This is my tenth blog post for the Write 31 Days challenge, which I signed up to four days late. A big thank you to Janette at Grace Narratives for sharing this post via her blog. I’d encourage you to check her 31 Days series out on Speaking Praise.
Psalm 89: 15 – 18
Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise,
who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.
Delighted, they dance all day long; they know
who you are, what you do – they can’t keep it quiet!
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us –
you’ve been so good to us! We’re walking on air!
All we are and have we owe to God,
Holy God of Israel, our King!
Today, I’m going to reflect on something that’s been a constant part of my journey into God’s Love, but especially prevalent in the deepest of valleys: Worship. It seems, the more I meet the ends of myself, the more my soul yearns to sit in His Presence. And it is in worship, in adoration with all that is within me, that everything that is within me comes pouring out, as if it is being drawn out of me, as the tears flow down relentlessly from my cheeks. But in the pouring out of all my brokenness and sorrow, I feel an indescribable warmth cover me. It is in such moments that I feel fully known. The more I lean into His Presence, the more my heart opens wide.
For me worship encompasses both communal worship in the fellowship of believers on a Sunday and once a month with our Moms’ and toddlers’ worship morning, as well as worship throughout my day, as I sing praises in my home, or mouth words of adoration in my heart and spirit as I behold beauty around and above me. It is moments where I feel both a deep and painful yearning for God and the warmth of His Presence upon me. And always, it comes simultaneously with words grounded in Scripture. When I behold the skies, I reflect on God’s revelation to Job, asking Him who made all that we behold. When I see a bird, I reflect on Him telling us that we are even more precious to Him. Here is a piece I wrote that reflects a tiny bit of what this worship looks like in my day:
You’re Beautiful Beyond Description
This morning I ran in the forest and was overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of God all around me: the golden leaves of autumn, the light seeping through the dark clouds, the majestic rainbow, the magpies stretching their wings out above me, the little birds dancing around me.
I was awestruck by His beauty beyond description and began to quietly sing the praise and worship song “You’re beautiful beyond description” and as I did so, more of God’s beauty and majesty unfurled before me, as my soul quieted within me and my eyes opened to see the details around me: the way the tree trunks speak of His strength, the branches of His outstretched arms, the sun of His glory and splendour, bringing sparks of joy in even the deepest, darkest and aching depths.
But it is the birds that overwhelm me the most and speak of His love for me, for all humanity. The joyful dancing of the tiniest birds, as their wings flutter in excited flurry and the larger birds stretch their wings wide, soaring far above in utter majesty. Their very movements praise our Heavenly Father and they encourage me to stop and lift my voice and body in praise.
As I run and use the limbs my Heavenly Father gave me, I sing quietly of all His goodness and grace and lift my praises to Him not only through my voice, but my mind, body and spirit. What an awesome and powerful Father we have.
The worship songs that speak right into my heart are songs grounded in His Word. And what has been overwhelming for me is how God has brought songs to me that speak right into my situation in that moment. They have been songs that have comforted, songs that have convicted, songs that have strengthened and songs that have covered and held me.
For my Mom, worship was an incredible comfort to her in the final weeks of her life. Praise and worship songs played in her room almost continuously. And the Lord’s Presence was palpable. Her body was breaking and her speech was taken, but her spirit soared. It’s not something I could physically see, but something I could feel and sense. Hard to describe.
I like to think of worship giving us a foretaste of heaven: of ultimate union with our Lord and Saviour. Not long before I finished working, I attended a training session at school about how trauma affects children, especially when children have a broken or damaged bonding process with their mother. They explained how it could impact various situations in their life and cause them to choose to either flee from or fight against those who get close to them. This made me realize that all of us are traumatized by our severed bond with God through sin and that His Saving Grace has the power, through transformational love of restoring and healing us through a reunion with Him.
Worship is one of the ways I think God then draws us back into union with Him to restore and heal that which has been broken. The more we worship, the more healing can be ushered in. A beautiful thought.
In the following days I will return to this post to add some of the songs that have accompanied me and deeply blessed me on my journey into God’s Great and Perfect Love.
In what ways has worship revealed the Father’s Great Love for and to you? How would you describe worship?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories.
A small selection of the worship songs that have accompanied and deeply blessed me on my journey into God’s Great and Perfect Love:
Sarah Reeves, Come as You Are
One of the first songs that accompanied me on my journey into faith. This is a song I listened to over and over again the first few weeks and months after my Mom passed away.
Kristene DiMarco, the Album: Mighty
An album full of powerful Gospel Truth, speaking especially into my grief and reminding me of the Mighty Presence of God amongst us, no matter the circumstance.
Keith and Kristyn Getty, In Christ Alone
This song almost always brings me to tears, as I reflect upon the great love and sacrifice of our Saviour. It also fills me with incredible hope.
Miriam Webster, Angel of the Lord
My best friend back home introduced me to Miriam Webster and this song spoke directly into situations in which I felt crippled by fear. It spoke His shielding Presence into my fears.
Kari Jobe, I am not Alone
This song played a powerful role in my journey into God’s great love, as you will discover in a blog post that is yet to come. I listened to it in one of the deepest points in my life and it broke something within me, pulling me out of a deep dark pit.
All Sons and Daughters, Brokenness Aside
This song encouraged me during a time I felt unlovable.
Selah, Be Still My Soul
A song I love listening to that draws me into His restful Presence.
Jonathan David and Melissa Helser, No Longer a Slave to Fear
A song I first heard at church, during a sermon about fear. Since then I have listened to this and sung it repeatedly. It is such a powerful testimony to the freedom we have in God and if you keep reading along, you’ll understand why this song epitomizes my personal testimony of God’s amazing Love and Power.
Brian and Jenn Johnson, Taste and See
My current absolute favorite, based on one of my favorite Scriptures.
Housefires II, Come to the River
A song epitomizing the river of life to be found in the Word of God and a reminder to look to God for our source of comfort, security, refreshment, hope and strength.
Housefires II, One Thing
A song that gives voice to Psalm 27 and our greatest desire to spend all the days of our life in the House of the Lord.
All Sons & Daughters, All the Poor and Powerless
Still brings tears to my eyes. What a blessing to be loved like this: “And all who hurt with nothing left, will know that You are holy”.
Hillsong, Touch the Sky
A song that tells my story: “My heart beating, my soul breathing, I found my life when I laid it down. Upward falling, spirit soaring, I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground”.