When the neighbors go to bed and the computer stops humming, silence creeps into the dark. It shoves its way into the cracks and fills all of the open spaces regardless of the welcome it receives.

Silence is deafening. I shuffle bed sheets, sniffle, reach for the “on” button on the radio… then stop.

Why does silence frighten us so? The absence of noise to some sounds like a dream. No crying children, no talking co-workers, just uninterrupted, blissful silence. To others, it’s a nightmare. It makes us anxious and flighty. Something must fill the void. I run the clothes dryer at night (with clothes in it, of course). If it’s not running and it’s cool enough in the bedroom, I turn on the space heater and set it to cut off in an hour or two, giving me enough time to go to sleep before the sound stops.
Sitting here typing this, I wonder why I do these things. If it for whatever reason is totally quiet when I get into bed, I do feel anxious, vulnerable even. Consciously I know nothing is going to harm me or jump out in the night to frighten me, but somehow I’m comforted by the low purring of the heater or the thumping of clothes being tossed around the in the dryer.
Does silence imply loneliness? Are we afraid to face our darkest thoughts/emotions head on? Or, could it be that hearing a familiar sound simply puts us at ease and calms our anxious tendencies?

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments! Do you sleep with a sound machine (something I probably need to invest it), certain appliance running, window open, etc? What does silence mean to you?

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I made a promise to love You, and nothing can change my mind…

I have a slight music obsession:) So, from time to time you will see a random post (much like this one) where I will share my current “favorite” song.

I have been patiently awaiting the release of Cindy Cruse Ratcliff’s first solo project in 17 years “Twenty Three”… and it was in the mail today! I had already heard most all of the songs on YouTube from Lakewood services and the release concert/worship service she had recently. One of the ones that I’ve listened to over and over and over is called The Promise. The album version is awesome. Amazing. However, I think everything is better live, especially when you have someone who can *sing* without being overdubbed and mixed to sound “radio friendly”. So, I present to you The Promise… live from the release concert… please get some kleenex…

[Note: This video begins with “23”, which is a fantastic song featuring Lincoln Brewster on the album cut, but if you would like to skip ahead you may fast forward to 4:35…]

I can’t get those words out of my head… “I made a promise to love You, and nothing can change my mind.” In fact, every time I think about that line I can feel my throat tighten up and my eyes sting. Shouldn’t we all be thinking that way?

Nothing can change my mind.

When I find myself in a hard place…

Nothing can change my mind.

When I feel alone…

Nothing can change my mind.

When I’m about to give up because I can’t see the finish…
When I’m impatient with Him…
When I’m broken before Him…

Nothing can change my mind…

The Promise
Written by: Cindy Cruse Ratcliff & Alexa Cruse
Produced by: Cindy Cruse Ratcliff

Rest assured, unashamed
I’m running after You
Unsatisfied with apathy
My heart it seeks Your Truth
And on this day and on my knees
I make a vow to You
And in return I’ll know Your Name
Gain a life in You

And I have promised to love You
With everything, my offering
And I have promised to give You
My life, my all for Sovereign’s call
I made a promise to love You
Nothing can change my mind

So secure, unafraid
Completely rest in You
I’m satisfied here on my knees
My heart it beats Your Truth
Forevermore with everything
I make a vow to You
And in return I’ll know You Grace
You make all things new

And I have promised to love You
With everything, my offering
And I have promised to give You
My life, my all for Sovereign’s call
I made a promise to love You
Nothing can change my mind

A life within Your Promise
A love without an end
Your Grace You pour upon us
Cleansed and free from sin

And I have promised to love You
With everything, my offering
And I have promised to give You
My life, my all for Sovereign’s call
I made a promise to love You
Nothing can change my mind

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I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy

I may have before mentioned sweet Angie Smith. She is the wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of Selah), author of an amazing blog entitled Bring the Rain, and half of the team that runs the also amazing online Bloom Book Club. Angie has now written a very personal and very beautiful book by the name of I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy. Even the dedication page speaks volumes in just four words: “For her… For Him.”

