Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise - Like A River Glorious

One  of my favorite hymns was written in the late eighteen-hundreds by an English lady named Francis Ridley Havergal. She wrote many well-known hymns, poetry and children's books.

While vacationing she became seriously ill with pneumonia and was not expected to live.  Her friends were amazed at how peacefully she received this information. She survived and later that year she wrote the hymn "Like a River Glorious". She pointed to the source of her perfect peace: "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed, finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest."

Miss Havergal was a devout Bible scholar. She incorporated the truth of Scripture in this hymn where God promises "peace like a river." This hymn paints the picture of this peace. The hymn was first published in its present form with the name "Perfect Peace," in Hymns of Consecration and Faith in 1876.

This hymn has touched my heart all through my life - from my youth until now. I have sung it often when peace seems impossible. I have sung it joyfully as a statement of what I truly believe - God does us give His peace when we focus on Him!

 Like a river glorious
  Is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious
  In its bright increase.
Perfect, yet it floweth
  Fuller every day,
Perfect, yet it groweth
  Deeper all the way.
Stayed upon Jehovah,
  Hearts are fully blest,
Finding as He promised,
  Perfect peace and rest.

Hidden in the hollow
  Of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow,
  Never traitor stand.
Not a surge of worry,
  Not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry
  Moves the spirit there.
 Stayed upon Jehovah,
  Hearts are fully blest,
Finding as He promised,
  Perfect peace and rest.

Every joy or trial
  Falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial
  By the Sun of Love.
We may trust Him fully
  All for us to do,
They who trust Him wholly
  Find Him wholly true.
Stayed upon Jehovah,
Hearts are fully blest,
Finding, as He promised,
Perfect peace and rest.

You will keep in perfect and constant peace
the one whose mind is steadfast
[that is, committed and focused on You -
in both inclination and character],
because he trusts and takes refuge in You
[with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 26:3 (Amplified Bible)

You can hear the beautiful melody of this old hymn are recorded by one of my favorite Pacific Northwest musicians, harpist Bronn Journey, here.

With A Grateful Heart,

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Songs of Grateful Praise - Lord, You've Been Good To Me

Today I'm starting a new feature on my blog. On Sundays I plan to share a song that has special meaning to me and speaks to my faith. I love the old hymns and some of the newer songs of praise and faith. I hope they speak to your heart as they do mine. I may share the stories behind the songs and a Bible verse or two. I might share how a song has touched my life and I may share how songs have touched the hearts of other people.

If you know me well, you know that music has always been an important part of my life. I started singing almost the moment I realized I had a voice. When I first discovered my grandma's piano I couldn't keep my hands off of it. I studied music through my growing up years and through college and taught piano lessons for many years.  I've used my music gifts to serve God in many places. Music seems to be embedded into my soul. I can't imagine a world without it. If you visit my home you will most likely hear music playing or you may catch me singing as I go about my day. It's only natural that music has been a part of my life - in the best of times and in the hardest of times.

During my recent health crisis and through the continuing recovery time there have been many songs that have spoken deeply to my heart. Some were prayers asking God for strength to walk the path ahead. Some were songs of praise and faith for what He has done and will continue to do. Some were songs that brought joy and peace; others were songs that caused me to stop and worship Him. One song that was new to me has become a song I sing often these days. The words are exactly what is in my heart! I hope it blesses you, too.

 Lord You've been good to me
All my life, all my life
Your loving kindness never fails
I will remember
All You have done
Bring from my heart
Thanksgiving songs

New every morning is Your love
Filled with compassion from above
Grace and forgiveness full and free
Lord You've been good to me

So may each breath I take
Be for you Lord, only You
Giving You back the life I owe
Love so amazing
Mercy so free
Lord You've been good
So good to me

I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King! and I'll bless your name into eternity. I'll bless you every day, and keep it up from now to eternity. God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatness.Psalm 145:1-3
(The Message) 

Song: 'Lord You've Been Good To Me'
Written by Graham Kendrick
Listen to the song here

With A Grateful Heart,

Friday, August 16, 2019

Simply Grateful

It's been a long time since I've shared anything here on my blog. Too long, in fact, but life really came hard and time away was necessary. There are so many things I want to share - and I will. I honestly hope to get back to being here often to share my comings and goings and things on my heart. Today I will just share the big reason I've been away so long. Later I'll catch you up with other things I've done through this year.

Life can take a major turn when we least expect it and that's exactly what happened early this Spring. Tests to determine the cause of continuing upper digestive pain revealed that my gallbladder was one hot mess! I knew where that diagnosis was leading but I was totally unprepared for a more serious health crisis that ensued. The ultrasound also showed that I had a large mass in my left kidney. Consultation with my doctor led to a CT scan that revealed that the mass was a large tumor. The tumor appeared to be renal cell carcinoma. Cancer. Not an easy diagnosis to hear. Your life can never be the same again when you hear the words 'very high probability that you have cancer'.

The kidney was high priority so I saw a kidney specialist first.  Due to the size and location of the large tumor, my left kidney would have to be removed - cancer or no cancer. Two surgeries would be required. My kidney specialist would remove my kidney and a general surgeon would remove my gallbladder.  I asked if it was possible that I could have both surgeries done at the same time. His answer was a relief. Yes, the two surgeons will coordinate one surgery - one surgeon and his team will begin the surgery and exit the operating room. The second surgeon and his team will take over and finish the job. Two surgeries in one! One hospital stay; one anesthesia and recovery.

I had surgery early in May and stayed in the hospital for three nights while my body began to adjust to life with one kidney. My remaining kidney is strong and healthy - that's good news - but the best news of all was the phone call from my kidney doctor with the lab results from my tumor. He had joy in his voice when he told me - NO cancer. Benign! The percentage of possibility for this outcome was very small. But many people were praying for me. I was at peace no matter the outcome because my life is in God's hands. But this news brought tears. Tears of gratitude. And such relief.  We laughed together on the phone as tears poured down my face. Because of the type of tumor I had I will have to have a yearly ultrasound for the next two or three years, but I am healthy and doing well.

Recovery is long and slow when a kidney is removed. I knew this going into surgery so we planned for me to live life at a slower pace as long as I need to. It's amazing how God created our bodies to handle this situation.  A Bible verse I learned as a child has taken on a whole new meaning.

Thank you God for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Psalm 139:14
New Living Translation

During recovery my remaining kidney is adapting to life on its own. It's actually enlarging as it adds more filtration tissue to handle the load it carries. It's strong and healthy and working exactly the way it should.  This could take up to a year. While that happens fatigue is an almost constant companion during this process. I never understood fatigue before. I have been exhausted in the past but this is different. It's the feeling that I'm a big rag doll. I can't push myself and I run out of steam quite fast but the fatigue is getting less and less and one day won't be a part of daily life. It's beginning to taper off and I'm so grateful to have a day here and there with no fatigue. I really am doing great. I'm able to do some simple tasks again - slowly - and, if you could see me, you would probably say I look good. I look healthy - and I am healthy.

The support and prayers and love I've had from my family and friends who have walked this journey with me means more than words can say. My life has changed. I'm different now. I'll never be the same again. I don't take life for granted. Each day I thank God for another day to live and to serve Him.

Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise You!

Psalm 63:3
New Living Translation

There's no way to describe what I feel in my heart except to say that I am simply grateful!

With A Grateful Heart,