Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On the Way Home

Despite the lack of sunshine, warmth, or dry air, Monday was a lovely day. I spent most of it with my dear friend Fay, making loads of delicious, fattening Christmas candy. We had two Kitchen Aid mixers going, lots of chocolate melting, and many prayers for self-control being lifted to the heavens. I believe the most destructive of the candies are the peanut butter balls with their 12 oz. of peanut butter, five cups of powdered sugar, two sticks of margarine, and plenty of chocolate coating. I stay far, far away from those. However, I have a real weakness for the butterscotch haystacks. There is a whole tub of them sitting on my dining room table and I must get rid of them as soon as possible. We also made peppermint bark. A new twist on this classic Christmas candy was that we poured it into cookie cutters. Once it hardened, we wrapped each cookie cutter in cute cellophane bags. I'm not sure who's getting those, but they are going to be very impressed. Or not. We made divinity and millionaires too. Those millionaires are another one of my weaknesses.

Sunni is back in town, so last night we decided to see August Rush at the movie theater. It's probably not a movie that every person would love, but I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I think Lauren had mentioned it and given fair warning that it is kind of a fantasy, so I knew what to expect. It was beautiful. Keri Russell was gorgeous as always. We called Janelle as we were leaving and I told her that I was going on a diet immediately. Especially since all I have eaten for the last three days is leftover lasagna from our college ministry Christmas party. Beyonce in Dreamgirls inspired by post-holiday fitness goals last year. This year it's Keri Russell.

So to babble on a little more because I just don't have enough to do today, I ran into LifeWay before the movie last night to see if there was anything I needed. Of course there was! I found an Amy Grant greatest hits CD and was thrilled to give it to myself for Christmas. It has all my favorite songs from The Collection and Heart in Motion CD's. If you are about my age and were raised in a Christian home, you might share my joy.

On the way home I prayed for some red lights so that I could have time to unwrap the CD and pop it in. It was a very dark, very foggy drive and I was feeling pretty nervous about it. Curt had left his cell phone at work and I would have no way to call him if I had any trouble. What a blessing to have my favorite song from childhood - "Angels Watching Over Me" - play while I drove 20 minutes home in the fog! "Thy Word" and "In a Little While" played and I noticed that I was singing at the top of my lungs. When we were kids, my best friend Molly would always tell me I was singing too loud when Amy Grant came on. I had to laugh about that.

It was a really sweet time with the Lord, singing those songs of my childhood faith. I remember when Leanne Rimes was a young girl just starting out in country music. My friends and I saw her at the Harris County Fair when "Blue" was her only song on the radio. It was said back then that if she was this good such a young age, just wait until she got a little older and actually experienced the love and heartache she was singing about. She would blow us out of the water. I couldn't help but think about that last night. As a child I sang those same songs to the Lord. They meant something to me then, but how much more does "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" mean to me now? As an adult, I can think back on so many seasons of my walk with the Lord, good and bad. These songs remind me of His incredible, undeserved faithfulness throughout my life. Even when I was faithless, He remained faithful.

My heart was burning a hole in my chest as I drove and I just wanted to share with someone, anyone who had walked away from their childhood faith to come back! He is worthy of our trust, of the surrender of our lives. Those of us who have walked away from the Lord we knew as children will never have peace inside. We know what we are missing and we can't pretend that there isn't anything more. We know better. Living independently from Him will never get to be fun for us. Not really. Maybe for someone who never knew Him, but not for us. Return to the Lord, and just see if He doesn't come running toward you, embrace you, kiss you, dress you in the finest robe, and throw a banquet on your behalf.

Luke 11:17-24
"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

45 comments:

Ang baylis said...

Great words, Amanda! You make me want to listen to Amy Grant. I love "In a Little While." I had never made your butterscotch haystacks before this year. People said they were a classic around Christmas, but somehow I had never had them. And those peanut butter buckeyes! They are too good! I make them every year! You are right, He is so worthy of our trust! Thank you for sharing! Our weather isn't any better here in Michigan!
Love,

Bev Brandon said...

I've spent too much of my life as the "other" brother living a principled life checking off the boxes. No more. My Beautiful God is running to me and I am alive! Thank you for painting that scene in my mind. I was driving home in that same fog last night listening over and over blaring How We Live by Point of Grace. And you live so beautifully for HIM. You are so alive to God, Amanda! Your beautiful God is all over you!
Beautiful post.
PS - I'm leaving the cookie cutters in my cookies this year-thanks!

