Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lavishing Love

I think that everyone has times when they feel God a lot more strongly than they do other times.

Likewise, I think that every Christian has a problem with doubt.  We hit these stages where we really question where God is in the middle of what we're dealing with and what He's doing and maybe everything we thought was absolute truth has more questions in it than we were willing to recognize at first.

I'll be honest.  This week was the first week since this whole headache mess started last year that I really struggled with God and my faith over this.  I started questioning where God is and what He's doing and whether or not all the promises He made really were going to come true when I was stuck in this life that felt like torture.  Friday night with Kyla wasn't the only time I cried, either.  I spent pretty much every night in bed, trying to fall asleep but instead wrestling with God about what was happening to my life.  I felt myself crumbling under the weight of this, feeling so alone despite the knowledge I had of the God who never leaves me.  That knowledge...well, it didn't feel like such certain truth anymore.

But I think God knew I needed to go through the emotional journey I not only have been on for the past year, but also this past week that hurt so deeply in the moment, so that He could bring me to today and set me upright again.

Y'all, I've said this a million times before, but the God that I serve is just so, so cool.  After such a difficult and emotionally draining week, God orchestrated a church service this morning that felt like it was put in place just for me, just to bring healing to my heart that felt so broken.

First, there was the music.

"You Are So Good to Me" by Third Day.
A piece of the lyrics:
You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song
You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song
You are beautiful, my sweet, sweet song
And I will sing again

You are so good to me, You heal my broken heart
You are my Father in heaven
You are so good to me, You heal my broken heart
You are my Father in heaven

"All Who Are Thirsty" by Kutless
All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life
Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of His mercy
As deep cries out to deep (we sing)
Come Lord Jesus, come
Come Lord Jesus, come
Come Lord Jesus, come

These first two songs really reminded me that God is so much bigger than my pain.  And He is the Ultimate Healer; even if He doesn't take away the physical pain, He will heal my broken heart if I just let Him.  He is beautiful, and so, so good to me.

The last song, which was done during the offering, is one of my favorites.  I've posted this video many times before.

"Death In His Grave" by John Mark McMillan
This one was the perfect reminder that Jesus defeated all pain and sickness and sadness when he rose from the grave and death died in his place.  I don't have to fight this battle against this pain, because it's already been won.

Then, the sermon came.  It's been a while since one of Pastor Sean's sermons moved me to tears, but when your pastor devotes an entire sermon to prayer just after you've spent a whole week feeling like you really didn't know how to pray anymore, emotions are bound to happen.  The one thing that jumped out at me, though, was when he talked about the story of Jacob grappling with the angel all night, and how he came away with a limp because he had been in the presence of God.  What a smack in the face for me.

At the end, he opened up the altar for prayer like always, and I went up there, and sweet Jenn and Justin came with me.  As soon as I knelt down, I just lost it.  I knew they were there and praying and basically just holding me, but all I could do was sit there and bawl and whisper "God, I need You.  I need to feel You.  Please.  I can't handle this." over and over again.  Those two holding me up like that as I literally sat there sobbing in front of our entire church, they were absolutely the hands of Christ to me today.  It was so beautiful.  It was like God reached down right there in that old movie theater just to tell me yet again, "See?  You have people right here.  You are the furthest thing from alone."

God lavished His goodness and love on me today more than I ever could have asked for.  He knew exactly what I was in desperate need of this morning, and He gave it to me tenfold.  This morning, it was like I got my focus and, more importantly, my heart right back where it needs to be.

I have so many things to be thankful for.  I forgot that temporarily, so self-absorbed on my pain, but this morning was proof that God has filled my life with blessings that are all around me.  All I have to do is look for them.  Every single person who has chosen to walk through this valley with me, they will never know what it means to me, what a gift from God I know that they are.  But particularly Jenn and Justin - they have been there time and time again for me without fail, without wavering or questions, they have prayed for me more than I'm even aware of, pushed me forward towards Christ, and now, literally held me as I was breaking before the Lord.

And as a bonus, I got to go to Cookout with Justin and Jenn for lunch, and it was the perfect icing on the cake of a beautiful morning.  I love those two so much; they are truly my brother and sister in Christ, and I am so blessed to know them.

God already gave me everything by sending His Son to take the death that I deserve, and yet He loves me enough to continue to shower me with blessings even when I doubt, just so He can remind me of what I know to be true.  Thank you, Father.  I am Yours, and I will sing of You forever.

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