Saturday, November 30, 2013

Worship: Access into His Presence, into His Wholeness

There must be a different way to measure a life than these things called days and weeks and months, because I'm never able to wrap around the measuring tape before the thing squirms away from me.

I'm in my room, my home. It's Thanksgiving break, and I have a very nice to-do list, part of my family's sick, and it's almost time to go back to school and finish out a semester.

But as I'm here, enjoying the feeling of being still, I'm listening to a Kathy Troccoli CD, her 2005 worship album.

I can't tell you how much peace and hope you can find in a 2005 worship album.

I used to think that when I came to God in worship, I had to unload all my problems and struggles before Him first, or when my heart was full with my friends' pain and struggles, I thought I'd need to let go of the pressure in my heart before praising.

But I think I've been shown another way.

Awhile back, I went to the prayer chapel at my school. It's this sweet little building that looks like a miniature church where students can come and spend time praying, seeking, singing. I had so much to pray for; my heart was so overwhelmed.

I tried to pray but really couldn't get anywhere, so I started playing on the piano and singing. I sang, trying to sing my prayers.

"O precious is the flow,
That makes him white as snow,
No other fount I know.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

"Carry her every day,
Carry her all the way.
Carry her to the cross."

It was the week that so many I knew seemed to be falling apart. So many broken hearts.

And as I sang, I found myself in His presence.

And there is nothing more healing than His presence.

Jesus taught me that. Those wounded, sick, all they had to do was come into contact with the Savior, Him placing hands on broken flesh, broken eyes, ears. They were made well.

I realize that Jesus doesn't heal everything in His presence each time, and He definitely doesn't heal everything automatically, but there is wholeness in His presence that can't be found anywhere else. There is peace and joy there.

I realized that I could come praising and that relying on His character and praising Him for that would (in a way) allow each part of His character to touch each part of my brokenness.

This doesn't mean there's not a time for me to tell Him what is going on in my heart, and there is definitely always a very real place for confession. That has to be done, but maybe there really is something to the idea of "A.C.T.s", praying through Adoration, then Confession, then Thanksgiving. It's when I come in contact with His holiness that I realize my sinfulness. It's when I come in contact with His compassion that I realize I have a million reasons to say "Thank You." I worship Him for who He is and what He's done, and in so doing, I find that somehow, I leave, and my soul is a little more restored.

I love this Kathy Troccoli CD for the sound of the piano music, for the songs she picked, yes, but what I truly love about it is that it's access into His presence. Worship. It's the reminder that Jesus is worthy of praise and that His character meets me here, in a small town, in my yellow room, in my young and naive heart.

I can enjoy Him and be here and do homework and rest. I can let Him move my heart.

I'm edging into December, and December's been a difficult month for me these past three years. I think this month can be different. I think this month is marked in Hope, in a call to praise always, to praise anyway.

"Turn Your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace."

Come with me? Sing with me? May all praise be to our glorious King!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Few Lessons: Rest

It is the last of the days of October [when I first started this post].

I won't lie. Maybe I breathe a longer sigh of relief than I should because it's over, letting out the steam of a rigorous month and just excited that this season won't last for ever. I sure know I'll mourn its loss, but for now, I am trying to live out the dying days. Kinda ironic. Kinda life.

Not that my life is horrible. Not that my life is always work and no break. Not that my life really is incessantly busy (sometimes it is . . . but not always).

But sometimes I feel so ill-fitted.

Sometimes the weight of the responsibilities get to me, and sometimes my emotions get to me, and sometimes not sleeping enough and eating too much sugar and not exercising like I should . . . it just gets to me.

Sometimes people meeting after people meeting dries me up a little, you know?

Sometimes trying to figure out the bizarre, unresolved corners of my life or even just the future, possible horizons . . . it wears me down. Gets to me.

This whole month, I'm not sure I've learned a lot about rest. I've wrestled though and have wanted to despise it, to call it out as fraud or impossible or that which belongs to the weak or the self-seeking.

But even if I've called it names . . . most of these are undeserved.

These are the lessons of rest (some of which I've learned from friends like Bonnie & Ethan):

1) To rest is to be vulnerable and to trust that the Lord is Sovereign and is the One in control . . . not me.

2) To rest is to realize I'm a person with limitations and that I am more than what I do or produce. I am a daughter of the I AM. His name is not "I DO."

3) To rest is to face myself without distraction. It is the courage to be still and face the Lord and face myself.

4) To rest is to help me safeguard against temptation. The more tired I am, the more prone I am to fall.

5) Rest is not just sleeping. Sleeping isn't even always restful. Rest is a holistic need . . . mental, physical, spiritual, emotional. Rest at its purest seems to be intentional.

6) Peace and Trust and Rest are very intrinsically linked. You have peace when relationships are right, and when relationships are right, there is trust, and only when there is some level of trust can there be true rest.

There are more lessons to be learned. I didn't dig as deep on this one as I should have. This is a rich topic that needs to be unearthed, and I'm so stubborn.

All I know is that sometimes, my life-line is just this . . .

He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

Still waters.


Only in Him does holistic rest come. Jesus.