FAITH IS A GIFT

By Lisa Huddleston

Unknown

I can’t really publish this as I would like to, because it’s meant to be a song, and I have rarely ever written a tune (ONCE). Therefore, I’m just going to throw these words out and see what happens.

As many of you know, I often battle against despair–I doubt God, I doubt salvation, I even doubt doubt. But, many of you also know that God never lets go of me! I attribute much of His tenacious faith to the beautiful place I live and commonly refer to as “Hudfarm.” This land has been in my husband’s family for five generations, and it is still a nourishing place in which to raise a soul. What a gift!

So … my kids all write music. Maybe one of them will feel moved. And many of my friends are also talented musicians who just may see through the simplistic words and hear the melody of my heart–I imagine it to be acoustic with a slightly, minor key. But who knows? Maybe it’s a rap or a polka or something? Okay, then. Here goes nothin:

“Faith is a Gift”

Faith is a gift, Believing is a gift   (repeat kind of chant-like)

Verse 1

When I feel the sunrise lifting

When I watch it as it sets

Then I know you’re near me

Then your gift I get

Verse 2

When the blossoms flower

And even when they dry

Your colors quench my thirsting

Your love’s the reason why that–

Bridge

Faith is a gift

Believing is a gift

Only to be given

Nothing I can buy

Faith is a gift

Believing is a gift

As needed as the raindrops

Falling from the sky

Verse 3

When wind chimes ring so softly

When thunder roars then dies

When lightning bugs just flicker

My soul lifts up a sigh

Verse 4

From springtime unto summer

In both wintertime and fall

I feel your Spirit warm me

My heart can’t help but call that–

Bridge

Faith is a gift

Believing is a gift

Only from the Spirit

Dripping from His lips

Faith is a gift

 Believing is a gift

Drowning out the hatred

With just a single sip

Faith is a gift, Believing is a gift (repeat to end)

MEMORIES AS CLEAR AS A BELL

Young girl playing TrumpetBy Lisa Huddleston

An odd, old memory just jogged through my mind. I was sitting here on the couch wasting time and watching TV when a commercial showed a grade-school girl opening an instrument case to reveal a brand new clarinet.

Instantly I felt my 5th-grade excitement at getting my brand new, shiny brass cornet. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to learn to play it. However, in my ignorance and enthusiasm, I picked it up by the mouthpiece, and the horn detached falling bell down on to the floor. I had only had it for a few days, but for the rest of my school career in band, there were crinkly dents circling the neck of that bell, and I was sad and a little ashamed every time I lifted it out of its metallic smelling case.

Many years later, I had the opportunity to play in a church orchestra, and my sweet husband surprised me with a new, unblemished silver trumpet. It was beautiful, and I was proud to hold its shiny smooth bell before me. No scars showing. No shame over my earlier mistakes. A clean slate.

Hmmm … truths to ponder. Mistakes are sometimes the results of our ignorance. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t hold that new cornet by the mouthpiece when I first received it. It took an accident to teach me a hard lesson–and I never lifted it up that way again. But by then the damage was done, and I had to live with the scars my mistake left behind.

Happily, another truth is also contained in this story. Second chances teach us grace. I felt very undeserving of that shiny silver trumpet. I hadn’t played in years. I wasn’t any good. I had dented my first instrument–I’d probably do it again. But no. I played that horn with joy, and it restored my love for the experience of making music. Grace. Second chances. And joy.

I could have rejected the chance. I could have told Chuck to return that trumpet, or I could have told the director I wasn’t good enough to play. After all, that’s exactly how I felt. But for some reason, I took the risk. I accepted Chuck’s generous gift, I joined the band, and I did okay. And it turned out to be a lot of fun!

Funny how that commercial brought those memories rushing back. Not only have I kept that old cornet. It is proudly displayed in our music room–dents and all–as a reminder of the provision of my parents, my husband, and the graciousness of God himself.

And my joy of music rather than my shame has been handed down to my three children who play piano, mandolin, guitar, bass, banjo, cello, violin, and whatever else they choose to play. Praise God for second chances–and even (who can believe it) for commercials?!

HOT NEWS FLASH

What a great guy!

What a great guy!

By Lisa Huddleston

I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but I really wasn’t adequately prepared for this. Sure, I’ve heard friends complain about it; but, honestly, I thought they were being overly-dramatic. Truthfully, how bad could it be? It’s just a natural season of life after all. I mean it couldn’t be such a big deal–if it even happened to me at all. Well, it’s happening–HOT FLASHES–and it’s a royal pain in the patootie! Fan on, fan off. Blankets on, blankets off. Freshly showered, need another shower. Ugh! And complaining, oh yeah, just ask my husband, family, and friends. What a big baby I am! Oy vey!

Thankfully I know that this too shall pass–if I live long enough. But I hope that this lesson sticks around for a while. You never know what someone else is going through until you walk a mile in his or her moccasins. I tried to remember this truth as we visited with my dad and his wife this week. Dad has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), and Hazel is doing what she can to care from him in their home. It’s very hard for both of them, and way too easy to walk into their difficult situation and start saying how I would do things if it were mine. Thankfully my constant hot flashes kept my judgment in check and served an ever-present reminder that I had no clue how I would really react in their situation. It kept me humble, and for that I am grateful.

Brief post, but lasting learning. Now will someone, please, get me a glass of ice water and turn up the fan?

P.S. Chuck says to remind you of the second part of that maxim about criticizing someone only after walking a mile in their shoes … “It’s safe then because you’re a mile away, and you have their shoes!” Oh my goodness.

REVELATION: I AM NOT GOD

By Lisa Huddleston

Like most of the hip Christians in Nashville, I have gotten myself a chronological Bible to study.  Oddly (or not), I have had it for some time and have not bothered to read it so this week I jumped right into the New Testament.  Ah–good place to start.  Balm for the soul in the Gospels.  But this morning the balm stung just a little.

Today’s reading included Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus’ prediction of his death, and the Transfiguration.  I happily read noting the similarities in the accounts as well as the literary differences.  I underlined and commented in the margins thoroughly enjoying my time in the Word and my familiarity with the stories.

Then I read, “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s … put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:33-34).  Wow!  That was just what my last post was about!  I get it, God.  And there it was again in Matthew 16 and Luke 9.  Okay, okay.  I repent of my selfish ambition.  Of all my self stuff.  I hear you, Lord. And I sort of patted myself on the back for being so in synch with the word.

Then I moved on to the Transfiguration accounts.  God said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him” (Mark 9:7).  And, “This is my Son, my Chosen One.  Listen to him” (Luke 9:35).  And, “This is my beloved Son, and I am fully pleased with him.  Listen to him” (Matt. 17:5).  Oh, yes, Lord.  I hear you loud and clear!  Help me to lay aside my selfishness and let me fully please you.

Listen to him.  He is my Chosen One.  I am fully pleased with him.  Lisa–I am fully pleased with HIM!

Yeah, I so missed the point.  I cannot fully please God and that is why he sent his Son.  Jesus can do what I never could on my own.  Epiphany!  He is God and I am not.  I am just as much a bumbler as poor old Peter was offering to build some shelters for the three shining figures on the mountain top!  And at least, Pete recognized the Messiah when he saw him!

Jesus is the Son of the living God, the Messiah sent from God, the beloved Son, and the Chosen One.  And I am not.