How I Need Him {And Me Being Okay With That}

Jeremiah 29:13

It’s a simple promise. An invitation, really, to come looking with insurance attached.

Jesus reiterated it in Matthew 7:7 and in Luke 11:9, and my heart warms with the assurance that when I need Him and search for His presence with my whole being, He’ll be there. Always.

Yet how often do I look? How many times in my everyday do I go knocking?

I cannot think of one single day I didn’t need Him. I can’t recall one moment when I should have gone alone. Still I often try.

It was in my devotions a couple of weeks ago I read these verses differently. And something in my heart finally clicked on to the truth.

Friends, God’s expecting us to come looking. He’s fully aware of how much we need Him every moment of every day.

We’re not built to be self-reliant. We may grow old, but we never fully grow up…up to the heights of Him. And He’s okay with that. He’s offering His assistance with a promise that He’ll never turn us down.

And here’s what my heart struggled with: I need to be okay with that.

I need to admit every day I’m useless without His guidance.
I’m hopeless without His promises.
I’m worthless without His salvation.
I’m nothing without grace.

But, friends, just think of what I am in Him…just imagine what I can do with Him by my side or carrying me through…

Oh How I need Him.

So it’s settled. I want to wake up each dawn, see His splendor in the sunrise, bow before Him and knock. I want to appear before the King of Kings each morn and invite Him to my side. Or in front. Or whatever position He deems best for what I’m about to face that day. He knows best. Always.

This morning, it went something like this:

Father, here I am admiring Your masterpiece before me. Just when I think I’ve seen all the beauty there is to behold in a sunrise, you dazzle me with more…more of You. Thank You for showing me You have so much to offer. You have so much to give and You never grow weary of splashing me with surprises. Even in something that happens everyday.

Lord, I don’t know what today holds. I cannot anticipate every incidental or circumstance I’ll need to take on around every bend. Father, please, come with me today. Be my guide. Because You know. You see. You have the best course of action ready. And that’s the one I want. I want…no…I need You right here with me.

Show me the way, Abba, and I’ll go. Lead me and I’ll follow. Carry me and I’ll hold on tight.

So break the dawn, crack the skies, make the way bright before me. For I know in Your light, I will find all I need for today….You.

Oh how I need You…

Then I blast this song and sing along. I invite you, friend, to do the same (subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this amazing moment of worship).

Oh How I Need You

All Sons and Daughters
Integrity Praise

Lord I find You in the seeking
Lord I find You in the doubt
And to know You is to love You
And to know so little else

I need You
Oh how I need You

Lord I find You in the morning
Lord I seek You every day
And let my life be for Your glory
Woven in Your threads of grace

Light glorious light
I will go where You shine
Break the dawn, crack the skies
Make the way bright before me
In Your light, I will find
All I need, all I need is You

How about you, friend? How do you claim your dependence on Him every day? Are you okay with it? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

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What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Those that have visited recently know the question burning on my heart
My friend, Vanessa, didn’t know when she sent me this Music Monday guest post. And I can’t help but see it for what it is.
A gift. From Him.
For He knows what touches my soul, and this post…this hymn…does.
Friends, I’m honored to share Vanessa’s heart with you. Won’t you give her a warm welcome?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The organ began to play, and my heart leaped into my throat as it recognized the familiar tune.

The toddler pulling at my dress. The preschooler climbing, jumping, hanging upside down in the pews.

All the struggles of that morning wrangling these two simply melted in the low hum of that organ.

I held the hymnal and my man wrapped his arm around my waist. When I whispered “this is one of my favorites” half-way through, my man just squeezed me tighter, and in that moment I knew he had heard every tear-choked word I had been belting out with my imperfect voice.

Music has always had a powerful affect on me.

Luther Music

I picked up my first instruments at the age of ten, learning two or three more before entering college.

Handel’s Messiah always brought chills during the holidays.

The trumpet during This is the Feast of Victory for Our God every Sunday morning at our first church was the highlight of the service, and my man and I would sing the words throughout the rest of the day.

During tough times, the Lutheran in me even found peace in the words of praise songs… and Mighty to Save and Desert Song are still difficult to sing through the tears and the catch in my throat.

But there are a handful of hymns that undo me down to my core.

