i also share to encourage the one whose ability to yearn for deep connection with God, seems to be dried up: ..His desire to pull close with you – will always out weigh your own. However hungry you can imagine being to meet with this supposedly living God: He at all times- wants it 1 million times more than that. So know that it’s not Your hunger that has to carry you into His presence. its His. and your hunger is just the sweet romance of a gift you get to leave at the feet of a great God who holds back the shores of the sea’s from overtaking the earth- and have THAT God go .. “wow…. SHE’S lovely…wow”. my hunger for Him is just a state of sweetness and CHOSEN tenderness amidst a set of circumstances that want to tell me to harden myself to a”God who doesn’t show up”. my hunger does not have to GET ME TO HIM. He comes to me. my hunger is what softens me to Receive Him and what He says/delivers/breaks off- when He comes.
it’s midnight, and despite a fast approaching 530am alarm i won’t be able to escape: every part of me is WIRED awake after tonights Wednesday Service & Worship.
I share a lot about my life: all the parts of it. And though i may post a passive “invite” to join us for a service sometimes- a part of my life i DON’T share about is the worship part (like where i volunteer for weekends at my church). I’ll be 100% honest and say that this is out of me NOT wanting to come off as “wanting the attention of it” or any other number of accusations i can make up in my head for why i should never speak on that area of my life. if i talk about it, i bring more eyes to it. if i bring eyes to it, it means I’m in it for the attention. (see how he deceives)
But as I’m sitting here JAZZED at midnight as if i haven’t been up since 530am… God’s reminding me of WHAT HE JUST BROUGHT ME THROUGH IN MY LIFE and What that says about God.
i grew up a fierce worshipper. song did something to my insides. sounds spoke what words couldn’t. worship would bring parts of me to life that no teaching or sermon ever could.
after a few years of being involved in worship at church growing up (been at crds for 16 years), i moved away to Africa and when i came back i never got involved again. The devil tried attaching himself to my mind in that season. thoughts of rejection; that i wasn’t wanted in that space. (all false) but what was really happening was God said “i want you to myself. i don’t want you to need a crowd. i want you to need me”.
and did i ever. desperately so.
i entered the most private, DEEP, hungry, naked, honest, unashamed season of worship in my life up to that point. It’s not about time- but man, the TIME spent in that place. Hours and hours, on my floor, knee’s bruised, throat coarse from essentially screaming songs in desperation for more of God. hours upon hours upon hours. not for performance. But because i knew anything else i could get up and redirect my attention toward- DIDNT STAND A CHANCE at satisfying what my heart was crying out for. I WANTED HIM TO COME A LITTLE CLOSER to my flawed ablitilty to sense and revere Him. So i stayed there. might as well.
i remember GOING.FOR.IT. in seasons i had roommates. my poor roommates. i used to SHOOOUTTT like no one was within miles. They were. they were on the other side of our very thin walls. bahaha. I’m so sorry guys.
In that season of a tug-and-pull with God; in the midst of my frustration for more of Him not being felt: He tugged on my hunger: not as a taunt or tease. but as a genuine question. How hungry Are you really? How much precedence Does this take on your priority list and the weights of your heart? Can life provide you with something else distraction worthy?
at the height of what felt like my hunger years (a period of probably 5 years), i became engaged (to a fellow missionary friend) and quickly married. Then as you know the story: in 2 months: that shattered. And with it- shattered my intricately woven, built, cultivated and nourished grounds for where i safely met a God with no walls around my heart. My closet was gone. i felt like an idiot. How could i spend so much time, in the “presence of god”, “giving Him permission to ALL of me” and MISS that He had to have been telling me Not to marry this man?? If i was so close to God, how did i miss this?? How did i think this man was given to me by God?? i no longer trusted MY HEARING of the Lord. It wasn’t God i doubted. It was ME and my ability to accurately hear and discern what was God and what wasn’t. The thoughts i heard in my worship space? could no longer be trusted. The intimacy and love i sang of – i clearly was not an accurate representation of TRULY knowing. i was an idiot and a completely lost fraud. If i missed this- there had to be 5 million other things i thought i heard in that sacred space with God- that id also miss-heard.
