Monday, June 23, 2014

Music Monday



So I've mentioned before that I love music!  I like different styles of music and different beats.  But my favorite songs are the ones that have powerful lyrics.  To me, those are the ones that touch me and stay with me.  So today, on Music Monday (so catchy right?) I would like to share the song that is on my most played list for the past couple of weeks: "Oceans (Where Feet May fail)" by Hillsong United. 

I was first introduced to this song at the JBA Fall Retreat last October.  My husband leads the worship there with a wonderful group of musicians and singers who come together once a year from several different states and cities to lead worship and they do a phenomenal job! Anyway, Emily, our lead female singer (who is A-mazing) suggested this song for one of the worship services.  She sang this song and it blew me away, sorry I don't have a video of that but I will share a couple of videos below after you take a minute to read the lyrics:


"Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

[6x]
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine 
Of course, the basis of this is from Matthew 14 when Peter walks out onto the water to Jesus.  
 28And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
My first thought when I read this passage is a scoffing at Peter for doubting his safety when Jesus was right there!  But honestly I wonder if I would have even had enough faith to walk out on the waters in the first place.
 
Many artists have started recording their versions of this song and I basically love them all!  This video is of Hillsong United singing at Passion this year. (I don't want this post to be too long, so I won't go into all the details about Passion, I'll save that for another post ;-) all I will say is it is life changing! For example- if you are thinking that this is a really looong song that it lasts over 9 minutes, well it's because for the last minute or so, the band has stopped singing and playing but you can hear thousands upon thousands of college aged students singing the words, continuing to worship.  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it!)  I hope you enjoy and if you can't see the video, hopefully you can click here.




And this video (yes, I'm sharing 2 because I think this one is pretty cool) is by The Digital Age:



So what do you think?

Is your faith strong enough to join Jesus out on the water?

And when the storms are raging and you are about to be knocked down, are you trusting Jesus to keep you safe?

Are you willing to go out into "deeper waters" with Jesus so that your faith may be strengthened?  It's a scary thought to go into the deeper waters knowing the difficulties that can be encountered, but is it worth it to you, if it means your faith will grow and your relationship with Jesus will be closer than ever?

Something to think pray about...

Love in Christ,

Alyson




Friday, June 20, 2014

Daycare: A Traumatic Event

This week my son started daycare.  If you are a parent, then you recognize this as a traumatic event.  If you aren't a parent you may not think this is a big deal. And I didn't think it would be either, but I was wrong.

See, from the time my maternity leave was over my parents have been keeping my son everyday.  Before you say it, I know, believe me I do, how lucky, blessed, completely fortunate we are that we have this option.  And it's even more so for me, because I wake up, get myself ready and am out the door before my two men have even rolled over.  Yep, that's right, my husband is the one who drops my son off at my parents.  And for people fretting because you haven't had kids in your 20s or think you hear your clock ticking there can be a benefit to having kids when you are in your 30s and living close to grandparents- they are retired and take care of the kids! (Thanks Mama and Daddy) ;-)  But I digress...

So recently as in about 2 months ago, my husband became an Associate Pastor at a new church (for us) that has a daycare.  And this brought up the wonderful possibility of Bug attending Daycare.  So collectively as in me, hubby and my parents decided that it would be good for Bug to go to daycare a couple of days a week.  It's a win, win.  Gives my mom a couple of days off for appointments and to run errands without having to plan around my dad's schedule.  The daycare is in the same building as my husband, which rests my mind at ease.  And Bug gets to learn Bible verses, letters, numbers, and he gets to develop socialization skills. And at this point you are thinking so why is this traumatic?