These hymns dig deep, to loosen all the junk I’ve been carrying, forcing me to dump it all at the cross.

These hymns break open wounds to allow for the healing I need.

The words. The melodies. They pierce my soul and release my heart of stone so I can be once again renewed with the clean heart He promises.

On this particular Sunday morning, the hymn that undid me, the hymn that erased all the struggles of that morning and let me release it all to Him, was this:

What a friend we have in Jesus
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Yes, there are two more verses, but I will leave you with these along with this amazing performance by Alan Jackson.

I pray this is a blessing to you today as it was for me that Sunday.

Hearts On GuardVanessa writes to inspire, to encourage, to lift up and to celebrate God’s love for you at Hearts On Guard. She is a proud Army National Guard wife and a working mom of two toddlers. She seeks community, fellowship, and the sharing of God’s mercy and grace with all. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

How about you, friend? How have you released it all lately and taken it all to the friend we have in Jesus? We’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Simply striving,

Nikki (and Vanessa)

Which Needy Am I?

P1760683~ Courtesy of Greg Abel Photography

I’ve been thinking about the rapport we have with Jesus…more specifically the relationship I have with my Redeemer. And I believe fully there is only one kind worth having: Hot. Don’t you think? Revelation 3 comes to mind…

I have to ask myself: Am I hot for Jesus?

Do I love Jesus or am I completely in love with Him?

Am I Head-over-heels, can’t get enough of Him, smitten?

Friend, a part of me thinks we either realize how much we need Him on a daily basis or we rely on Him only when we feel we need Him.

I have to ask myself: Which Needy Am I?

Do I have moments where I need Jesus to intervene, or do I realize I am nothing without Him, downright needy for Him?

Do I merely call upon His Name at my convenience, when I can’t seem to find my own way, or do I ache for Him throughout my everyday, clinging tightly to His promises…chatting with Him like the friend He wants to be. John 15 comes to mind.

It goes against human nature — to be needy. But in this upside down Kingdom of Grace, that’s a good thing.

Friends, Jesus thought we were worth dying for…I think that qualifies for being smitten.

He is head-over-heels in love with us. He just is. He. Is.

And He wants nothing more than to lighten our load, love on us relentlessly, give Himself to us. He has everything we could ever want. He Is everything we’d ever need.

I don’t know about you, but I realize and want to remind myself daily:

My, do I ever need Him. I’m head-over-heels, completely needy for Jesus.

Everyday. All day.

This week, I want to focus on this in my daily walk. You all know how music speaks to my heart in ways words cannot. So I’m committing to starting each morning with this song. For it sets the tone I want to walk into each day with. And I wanted to share it with you.

Friends, I just gotta have Jesus.

Lord, I Need You

Matt Maher, feat. Audrey Assad

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this incredible song.

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, you’re my hope and stay
Lyrics provided by KLove HERE.

How about you, friend? Are you needy for Jesus? How do you live that out in your everyday? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

Flickr Credit: Chilsta

Life often blinds. It overwhelms our senses and we become discombobulated, turned around, or thrown off course entirely.

Sometimes the fields of life all look the same and before we know it, we find ourselves on foreign soil. Territory that’s not ours. Maybe we wanted it to be ours as something drew us there, but now we just want to go Home…

Friends, sometimes I can’t see where Home is. Where this journey of life is taking me.

It’s taken me longer than it should, but I’m getting there. I’m learning how to travel through this darkened world. I’m discovering how to claim my role in Isaiah 42:16

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.

You see, friends, I tend to take “I” literally. As in me. What I need to do. Such as:

  • I need to lead others, show them the path Home.
  • I need to shine brighter than those around me.
  • I need to do things, be things, live without forsaking Him.

But I’m finally beginning to accept: That’s too much for me. I can’t do it.

I fail often. I stumble along the way and wonder what made me ever think I could bring Him glory. Yet, thanks to grace, I’m learning…

In this upside down Kingdom of Grace, the word “I” never means me. Ever.

It means Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6

It’s when I read this I realize…I have it all wrong. I’m the blind one…and it’s supposed to be that way.

