can hurt every time, though, right?  I think it is because so often change includes a loss.  We may be gaining one thing but losing another.  Sometimes we lose something, and we feel we are left with nothing. It can truly be debilitating.

At some point the waves will settle, though.  The key is anchoring ourselves to our truest and most faithful Creator.  Focus on Him and His goodness.  He will listen to us. God has such great compassion for us; he knows the number of tears we have shed.  He will comfort us and walk us through the transition.  We are never alone, even though we may feel so lonely.  Don’t give up.  Don’t give up.  Don’t give up.  It is so easy to do, friends.  Dark thoughts may come.  Everything may seem hopeless.  It may not seem worth it.  But don’t give up. Especially not on our Heavenly Father.  We need to cling to Him while the earth shakes.  As the waves settle, He will make the pathway clear.  Don’t give up before the shaking ends.  We may lose focus for a little bit.  This is normal.  Again, I think that is why God allows the flood.  We need to stop. Reset. Make certain our foundation is secure.

“It’s not yours.”  This is what the Holy Spirit keeps reminding me.  So many times I have found myself clinging with every fiber of my being, begging the Lord to let me keep this thing.  Yet, He reminds me that knows the plans He has for me.  Even if He allows something to be removed, even if He puts up a barrier, there is life beyond this thing.  There is fruitful, good life after the change.  Mourn the loss.  Grasp God’s hand during the sway.  Then know that life is not over.  While we have breath, we have an important mission that does not change.  We have people to reach for Christ.

It’s not mine.  When I gave my life to Christ, when I surrendered to Him, I gave up my ownership of everything.  All I have and all I acquire He may need to use for His kingdom.  So, it’s not mine.

Church, it is not ours.  I know it is hard.  We lose all the time.  Change is inevitable and so often necessary for the kingdom of GOD.  It can be hard. It can hurt. It can debilitate us for a time. But don’t give up.  Keep your eyes on the goal and our Savior.  We can trust Him with everything we have.

Prayer of Sorrow

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Father, Creator, Redeemer,

My heart is full.  I overflow with sorrow and gratitude.  You are good.  You are holy.  You are just.  You are love.  You are salvation.  You are provision.  You are beautiful.  You are gracious.  You are compassionate.    You are constant.  You are worthy.

I am sorry.  I am sorry for all the ways I have failed You.  I am sorry for the times I have been a poor reflection of You.  I am sorry for being so selfish.  I am sorry for being discontent.  I am sorry for not giving You enough time.

I am sorry that I have hurt You repeatedly.  I am sorry that I too quickly forget who I am in You.  I am sorry for all the times I ignored Your voice.  I am sorry for being quick to judge and assume.  I am sorry for being to busy for Your Kingdom.

I am sorry for being prideful.  I am sorry for losing my temper.  I am sorry that I have not been patient.  I am sorry that I have tested your patience.  I am sorry for going against Your will.  I am sorry for doing things I know I should not.

I am sorry for breaking my promises to You and to others.  I am sorry that I have not tried harder.  I am sorry for not reaching out to You for assistance.  I am sorry for giving up on You.  I am sorry for giving up on others.    I am sorry that I hurt Your Kingdom. I am sorry I hurt Your Name.

I am sorry for seeking vengeance, when it is Yours.  I am sorry for seeking glory, when it is Yours. I am sorry I thought that what was Yours was mine.  I am sorry for saying things that I should not have.  I am sorry for listening to things that I should not have.

I am sorry for not showing forgiveness.  I am sorry for not seeking Your forgiveness.  I am sorry for only looking from my perspective.  I am sorry for thinking I have to be right.  I am sorry for not being sorry.  I am sorrowful, Lord.

You are good.  You are constant.  You never give up.  You, steadfast You, search my heart and seek to change it.  You do not need me, yet You desire me.   I am grateful.  Grateful for Your forgiveness.  Grateful for Your provision.  Grateful for Your mercy.  Grateful for Your grace.  Grateful for You.

I am Yours, Lord.  Please accept my apology and change me.  I surrender to You.

With Love and Adoration,

Me