Well, because the first day my husband took him, but for the past two days, I've taken him.  And it is the hardest thing in the world to walk away from your crying child.  Not to mention that he wasn't used to getting up that early so he was not excited about that.  Thus far Sundays have been my only experience with getting the two of us ready on an early morning time schedule but that's no 6 AM and we usually eat breakfast there...  The first day, I could hear him screaming all the way down the hall- I barely made it out of the building before I started crying.  And I cried for at least ten minutes.  I know that he quit crying long before I did and basically 1 minute after I left he was playing and laughing. So this traumatic event is all mine!  He has been fine.  He has eaten his food and he's even taken naps well- which has been a struggle for me and mom in the past.  Well except that yesterday apparently he woke up first and looked around the room at everyone else still sleeping, then proceeded to stand up and start jabbering away waking everyone else up!  Yep that's our son, if he isn't asleep, no one can be asleep!

Overall, the teachers say he's done wonderful and has adjusted well...  hopefully, I'll recover from this traumatic event soon! Of course then before I know it, it will be time for Kindergarten... Oh my mommy heart.

How about you?  Have you experienced any "traumatic events" like this?


Please tell me I'm not the only one who cried after dropping my son off at daycare, has anyone else?



Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! 



Love in Christ,


Alyson








*Picture was edited on picmonkey.com.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Book Review: The Pastor's Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity


Photo Credit
Don't be fooled by the title of this book, it's not just for Pastor's kids (PKs).  I believe that Pastors, their spouses, and even their congregations will benefit from reading or listening to this book.

Barnabas Piper, son of well known Pastor John Piper, writes this book about the life of a PK.  No one really understands the life of a PK except other PKs, even the pastors themselves can't relate to the hardships and struggles that their children face, unless they too were PKs growing up.

If you are reading this, then you may never have thought about how much pressure there is on a PK.  There are false expectations placed on PKs from their fathers, mothers, as well as the church.  Barnabas Piper uses stories from other PK's as well as some of his own, to bring validity to this issue. This book sheds light on the hurtful and at times detrimental interactions and perceptions that are had between PKs and their fathers, mothers, and the church- to the point that you may feel your toes being stepped on, if you have done any of the things he warns about.  For example, there is the expectation placed on the PKs that they should be more versed in the scriptures and then there is disappointment if they are wrong or don't know the answer to all the questions.  There is a higher standard of behavior that is expected of the PKs and because of the "fish bowl" they live in, everyone knows of every misdeed they dare to commit.


As a Pastor's wife, with a PK of my own, I was reminded that even though ministry is the calling that my husband and I have felt in our lives, that doesn't mean that my son has that same calling upon his.  And I enjoyed this book so much, that I have recommended it to my husband to read so hopefully we can avoid some of these issues Barnabas Piper mentions while raising our son. In the foreword, written by John Piper, he states that the book was tough to read since it was written by his son, but that when he finished reading it, he gave it to his 17 year old daughter, still living at home, and had honest dialogue about her feelings and whether any changes need to be made.  This is why I HIGHLY recommend that all Pastors and their wives read and heed this book!

And from the perspective of a church member that I have been for many years, I saw with fresh eyes the impossible standards that the church has placed on Pastors and their families.  It caused me to evaluate my own interactions with PKs in the past and to hopefully move forward with a different approach in the future.

Not only are the two reasons I mentioned above why I think this book is for everyone, but also because throughout the entire book there is an undercurrent of Grace. Barnabas Piper's words are rooted in the Gospel and a love for Jesus- which is a message for everyone and a message delivered solidly by this book.  He continually describes the grace we have been given by God and encourages the giving of grace to others.


The audio book is narrated by Barnabas Piper and  I think this is a benefit, because as the author of the book he has perfectly placed inflections and emphasis on the words he's reading.  This book is a short and I enjoyed listening to it on my way to and from work.  This is my first audio book, but it really made my 50 min drive much more enjoyable. But whether you read it or listen to it, I highly recommend that you get it!


And I would like thank christianaudio Reviewer's Program for the audio version of this book in exchange for my honest review.  This book is being released on July 1.  You can pre-order it from christianaudio.com here.  Or from Amazon.com here.