  • He’s not expecting me to lead. Just follow.
  • He’s not worried about how bright I can shine, but rather how translucent I can be so He can RADIATE through me.
  • He’s not asking me to do, be, live without fail. He’s simply offering to do, be, live big through me.

This is something I can do. Today.
I can step aside and have Him lead the way.

  • And maybe, just maybe my example will lead others, show the path Home.

  • Maybe if I focus on cleaning out my own heart, wash the windows of my soul, His light will shine bright through me.

  • Maybe if I focus on His face, I’ll naturally do, be, live…worship. Praise. Adoration towards the One. The Only. The Sole Pilot bringing me Home.

Yes, Jesus. My Savior. Pilot me.

Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

adapted from an 1800’s hymn by Edward Hopper
My favorite rendition:
by the Robbie Seay Band

Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous seas;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee:
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

As a mother stills her child,
You can hush the ocean wild;
Boisterous waves obey Thy will
When You say to them, “Be still!”
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

When at last I near the shore,
And the fearful breakers roar
Grant me long and peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on Your chest,
May I hear You say to me,
“Fear not, I will pilot thee.”

Chart and compass come from Thee,
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea;
May I hear You say to me,
“Chart and compass come from Me,
Jesus, Savior, I will pilot thee.”

Subscribers CLICK HERE to listen to one of my most favorite songs. (Or HERE To go directly to YouTube)

How about you, friend? How do you use Jesus as your compass? How do you step aside and follow? How are you getting back on course this Lenten Season? I’d love to hear.

Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

God Rest {and Tidings of Joy}

Dayspring Redeemed Christmas

My heart skips with each flip of the Advent Calendar and I wonder when it switched. When the act of waiting turned into scurrying. When the anxiousness of getting there transformed into wanting more time before it arrives.

As I’m lost in my thoughts, my son asks me what they’re singing on the radio…

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember, Christ, our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from satan’s power
When we were gone astray…

How have I missed it? The archaic verbage doesn’t help, but why have I thought this struggle of rushing was a new thing when they’ve been singing about it for more than 200 years?

If you research it, there are many discussions on what the first line really means. The word ‘rest’ is said to translate more literally into ‘keep’ or ‘make’. But it was the comma I’ve never paid attention to before.

It’s not God , Rest…we’re not pleading for it.
It’s God Rest…no comma — it’s given freely.

Friends, we’re not merry without the first part –rest– being given directly from God.

God rest. Yes, that’s what I need.

Clearly I’m no English savant, but no one will be able to talk me out of this invitation to take His yolk and discover joy.

Thank You, Father, for offering Your shoulder this Season to soak in the love You poured down long ago. I can’t think of a better way to display it than a birth of a child.

And may I never get over Your grace as You offer time and time again to save us from the enemy’s grip. Yes, Jesus, please…pull me in closer this Advent… 

Friends, I’m tired of excuses. No more “too busy” for me.

We get so caught up with life we forget to live.

We get so wrapped up in giving
we neglect the greatest gift of all.

Dayspring Christmas Cards

So as I sit amid the gift paper, tinsel fragments, and tape residue, I’ll slow down and write it all out. I’ll be thankful I forgot to order photo cards so I can personalize each one. And I’ll share with family and friends what this season means to me and what I’m hoping they savor all year-long.

Friends, let’s make praise our priority this Season as we declare the final stanzas:

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;

This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface:

Oh tidings of comfort and joy….
Comfort and Joy.
Oh tidings of Comfort and Joy.

And how can we send tidings of comfort and joy when we haven’t filled up ourselves?

Let’s take more time with Him this Season. Let’s rest in Him. He’s offering…

How about you, friend? How are you finding rest in Him this Season? How are you sharing tidings of comfort and joy? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: This is a part of my Advent Series where I take portions of Christmas Hymn Classics and share what they mean to me. You may find others HERE.

Please know I was gifted with cards, an advent calendar, coasters and a mug this Christmas Season by Dayspring. I love each one but know this gift hasn’t altered my post in any way. All ideas expressed here are my own.

His Law is Love {And His Gospel is Peace}

STRIKEA-M-1

I can barely make it through the newscast. No amount of hand writhing can soothe the ache that burns hot in my chest. I’m pleading for Jesus to come quickly, while striving not to ask “Why?!?”

