I wish that the rest of this was going to be my take on all the songs that make me want to get down with my bad self, but it’s not. You see, I have an incredible life. It is full of love from my husband, my children, my family, and friends. We have the ability to be home together almost everyday of the week, and I have the blessing of home schooling my minis. Our needs are taken care of and we laugh. A lot.
But I got derailed. By that I mean I found myself withdrawn and had a difficult time finding contentment. I wanted to be anywhere but here, maybe start over somewhere new, just me. My husband wasn’t my most favorite person, I had been hurt by some people I trust, I had no patience for my kids, and I couldn’t seem to find peace. I was in one of the deepest funks I’ve ever been. Merriam-Webster defines funk as: a depressed state of mind. (more…)
The most glorious thing I enjoy on this earth is singing with others who share the same hope as I do in Jesus. I enjoy it most as we sing hymns, when they are sung from the soul, not just a hymnal or the screen. This particular thing Christians do together is the closest thing to heaven itself. It’s like we can look around as we sing together and ask, don’t you long for “oh that day when freed from sinning?” It’s the one thing that currently keeps us from experiencing a pure joy of worship; we still sin. But if you know Jesus, you get a taste of that joy that will one day be pure.
Then came the day when our son, Haddon, died as he laid in our lap. Worship, and particularly hymns, took on a new meaning in my life. Suddenly singing about ‘when sorrows like sea billows roll’ was a daily reality. I have felt sorrow to such a degree that I thought I would be overtaken and drown. I have felt and cried to the Lord ‘when darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.’ But I also I learned that I like to sing a hymn in my grief because they are written in such a way that sums up our solid hope. Do you notice a pattern in most hymns?
I have a different joy now as I sing, because now its mixed with deep longing. I feel it rise in me as I sing:
“When with the ransomed in Glory,
His face I at last shall see.
It will be my joy through the ages
To sing of his love for me.”
To finally see his face, the one who took my son, yet showed me more about the worth of His son through unbelievable sorrow, I can’t even sing with my voice. Tears overcome me when I sing of heaven. So I silently mouth a lot of songs in my home, my church and my car, but I silently mouth the words with my whole heart and soul.
Three young men took the stage, and we anticipated their worship. One of the many things that Africans have over on Americans is their ability to worship, and we knew that we were in for another beautiful song offering from these handsomely dressed young men.
Heidi looked over at me and smiled. We were well into day five of the “Count Your Blessings” conference in Blantyre, Malawi, and every experience had proven to be more blessed than the last. It’s always my immense pleasure to get to speak at these conferences, but it’s even more my blessing to get to witness the genuine love for our Savior that the African people display. In particular, I get great joy from watching the dedication and love from the young people.
The Praise and Worship Team is made up of all young people, and they take great pride in their worship. They spend months rehearsing leading up to the conferences, and each of them either makes or has made their matching ensembles for each day. These young people arrive early every day and they are always the last to leave, often leading worship ten to fifteen times each day.
However, on the last day of any conference I’ve attended in Africa, the team wears its best outfits and there are a number of special worship offerings given throughout the day. On this particular last day of the conference in Blantyre, we had been worshiping together with the team for about an hour when a trio of young men dressed smartly in red satin ties and black shirts and pants walked up on stage. (more…)