About Cari D Johnson

Cari D Johnson is a native Texan who is happily married and busily raising six kids. She loves to share funny stories and sweet songs … but NOT her ginger snaps. She finds it challenging to process life’s interruptions, but she is growing to realize they are usually part of God’s bigger plan for her. “I am thrilled when I spy a truth of God, hidden in plain sight. He is so wonderfully patient as I learn to know Him better.”

Sharper in Real Life

 amh sharper1I remember the first time she came to my home. I was hosting a birthday party for my preschooler and her daughter was at the top of the guest list. Though I didn’t know her well, we had worshipped together regularly, and I knew we had many things in common … we had studied music in college, we were married to sports enthusiasts, and we each were currently parenting teenagers, newborns, and several in between.

We greeted loudly that Saturday morning- giggly girls hugging hello, baby sisters screeching from car carriers, the other ladies chattering happily. My house was filled with cheery decorations and a sweet aroma. Rooms were tidy and the food was fully prepared. I welcomed her in with a smile.

Once the party had begun, she pulled me aside and asked if there was somewhere she could nurse her baby privately. Hmmmm. As dread replaced cheer, I forced the continuation of my smile.

Yes. I have a rocking chair in my room. That room that never got cleaned this week, that served as the staging area for most of this party’s projects and preparation. That room that currently houses no fewer than four laundry baskets filled with all the random junk we collected from around the house as we cleaned. Oh, Dear Heavens, Yes, I have a place.

I looked her in the eye and confessed. “You are welcome to use my room. But if I let you see my room today, I must tell you, like it or not, you and I are about to become VERY close friends!”

At that point in my life I lived within a binding veil of perceived perfectionism. The truth of my messes was hidden away – safely out of sight. Very few folks had been granted access into the reality of my short fallings. But on that day, God used this glorified acquaintance to barge past the boundaries of my pride to offer acceptance and grace. Turning the knob to my bedroom door opened a pathway to peace … but it was hard. Exposing the cluttered mess surrounding my unmade bed – which symbolized other, less physical, areas of my life –  also exposed my fear of being known and rejected.

But there she went. Confident and gracious. She did not gasp in disbelief. She did not recoil with disgust. She happily high-stepped over a basket of [stuff], swayed with her infant while I tossed a pile of clothes away from the rocker, then she sunk into the chair and smiled a grateful grin as I slipped out of the room. 

We are SO gonna have to be BFFS after this.

Our friendship did grow quickly and easily in the fertile soil of humor and humility, strengthened by honesty, having been sprouted by the soaking, cleansing rains of unexpected transparency.

Over the years, we have each had opportunity to extend grace toward one another. She and I have enjoyed the freedom to speak our minds. At times we misunderstood each other. We caused each other hurt and confusion, but we always continued the conversation until it landed in a peaceful place. Sometimes we were sorting through my junk, other times we were hashing through hers. Many times we simply enjoyed the deep, true comfort of a smile and a wave from someone who knows you well … and loves you anyway.

She shared parts of her most difficult journeys with me. She consistently offered me the truth of her humanity. She was honest about her struggles. She is gifted and talented and strong in so many ways, but has rarely shied away from treasuring her weaknesses in front of me.

Last January when I hit my lowest point, and had a smallish break-down, she was the person I called. I couldn’t be sure how others might react to the ugly pit in which I had lost myself. Some might gloss over my plight and downplay the severity of the crisis. Others might absolutely panic in the thick, blinding smog of my recent emotional explosion.

She neither bolted nor belittled. She listened. She prayed. She said she’d be there if I needed to talk some more. Aamh sharper2nd we journeyed onward.

I thank God for that birthday party and that breast-feeding baby. I thank God for not leaving my heart trapped behind the walls of denial and pride and fear. I am thankful for friends who courageously share who they REALLY are, and graciously allow me to be who I really am, so that as our lives rub against one another in the Light of God’s love and truth, we each walk away sharpened – better prepared to live victoriously.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Tools cannot be sharpened if they remain hidden away in their protective case.