When you read the book, I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Or you can email me at coverelifeblog@gmail.com.


And to make sure you don't miss a post, sign-up for email updates on the right side of your screen.


Love in Christ,

Alyson

Friday, June 13, 2014

Winner Announced and Heart Check

True to what I stated in the giveaway post from last week, I would like to announce the winner today on the blog.  Drum roll please...












me





Yep, that's right. I had ZERO comments.  I will admit that I was a bit discouraged about this as last week closed and there were no comments and then this week started and there were still no comments, but my oh so wonderful husband reminded me that I bought the wallet in the first place because I liked it and that I could just keep it if no one entered... and that is true.  But I still felt discouraged that the giveaway didn't get interest or increase my traffic.  However, when I began exploring the reasons for my discouragement, I wasn't too pleased with what I found.

I realized that my heart wasn't in the right place.  And as I've told you guys all the time a few times ;-) I am a work in progress. There has been a see-saw in my heart as I tend to teeter back and totter forth between this desire for recognition- being famous and the feelings of inadequacy- being hidden.  The huge problem with both of these ways of thinking is that they are both prideful.  Thinking less of yourself is still thinking of yourself.  What we are really called to do is to think of ourselves less and think more on Jesus.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

This blog isn't supposed to be about me... Well, at least not in the sense that I will gain fame and recognition. If that truly was my main goal then I would close shop right now.  But this blog is about my life, that is constantly covered in grace, and in covering (see what I did there) my life's lessons for you, my purpose is to point people to Jesus and to bring Him glory.  So that is my mission statement for this blog: To point others to Christ and to give him glory in all that I do. (This coincidentally is my mission statement in life as well!)  In focusing on this mission, the verses below along with John 3:30 are my prayer.
"Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain." Psalm 119:36
 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves"  Philippians 2:3
"And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation." Mark 16:15

I want you guys to know that whether no one reads this blog or if He sees fit to increase the readers immeasurably, my mission will be the same- to make Him known and to glorify Him forever!

 
In the future, I'd like to offer other giveaways on the blog that may perhaps be of interest to you. I hope to post some book reviews and then give the books away and I've contacted my sister-in-law who is a Mary Kay consultant about providing an item for a giveaway. But I would love to know what other things interest you, so if you have ideas please leave a comment to let me know.  And if Facebook is the only place you leave comments then do it there or Pinterest or Instagram or you can Tweet me- I'm flexible! ;-)

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Love in Christ,

Alyson

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Answer Before the Question

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of attending a women's retreat at Fort Caswell.  The Bible Study we used for the weekend was Beth Moore's "Loving Well" study.  It was a wonderful study that I highly recommend but also as all good studies should, it challenged me.  I left the weekend feeling quite unsure of myself.  I really started looking at how I was loving others, and sadly I came to the realization that it wasn't well.  I also began to see that there had been a few relationships that I had been extremely hurt by.  And those experiences severely decreased the level of trust I put in others, outside of my husband and family.  So I was quite glad that the study pointed this out to me, however, a weekend wasn't long enough for me to completely delve into this issue and find the answers.

But my wonderful husband reminded me that the answer is Jesus.  He is the answer to all the questions before we even know what the questions are!  The best only way to love others well is to first understand and grasp the very love of Jesus!  This works for other things, too- grace, mercy, forgiveness- until we fully focus on Jesus and seek out each of those attributes of his character, we won't be able to give them ourselves.  So imagine my surprise (even though I should have realized God was working all this out in the totally amazing way that he does) when first I realized that our Pastor is preaching a series entitled "Wholehearted Love" this month (you can watch them here) and second I saw that the Good Morning Girls were doing a "You Are Loved" Bible study through this summer.

http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

So here we are one week of June already gone and I am completely inundated (in an amazing way) with scriptures, sermons, and devotions about God's love.  Because the beauty about the Bible study that we are doing is that it isn't just verse upon verse of God loving us and we are wonderfully made- which is of course true, but the beauty in it is that we are seeing the very character of God in the verses that we are studying.