Lindsee said...

1) August Rush...simply divine! I've seen it twice and can't wait till it comes out on DVD. And yes, Keri Russell is too darn precious and beautiful in the movie!

2) Amy Grant's greatest hits...own that too. It brings back some fine memories of childhood. Oh, Amy!

3) "Angels watchin' over me, every step I take...Angel's watchin' over me!"

4) I love Thy Word. It was one of those fabulous memories, like the time I sang it in 5th grade during big church with 3 other girls. We named ourselves Girls of Grace! We're we trying to be like Point of Grace?! I think not. Hahahaha!

Oh bless!

Dionna said...

Oh man! I JUST made mint chocolate bark yesterday! And I love your idea of pouring it into cookie cutters so much better than mine of just breaking it apart! Wish I would have read this sooner! I'll try to remember this for next year.

alittlewater said...

Amanda, you are so talented! You went from food & movies to amy grant and the best of our Saviour! can't wait to see august rush! and is not the Lord so good to us, to Redeem us time and again and bring us back to Himself and give us the finest things. i love it!

CrownLaidDown said...

Very well spoken (and sung!).

I have a memory of early driving years, where I drove to high school and it was icy on those East Texas country roads. Of course, everyone freaks out when there is any kind of ice there. Listening to Amy Grant, I crossed a large intersection and was nearly hit by a car that was coming from the opposite side and sliding towards me. I ended up in a gas station lot. No damage to anyone or anything, but my heart was pounding. When I got still, I heard Amy Grant's "Angels watching over me." I smiled and said, "Oh yes, they are!"

Toknowhim said...

I think I gained a pound just reading the ingredients of your Christmas candy? What's a millionaire (if you have the time to answer)?

I too although about eight or nine years older than you remember singing all of those Amy Grant songs. Actually, I just heard "Angels watching over me" not too long ago on the radio. Amy wasn't singing it, so the song was a little slower... I like singing it like Amy does :)

I also can relate to your thoughts about God's children never being able to walk away, or at least walk without the constant reminder of who we really are... For me more than walking away from God, it has been more of knowing that there is abundant living in Christ, and I can't go back to living the old way... without a clue. I may not always be progressing forward in Christ, but I know I can't go back and live in the "dark". Thanks for sharing today... You are an encourager!!! (is that spelled right?)

Blessings!!!

Jabber Jaws said...

Made me think of the song lyrics, "Then He ran to me. Held my head to his chest and said my son's come home again." Ahh, I loved that song. I listened to it everytime I fell off the sin wagon. Man, I miss my childlike faith but goodness I was a legalistic teenage. I am so thankful that my legalism isn't so strong. But, what I would give to have the passion back. Wait, isn't that your point - I CAN have the passion back. Ahh, Jesus, what a gift, what a relationship, what a comfort! I think I will go find my old tapes and give them a listen.
Thanks, Amanda!

Janelle & Ella said...

This is so perfect for right now for so many people! I feel like I hear about somebody's son or daughter that has strayed away from the Lord every single day and it makes me so sad.

I am so glad you liked the movie and my BFF, Keri, did not disappoint. I was sad I didn't get to make it. You are so funny and I need to see this movie so I can have some holiday self-control eating inspiration myself.

Kathleen in TX said...

I love Amy Grant too! My oldest son always told me I sang too loud whenever we sang "Thy Word" in church. I do sound much better alone (or with captive younger ones) inside my car I have to admit. I'd have a hard time resisting those peanut butter balls even if you did tell us the ingredients! Makes me feel like baking!

Serah said...

Your post touched me so much! I grew up in church and was very involved up until my sophmore year of high school. After that I drifted away and didn't come back to church until the last year or so. It truly was like coming home.

Thanks for sharing!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Sorry. I don't think I ever got to the meat of your post, because the drool from reading about all the CANDY short-circuited my laptop.

(Being nine months pregnant during the holiday goodie season is truly a pit of temptation.)

Wasn't there something in there about Amy Grant, too? I love Amy. Her voice is the soundtrack to my teen years. I would have sung with you, if I had been in the car.

Patty said...

