Psalms, Swords, and Sleepless Nights

Hello, friends…

Hope your summer is going just swimmingly! My last gig was Mother’s Day, so I’ve been home a stretch doing the wife thing and working on bookings. I also managed to schedule a mini-writer’s retreat and made some progress on that book I dabble with from time to time. Carpenter Husband and I celebrated six months of marriage in June and recently added tennis playing to our repertoire. Kinda strange that in tennis “love” means having a score of zero. One might say love is good in life, but not so much in tennis. Thankfully, we’re not keeping score.

So, that’s a quick update on me. I’d love to hear from you, too. Feel free to comment below or grab me on Facebook.

And now for my blog. Hope it encourages somebody!

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Introducing Carpenter Husband’s dog, Sadie (Hebrew origin=”mercy”). She’s a Brittany. I’m happy to report she and Daisy get along just fine!

At the end of a full day I was tired and ready to catch some shut eye. Lights out, dogs settled, with Carpenter Husband drifting off to sleep. By all intents and purposes all was calm and peaceful. Except my mind. Someone forgot to shut it off. And that night in a rare episode of mental drift, it began ruminating over events of the past. Think Meat Loaf’s lyric “objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are.”

Faced with such an unwelcome disruption, especially one already blood-redeemed, it could’ve taken me out. But, I knew better. Rather than waste another minute on this hard thing I couldn’t change, I decided to go to war. My weapon of choice? The word of God. I’ve found it to be quite sharp.

Careful not to wake my sleeping beauties…I quietly slipped out of bed into the other room. Settling into my favorite reading chair, I unzipped my Bible and picked up my daily reading schedule. Ah, Psalm 144. I hadn’t read it yet. Better late than never.

Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge…

I read it aloud. The whole Psalm. It felt so right I decided to keep on reading. If this was an attack of the enemy, I had come to the right place. Turning the page, I moved on to Psalm 145, then Psalm 146, all the while reading each word aloud with intention. Psalm 147, 148, 149, and, finally, Psalm 150. I’m not sure how long it took and I suppose I would’ve kept on reading, but it only goes to Psalm 150. Besides, God had given me what I needed.

Psalm 149:4-5…For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory. Let His faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds.

Sing for joy.

On their beds.

Just moments before, I had been struggling to find peace, let alone sleep. Songs of joy had gone silent, snuffed out by nettlesome images of the past. And now God was showing me through His great and intimate Love Letter that He could restore them to me. On my bed.

“Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17

An interesting observation arose following this experience. What if I had only read the one psalm? Or stopped after two or three? The part I needed to hear didn’t come until six psalms in. I might have missed it. Worse yet, what if I had not wielded the weapon at all? But, instead continued to battle in the flesh. Unarmed and vulnerable. I might not have obtained the promise my heart needed to hear. And I certainly wouldn’t have returned to bed at peace.

I guess the lesson here is this: God has something to say. Period. In the heat of the battle, when the enemy seems to be gaining ground, it is no time to recoil. Nor wallow in the muck. Instead, we are called to look up, rise up, and pick up The Sword. Wield it until deliverance comes. And it will.

I don’t know what battles you’re facing. Perhaps your nettlesome past (or someone else’s) has nettled quite enough. What I do know is our best defense, and offense really, are the most precious and powerful words of God. Brave on the front line of all these battles, He goes before.

Unsheath it, beloved. Morning, noon, and night.

Strong and steady standing in the Light,

Cheri

 

 

What To Do When You’re in Limbo

Hello, friends…

No doubt any artist’s manager would advise against making the following post public…and I myself have hesitated. But, as one who has processed a lot of life with you, the readers, I am compelled to share this part of the journey…

I confess I am in a peculiar place. I’ll try my best to articulate without being dramatic.

In the moment, I don’t have real clarity about what my next steps are in ministry. It’s “March” already and I still don’t have my marching orders! Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt like you’re in limbo? My Dictionary app defines it as a state of uncertainty. Not to be confused with another kind of limbo…a dance or contest that involves bending over backwards and passing under a horizontal pole lowered slightly for each successive pass. I know, silly girl. Give me a Dictionary and I go a little nuts.

Back to processing though. I’ve got a good batch of new songs, but I’m not feeling ready for another album just yet. And, strangely, I don’t have much of a Spring calendar. I think, in part, because my focus has been elsewhere, getting married and establishing a new normal. Nor do I have a hit single which can generate demand for bookings, keeping me busy and focused. Still, I am grateful to the near 800 radio stations and outlets playing “Be My Sabbath” from No Longer My Own. That’s no small thing in today’s ever changing Christian music industry.

At Family Life’s Weekend to Remember marriage conference – Nashville, March 2017.

But, can I just say I’ve been delighting in my husband? That’s the bearded fellow to the left. He super loves me, has mad skills, works hard every day, and wants to be a good provider. That’s not to say I don’t want to continue in the work God has called me to…sharing God’s message of Hope and Healing through song, speech, and the written word. I just wonder if maybe God is allowing me to take my man pants off, so to speak, to enjoy being cared for and enjoy feeling like a woman for a minute, ya know?

I’ve said many times what a Good Husband Jesus has been. That hasn’t changed. But, being single does have its challenges. Sometimes you feel like everything depends on you. As a believer, you know it doesn’t, but it can feel that way. And it’s been awfully nice to be a team together with Steven whom I have affectionately named Carpenter Husband. Not only have I resurrected my old overalls to help him on a kitchen job, but I’ve learned what a crescent wrench is and the importance of having magnetized drill bits handy. All of that while remaining delicate and lovely, of course. As lovely as one can be in pigtails and overalls. Notice there’s no photo!

Nonetheless, sorting through books the other day I found an old bio from my teen years. Perhaps a first attempt at a mission statement. Back in high school, before I had recorded my first album, I had written several piano instrumentals. Little known fact, I even unofficially “opened” for Uncle Phil a time or two. You can hear a hint of one of those early musical offerings called “Overture to Freedom”, which became the prelude to “Freedom Calling” from 1997’s release, What Matters Most. Though the photo is difficult to decipher, basically, I state my purpose as a young pianist…to share inspiring music with others, to let my light so shine before men, that they’ll praise my Father in heaven, etc. It blessed me to find this. Especially during this time of introspection.

I’ve heard it said, if you’re not sure of God’s marching orders…

Keep doing what He told you before, until He tells you something different.

Makes sense. And I’ve encouraged others with this very sentiment.

So, while I’m in this not-sure-what-I’m-supposed-to-be-doing space, maybe I’ll finish that song I was working on about pruning. Or reach out to a few churches who have hosted me in the past and see if they’re ready to have me back. Maybe I’ll read and journal and read some more. And maybe I’ll pray. Or, rather, keep praying and waiting on the Lord. How I do so want to be a good steward of my gifts while marching forward for Him. With all the certainty He can spare.

In the meantime, in this limbo place, I will trust He’s still holding me. Though He now shares holding duties with Carpenter Husband. And maybe I’ll just enjoy that for a minute and try not to be anxious about tomorrow. And be thankful. Ever so thankful for today.

Kickstarter promo for No Longer My Own (2015).

What’s next for Cheri Keaggy? What comes after album No. 9? I have no earthly idea. And in my most faith-filled days I’m O.K. with that.

As long as Heaven knows.

Thanks again for letting me share so honestly. I truly appreciate your faithful friendship through the years. And welcome any insight or encouragement you may have.

Here’s to processing out loud (for better or for worse!)…

Cheri

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:24-26)