Even though I have been a Christian for many years, I will never know all that I need to know about God.  It's not because He keeps changing, because He doesn't.  But it's because He is vast and amazing and the more I know him the more I am changed by him to be like Christ.  And the more I change, the more of himself, He reveals to me.

And that is why it is so important to be involved in a church.  Yes, you can be a Christian and not go to church, but if you desire to know Jesus more and more, then hearing God inspired sermons, attending Bible studies and small groups that are grounded in his word should be appealing to you.  But if you don't have the desire to know him and be changed by him, then it is not only possible but also probable that he doesn't actually know you and you are not one of his children. 

So where is your heart?

Is Jesus the answer to all the questions for you?

Are you too focused on you, to focus on Him?

As I've stated before, I am a work in progress- and that is OK because I hope I am always progressing in the journey of my faith, becoming more like Christ through each chisel that God gives me.

And just a reminder, I have a giveaway going on that you can enter by commenting on the post at this link- and your chances are REALLY GOOD at winning!  :-)


And I'd love to connect with you:
Email: coveredlifeblog@gmail.com
Twitter: @AlyWTamer
Pinterest: Alyson Tamer

Love in Christ,

Alyson

Friday, June 6, 2014

Happy Birthday to me + Giveaway for you!

This past Sunday, June 1st, was my 33rd birthday.  And every year, I like to reflect over the past year or past several years and think about and changes that have taken place in my life- surroundings or internally.  There are obvious differences in weight and such, but I don't use this time to focus on those.  Instead I like to go a bit deeper than that.

I think it's important to "take inventory" of our lives every so often to make sure we are where we need to be; we are who God calls us to be; and the actions we are taking are helping us and not hurting us achieve the first two goals.  And then we determine if any changes need to be made.

I think, without assessment we will fail to see if we have 1-become stagnant, in a rut without any growth or 2- diverted off of the path, doing things that are not helpful and instead are leading us farther from where/who God wants us to be.

I can honestly say that some years the reflections have been fun- seeing the changes that have been taking place throughout the past year, and some of have been less than fun because I was in one of the two places listed above.

I encourage you to take an assessment of your life...no, it's not a test, but more of a reflection.  Not a pity party or I didn't do any of the things by age 30 that I wanted to, or I'm not living in the mansion that the "MASH" game predicted -do y'all remember doing that game over and over and always hoping for the richest, most fabulous life ever? (If you don't know what I'm talking about just let me know and I'll elaborate in another post)  I'm not talking about those goals.  I'm talking about seeking God's direction and seeing if right now you are headed that way... and if not, then looking back a bit to see why?  And then making the decision to change, PRAYING for direction and then taking the steps to get back on track!


AND because I love you guys so much, I want to celebrate my birthday with you by having a GIVEAWAY!

The item I'm giving away was listed as a Purse Wallet Card Case, but it can be used in so many different ways.  It can be used as a wallet to store credit/debit cards.  Or it can be used to store Gift cards or business cards.  Or for you grandmothers out there (or non grandmothers) you can use it as a "brag" book to store wallet sized photos of the family!




So here's how it works:

To be entered to win this giveaway you have to comment on this post below.  Comments on Facebook or Pinterest do not enter you in the drawing.  In the comment you must include at least your first name and last initial AND also a suggestion for a topic for a blog post. One comment per person please. The comments will be numbered and a number will be drawn at random.  Also just because you may win, doesn't guarantee that I will definitely write about the topic you've listed, but I will seriously consider it and I do value your input!

The giveaway will run for 7 days, from June 6- June 12 at 11:59 pm, EST.

On June 13th, I will announce the winner here on the blog, so make sure to check back! 


Good luck everyone!


Love in Christ,


Alyson