Great words today! I have been the prodigal and returned home to God's open arms and I have known prodigals, still do, that need to come back to God. God's love and mercy are amazing, He is amazing!!

Peanut Butter Balls. Haystacks. I made those last week and my family ate all of the peanut butter balls and no one but me ate some of the haystacks. I am proud that I have had self-control up to this point. I am baking more next week. I would have loved to have seen a picture of your peppermint bark. That was a great idea pouring it into cookie cutters! I love this time of year. Today it's 76 degrees in Nashville and I am more in the mood to go to the beach or sit on my patio and read my new book I bought at LifeWay today. :o)

Fran said...

What a beautiful post Amanda. I loved every aspect of every single paragraph. I am hungry now though and want to listen to some Amy Grant and sit with my Jesus! :)

I love you and your precious family! Merry Christmas!

jennyhope said...

My friend and I were just talking about the first part of that verse that says When he came to his senses. Sin truly entangles to the point that you feel like you can't come back and you really can get to the point of not being in your right mind. I have been praying for a friends brother that "he would come to his senses" and return to the Father. SO good!! I am so thankful for Psalm 130 and how the Lord fully redeems us and that we can come back. He is so other and so worthy!

Heather said...

LOVE, LOVE the peanut butter balls! My mom and I are making some this weekend for Ryan's school teachers. I'm going to need a extra dose of self control as well!

I was one who strayed ... So glad I turned around!

Kelly said...

Thank you - that was very encouraging. And also - Amy Grant was on Paula Deen's Party this weekend. It was great! I'm a little older than you - so Sandi Patti was my spiritual guide as a child. ha!

Sharon said...

I too grew up with Amy Grant. First it was the tape cassette tapes and then of course I had albums. I remember going to one of her concerts in TN while I was there in Bible college.
She was a major influence in my life and with the big ole headsets on I also did some singing at the top of my lungs.
Good memories.
And yes, the cooking will start soon. I will be cooking while wearing my snuggest jeans. ;)

Mary C said...

I love Keri Russell, too. She is my fave.

I got that same Amy Grant collection about 2 years ago and I love it! Just like you said, it took me right back to all those years we'd be belting out those songs on the way to school.

Lauren said...

Amen, siesta. By the way, it wasn't me who told you about August Rush, although it is currently #1 on my "to see whenever I get to the movie theater" list! And I agree, Keri Russell is way too skinny to make me feel good about myself in this eat-lots-of-goodies season. People did use to tell me I had her hair, though. :)

Teri said...

I bought an itunes classic Amy Grant...all of her wonderful older songs. I am some older than you, but love me some Amy! I actually flew off the back of my treadmill while listening to that download! It was quite hilarious, that her music moved me to close my eyes and lift up my hands while running. Yeah....I know!

connorcolesmom said...

Amanda,
The passion and love in this post is contagious!!
I just want to jump up and down and shout from the roof tops how much God loves us!!
This is a GREAT time of year to focus on God's sacrifice and love.
Thank you!
Kim

Kay Altic said...

Moon...I have that cd and LOVE IT!!!! it is even on my ipod mix that I made for myself for when I was in labor...love you sweet friend miss you tons...

boomama said...

I LOVE THIS. Just this morning I was in tears listening to "Shackles" - those words mean so much more to me than they did even five years ago. And as one of those people who, like you mentioned, ran from their childhood faith for awhile, I know how sweet it is to run back to a Father who has kept his arms open all along.

Love your heart, sweet friend.

Anonymous said...

sorry to say i'm running right now...but i can't keep away from your post....My sister and i were going to make peanutbutterballs tonight but it is too hot and humid here in houston....keep writng for this (and other) prodigals....you inspire me

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Yes, girl...AMEN to all of it!

"take this man to prison, the man heard Harod say"--Angels Watching Over Me was mine & my sisters' favorite song. I have to get a hold of "Fat Little Baby" for you.

The year of Keri Russell. Kind of makes me wish I hadn't eaten so much garlic bread tonight at dinner.

Ann said...

Amy has always been one of my favs. I'm a bit older than you, and Amy is a bit older than me, but she always speaks to me through her music. It is always a blessing. And I LOVE her book, Mosaic. If you haven't read it have Chris get it for you for Christmas.

MamaCass said...