May God continue to open our lives to the friction of discomfort so He can hone our hearts to fear only Him, and to find true comfort and protection only in His presence.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down,     one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:10

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Mommy Moment: Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:34-35

Love can be spoken in many languages. Our hInfinite loveome of six kids is filled with multi-lingual chatter: messages of love – sent and received.

My firstborn received a letter from his “friend-girl”.  I wish you could have seen his face as he read her kind, encouraging words.  His smile sighed, and his head nodded with each mark of punctuation.  When he was finished reading, he scanned the paper – front and back – and then sat back in his seat to relish the idea that someone thinks he’s great.  After a moment of pondering, he sat straight up, folded the treasured expression and returned it to his pocket. He immediately got out a piece of paper and began penning his reciprocal message of “like”.  He patted the outside of his jacket pocket and said, “Now, that’s some good stuff, right there!”

Speaking of good stuff, do you know what I love about my second son?  (I am challenged to appreciate it, but I love it…) He is ALWAYS willing to hang out.  He can take everyday activities and shape them into quality moments of bonding.   Whether it’s cleaning up the dinner mess, playing a game, or grading papers, he wants to be there, and he wants to be chatting.  He is the first to offer to read his sister a book.  He is the first to offer to “help the girls clean their room”.  He is willing to take any road trip to any destination for any reason…as long as there is good conversation and perhaps a few snacks.  He likes everything to be “special”, and with him around, things usually are.

My oldest daughter has had several special friends celebrate birthdays lately.  It is so important for her to give the perfect gift.  I watch as she shops.  She is enthusiastic and creative, and yet maintains just enough reservation to avoid being hasty or unwise.  She always has a reason for the gift’s appropriateness, and presentation is paramount.  I love how she enjoys the art of giving.  And I believe receiving gifts speaks to her soul as well.  She was able to tell me what each person gave her at last year’s party…complete with wrapping details and the inclusion of any personal notes.  It’s a gift.

My second daughter and I have a love-love relationship. We understand each other.  She is the best little helper in the house.  She actually SEES the dryer sheet on the living room floor.  She sees, she bends, she finds the nearest trash receptacle.  Lord, bless her.  She loves to help me cook –and better yet, serve — dinner and seems to thrive in the fulfillment of a job well done.  She is visibly encouraged when someone helps her.  One of my favorite things in life is to get something too high for her to reach and hand it to her, or help her with an assignment. I bask in her warm reply:  “Thanks a bunch, Mom.”

My Mari is a cuddler, and we love it.  Cheek to cheek….that’s how she likes to chill. Whenever there is baseball to watch, she prefers to be in her daddy’s lap or resting her head on his shoulder. When she sits in my lap to read, she will subtly stroke my pants, or socks, or shirt….whatever has the softest texture.  She enjoys sitting beside me on the floor or on the couch.  She reads her book.  I read mine.  It’s very sweet. She likes to work on her schoolwork surrounded by sisters. She always has to give “one more hug” before we say goodbye and she is the first to jump up and greet with a hug upon my return. She blesses us all with her sensitive touch and comfortable closeness.

As for the littlest one … she speaks love in so many ways. We trust that she will learn to encourage with her words and serve through acts of kindness. We want her to nurture quality relationships and give good gifts, and we hope she continues to be affectionate and sweet. For now, we tell her we love her in as many ways possible so she’ll readily receive and easily respond in her own language of love.

How do you most naturally communicate your love? What are the languages spoken predominantly within your home?

Here’s a great resource to learn more about Love Languages.

Cari

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Mommy Moment: Faithfulness

A meditation on Jeremiah 17.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength…

Hopeless is the lady…

… who demands her own way for happiness.

… who must rely upon her own comfort for peace.

… who depends upon the approval of others for her validation.

… who strives in her own energy to accomplish her goals and succeed.

 

… whose heart turns away from the Lord.

Doomed is she whose heart turns away from the Lord.

… whose mind is distracted by self-centered negativity.

… whose body is weary from restless busyness.

… whose soul searches for satisfaction apart from God.

amh desert

 

He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.