Because I don’t want to be able to make sense of something so senseless.

There’s never a reason good enough for acting so atrocious…

My soul tries to calm as it reminds me of words I’d just heard sung:

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger.

Friends, I ache for the mothers left gaping over something so cruel and unusual. I can’t find the words worthy enough to provide any type of ointment and yet I long to soothe them somehow. Touch their skin, hold them up and encourage them to breathe. Slow and steady.

It’s what we’re reminded to do while birthing our children into this world…
and it’s the reminder we need when they’re ripped away from us.

I know God feels the same way. He mourns for how we treat His own children…this wasn’t a part of His will. But by His grace, He’ll include it. For His plan will prevail.

What gets me riled up is we’ve had the answer to our weakness for over two thousand years. He’s told us what we need. We’ve been singing it for nearly 200 years. The same song with one lyrical line providing the solution:

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Oh friends, if we just took His suggestion His commandment seriously. If only we could live out His Golden Rule like our lives depended on it.

It really is all about His love.

And if we included Him in our everydays and abided by the laws of His love, the gospel of peace would ring true.

I’ll never pretend to understand why we do some things we do. But I can follow His example. I can love till the bitter end. And if I only experience peace in my heart this side of heaven, it will be enough. For it was all I could govern.

Friends, I can control how I look at someone I don’t understand.

It’s not up to me to figure out their why…

I’m called to love. Just as He loves me.

Relentlessly. Despite my unworthiness.

None of us deserve Him.
None of us have earned freedom.
None of us have anything to offer He doesn’t already have.

But we can strive to love. To emulate His grace and mercy to even those we’d rather write off as hopeless.

Oh if we lived that way, I believe we’d know what peace looked like. I’m starting to see it in my own self…as I throw sense aside and put on my lens of love and truly see what He’s after.

I see their faces today on television and long to offer my shoulder. To combine our salty tears and leave them on the altar together. To extend His arms of love…

My palms open as I invite Him in. And I can’t help but do what the song suggests we do:

Fall on your knees.

Friends, we can’t do this alone. We need Him permeating our lives. We need our Good Shepherd.

Let’s worship Him this week. With everything we’ve got. Let’s love on those He loves. No matter what. And let’s mean the song we’re singing this Season, “O Holy Night” as we offer:

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name!

How about you, friend? How can you abide by His law of love this week? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

And please, pray for those affected by this horrific tragedy. May they cling to His steadfast arms and feel His loving embrace today…

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: This wasn’t what I intended on sharing today, but is still a part of my Advent Series where I share lyrics from the traditional Christmas Hymns and what they mean to me. I know I’ve shared this song already, but my heart had to go further…thank you for grace! You can view others like this HERE.

 

All Hopes and Fears Are Met

corncrib

It’s when the moon invites quiet I notice it most. When I wonder how I let it get this bad.

Me…the one striving for delight with a life built on simple.

It becomes nearly comical how much we can truly whittle away. How little we need to survive with joy overflowing. And I make mental note of things I plan to erase off lists. For I can do better than this. I can slow down more to truly see the reason for the season…

As I clear my mind of life’s clutter, it hits me. Right there on the screen while singing it with my church family:

The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in Thee tonight.

And I wonder how I’ve missed it all these years.

We talk about it all the time. I memorized the beatitudes ages ago. I know I don’t need to worry, or fret…

But friends, do you see it? Do you see how I’ve glanced over the first part while being so focused on the latter?

Our hopes have been met!

My breath catches as I realize I have been given another gift…a small glimpse at how much He loves me.

For what more could I hope for that my Jesus hasn’t already given me?

What more could I need than that which He has already provided?

I’ve said it before and keep receiving proof of how much it’s true. Friends, He’s got this. Whatever we face today, He’s already taken care of. Any hopes and fears we meet along the years, He’s got them covered.

His name Emmanuel? We can take that literally!

And I belt out the final stanza with ease as I claim it for my own:

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today.
          …
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel!

How about you, friend? What fears or hopes has He met for you lately? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Note: These lyrics were taken from the all familiar Christmas Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem. This post is a part of my Advent series where I share my favorite stanzas of our cherished Christmas hymns and reveal what they mean to me. You may see other posts like this HERE.