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music monday: the motions by matthew west

Tiffany NicoleComment
In light of all the chaos that is constantly emerging in the world - crashes and shootings and wars and on and on - I find myself enjoying my life more than ever and being more intentional in the day to day and listening better to God's leading. Time is not guaranteed and I want mine to be spent with purpose. I do not want to get to the end of my life and realize I would have taken more chances or done this or that. 

The. time. is. now. To listen. To act. To love. To do. 

When the final chapter of my life is written and my story ends, I do not want to be mourned with sorrow but rather rejoiced in great celebration. The celebration of the life and hope and love that Jesus gave for me and knowing I am safe in his arms.

Matthew West wrote this song, The Motions with this sort of mentality in mind. Have a listen.

I don't wanna go through the motions. I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me. I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions? 

I want to have loved fiercely and given freely. I want to have enjoyed the moments and forgiven the wrongs. I want to have a nonexistent comfort zone and God inspired life. I want to have enjoyed s'mores and campfires and have picked time over money. And savored the way Penny tells me Jesus loves me. Read tons of bedtime stories and embraced early morning snuggles. And eaten lots of chocolate covered almonds, for the health benefits, naturally.

I want to have given more than I have had and relied on Christ to supply the rest. I do not want to have left behind material possessions, as they are only of the flesh, but a legacy in Christ, which will last for eternity. But most importantly, I want to have finished the race strong, thriving in the work God has given me, as a wife, mom, friend, sister, aunt, cousin and whatever other title he has bestowed on me.

I pray that you would live like there is no tomorrow. Not arguing or ruffling your feathers over the small things and coming to realization that everything is small. I pray that as you come to the end of your day and week and month and year that you would stop and focus on what matters and not fill up your calendar with events that add to chaos but rather those that add to the deepening of friendships and giving and serving.

I pray that you would find what matters to you in life. That you would see the significance in your life and the difference you personally make in the life of others - the words you speak and actions you do. I pray that you would see Jesus and commit yourself to his unfailing grace and love and mercy and that when your life comes to a close that you would hear the words "well done good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

Here's to more big picture thinking and having a leaving your own legacy. Here's to getting out of the motions and in to God's symphony. 

music monday: this is what you do by bethel music

Tiffany NicoleComment
During a recent living room dance party, God reminded me of how Jesus tells us in Luke that "the kingdom belongs to such as these" (18:16). Who are the "these" he is referring to you might wonder? Children. The kingdom of God belongs to children. In Matthew he goes on to say "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (18:3). As the music blared on the speakers and Penny jumped from the couch in to my arms, the lyrics to the song playing rang true: this is what you do, you make me come alive." She twirled and we spun and danced in a circle and the music filled the room. It was there that God continued to show me glimpses of his glory that he put in this little girl that he made and gave her to me for a short time. In doing so, God has used her to make me come alive in ways that I never thought possible and continues to do so.

Here, have a listen:

The more that I hang out with my kiddos, the more that I see how true these statements are and the more God opens my eyes to see what Jesus was talking about in the verses. For the past three years I have been blessed to be the mama to one passionate little girl and a sweet little man who God has been using to teach me about his character and various other small lessons scattered amongst my days.

When you look at a child, there is so much life and so much joy compiled in to one teeny, tiny person that it is hard to believe it is contained so well and somehow does not burst outward. Somewhere over the years as bones grow and the baby fat disappears, joy is lost and complacency sets in. It is there that childhood is no more and the slogan "life is hard" may ring true. 

Finding Jesus makes you come alive, no matter the age. He awakens things in you that you may have thought were long over. You may find yourself enjoying things you did not think possible. Jesus has a way of awakening your soul and even returning you to that state of childhood euphoria and wonder and awe at everything around you. Like looking at your hand. Have you ever witnesses a baby examining his hand? The excitement and wonder found in something that he will most likely take for granted every day of his life. I pray that you would come alive and experience life through the eyes of a child with more anticipation and bliss than you have known.

Here's just a few tidbits about attributes of children that God has opened my eyes to lately, and I thought I would share:

  • They have a boldness about them, even the shy ones. They are confident and secure with themselves.
  • Passion for what they are doing radiates from them. Even after you give them a time warning to end the activity it can still be hard to pull them away.
  • They act the same in public and at home. They not afraid to be themselves. They do not care about what others are doing or comparing, they are simply happy to boldly be themselves. 
Yes, they are super simple but the simplest things make the biggest impact. Here's to truly coming alive in Christ and seeing the world through the eyes of a child. 

music monday: white as snow by jon foreman

Tiffany NicoleComment

I have no idea how it came about. Perhaps an article. A comment. A movie. Really I have no clue. Maybe that is a good thing. As long as I can remember, I have never liked to cry, especially in front of people. It always seemed so weak. And weak was not something I wanted to be associated with.

My freshman year of high school, my oldest brother moved back home from out of state and brought his girlfriend with him. Crying seemed to be part of her everyday ritual and I could not understand it. Needless to say, she and I did not kick it off. She missed her friends and family back home. I could care less. My empathy ran real deep. Get over it. I got so annoyed one day I told my little sister that she was a not-so-very-nice word, who in turn told my mama and her. When I came home that evening my mama approached me about it. His girlfriend sat in tears, yet again, but this time caused by me. I was forced to apologize. I am sure I got some sort of punishment but I cannot recall. The images of standing there so angry and annoyed are etched in to my memory. Angry my sister told on me. Angry there was more crying. Angry I said it out loud. I had no compassion. No remorse. No feelings but anger.

Over the course of my high school years, emotions bottled up. I didn't care. Didn't know where to place them. Didn't want to put them anywhere. So I wrote. I wrote a lot. About divorce. About not having an address to my name or my own bed to sleep in. And that cute boy in class. Perhaps too much time was spent on him. About the long car rides in the hideous car and crazy girlfriends. All mixed with a lot of anger and frustration and not understanding. Not able to do anything about my situation.

Somewhere I lost feeling. I lost compassion and empathy. I didn't cry. At least not in front of anyone on the off chance it occurred. My little sister would tell me I had a heart of stone. In a way, she was right.

Then I met Jesus. He has been working on my heart ever since. I remember one day in college group one of the girls brought in a newspaper with a tragic event running the headlines. I couldn't care less about it. She asked for us to pray for the situation. She really cared about it, even though it had nothing to do with her. That was moment God showed me that my heart was stone. That was the moment I prayed for God to change it. To really care about others. To pray for those who ask for it and those who do not. Allow me to truly feel. When you go so long without feeling you forget what it's like. And how strong you actually have to be to deal with the emotions that burst on the scene at any given moment of life. 

God is still working on my heart. He's been showing me crying is not all bad. That crying in joyful moments is okay, too. How righteous anger and anger are two completely different things and how to deal with them both. So thankful for a God who answers prayers and doesn't leave you how he found you. 

White as Snow by Jon Foreman was running through my head as I wrote this, so I must share. Music is embedded in my being and this one is on my heart daily. Have a listen. 


Would You create in me a clean heart
Oh God
Restore in me
The joy of Your salvation

Praying God touches your heart and changes you from who you are today, not that you are bad today but because God is in the business of making good things better.