 

Her life is brittle and rigid,

rough and dry,

stiff, abrasive and empty.

She will bear no fruit.

 

He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

She’ll continue to abide and seek sustenance from sources that ultimately cannot provide.

In futility, she’ll give everything she has to a lifestyle that will render her

weary, withered, and alone.

 

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

Happy is the woman…

… who denies herself to find joy.

… who relys upon her Heavenly Father for peace and comfort.

… who depends upon the truth of her adoption in Christ for her validation.

… who treasures her weaknesses – knowing God will accomplish His goals in His strength.

amh stream tree

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream …

 

Her life is supple and secure,

resiliently grounded,

sensitive, sweet and strong,

refreshingly pleasant.

 

She’ll continue to abide and seek sustenance from the One True Source of Life.

 

… and does not fear when heat comes …

Even when the trials come, she doesn’t worry.

When pain lingers,

and problems persist,

she is not ruined – she finds courage and hope.

 

…  for its leaves remain green,

For His Life flows through her.

She abides in Him. And He abides in Her.

His Word dwells richly within her and she keeps in step with His Spirit.

 

… and is not anxious in the year of drought,

So she has nothing to fear. No worries.

She puts no faith in circumstances.

She is patient and does not grow weary.

 

… for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

With passionate purpose and pleasure, she’ll give everything she has

to this beautifully sacrificial life that will render her

fertile, flourishing and fruitful.

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Mommy Moment: Self-Control

“Knock. Knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“Control Freak–Now you say control freak who!”

Staying on top of the activities and choices of others comes almost too naturally for me. It’s when I try to discipline myself into my own better behavior that I continue to fall short.

I have potty-trained 6 children, corralled my spendy husband into a monthly budget, kept many potential two-year-old temper tantrums at bay, and have managed to keep most gaseous body functions or discussions thereof away from the dinner table.

However, despite my own tidy table manners, I can toss a tantrum of my own once in a while. At times, I totally lack the ability to resist greasy restaurant food or a bowl of Blue Bell if offered, and there are days when nothing in heaven or earth can persuade me to fold the laundry.

Everyone needs self-control. As mothers, our job is to take the infant who can control nothing in his life and gradually nurture him into maturity where he does call the shots.

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. -Proverbs 25:28

Our job to protect our children from harm and pollution of the world can be absolutely undermined if we do not exhibit self-control in our own lives. It is what we model before our children that they truly assimilate into their lives.

When we make good decisions for life, there’s a great chance our children will too.

When we make horrible decisions in life, there’s a Great God who forgives us…and that’s a super thing for the wee ones to know and learn as well.

God is in control. Are you struggling to submit to that truth? What’s in your way?

Let Him have “it” … He’s really great at what He does.

James 1 hidden in our hearts.

Cari winter2012

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Mommy Moment: Peace

Tranquility

Mr. Webster defines peace as “the state of tranquility”.

Moms to young ones might describe it like this:

It’s evening. Your newborn sleeps with a heavy head on your shoulder as tiny breaths warm the skin of your neck. Peace.

It’s the middle of the night. Your colic-ridden infant has finally “given it up” and your ears – that have heard nothing but screaming for the last hour – can bask in the silence you’ve prayed for. Peace.

It’s early morning. You’ve had the first night of truly restful sleep in weeks. The children didn’t wake you up, the alarm has not buzzed, you just open your eyes and see sunlight sneaking in the window as birds greet one another outside. Peace.

It’s lunchtime. You and your little ones sit down to enjoy yet another PB& J. Everyone eats happily (for the moment) and you realize how rich you are to have such beautiful children. Peace.

It’s afternoon. You walk by the kids’ room and notice them playing and laughing together. Never mind that within a few minutes, you’ll be bombarded by tattle-tales, false accusations, and high-pitched squeals of injustice. For now, they enjoy their agreement and so do you. Peace.

It’s evening. You’ve done a full day’s work. You pass your husband’s recliner, kiss his forehead, then smile as you send him the toddler who carries a stack of bedtime books. You lock yourself in the bathroom. Bubble bath or no bubble bath … here, you have once again found …Peace.

