I Want to See You

purple flowersBetween the boiling of macaroni and cheese, and the shooing of a toddler out of my dishwasher, I was writing the lyrics of a song. I was reflecting on the beauty of God and the many places I saw His handiwork, and as I was hustling about the kitchen, trying to get lunch on the table for the four children, I began to pray that God would display His glory in me.

It is probably the prayer of every godly mother that they somehow reflect Christ in such a way that their children see it and follow Jesus because of it.  It was mine that day. I thought of the mothers with prodigal children, and the diligence of those mother’s prayers as they refused to give up in prayer for the salvation of their son or daughter. A mother’s love can be relentless like that. I wanted to be relentless too.

I thought of the faith of God’s people who refused to give up their faith in God in the midst of persecution and ended up giving up their lives in death as a result. I wanted that kind of faith.

I made a mess of the kitchen. Nearly burned the lunch, and frantically, put food on the table, in hopes of having 10 minutes to myself to finish the song in my head…if I could just make it to the piano without being disrupted.

Knowing my memory can be short term when raising toddlers and small children, I decided I had better record what I had so far, so I could go back later and finish, but I had nothing to record with. That’s when I remembered my son had a PlaySchool cassette recorder with a microphone. It was a toddler toy in primary colors, and it was my best shot at keeping the thoughts in my head from escaping forever.

I dug through the toy pile in my son’s closet and found the forgotten tape player. I checked it for batteries, quickly replaced the dead ones, and sprinted to my piano. I grabbed some scotch tape along the way to tape the “on” button of the microphone down, so that I could set it on my piano, in order to play and sing at the same time.

My oldest daughter was eight at the time, and she asked what I was doing. I told her I had a song in my head and I wanted to get it out before I forgot, so I was going to record. This is when the toddler noticed a new toy out on the piano and suddenly wanted it. I had to work fast. “Wait, that’s my toy!” Oh, no! My son just noticed too! Hurry Cate!

Well, I got the tape rolling on record, the microphone set and ready and I began to sing.  Two lines into the melody, I see these little chubby hands reaching for the mic. Trying not to break my rhythm, I blocked the little hands, and pushed them away, and kept playing the piano. A second attempt, now bumped the piano keys, and I again, shooed the hands away. Then came my young son, the owner of the tape recorder, and he wanted to sing into the mic. I shooed him away without trying to say any words as to not mess up my recording.

I lost my train of thought, and the little hands kept grabbing. Their voices now turned to whining and fighting over who would get the toy, and I lost it.

I turned around sharply and began to yell at my children. “Get back from the piano, take your siblings, and go to your rooms!” I don’t want to see you for 10 minutes! Give me 10 minutes!!”

My eight year old daughter looked at me with an expression that seemed to ask “What are you doing Mom?”

I looked at her earnestly and with my still angry, harsh tone said, “I am trying to write a song about being like Jesus, and everyone keeps interrupting me!!”

The look on her face confirmed everything my mind was suddenly informing me on…you just blew it!

My tone softened, and I said to my daughter, “I don’t suppose Jesus acts like this much, does He?”

Well, I had to apologize. I was trying to do too many things at once, and had expected my kids to read my mind as to what I was doing, and what I needed, and when they didn’t, I blew up. We made amends, and my oldest girl offered to take the kids in the room to play while I finished. And I finished the song.

It’s been nearly 10 years since I wrote this song, but I have to say that my prayer has not changed. I want to see God’s grace at work in me despite myself, and only time will tell the story. I guess I have no need of that grace however, if I have no struggle, and I will never know that grace if I myself do not know how to repent.

So, here I am 10 years later, a work in progress. Still praying that God shows Himself strong in me for the sake of my family, my neighbors, and the world. Maybe this is your prayer too.

Here is the song, “I Want to See You“. Click and enjoy!

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40 Downloads of my brain

On the eve of my 40th Birthday…mist and water

In no particular order, here are 40 thoughts that have sparked within me and inspired a teaching, a song, or a blog.

  1.  Prayer is only as powerful as the god it is directed to.
  2.  No one is allowed the privilege of disbelief only. You must have a counter-belief in its place.
  3.  The most beneficial pain you can add to your life is the pain of conviction and the pain of growth.
  4. Knowing who the author of a piece of art is determines its value, and reconnects the art with its source. Have you considered your Designer?
  5. Jesus didn’t say, “Neither do I condemn you. Return to what you were doing.” With compassion He said: “Go and sin no more.”
  6. Freedom in Christ is victory over sin, not victory over your conscience. Keep your conscience.
  7. Love and grace are held within the disciplines of faithfulness and endurance. Jesus discipled because He Himself was disciplined.
  8. You can love others deeply, serve honestly, and give without regrets while still holding to your convictions and your character. Jesus did.
  9. He didn’t die to give us a 2000 year old story. He died to bring us back to life.
  10. God’s wisdom for me will always have my neighbor in mind.
  11. Grief is the process of letting go while reaching for something steadfast. Even if you free-fall, God is certain and His grasp is constant.
  12. We grieve the loss of life because life is sacred. We mourn the loss of innocence because there is such a thing.
  13. Sometimes mornings are like the pull-start of a lawnmower.
  14. Let your art be the free-est expression of a soul securely anchored.
  15. A healthy fear of loftiness will keep you off of pedestals.
  16. Condemnation will always say you are hopeless. Conviction will always say the supply of your help and hope are limitless.
  17. When beauty connects to the soul it is never lost.
  18. Be someone’s umbrella today, and paint for them a brighter sky.
  19. If you have lost your sense of awe, you have quite likely closed your eyes.
  20. Unforgiveness is a debt. If your debtor cannot repay the invoice you carry, the enemy will try to persuade you to pay it off yourself in pleasures “you deserve”.
  21. What God asks us to do, instead, is turn the bill over to Him and allow Him to meet our needs.
  22. If you won’t do it, you won’t become it.
  23. Everyone needs a Joshua and Caleb in their life, otherwise you will spend your years looking at giants, and living small.
  24. Sometimes the weight you are carrying is not about you, but about those coming after you. You carry the hope and the struggle, so that they will enjoy the Promised Land
  25. Sometimes miracles are found in the forward steps. So pray, and walk.
  26. Don’t give up ground or drop your authority where God has given you responsibility. Instead, fully vest yourself into that arena, and in time, pass it on as a rich inheritance.
  27. Faith is the place holder for what you cannot presently see, but are certain will buoy you up.
  28. And if ministry was all about the Sunday morning experience, the New Testament would have been a short collection of essays.
  29. If you have a long range goal or extensive assignment, partner with optimists. You will only survive a short walk with a pessimist.
  30. I can spend my life chasing fire, or live my life as an altar where it burns.
  31. I’ll never see it multiply if I never let Jesus take it, break it, and bless it.
  32. The desire I have for all of my kids to be together with me can only be a reflection of God’s desire for us, His children, to be with Him.
  33. They say I don’t need a god to smile. Considering the neurology, pathology, and physiology of just facial nerves, I conclude that I do.
  34. There is a lot to be said for silence.
  35. If you can’t be the tidal wave, be the ground swell.
  36. Find your voice and use it both for the glory of God, and to speak up for those that cannot speak.
  37. Grace gives us a fresh page to write our lives on.
  38. History records who you are, not who you want to be.
  39. Life does not wait for your perfect plan, your pay raise, your successful diet, your New Year’s Resolution, or your cure.  Life ticks away as moments…little gifts wrapped in a million packages.
  40. Nothing is lost in God’s hands, and nothing is wasted in His plans.