I didn’t want to go to church today. Honestly, I didn’t. Our church is doing a series on finances, and while it’s definitely had some takeaways, it’s not been feeding my spirit the way that I want it to… So when I overslept this morning and while my three-year-old made everything a fight, I wanted to stay in bed, maybe watch a Christmas movie, and just do nothing. But for some reason, I didn’t… For whatever reason, I rushed around my house, getting the pair of us dressed, and sped the 40 minutes that it takes for us to get to church.
I dropped the child off at the church nursery and I found my seat in service… Being completely honest, I don’t remember anything about service today except for the things I’m about to share:
I worshipped this morning. I closed my eyes and I sang and I lifted my hands in worship… I DEFINITELY worshipped God. I was simply distracted while doing all of it… I thought about my week ahead, how I have to prepare for the holidays, etc.
Then the worship team introduced a new song… they talked about the song first; what it’s about, the name of it, and how it’s applicable to our lives. Basically, the song was about worshipping and praising God always, particularly while things are going poorly.
Obviously, in true Christian fashion, I whispered my “Thank you, Jesus” as the beginning chords began to play. I swayed from side to side… my right arm lifted. Eyes closed, I began to listen to the words, singing them and believing them. I was determined, in that moment, to push past all of my personal thoughts and cares and worries and doubts, and I was determined to worship God fully. By the second time we sang the chorus, “Yes I will, lift You high in the lowest valley” it was more than just a well-meaning lyric in a song, but it had become my newest promise to God. I was pledging that, “Yes I will sing for joy when my heart is heavy.” And I meant every word of it. I just didn’t know that I’d have to implement it so soon-so immediately.
The song ended and as I took my seat, I checked the time on my phone… and I’d received the news that a loved one had passed away. I felt a sudden punch in the chest. Everything after that is lost to me. I know that offering happened. I know that prayer happened. I know that announcements happened. I know that the message happened. I heard the voices and the laughter and the clapping as if I were in a tunnel.
I’m unaware of how the service went. When it ended, I mechanically went and picked up the child from the nursery. Thankfully, with a three-year-old, I managed to get so busy that I didn’t have to acknowledge this new reality and sadness.
But now, here I am… at the end of the day, reflecting on the only part of the service that I remember: a pledge to God to worship Him through the hardest times of my life… and it was such an easy promise to make, but it’s proving to be so hard to keep.
I want to skip tonight’s devotion. I don’t want to read anything. I don’t want to sing anything. I don’t want to listen to anything. I don’t want to pray… not out of anger, but out of exhaustion. I find myself using the excuse, “He knows my heart.” as a way out of keeping this promise that I made.
My friend and I call them “God-Things”-the things that happen miraculously and seemingly coincidentally. It was totally a God-Thing, the fact that this song was played today and that it was the most lucid moment of my day; the fact that I was able to still my mind and make the conscious vow to worship always, even when it’s too hard to and the fact that SECONDS after committing to this convenant, my heart was shattered. Such a God-Thing. Such an unfair and difficult God-Thing.
So I find myself here: unable to get into a spirit of thankfulness and worship… unable to pick up my bible… speechless…overwhelmed by physical and emotional exhaustion.
So I’m just making lists… that’s the best I can do.
“THINGS I’M THANKFUL FOR”
-job to pay bills
And that’s it for now. That’s the best I can do. And that’s how, at the end of a sad, soul-crushing day, I’m keeping a promise that I made blissfully, ignorantly, and confidently to God today… minutes before I was tested to act on it.
So maybe now, during a season of heartbreak, through this storm, my worship looks different. Maybe it’s sadder. Maybe it’s harder. Maybe it’s more exhausting. Maybe it’s more raw. Maybe it’s more broken. Maybe it’s more intentional.
And I’m sorry if this isn’t inspirational. It’s not a success story about how I overcame a spiritual obstacle… but this is me being completely confident that I will overcome this spiritual obstacle.