Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Music and warm cookies.

I have had several inquiries about the first song on my playlist here at my blog. It's titled "Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)" and it's by music artist Chris Tomlin. You can see a video of the song by following the link here.
I have loved it since the first time I heard it. The music and melody just speak to my heart each and everytime it plays. I have been brought to tears by this song more than once. And if you know me well at all, you know I'm not typically a 'crier'.
Today when I loaded the girls into the van to go pick Brock up from school, I grabbed a couple of fresh baked chocolate chip/m&m cookies and wrapped them in a napkin so that he would have warm cookies for the short ride home, rather than having to wait until we got inside the house. It was a small gesture, but one that was met with much gratitude and surprise. It garnered a "You're the best mom ever...I love you!" and to me that's what grace is to me.
It is something so undeserved, so thoughtful and incredible and unspeakable at times...but something that demands our attention and thought. God has poured out His grace through His son Jesus by sending him to earth as a baby in human form. That baby grew and was crucified, although blameless and without sin. He became sin for us that we might have a way to be justified to God. It was God's plan for redemption of all since Adam and Eve sinned. That is the message of grace. That we were loved and are loved, not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done for us.
The more I grow in my relationship with Christ, the more amazing this grace is to me. For years I felt like following God was about things I could and couldn't do. It was though life were broken into categories for me- one list was the 'bad stuff' and another was a list of things that were okay. And of course, I went through that phase where there was nothing more exciting than wanting to 'push the boundaries' of those lists and really challenge myself to see how close I could get to something on the 'bad list' without actually 'breaking a rule'.
But as I've grown in my understanding of who God is and His desires for my life and recognizing what it truly means to be redeemed and 'set free', I no longer see life as good and bad, but rather I seek to do things that will draw me closer to God and allow me to become more of who He has created and wants me to be.
It is that freedom in which I live and find peace and Joy each day. My 'chains' are gone as I no longer feel as though I am choosing good over bad, and really most 'bad things' in this world no longer appeal to me. I don't say this to sound like a snob or a goody-two shoes, but I say it humbly and as one who truly understands that I do not deserve grace and mercy. I deserve death and punishment, and because of what Christ did for me, I now live with the hope of Heaven and with a peace that my sins are forgiven.
I live knowing I am loved- even though I am a sinner. It makes me want to do good. All the time. It makes me want to tell others that this gift of 'freedom from life's bondage' and redemption is available to whoever wants it in their life. I have been shown love and mercy and now I live my life hoping that will spill forth from me too.
It's like those cookies.
I didn't have to make them, but I love my kids and sometimes I do things to 'bless them'- not because of anything they've done to deserve such treats, but simply because I love them. My hope is that someone who needs love- whether through my words or actions or simply through some other way that God can use me- His broken tool- will be touched and find His grace. It's amazing and free. And it's better than any this world has to offer. I thank God everyday for reaching down and 'rescuing' me.


Randi Jo :) said...

This song is one of my heart songs too!!!!! When I heard it the first time, it just brought me to my knees! It was exactly what I was feeling!

His grace and love and mercy for us is mind-numblingly incredible & real & absolute & sufficient & true and just..... AWESOME! :)

This "theme" has been on my heart so so much recently - overflowing in my heart actually! I've been blogging about it like crazy! Probably because of our most wonderful Easter celebration coming up.

Anyway -- thanks for sharing - it's cool to "meet" woman even if only online who share this same passion for Him and His passion!!!

FlipFlop Mom said...

Being a mom and doing little "love" things for our kids has been one of the greatest Blessings that the Lord has given me! I've been ridiculed by some... and envied by others.. but we are not here to please man... Just the Lord.. and when He calls us to bake cookies/brownies anything for the ones we love... It's one chore I love to obey!! Ü

Anonymous said...

I love that song!! That rendition of it is fabulous! The church we used to belong to...we'd sing it and sometimes it would make me cry.
Amazing the Grace that we have through Him....and it's available to all.

asnipofgoodness said...

a month ago today my brother-in-law commited suicide. He was a young 48 year old husband and father of two. Nobody saw it coming, and everyone was shocked. He was an overachiever, succcessful, president of this, and chairmen of that. He always strived to be accepted, good enough, worthy, perfect. In his final note he said, "I am a failure" sad. He knew the Lord, and professed his faith, but obviuosely could not fathom his grace. At his funeral someone sang that song on your blog, and it will always remind me of him. Not in a sad way, but in a happy way..."my chains are gone, I've been set free"....and not just my brother-in-law, but all of us, if we are willing to accept it.

