And forever we will sing by Tyler Bowman! 

I praise God that I can sing, that the breath of life that He breathed out into the first man can swell up within us and offer forward a sound of praise and adoration to Him, and thus in some small measure we can return to Him that most basic blessing that He first put upon us!I praise God that I can sing to music, that I am filled with amazement of all of the ways in which His living church has been inspired to write their praises to Him. I am thankful for melody and harmony that He has imbued into creation from the vibrations of air to the pulsing of the stars to the beating within my chest.

I praise God that I can sing skillfully, that in accord with music and lyrics of His praise and His great deeds we can produce symphonies of praise and emotion with a combination of skills and talents that inspire others to do the same, that impart valuable messages of His love and His majesty into the hearts of sinners both saved and lost.

I praise God that I can sing in my sorrow and joy, that no matter what situations and trials and struggles surround me I can pour out my heart in song to Him who knows my every heartache. I praise Him that I can raise my voice in exaltation to sing louder and higher and stronger until my throat is as raw as the unbridled love and emotion pouring from my chest. I praise Him that I can be overwhelmed and brought to tears when my worship brings me to the place where I am reminded of just how unfathomably great He truly is, and that He has made Himself available to each of us despite our innumerable shortcomings. I praise Him that even when my lungs ache and my voice cracks and melody fails me that I can raise that joyful noise unto Him and continue to ascribe until Him the glory that He already possesses.

I praise God that we can sing together, that as one His people and His church, whether in great congregations or private meetings, can bring that same worship and praise to Him, that even hearts who do not acknowledge His greatness can be found repeating the words that give Him due honor, that every person in their humble and broken state with their own pain can seek Him and find Him to be the One who meets all of their needs. I praise Him that in every assembly He sees to the heart of each man and is worshiped in great collusion among the souls that have seen His salvation and received His Spirit. I praise Him that our limited words and failing vocabularies are made whole by the intercession of that Spirit and by the Son who died for us. I praise Him that as a result we will one day be gathered up together to Him and enter into His glory everlasting, that each person will take the great deeds and rewards that were attained in their life, whether great or meager, and cast them at His feet, that His bride the church will have the joy and love of His eternal presence.

And forever we will sing.

I want to love God

You probably just read the title of this post and thought, “What? You don’t already love God??” My answer to you would be yes, I do love God, but I have a horrible time showing my love.

Let me give you some background, my entire family is church people. I grew up in a small Baptist church with my entire family around me. Think I’m kidding? Thinking back to my younger years, I would guess-timate that I was related to probably 85% of my church family and the other 15% had been around so long they might as well have been blood relatives. Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing to have a family that knows the importance of the church and lives it out. It was nice to feel so at home in the church I attended growing up, but I think it also caused me to become complacent.

I was saved when I was 7. When I told my mom I wanted to be saved she asked me to wait and answer some questions for her first. She asked me what salvation was, why I wanted to be saved, what salvation meant to me, and probably several others. She wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing. Not because she was against it, on the contrary- she was thrilled! But salvation is so much more than praying a pray and then continuing to live life. The effects of salvation for a 7 year old looks a lot different than it does for a 40 year old.

Salvation isn’t knowing who Jesus is- the Devil knows EXACTLY who Jesus is and he isn’t saved. Salvation isn’t being a church member or part of a certain denomination. Salvation is not a prayer- contrary to popular belief.

Salvation is a three-fold process. Salvation is an understanding of the mind and being able to discern truth from lies. Salvation is a movement of the will; it’s surrendering our will to accomplish God’s will. Salvation is an application of the heart; salvation is manifested in our lives by a loving obedience to God and that means caring for the poor and broken-hearted, it means seeking ways to show people God’s love physically and then explain it to them spiritually. A saving knowledge of Jesus Christ changes your life, your personality, your attitude, they way you think about things, it changes you for the better.

Salvation is a conversion to become Christ-like and to seek to glorify Him through our time here on Earth. It’s glorifying Him above us.

Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says this, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Well, how do we do that?

  • Loving God with all your heart= Surrendering your will
  • Loving God with all your soul=Surrendering your affections/relationships
  • Loving God with all your mind= Surrendering your intellect to His revealed truth
  • Loving God with all your strength= Surrendering to Him all your being, to love Him with literally your whole self and life

I want to love God with all my heart, soul, might and strength. But where do I start? I take things fore-granted because I’ve always been surrounded by Godly people that really never had to take a stand for their faith because we live in America. Well, we start with being honest with ourselves and accepting that fact- we may be asked to do something completely out of our comfort zone. We may be asked to relinquish control and to say Yes before we know what we’re saying Yes to. We may be asked to give up things that are important to us- relationships, careers, money, security, the list goes on.

