I Can Only Imagine

This is my first movie review ever on this blog in the nine years I’ve been blogging here so you know it’s good!

I took the kids over the weekend to see I Can Only Imagine.  It was well worth it.

We follow the story of Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe, and how he came to write the iconic song of the same name.  I think we’ve all heard the song, it touches all of us in places we all need it, and I was curious as to how it came about as well.  Any song or piece of art or novel that touches the soul like this song does has to come from somewhere and truly it has to be from God.  Mankind is only God’s instrument.  Everything we say and do and accomplish is only possible because of Him. This song expresses what we all wonder and feel about heaven and gives us hope and peace once we get there.  It gets us through grief.  It encourages us.  It speaks to us.  Like God speaks to us.  Because it is ultimately God who is speaking to us here.

According to the movie, Bart grew up in an abusive family.  His father wanted to play professional football and his dream didn’t happen.  As a result, he took out his anger and frustration on Bart.  He left after graduating high school and pursued his music dreams.  He returned home to find his dad dying of cancer but a changed man after having found Jesus.  They reconciled before his death and Bart wrote this song for his dad after he died.

Some lessons from the movie:

1)  It’s never too late.  It’s never too late to do something with your life and it’s never too late to forgive someone and reconcile.  Life is too short to hold onto pain and hurts.

2)  Pain can be your inspiration.  Be authentic.  Do what makes your heart sing.  Help others through your experiences and pain.  Use your hurts as gifts from God to grow and help others.

3)  God can do/redeem anything and anyone.  God and Jesus change people.  They grab a hold of their hearts and don’t let go.  Trust in the Lord.  Pray for others.  Never give up on God doing the impossible.  In your life and in others’.

Great movie.  Highly recommended.  A tear jerker for sure.  Great lessons for the kids.  Inspiring.  Faith-building.  Heart-warming. Who could ask for more in a movie?

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Help Me Find It

My new favorite song by the Sidewalk Prophets (one of my favorite bands).

It has all of what I believe to be the most important aspects of God:  trusting in God, having faith, grace, waiting on Him, God’s will for your life, and God being all we need.

The title stems from asking God to help find the road you should take and His will.  I love the emphasis on asking God to help you.  We all need His help and I think many of us don’t ask enough.  “God, help me” should be a cry we utter on a regular basis.  Not just in the big stuff but in the small stuff as well.

I love this!  Right now in my life I am seeking the right road for my life as I continue to seek a job/career for myself and figure out what God wants me to do in my next stage of life.  I have all these interests and skills and gifts and I’m trying to put them together to do His will.

The band sums up the song as finding the patience to wait on Him and then going when we hear Him.  You can view the band themselves in this short video sharing the story behind the song. View HERE.

Very encouraging song.  Very powerful.  My latest ITunes download that is played over and over in the car!

View music video on YouTube HERE

New IPod Favorite

It’s been a while since I’ve added a new song to my playlist and I’m not for sure why.  I don’t think I’ve been struck by a song lately.  Until today….

It’s a song I heard a while back but I heard it again a few weeks ago and it’s stuck with me and I finally had time to download it tonight.

Forgiven by Sanctus Real is about how we all make mistakes in this life but ultimately we are forgiven by God no matter what we do.

My favorite lines are:

“And I relive my days in the middle of the night

And I struggle with my pain

And wrestle with my pride…

And when I don’t fit in

And I don’t feel like I belong anywhere

When I don’t measure up to much in this life

I’m forgiven”

The message is timeless and one I need to hear repeatedly.  Awesome.

The Voice

I’m not one to watch TV (as some of you may know, we don’t get TV) but my sister who has TiVo invited me to watch NBC’s new show called “The Voice.”  It’s similar to American Idol but singers are grouped into teams and are coached by professional singers. It’s surprisingly good.

Well, one song chosen to be sung was Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.  I liked this song when it first came out but now it is very apropos to where I’m at now in my writing career.  My favorite lyrics:

“Reaching for something in the distance,

So close you can almost taste it,

Drench yourself is words unspoken

Today is where your book begins,

The rest is still unwritten.”

Now, this song is probably meant to be figurative but I take it literally since I write.  I love how this song speaks to how nothing is set in stone, you can always change and set your path because every day is new and a chance to start over and do your calling.

Naturally, I downloaded it to my IPod so I can be inspired to keep chugging away, especially now when I’m still questioning what I’m supposed to do with writing.  I know I’m supposed to write. But what?  For whom? In what medium?  How?

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

All of the songs my daughter is learning to play in music class I download onto my IPod so she can listen to them and know how they sound.

Her recent song is Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day. Not a Christian group by any means and it has a cuss word in it (which is substituted in class).  I don’t want to dive into why the song was written, speculation about the band, or what it means to others–just what it means to me.

So, I’ve been listening to it for a few days now and it’s a very, very sad song.  The music is fabulous–haunting even.  Here’s the part that keeps coming to me:  “My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me.  My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating. Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me.  ‘Til then I walk alone.”