LaVon Baker said...

Jody, God is using us in a tremendous way in the lives of people you don't even know. I've pointed people to your blog who have lost a child or a loved one and they have been so encouraged and inspired. What you've said here is so right there... I hear your heart. It's downright glorious to know that if we don't meet on this earth, we will meet in Heaven and I can hardly wait to meet you.
"My Chains are Gone"-Also, one of my favorites. Up there with "I Know My Redeemer Lives" by Nicole C Mullin.

LaVon Baker said...

... God is using YOU... I pray He is using us also. :-)

~Lea~ said...

I love Chris Tomlin's music...I didn't realize he was the one singing whenever I listen to your blog. That was a nice surprise to read about!

I was chatting the other night with my (soon-to-be) pastor and his wife, and my parents about something very similar. After lots of prayer, they are starting a new church here in Missoula (thus the soon-to-be). We were talking about how often Christians, and denominations, get so caught up in the legalistic side of the know, the "you can't do this" and "you can't do that" and "we frown upon this" and "you really should avoid this"...type of attitude. In the grand scheme of things, I think the little things like that are so unimportant to God. If you are seeking Him daily, and you desire to be close to Him...that is what is really important. I also think that as you continue to seek Him, God works on those imperfections, but it is a gradual thing. I really feel that is where new Christians end up struggling. They get this amazing freedom as they receive Christ into their life. Freedom from the bondage that the world traps you in. But then...they get into church and they are bombarded with rules and "guidelines" as to what it is to be a Christian. Your skirt hem should be a bit longer, maybe you shouldn't wear that much jewelry, give up that glass of wine with dinner, pray like this, worship like that....and once again, they are handcuffed in bondage, just a different kind. I am excited for this new church, because they want to get away from that. They want all Christians, new and seasoned, to feel the freedom and joy they have in Jesus, and grow in that freedom without bondage.

Wow...that was a lot, but as you can tell, this is a subject I am very passionate about. If you haven't heard the song "Remember Me" by Mark it out. I think you will really like it Jody. It is all about remembering God as you look upon and feel things of beauty.

Have a great night-

Kim said...

Love this song and love what you shared :)

jacki janse van rensburg said...

ahhh, you are in such a reflective mood this week! thank you for today's beautiful post. what a lot of people, even Christians don't realise, is that we don't try to do 'good' to gain salvation, but we try to do 'good' BECAUSE we have already been saved! and, because we are so deeply humbled and grateful, we try to be better people. if we live life with HIS light shining inside us, it will spill out of our mouths, and eyes, and hearts. thank you for remonding us of this.

Tanya said...

Thanks for inspiring me to "bless" my children today. Sometimes I'm so busy trying to teach them how not to do things, that I forget to show them how much I love them by the little things.

I very much enjoy your blog. Thanks for sharing life with me. :)

Kara said...

Thanks for your inspiring post today, Jody.

Holly T. said...

What a great word...God is so great and his grace is without question the best gift ever given.
Holly T.

Jane-Jane said...

don't know if I have ever left a comment before, found you around the first of the year. Just this week I read through "losing Teagan". (my birthday is 2 days after Teagan's, I will be praying for your family and celebrating her life)

LOVE this of my favorite things about visiting is hearing your play list. I don't wear mascara (even water proof) to church any more cause I never know when I'm gonna shower our Jesus with my tears of praise and thanksgiving. Nothing like a pile of chains vs. a dress of chains!

congrats on your pregnancy... praying for health and safety.

The Flick Family said...

I stumbled on your blog tonight through a friend of a friend of a friend. :) Your blog is so inspring! Your faith is so evident. I hope that you don't mind, but I linked you on our family's blog. Your story is amazing. My husband and I just lost a baby at 17 weeks gestation. It has been so hard to let go of this child that I never held in my arms. Thank you for showing your strength through such pain. I have found such encouragement from so many women who blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post.

Following the link I watched the music video and it was a real blessing to my day.

Go in peace, serve the Lord.


Anonymous said...

Found you thru a friend of a relative. I love this song and it has special meaning for me this weekend as I have been set free of some bitterness, envy, resentment, etc. Praise be to God for His grace & mercy towards us! I will visit your blog again!

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog and all that has happened in your life and how you have responded I think that you would like the band West Coast Revival

in particular the song Goodbye and Day after Day.

They are on itunes