Posts tagged #worship

complete.

5:15 came early this morning. I did my daily routines: brushing, yawning, coughing, sneezing, changing, yawning, drinking, reading, writing...

I missed something, though.

Unable to place my finger on it, I wrote longer than normal in my prayer journal - begging God for guidance and wisdom. Just move in me - through me - I wrote. Finally, realizing my words came incredibly short to what I felt - I gathered my things, kissed Russ goodbye, and walked out the door.

And then it hit me: I felt lonely.

Which seems a bit selfish. I prayed this morning for God to move - and He has. This past month I've witnessed incredible reminders of His mercy and goodness and grace. He's reminded me consistently of His provision.

But I wanted more.

Some of my favorite verses in the Bible speak of God's thunder. Whenever I read these verses my heart takes notice. Something inside me retreats and bows in submission. Yes. This. I want His thunder. It's almost a craving, a need to fill an ache. And if I'm not careful, I'll take this craving and put it on others.

So this morning when the feeling of loneliness crept up and grabbed me by the throat, I literally stopped and closed my eyes. Please God - please. Show me. Breathe through me. MOVE through me. I didn't want this - I didn't want the feelings of inadequacy paralyzing me - that's a dangerous game I don't like to play. I waited until the feeling subsided and then continued walking to my car.

And then the wind starting blowing. I could hear it coming before I felt it. The whoosh of leaves rustling against the power of this invisible force. When it hit me - my whole body shook. And then, just as soon as the internal quake began it stopped and an incredible peace washed over me. It took everything to not fall to my knees right there in the middle of the parking lot. The wind was powerful, yes. But its power isn't what was bringing me to tears - it was His voice.

Do you see? He said. The wind, like Me, is invisible. But it envelops you. Shakes you. Moves you.You can never deny its existence - or its worth. Listen. My song plays through the percussion of the trees and the howl of the wind.

I'm with you.

I'M with you.

I'm WITH you.

I'm with YOU.

I smiled. I asked God to move - and He did. I asked God to breathe through me - and He did. I asked God to help me battle loneliness - and He did.

He did all these things - and not because I asked. He did them because He loves me. Through His love, I am made complete.

No one has ever seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us - perfect love! 1 John 1:12

Posted on May 7, 2010 .

when the Healer shows.

I wasn't expecting it to hurt. I was in the shower when God told me. I knew we were about to go through one of the toughest things we experienced in our marriage.  And I was right. Well, God was right. Russ came home and said the words I knew he was going to say. But I wasn't expecting  pain. You know the type  - the fall on your knees, gut-wrenching-fighting-for-breath pain.  I fell into Christ's arms; it was the only safe place I knew. I was angry. I was hurt. But I knew Abba provided protection - so I clung to Him.

The next few weeks proved hard. Every day I fought the lie we were doing this alone. Almost immediately Christ began to surround us with incredible people who turned into incredible friends. People who pray for us. Fight for us. Live life with us. Once the road evened out and we were able to wipe the tears from our eyes, we were able to look around and notice one thing: in our moment of weakness and pain, Christ picked us up and carried us to where we needed to be the whole time.

Peace was immediate, although the pain was still there. Scars have a way of ripping open at unexpected moments, and so we still fought those lies of hurt and rejection. And then we went to Verge.

I knew the past weeks had been healing, but it wasn't over. I still fought bitterness, still prayed for breakthrough. Those weeks leading to Verge I felt Christ like I never experienced before: close to the touch, tangled in my own thoughts, present in my moment of pain.  But I knew I was holding back. I went to the conference, expecting big things for the city, not anticipating my own moment of clarity.

And then one afternoon, in the midst of 2000 other believers singing His praise, my Healer showed.

"Jesus I love you! I love you Jesus!!" the cry came from the back of the room, the voice desperate for a touch from the One in our midst.  Up until this moment, my heart refused to let go. This plea pierces through any of my pride and I collapse against Russ. For the next ten minutes, the sweet names of our Savior fall around me: Elohim. Jehovah Jireh. Protector.

My Healer.

The tears fell and I sank into my chair - speechless and unable to join with the others in worship. Never before had I experienced a literal shaking of my soul. My heart was finally finding rest in His truth. I sat there soaking in His presence, breathing deep of His absolute beauty.

He didn't have to show. He didn't have to prove to me His love and absolute joy in my pursuit of intimacy.

But he did.

I won't ever be the same.

Posted on February 10, 2010 .

it is well.

[caption id="attachment_487" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="picture courtesy of Tiffany Wade"][/caption] I don't have much in me. It's been an incredible week filled with God-sized moments and tiny rivers of despair. The situation in Haiti weighs heavy on my mind and heart this evening, so I leave you with this picture, taken last night at a benefit concert Russ and I went to in downtown Austin. This picture? Taken during the middle of a song. Those hands? Lifted in worship, the voices carrying out to those passing by on 6th street.