That space became 100% dirty feeling to me. couldn’t listen to worship music WHATSOEVER. could NOT open my bible. just a complete film of filth and fear and doubt was pulled over my private place with God. i remember during the separation while i was pregnant- i described it to 2 friends as “i was so HUNGRY and desperate for 5 years… i felt like i was crying out to God that i was EMPTY for all those years- and at the peak of that CRY and emptiness- THEN THIS hit… (the divorce) and THAT- felt like God had walked me out to the end of a 5 year trek into the desert. then He beat me to a bloody pulp. cracked each of my ribs. kicked out my teeth. shattered my jaw. collar bones. snapped my knees. eyes swollen shut… and then He left me there- without a drop of water. to die”
it sounds AWFUL and overly dramatic. But this was the only picture i could think to describe the level of pain i felt in that time.
i share this to say:
over the past 2ish years. maybe no one really knew it. people just saw “this girl out of no where, step onto stage” but what had happened behind the scenes- was i slowly. inch by inch. song by song. conversation by conversation.. was inching my way back to my knees. in front of the “throne of God” where i used to come so boldly. I was inching back into that space. well actually. a new space. it meant even more this time. It meant: even through the pain: here am i God. i’ll love you still. even when my human brain doesn’t get WHY it went down like this.
when i weep, during worship.um. its legitimately genuine. because i KNOW how far my heart was from Him. To sing to Him from an unafraid, trusting again, loving Him again- place: that ALONE can make me weep.
There is no place i go “on stage” that i haven’t gone in the secrecy of my own room. No sacrifice i offer up. no posture i sit in. Or thing that i tell Him. the BEST and purest place for that is for an audience of 1. when no one is watching. when no one knows whether I’m cultivating-or netflixing. when no one knows if i’ll choose to REALLY trust Him after losing faith in my own ability to “get it right”…. will i devote and lay down right there? THAT had to come before any “stage” could come. (or at least for me to genuinely carry something) without that: i’d just be singing.
I’m sitting up thinking on this because 1)of course no one knows the story behind why i worship the way i do. why I fight for it, and why it’s like a PLACE i insist on TAKING BACK every single day. i want my intimacy back 10 fold, for every minute i spent away from Him doubting His feet to be a safe place for my heart to lay down. Truthfully… no one Needs to know my behind the scenes story. It doesn’t further legitimize it. But i share because 1)there has to be someone sitting where i sat- feeling rejected (its a lie. you’re not rejected by any one or anything. and in full disclosure: the ONLY audience (1) who Ever mattered: He’s currently sitting front row and center RET to receive your praises. without a band behind you. it’s sweeter to Him anywyas. because no one is watching and He knows its intent is more likely to be pure. And it sends a message that He is enough. He’s what you want. That whole thing where He kept me to Himself so i could discover just how deeply and desperately i Needed Him… yeah. I’m there. and the thought of how desperately i need Him at every waking moment in even the most mundane things: isn’t just a head knowledge thought- its a rabbit trail of truth and emotion that I’ve traveled so deeply with Him, that it makes me ACTUALLY WEEP at the drop of a hat. and i COULDN’T have gone to that depth in front of a room. i needed the safety of privacy. He knew my best interest. and my best interest was to find my deepest level of hunger for Him. And to get there- i needed the safety of no one around. Thank you for the safety of no stage in those days- jesus; you the real mvp) I needed ALL roots of me thinking a stage legitimized my worship- to be eradicated- before i could be trusted with that space again.
i share because 2)
i don’t know if this is making any sense.
your dry place will not last forever. Every single day, He is speaking directly over you “rise up, dry bones. rise up”. He is doing that. Your job is to: in your hardness, speak agreements with that which is tender and belief filled. In your fear, still call out that you WANT to get back to a place of trusting. Not “force it on me God. make me trust you”. no . He won’t force Himself on anyone. But you don’t have to FEEL something to GET to that something. You can FEEL beaten down and impossibly timid to enter into a place of intimate worship with God AND STILL proclaim Agreements with WANTING that to be restored (even to greater levels). You can feel 100% positive you’ve never once “gotten the voice of God ‘right’.” and still SPEAK OUT TO HIM that you WANT to Hear from Him and you WANT His help and leadership in discerning what is and isn’t His voice.