May you be encouraged today to seek out and recognize those rare but precious moments of peace!

Cari winter2012

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Mommy Moment: Joy

As a young teenager, whenever I was in an unnecessarily gloomy mood, my dad would ask me, “Are you happy?“ And I would moan my obligatory answer, “Yes”. He would take another look at me and retort: “Then tell your face!“ And then as an incurable kidder, he would burst into song: “If yer happy and ya knowit, then yer face’ll surely showit..!” How can you keep from grinning at a grown man skipping around the room, clapping and singing like a country bumpkin?

Mommy Moment: Joy

My kids sing a song that goes like this: “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart to stay!” I like the thought that true joy comes from way down deep in our hearts….a place beyond circumstances. And if joyfulness, delight, and extreme satisfaction rest in our hearts, then our faces will glow with contentment and happiness.

Circumstances and strained relationships can attempt to rob us of our joy. Because joy is more than just a politely forced smile, it cannot be easily taken. Guard your heart, and your household. Think about good things, and be grateful in all things. These disciplines could keep you quite occupied, but you’ll be less likely to have your joy swiped. And if times get tough, remember the optimistic power of an impromptu musical hoe-down!

Cari winter2012

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Bigger Picture

Oh, the wonder of cropping photos! I can re-center the shot. I can shift the focus. I can cut out junk completely – like my prominent double chin or the outer edges of those pesky, pudgy upper arms. I giggle when I see that members of the younger generation have learned to maximize a photo simply by a careful (and completely odd) pose.

amh cameraThanks to social media, I’ve seen dozens of self-portraits of teens, posed perfectly in front of their hall bathroom mirror. Then, there are girls who sit in the front seat of a car, hold the camera high, and look straight up so that their arms are extended and out of view. This upward glance combined with wide eyes and a bit of a puckered mouth leaves cheek bones high and any extraneous chins invisible.

Whether you’re prone to crop or contort, there is always a bigger picture. People do not live in hall bathrooms, and they don’t ride around in cars with unblinkable fish faces. My chin[s] and arms are there – connected to the rest of my pesky, pudgy stature – all the time. Everyone can see them if they look, but I can more easily ignore their existence if they’re eliminated from every snapshot. Snapshots. Just moments in time. Some, obviously well-posed. Others, obliviously harsh.

Recently, I was looking through some soccer photos a friend had shared. I was fascinated by the folks on the sidelines. Innocent bystanders – not prepared by a pose, or privy to the creative crop – just living in the bigger picture. Some were scowling or laughing or hollering. Some had hair blowing straight up, or “wardrobe difficulties”. Some were bending over to pick up something, while others lounged comfortably – not at all concerned about sitting up straight or sucking in their bellies.

Real life happens in the bigger picture.

For years I tried to, in essence, crop outsiders’ views into my life. I would only speak about parenting successes, and rarely admit a weakness or fear. When I felt overly visible, I focused my attention on a decent pose or presentation. “She cannot wear those shoes into town; I’ll look like a terrible mom.” “Everybody, just sit in that pew and smile … we’ll hash through all the car ride yelling after church!”

My close friends and family are painfully and beautifully aware of the big picture. They see it all. But for many, the frame of reference has not been accurate because it’s not been complete.

Perhaps someone saw my children and I during a relaxed trip through the grocery store, and now she assumes I “have it all together and always seem so calm – even with all those kids.” Perhaps someone else witnessed one of my hormonal moments where my teeth were clenched and my tone was terse. So that person might assume I “am a total nut job” and asks themselves, if not others, “Why did she have all those kids if it makes her so stressed?”

Some see the tiny thumbnail of my homeschooling and automatically think I’m a granola-munching, raw-milk guzzling breeder who hates the tyranny promoted through institutional education. Others, notice the same snapshot and hail me as “honorable, admirable, and dedicated.” Neither knows anything about my lifestyle or challenges. The bigger picture would show that some days are admirable, while others are miserable. The bigger picture would show our two oldest boys attending the local high school with our blessing – and their school days also range from fabulous to funky. The big picture does indeed include lots of raw milk and quite a bit of granola – but I did not bake it myself … and it might sit right next to the Cheetos in the pantry.

