Well, we thought fall would never come, but here we are in November and it finally arrived!
This is my absolute favorite time of year and I love to take long walks and let the leaves crunch under my shoes as I move my feet. Most of the time I’ve got a sermon playing in my headphones as I’m clipping along at a good pace, but sometimes I’ll slow down, put on some praise and worship, and attempt to take in the beauty of the trees with their changing color.
The other day I was doing just that when a new song came on that I had never heard before called “Come Holy Spirit” by Vertical Worship. It brought me into such a state of worship as the artist sang “fall afresh on me…Holy Spirit come…Holy Spirit move…do what only You can do.” And in that moment I was truly desperate for His presence.
It was as if I was walking in perfect step with the Spirit of the Living God and it was breathtaking.
Galatians 5:25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
I’m the first to admit that I don’t always get this verse right in my walk with the Lord, but when I do allow myself to live by the Spirit, oh what a difference it makes!
Holy Spirit come. Help me keep in step with You. Fall afresh on me.
There are few things that move me to tears on a regular basis, but worship is definitely one of them. I love to come together with other believers and offer the Lord my praise and worship with hands held high, singing with all my might. When I think about God’s faithful love toward me, grateful tears automatically spring up inside me.
But there have also been times in my life when the tears have come from a place of pain. I can distinctly remember standing in a worship service just months after my younger brother had died in a tragic car accident with my hands hiding my face as I uncontrollably sobbed into them. The sanctuary was filled with beautiful voices singing “It Is Well with My Soul,” and I could not physically open my mouth to sing in that moment. I wondered if I would ever feel like praising again.
But as a faithful Savior so sweetly does, He wrapped His arms around me and began to heal my broken heart. Week by week I kept returning to worship and before long I was able to sing a little bit more, yet still with hot tears flowing down my cheeks. As the weeks turned into months, my desire to praise my Creator had returned and even though I was still grieving, I knew that my hope would always be in Him.
Psalm 42 gives voice to this so perfectly by asking these very raw and real questions, “Why am I so depressed? Why this turmoil within me?” But then answering with, “Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him, my Savior and my God.”
Life can be cruel sometimes. It threatens to leave us in a great state of turmoil and utterly depressed, believing that we’ll never be able to sing praise again. But if we allow ourselves to grieve properly and hold fast to our Savior, before long we’ll find that we are able to praise Him even through the pain.
It has been over fifteen years since I lost my brother and I can tell you that I am once again exuberantly worshiping my God. The tears still fall from time to time, but they’re mostly due to my gratitude for all that He’s done for me. I will forever put my hope in the One who saved me, my faithful God.
Don’t you just love wedding season? Stately churches are decorated with gorgeous flowers. Monogrammed programs and napkins are neatly stacked. An endless processional ensues of bridesmaids wearing similar dresses of the latest fashion that may or may not be flattering to their body type. The Father of the Bride holds out his arm to escort his “little girl” down the aisle and kisses her cheek before he gives her hand in marriage. The mothers are crying softly and dabbing their eyes with a tissue. Champagne toasts are given and decadent wedding cake is served until eventually the dance floor is filled with guests dancing to “Brick House” and “Brown Eyed Girl.”
There are so many things about weddings that I love, but my absolute favorite part is watching the face of the groom as the church doors open and there stands his bride in her wedding dress walking slowly toward him. It gets me every time!
Recently my husband and I attended a Catholic wedding where the bride was of Hispanic decent. She was positively breathtaking with her olive skin and dark hair contrasting against the bright white of her dress. But that’s not what made her beautiful…
As the priest began to prepare the communion a small worship band began playing “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. The bride and groom were kneeling before the altar and quietly she began to worship the Lord as the band played. As the song progressed, I could see her moving with the music and opening her mouth to praise the Almighty as she sang these words:
All the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry
These bones will sing
Great Are You, Lord!
It struck me that on her wedding day, one of the most important days of her life, her heart’s desire was to worship her King with her soon-to-be husband by her side. She wasn’t concerned with what the guests were thinking, or if the train on her dress was straight, or even if the reception would be well attended…she was there to worship.
I couldn’t help thinking what the Father must have thought in that moment as He saw this beautiful bride, His child, bringing Him praise. Jeremiah 33:11 talks of the day when the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, will bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord:
“Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
for the Lord is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”
At the reception I was able to steal a quick moment of the bride’s time and I told her, “The Bride always steals the show, but you were absoultely beautiful. Thank you for your example of worship.”