And you know what that’s called? Intimacy.
we have this idea that intimacy is warm feeling. positive. uplifting. safe. cozy.
Imtimacy is also the trenches where you Could turn your back on a lover: and choosing to SPEAK to them THROUGH that pit and still share your longings, thought processes, stumbling blocks, and postures you’re CHOOSING to maintain: despite what cover your skin tells you that you should run for.
intimacy after my desert beating, looked like sitting in an empty room, with no music playing, no bible open, because my soul couldn’t bear it- and going- “I’m a dead man walking…. but i want you”
it was getting back on my knees and saying ” i feel nothing right now. i trust nothing right now. but i want you to change that. i don’t want to grow hard. I want deeper love exchanges with you than i had before. I want you to teach me how to hear, and how to trust when i Do think i hear. i need you to re-wire this whole thing called me.”
intimacy was going back into that space without the familiar parameters and tools of the last season. and saying “at the end of the day, i just want you”
There is no place i “go to” spiritually,on a stage, that i haven’t traversed deeply in the secrecy of my home before an audience of 1.
and that makes it pretty easy to forget anyones even around honestly, when there Are a couple thousand peeps. (that and the blinding lights help too)
why i share this:
-part as a testimony to the goodness of Gods redemption (not that I’m on a stage: good grief i hope that’s coming across clear; redemption that He got His spot as center lover in my heart again).
-part as encouragement to anyone with slivers of shared experiences.
-part as gratitude reflection.
the enemy wants me to shut up about this part of my journey. it’s why he’s worked so hard to convince me that speaking on my worship learnings means i want more attention. um. news flash satan: whether i talk about it or not- its happening…
so, if there is growth or insight to be handed forth: i do little good to sit on it, in fear.
“the prophecy of God, is the testimony of Jesus”
if this is true: then Jesus coming back for me in that place of Worship— prophecies that God comes for us in our dark places.
if this is true- then Jesus wanting closeness with me, more than i want it with Him- prophecy’s that God wants nearness with us more than we want it with Him. this is good news. it means that ache in your heart that feels unmet- it won’t remain unmet. He can’t hold back for ever. It’s just not an option or in His ways. if something you’ve chosen to hold onto is blocking you from Him coming near- then He’ll send a million life boats for you to get Out of that state so He CAN dwell nearer. SOMEHOW . SOME WAY. HE WILL. Have His bride. This is the testimony of Jesus in My life. And that is the foretelling of God in all our lives.
I know i lost some ppl here, but. Its my story. its the story behind my big ol long arms spread out wide. I fling my arms wide open, because that is truly the posture and state of my HEART toward Him. And i’ll do it every chance i get to align myself with that posture: because i know what it was like to have my heart wrapped tightly in a terrified, closed off ball. I’m completely smitten to be back in His throne room WITHIN MY HEART when i sing to Him. I’m EXCITED to be mush before Him, because i know what it was like to be a hard hard rock. This is the story behind my tightly shut eyes: because when i sing: i literally see a glorious golden and maroon throne RIGHT in front of my body, where He sits and listens to the words pour out from my heart – into His. (oh y’all think I’m crazy now)
this is another facet of my story. hope it encourages someone,somehow.
now i can sleep
*my fears in sharing this were that it would come off as though i think highly of myself or that i think being on a stage actually Means something. I hope it’s clear neither of those are the case. My point in sharing is centered around what I’ve learned about Worship. there are about 70 other facets of worship inside of music and outside of the context of music- that i haven’t touched on here. this is just one facet I’ve learned about.