Knowing life happens in the bigger picture and being willing to share that entire truth with others is challenging. My pride would rather you see the polished version of me … as often as possible. I am aware of my ugliness, but it’s easier for me to ignore if you don’t see it. My fearful need to be validated worries about your opinion of me … no matter if you have a little information or a lot. I feel like I need you to like me. My struggle for control has caused me to aim to be in charge of every one’s vantage of my life. I wanted to monitor your opinion of me, while having my own of you, then trying to manipulate your opinion of what my opinion of your opinion would be. Dear heavens to Myrtle!

Pride, fear, and control are sinful links in the heavy, dizzying chains that tie me down and trip me up.

God sees the big picture. God sees the WHOLE picture … not just these pixelized pinpoints of time all strung together in this problematic world. He sees my heart. He sees the panoramic, vibrancy of His grace. Humility allows me to submit to His omniscience. It is my joy to seek only His approval, and thankfully, through Christ’s mercy, He’s already offered it. God is in control. I am not. I have pretended to be, and have scratched and clawed to make it so, but I am not. So I surrender to His vantage and find peace and joy. Real life is good.

Less cropping. Fewer poses. More real life in the big picture with a reasonable viewing audience of One.

In freedom, Christ has made us free and has completely liberated us; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery -which you have once put off.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus, the Messiah, have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.

Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.

But the fruit of the Holy Spirit -the work which His presence within accomplishes is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), and self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:1, 22-26 Amplified

Cari winter2012

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Brotherly Love – A Sister’s Perspective

Photo Credit: Katy Roberts Photography

I remember the day my dad was shopping with me for a special dress. We had moved to a new town ahead of the rest of the family, so in a mutual state of neediness in Mom’s absence, I was his escort to a fancy dinner, and he was my shopping buddy.

Standing in the busy department store, I slid the hangers along the metal pole. I would hold one up and check for his initial response. A squinchy nose meant: “don’t even bother”, while raised eyebrows and flattened frown indicated:”perhaps, perhaps!”

I have two distinct memories of that day. The first was what Dad said when I walked out of a dressing room with a colorful tea-length dress on. “Oh, you wear that one well!” My father was always very careful with words. I knew he purposely chose NOT to say what most might, “That dress looks good on you.” He chose to make it about me. “I” wore it well. He complimented me, not the dress.

The second memory is of the conversation that followed. I tried to make a comparison of men to dresses. Some men garnered a “don’t even bother” first impression. While others seemed nice enough at first glance: “Perhaps, perhaps.” And eventually one will be just right for me in that my loveliness is enhanced by the relationship.

Instead of extending the metaphor like usual, Dad offered a bit of a rebuke.

“You just seem to be going about this ‘boy’ business all wrong. Statistically, every male on this planet will ultimately be your friend – a brother of sorts. One special man will be your husband. I see you combating the odds. You treat every guy like he might be your husband, and very few like brothers.”

Wow.

He was right. How many last names had I paired with my first – scripted in cursive on spirals over the years? How often had I allowed my emotions to run rampant and race the relationship across the threshold of healthy friendship?

I thanked Dad for his honesty, but chided him a bit for not offering this age-old advice just a decade or so earlier.

Though I had not yet learned the discipline of treasuring platonic friendships, I had spent my whole life enthusiastically enjoying the company of my three younger brothers. My brothers had always provided the purest source of camaraderie. They would poke fun at me relentlessly, be brutally honest, and then unconditionally committed. They told me they love me… and their kind words, quality time and acts of service lead me to believe them.

Today, 20 years into my relationship with my husband, I see even more clearly the wisdom my Dad shared that day. He was right. Only one man has my heart, but several have my back, so to speak. I thank God for the brothers in my family. And I thank Him for brothers in the faith – these men who are friends of my husband, husbands of my friends, partners in ministry, and worthy opponents in the occasional bout of “Words with Friends”.

How rich an existence with access to such provision and protection!