I think you need to post some of those candy recipes. Please! And yes Keri Russell provides much inspiration in the beauty department. I am right with you on the diet thing especially since i have had three birthday dinners in the last 4 days. I think I am committed to salad for the rest of the week. I loved Amy Grant way back when. i may have to ask for that CD for Christmas. And you are right HE is worthy of our trust, our everything.

Profbaugh said...

For me music is such a powerful tool for the Holy Spirit to break through my crusty exterior and get straight to my heart. Add to that some yummy Christmas treats, and ANY prodigal would be plum crazy not to come home!!

Maybe the new saying should be, "Music and Candy. . . don't COME HOME without it!"

~Cheryl

Anonymous said...

I, too, have so many memories of Amy Grant playing on the radio while being shuttled to the movies, dinner, ballgames, etc. by my parents and friends parents. SO much fun. Recalling this makes me count my blessings for the loving Christian household my parents provided, as well as wonderful friends that share these memories. So great, Amanda. Thanks for posting.

Love, Sarah TN

Kelli said...

I cut my spiritual teeth on Amy Grant years ago as a new Christian. Those classic songs will always be a part of me! Thanks for the reminder! I will be singing them all day. Praise to our Prince of Peace.

Vicki Courtney said...

Thanks for the memories of Amy Grant. Hearing her Christmas songs takes me back to the days of being a new Christian in my college years. Goodness, and I saw her on Oprah a couple weeks ago and she looks fabulous!

I'm going to LifeWay to get her CD today! I can't wait!

Leigh said...

This makes me want to put on some Amy Grant music and make some Christmas cookies! You have inspired me. :o)

Erin said...

1. send me those recipes STAT
2. my Mom is going to have to get me that CD for Christmas since I was mildly obsessed with the AG as a kid, she'll get a kick out of that :)

Josh, Nat, & Lily Pat said...

i grew up on amy grant too. and i love her first christmas album. brings back so many memories.

Erin said...

We went to see August Rush too, but I can't decide how I feel about it. Part of me loved it, and the other part of me... well, not so much. I think I was just expecting it to be different than it was. But I definitely plan to see it again when it comes out on video.

Abby said...

amy grant was my first concert ever!!!! :)
and peanut butter balls...my fingers and mouth forget what the words 'self -control' mean..forget it..i'm eatin it! :D

but what are divinity and millionaires?

me and the roomates saw august rush late monday night...it was so great!!! i just wanted to hug that little boy...how precious was his smile?!?! :)

amberburger said...

amanda. i use to think, and maybe still do, that the intro piano part to Sing Your Praise To the Lord, was the most beautiful awe-inspiring piece of music ever written. Seriously. I have walked by that CD in Lifeway and other stores and said "just keep walking" but after reading Kay's comment about it being in her IPOD mix for labor, I now have no shame. I am going to ask for it for Christmas! And as for my complete out of touchness...i have no idea who keri russel is. i am a nerd. but it is probably best.
i brought some sweaters last week for Jackson and never saw you, i forgot them on sunday and again tonight, so hopefully this Sunday!

The Sanders House said...

I am jealous that you guys got together to bake! I bet that was very tempting not to eat it ALL! Jonathan and I are going to see August Rush tomorrow!

The Self Cottage said...

Thanks for the reminder of the prodigal son...oh and i think you should definitely at least indulge in the candy you love then work out/ diet after New Year's... oh and i totally had such a hard time breaking my peppermint bark the other night...i am doing the next batch in cookie cutters...love it...

Heather said...

Amanda, I wanted to ask you to pray for a friend of mine. She is a sister to a friend actually from high school. Today her husband backed over their 19 month old daughter Lilli and she died this afternoon. I can't imagine loosing a child at anytime let alone christmas. Her husband also has cancer and so it has just been a rough time on them. Pray for them as they mourn and grieve and for their marriage as they journey through this time. Thanks!

Cathy Davis said...

Amen!

Allison said...

Baby, Baby by Amy Grant (on the Hearts in Motion CD) LOVE IT!!! LOVE IT!!!! Oooohhh, I may have to treat myself to that this Christmas too!

Honea Household said...

Oh yeah! I love Amy Grant. I had her Heart in Motion album on tape and it stayed in my walkman for a long time! I now have those same songs downloaded onto my Ipod!

Amy T said...

Very well put! And my Nanny used to make teh PB balls and those were my favorite growing up! What a fun night it sounds like you had.