From the description on the back cover:

“Angie Smith was eighteen weeks pregnant with her fourth daughter, Audrey Caroline, when doctors discovered conditions leaving Audrey “incompatible with life.” Faced with the decision whether to terminate the pregnancy, Angie and her husband chose to carry Audrey for as long as she had life. This began what turned out to be three months of loving and carrying a little girl that was not expected to live more than a few minutes.

Audrey Caroline lived for over two hours, weighing three pounds, two ounces. Yet, in the midst of the sorrow of loss, there was still joy. Angie weaves the faith-filled story of Audrey Caroline with a biblical story of hope to help us all to understand how better to cope with loss and disappointment…”
I’ve been meaning to write this post for almost a week now, and the thing is… I don’t know that I  can put to paper (or rather, the screen) how much Audrey’s story has impacted my life. The raw, unrelenting faith of Todd and Angie. The hugeness of our God and how He comforts even in sorrow… how He indeed does bring joy in the midst of the grief. I wish so badly I could condense it all down to a few paragraphs for you. The enormity of it all is still so fresh on my heart.
I discovered Angie’s blog a little over a year after Audrey was born, and I read every word of every post in around two or three months. I cried. I prayed. I laughed, then cried some more.  I was captivated by the fact that someone would be so real and so open to basically total strangers. What also blew me away was the community of women (and men) who genuinely prayed and believed and related to Angie’s story. Women who had suffered the loss of a child or were themselves in the middle of a difficult diagnosis for their unborn began to share their stories in the comments section and e-mails to Angie. Do you know what else? They found a place where they knew their needs would be prayed for. Women coming together to lift each other up in the midst of such brokenness and sadness. The love of Christ flowed so freely, whereas it’s so difficult sometimes to find that in our everyday. We’re often too busy or too distracted to notice the opportunity to reach out to the hurting and the weary. Even before she was born, Audrey was changing lives and introducing countless numbers of people to her Creator.
Angie often says that even at just over three pounds, Audrey had weight in this world. Indeed she did. Her story and her legacy will live on through Angie and Todd and a host of others who came to know this beautiful baby girl. All I have left to say is I encourage you to get this book. It’s not a long read and it’s incredibly well written. In fact, to make it even easier for you… Angie’s book is now offered as a limited time FREE digital download from Barnes & Noble!! Get it while you can!:)
This is no way does justice to the impact the Smith family story has made in my own life. I can only hope you’ll find out for yourself what a huge blessing came in a three pound package.
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Psalm 93

I love this Psalm. I think it has amazingly beautiful imagery and it speaks volumes in just 5 short verses. Take a minute or two and read through this out loud. Soak it up. Linger on the words until you feel them really penetrate to your spirit today.
1 The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. 
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.
2 Your throne was established long ago; You are from all eternity.
3 The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their 
pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea — the Lord on 
high is mighty.
5 Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns Your house for endless days, O Lord.

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Come to Jesus

I love Point of Grace. I think they are incredibly talented and gifted women of God, not to mention they are seriously funny and so down-to-earth. They just released their new album No Changing Us, and it is awesome! The very last song on the CD is titled Come to Jesus (not the same song as the one by Chris Sligh). I watched a YouTube video of Denise Jones talk about the song and why they chose it for the album, and I wanted to share that here with you guys. I’ll also post the lyrics below the video for y’all to read. I highly recommend you go out to iTunes and download the whole album or it’s available at Target, Wal-Mart, and Amazon for some reasonable prices (iTunes = $9.99 & Target = $10.99 for your cheapest buys). I hope everyone (all 2 of you) is having a great week!

Come to Jesus
This is for the weary and the weak
This is for the desperate and ashamed
This is for the hopeless hiding in the shadows
Cupping hands around a flicker of faith

This is for the one’s who don’t belong
This is for the silent castaways
This is for the sinner peeking through the stained glass
From a sidewalk in the cold driving rain

We all fall down
We all need saving once in a while
You are not alone
We all lose faith and lean on mercy
And through our darkest night, He said He’d wait for us
Just come to Jesus

For anyone who’s given up on God
For those who’ve tripped and fallen out of grace
For anyone who’s lookin to the bottom of a bottle
For the strength to make it through another day


He did not come to raise the living or touch the eyes of those who see
It was for the bitter and burned-out
It was for the unforgivable
It was for the failure, standing on the bridge, because the guilt’s too
high a price to pay to live

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