I think this is how a lot of people feel without Jesus and what they feel in their hearts.  They are searching.  They feel alone.  And they are waiting to be found by God and Jesus.

Our church on Sunday talked about Zacchaeus the Tax Collector as told in Luke 19.  Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so he climbs a tree and waits for his passing.  Jesus notices him and invites himself to Zacchaeus’s house to stay.

Here, Jesus took the initiative because He knew Zacchaeus’s heart.

So, it’s true you have to accept Jesus in your life but it is also true Jesus comes knocking on your door and He knocks over and over again until you accept Him or you die.  We have Free Will to choose but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t try to encourage us by prodding us towards Him.

This song reminds me of someone searching for Jesus but just can’t seem to find Him or doesn’t know where to look.

When I first heard this song, I thought the lyrics read, “Sometimes I wish someone up there will find me.”

It brings tears to my eyes to think of all those lost, searching, but never find God.  That’s I think where we come in.  We are to share the Good News because God knows He can’t speak to everyone.  So He uses us to be His voice.  Even this song, which may have nothing to do with God in the writer’s mind, invokes the search and yearns for someone to find them so they won’t be alone.  God can always fill that gap.

This is what drives me to edit my novel for the umpteenth time when all I really want to do is quit because my novel says something about God and I think it says it well and I think it could help those who are searching but are lost and can’t find Him–just what I think this song is talking about.

Searching for something even if people don’t know what it is–they know there is something else, something more out there because God has put that desire into our hearts.

A New Song!

Lately, I had been getting bored with my IPod selection.  None of my songs were speaking to me and I remember thinking, I need something.  So, I turned on K-Love and there it was!

“You are more than the choices that you’ve made

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes

You are more than the problems you create

You’ve been remade”

You are More by Tenth Avenue North.  When I heard it again on K-Love the next day, I had to know the meaning behind the song.

So here’s the story :

http://tenthavenuenorth.com/journal/entry/you-are-more

It’s fascinating to me because it’s something I would ponder or wonder about.  But it never occurred to me. The argument has very strong points.  It’s amazing how subtle messages sneak into our psyche subconsciously that is not the truth but affects our attitude and beliefs–and can ultimately affect our walk with God.

I struggle with such negative thoughts and I need to be told over and over again:  You are more–even when you fail over and over again.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the humdrum of life and lose your purpose.  I need reminding constantly that God has more for me if I reach out and grab it.  He has more no matter my past or how much I screw up the present.

When I was a little girl, one of my dreams was to be a singer. Well, I can’t sing.  I also greatly desired to play an instrument and never had the opportunity as a child.  I’ve always been fascinated by music and love to listen to music that speaks to me in some way.  I’m drawn to it.  I guess in some way I wish I could write music but I’m lucky to know the difference between a quarter note and a half note.  In another life I’d like to write music.

God didn’t gift me in that way.  But I greatly admire those who are.

If you read this story, you’ll be as awestruck as I am.  How do these guys know so much at such a young age?  Again, I keep thinking of all I’ve missed out on.  But I’m doing my best to catch up!

In BSF today, our leader spoke of the importance of music that celebrates Him and who He is.  I couldn’t agree more.  Music can drag me out of the worst of moods.  Music can say things to me that no matter how many times I’ve read it or heard it spoken or told myself I don’t get it.  Because for whatever reason music is in my soul.  God is everywhere and He speaks through people, through His word, in Nature, in music, work, etc.  He uses whatever medium He has to to get our attention.  And for me it’s music.

God uses music to celebrate Him and who He is.  He can revel himself through music.  When God speaks through such music, it’s a powerful message and one I tend to listen to whole-heartedly.

I played this song over and over again as I drove around today.  “I’ve been remade.”  I keep thinking of me as the clay and God as the potter and when I fall apart, He remakes me.  I keep telling this to myself over and over again.  When I falter, God will remake me.  When I give in to the side of me I don’t like, God will remake me.  There is hope–because of Jesus and what God did for us.  Not from anything we can do.

There is hope.  And for me I find hope in many places (God, Bible, my work, my husband, my kids, people, etc). And today it’s this song.

End Note:  My IPod has been a gift from God.  It was given to me by my husband (another gift from God). It was invented/created by a human whose mind was a gift from God.  It serves His purposes.  Fascinating how everything ties together and all leads back to Him, isn’t it?

Another IPod Winner!

I was actually on ITunes to download “How He Loves” by David Crowder (I love his voice) when I discovered a different song.

After you download a song, recommendations come up and one was “Strong Tower” by Kutless.  I knew it and when I saw it was on sale for only .69 I thought, “Sure, why not?”

Well, now it’s become my new favorite and I think because it fits in with my melancholy mood as of late and my family problems. The words speak straight to my heart:

When I’m wander through the desert

And I’m longing for my home

All my dreams have gone astray

I go running to your mountain

Where your mercy sets me free

Great stuff!  Perfect for me at this moment in my life for whatever reason.