My husband, Philip, is a loving brother to many. He is a good listener and “king of the side hug”. He has rescued stranded motorists, fixed cars in parking lots … he even removed a snake from a mini-van once! He treats others like he wants to be treated.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.  James 1:27

I am not a widow or an orphan, but my dad has been in heaven for 18 years and my husband is sometimes called away to work for weeks at a time. Dads cannot be replaced, but the void of their affection and care can be lessened by a sensitive word or a kind gesture from a Godly man.

I had a pastor, once, who spurred me on and encouraged me just like my dad had always done. “You have a great sense of comedic timing … you should definitely write more.”

One Father’s Day, I sang a solo in church, and an older, portly gentleman, put his arm snugly around my shoulders and tearfully shared what a blessing my song had been and surmised how much my father would have enjoyed it.

Once, while Philip was away, we had a storm blow through that ripped a hole in part of our roof. Philip’s best friend was over at our house immediately, climbing onto the roof and patching it the best he could in the rainy darkness.

Another time my boys – who were preschoolers at the time- were missing their nightly rough-housing with their dad. They had become so rowdy, I could hardly stand it. I took them to the church playground to let off some steam. Our pastor and his family were there also. He purposefully and repetitively threw my boys into piles of leaves and wrestled with them against a mountain of gravel until they were squealing and panting – good and worn. In total relief, I whispered to his wife, “I just can’t rough-house like a Dad can.”

There is an older man in our church who often stops me to look me in the eye and say, “I sure love who you are.” as though he were delivering a message straight from my dad.

My dad appreciated me – no matter the dress I wore or the boy I liked. And he left me a legacy of love and a powerful truth – flowing straight from the Heavenly Father’s will: brotherly kindness.

I want my sons – like so many other Godly men in my life – to be highly skilled at brotherhood. Statistically, every girl on the planet will need them to be her brother. Only one will ultimately be his wife. Godly brotherhood – “unstained by the world” – is a life skill and a relational calling. Men should prepare to serve and protect; and learn how to step in and provide. This is true religion and pure love.

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.  1 Peter 1:22

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Meditation on Psalm 28

Psalm 28

1To you, O LORD, I call;

I utter Your holy name with expectation and fear.

my rock, be not deaf to me,

You are the only One on whom I can stand.  PLEASE hear me.

lest, if you be silent to me,

I become like those who go down to the pit.

Our conversations -made possible through Your Son – are what set me apart from this world.

 

2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,

I cry for mercy…I beg for undeserved grace in my time of need.

when I cry to you for help,

When You are all I have…

when I lift up my hands

toward your most holy sanctuary.

When You are all I want…I surrender.

 

3Do not drag me off with the wicked,

with the workers of evil,

Those who get what they deserve,

who speak peace with their neighbors

while evil is in their hearts.

Those who speak counterfeit words to contradict the fullness of their hearts.

 

4 Give to them according to their work

and according to the evil of their deeds;

Let Your justice reign.

give to them according to the work of their hands;

render them their due reward.

Grant what they desire and deserve.

 

5Because they do not regard the works of the LORD

or the work of his hands,

They don’t acknowledge all You’ve done and all You do.  They give You no glory for creation.

They give You no thought as they go about their fleeting days.

he will tear them down and build them up no more.

Destruction is coming.

 

6Blessed be the LORD!

You are content in Your own holiness and pleased to offer grace.  Worthy of Praise!

For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

You promised You would never leave me!  You promised to answer when I call!

 

7The LORD is my strength and my shield;

When I am weak, Your power sustains and protects me.

in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;

Some trust in fame and fortune and safety and self.

I trust in You alone.  You alone are my solution and Savior.

my heart exults,

Everything in me leaps for triumphant joy!

and with my song I give thanks to him.

I will sing a new song…a humble heart and grateful lips are my offering.

 

8The LORD is the strength of his people;

Without Almighty God, we can accomplish nothing.

he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

We can run to You because You are our place of safety.

 

9Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!

Continue to rescue Your children and assign to us Your priceless inheritance!

Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Lead us, guide us, protect us, carry us always for eternity.

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