I’m scarred. I don’t know what surrendering looks like for me yet, but I plan to find out. I hope you’ll join me in fully surrendering ourselves and becoming a living sacrifice for the one true God. I want people to be able to see my love for God in my actions every single day. I don’t want just to tell God I love him, I want my love for God to radiate from every part of my being.

And so for now, “just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt, fightings and fears within, without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” Just as I am, I come to God and surrender my all.

Happy Birthday Tyler Clark!

Today, 26 years ago, this world welcomed a new little baby- that baby would grow up to be my husband, Mr. Tyler Clark Bowman. I’ve known Tyler for about 5 years now and my life has been fuller in the past five years than it ever has been before.

Tyler continuously shows me what it means to follow Christ whole-heartedly. He loves me unconditionally, he cares for me,  he laughs with me and at me, and he never ceases to amaze me. Tyler is kind, gentle, caring, loving, hilarious (Thanks Dad Bowman), fun, intelligent, and is just an all around amazing guy!

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Tyler my love, you are quite literally the best person I have ever met- and I’ve met a lot of very impressive people. Your ability to love and laugh is amazing to me. I have so loved being a part of your life these last few years and can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. I know this about whatever lies ahead, there is no one I would rather go on this adventure with than you. You challenge me to be and do my best, you push me to never be complacent in life and to always expect the unexpected. You are my emotional black hole and for that I am ever thankful. You accept me, flaws and all and love me even when I feel I don’t deserve it. You are my sole-mate and have chosen to love me for the rest of our lives on this Earth. You often joke that I am the brick God used to let you know it was time to pursue a relationship, but darling, you are the gentleman God used to show me that there is still good in this world. At a conference a long time ago, one of the main speakers told every young lady in the audience to “Never Settle.” Never Settle for less than God’s best in your life. I am so glad that I never settled for what I thought I wanted. You are a better husband and life-partner than I ever could’ve imagined having. Although this life will be full of ups and downs, I am so glad I get to ride the roller coaster with you. You keep life interesting and make even the worst situations bearable. I love you so much Tyler Clark and pray that we continue to grow towards God together.

Happy Birthday to my Husband, my love.

I know…

 

New Year, New You?

In the past year a lot has changed for me. I graduated college, I got married, I quit my job and started a new one, I started on my Master’s degree, I got a new car, I moved out of my parents house, I joined a new church, I traveled, and I changed. In the past year, we’ve dealt with death, my anxiety has gotten worse, I was diagnosed with mild depression; we’ve had bad days, just like we’ve had good days.

If you would’ve asked me on January 15, 2015 what the next year would be like, my answer would not have been close to reality. The reality is that although this past year has been amazing, it’s also sucked- big time. I’ve never felt so smothered and yet so alone (and this was totally at the same time). I’ve never felt so loved and yet so over it. I’ve never felt so full of emotion and yet so void of emotion. Depression is a thief and a bully and it has turned my most sane thoughts into irrational beliefs. Depression leads me to believe I’m on my own and no one can help me, no one could possibly understand and even if they could I would just be a burden to them. Depression is a LIAR.

I have found deeper relationships since I’ve opened up about my anxiety and depression. Some people find it hard to believe because I am generally a pretty peppy person, but I am skilled at hiding my emotions. Don’t believe me? Just ask my hubs. I’ve had people tell me that they didn’t think I was really depressed because I’m always so happy. I’ve shocked people because they thought depression just meant you were sad. I’ve been treated like I have some virus that might be caught if you get too close. But then, I’ve been treated normally too.

I wish so much that I could tell you how to handle depression. I wish I could tell you just what to say to make it all better, but that’s not possible. Like most people I have good days and bad days. Medicine helps me, but I still have my days that I don’t want to go outside.

All of this leads me to my resolutions for this year. I want to have these huge, earth shaking resolutions that would shock and awe you but I know myself. I can never keep resolutions- pretty sure it’s impossible.

Resolved– To spend more time in prayer

Resolved– To study scripture for fun, not because I have to

Resolved– To do whatever will bring the most glory to God

Resolved– To treat my body and mind like a temple of God

Resolved– To be a living sacrifice, to keep my eyes on God and not myself

Resolved– To be a good example to the young ladies and gentlemen in my life

Resolved– To walk through life with others and not keep them at arm’s distance

Resolved– To not let the busyness of life get in the way of living

 

I pray that this year God continues to push me outside of my comfort zone and continues to make me rely on him. I pray that He allows me to share my story with others and to create authentic relationships. I pray that your resolutions go deeper than they ever have before. I pray that God uses me. I thank God for the struggles of the past year because I have never felt closer to Him. I will praise Him even when storms come because that is where Jesus shines through. I could never handle this on my own and I praise Him for being in the dark, stormy, valley with me.

 

I pray that in 2016 God’s love will shine and his grace and mercy will be apparent. I pray that you are changed even if it means wrestling with God. I pray we see 2016 as the best year yet no matter what happens- that we see God’s hand in everything, good and bad.