I experienced a taste of what heaven will be like last night. And I know, despite the horrific pictures we are seeing on a daily basis, despite the orphans who fight for their life because of no provision, our God reigns. We may not know His purpose - but He is swift and perfect in His mercy. Look to Him. Because despite the pain we go through - His love is strong. His healing immediate and complete.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought; My sin not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul!

Posted on January 19, 2010 .

when whispers turn to thunder

With all my might I should up to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain.  - Psalm 3:4 I read this verse today and my heart grabbed me by the throat and begged me to pay attention. I read over it - again and again and again - letting the words seep into my soul, allowing my heart the rest it needs.

You know...sometimes we just need his thunder. Not the quiet peace we so often feel. Not the joyful exuberance of celebration. His thunder. The gut-wrenching drop you-to-your-knees thunder of His grace and perfect will. It happened for me last night.

The worship service was different than we had experienced in a long while. Partially because for the better part of the last three years - it has been us leading worship - not sitting in the congregation. It was also different because for the first time in quite awhile - I was hesitant. 

Oh I needed Him. I knew it. My heart certainly knew it, too. It was beating so fast as we walked into the gym I could scarcely sit down before taking a few deep breaths to calm my spirit. I closed my eyes against the waging war inside me and squeezed my husband's hand for reassurance. He looked down and caught my gaze - giving me a half smile.

Yeah. He felt it too.

The minister got up and welcomed us - and the music started to play. People started singing all around me and hands were lifted as high as they could possibly go. I opened my mouth to join them - and no sound came out. Nothing. I glanced around to see if anyone noticed. If anyone even cared. Nope. Everyone around me was lost in singing songs to the One I so desperately wanted to feel. The One I so desperately wanted to push away and cry and scream and ask why? I stood there. Silent. Because, well...I knew. I knew when it happened. When I felt Him - I would break.

Because not only had it been awhile since I'd been in the congregation, but it had been awhile since I had felt His touch.

And oh my heart was ready. It was giddy with anticipation...just knowing I wouldn't be able to hold out forever. You see, my heart knows me.

Music has always been something that moves me. You send me a mix CD of songs I have never heard and quite possibly you will be my new best friend. My friends use to laugh at me for this obsession. They created this game of, "what songs does Elora not know?" And they would turn on the radio, hit scan, and see if I could figure out who was singing and the name of the song. I usually got 4 out of 5 right. I am always playing music. It's how I escape. Stick the earphones in, grab the laptop, and let the music flow through me as the words develop on the screen.

I guess you could say music is well...my muse.

But it's also how I speak to God.

Don't really know the words to say? Play a Brooke Fraser song and sing along: "though the world is falling out from under me - I'll be found in You - still standing." Had a hard day? Let's listen to Kristene Mueller: "take it all...take it all away - just give me Jesus." Fighting frustration and hurt? Phil Wickham will do: "I will wait for you here - down on my knees where I met you."

Every time I sing How Great is Our God I'm transported back to the day of my wedding - walking down the aisle with my new husband - beaming...my heart bursting with the joy of the song played by the praise band in the background. "How great is our God...sing with me! How great is our God!"

Every time I sing Heart of Worship I think of Matt Redman and his church taking a sabbatical - a sabbatical - from worship...praying instead. Music would have no part in their church until he knew - they all knew - it wasn't just for show. I hear this song and the words fall from my lips and I can't help but pray: King of endless worth - no one could express how much you deserve. Though I'm weak and poor - ALL I have is yours - every single breath.

So last night, in the middle of this worship service, holding a vice grip on my husband's hand, I felt the tiny crack in my heart grow bigger until I couldn't take it anymore. Song after song I was firm. I wasn't going to cry. I wasn't going to let it affect me. To let it affect me meant I was soft - that it couldn't just be brushed off as something simple.

And then the song started.

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy. When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, And I realise just how beautiful You are, And how great Your affections are for me.

I collapsed onto my chair, my head in my hands, and wept. I couldn't sing. I couldn't raise my hands. But my heart burst and began to sing - I could feel it "turning violently inside my chest" at the thought of just how much He loves us. Even though we suck at life sometimes - He loves us. Even though we are alone - He loves us. Even though we fight His touch - He loves us.

Oh how He loves us...

I lost the battle with my heart last night. So this morning, when I was reading through Psalms and this verse jumped out at me - I paid attention. Because, if I am to run in full pursuit of His love, I'm going to have to let Him heal me. And that means listening to my heart for what it needs.

Even if it's the gut-wrenching-drop-me-to-my-knees thunder of His grace.

And these are but the outer fringe of his work; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power? Job 26:14

Posted on January 4, 2010 .