My good friend Deb DeArmond has a new book that just released called We May Be Done but We’re Not Finished. It’s a compilation of stories from women of a certain age on how to make the rest of life the best of life. Here is an excerpt from Deb.
Come Wake Me From My Sleep
My husband and I recently joined a new church. The church is not new, but we’re new to this community. We had known for some time God directing us to become part of this congregation. There was a need for ministry he’d asked us to fill, and though it took longer than it should, we followed his direction. It wasn’t easy but God was clear.
We were warmly welcomed on arrival. And though there is comfort and confidence in the familiar, we are excited about this change and how God will use us in this new place.
Change isn’t the problem. It’s the transition that’ll wear you out.
I’ve been a Christian for 45+ years, with decades in the pews. I can sing nearly any song without the hymnal. In the 70’s, contemporary Christian music was added to the agenda. I know the choruses from camp and VBS. I love music, I love worship, and I love to sing.
In this new church there are no hymnals, and the songs were all new to me. All of them. The slides move quickly and are sometimes out of sync with the music. And boy, that print is small. I struggled. I’m used to entering his gates with thanksgiving in my heart and his courts with praise. How can I immerse myself in worship if I can’t follow the songs? If I’m focusing on getting it right, how can I focus on him?
In those early weeks I sort of mumbled my annoyed way through the music until God’s Spirit tapped on my heart. “Stop singing. Focus on me.”
What? Stop singing? Surely that couldn’t be God.
“Just be still. Worship me. Don’t judge me.”
Whoa. That last one caught me off guard. Was I really judging God?
I had prayed each week that God would lead everyone involved in the service: the pastors, elders, and worship team. I asked his desire and direction to be present and clear. Trusted he’d answer.
And now, I found myself complaining about the result.
The chorus in one of these new songs has stuck in my head. Recently as I stood with the congregation, ruminating on all I disliked, the worship leader began to sing. I was stunned. The lyrics petitioned God to awaken my heart; to invade my soul in a fresh new way.
God’s Spirit Nudged Me
God’s Spirit nudged me. Tapped right on my heart. I’d been sleeping. My comfort level with familiar lyrics and melodies had replaced fresh worship—those moments when it’s not about the song, but about his presence.
I never forgot the music is an offering. My heart soared as we praised him. But I never understood those I’d observed, silent, head bowed, during that time. Why aren’t you singing? Do you want the rocks to cry out? How can not join this powerful choir?
I love the sound of the congregation, harmonizing, coming together in beautiful musicality, yet missing a critical element of worship. God wants to minister to us in that time, too. Our praise opens a conduit for his spirit to connect with us.
I felt like an old fool. I’d become that gray-haired woman I observed as a teen who sat stoically, arms crossed when the special music was a contemporary tune accompanied by guitar, rather than the organ. And she refused to sing along when invited.
That’s not who He’s called me to be.
Lord, Help Me
Lord, help me surrender the familiar for the fresh. Trading the known for the new. Your presence is all I seek. Singing or silent. I’m here.Lord, help me surrender the familiar for the fresh. Trading the known for the new. Your presence is all I seek. @DebDeArmond #RefreshingFaith, #Devotional Click To Tweet
How about you?
- Where has tradition taken priority over his presence in your life?
- How has your preference for the familiar created dissatisfaction or judgment of the new?
- When was the last time you came to the Lord and sat silently, open-hearted to his whispered message for you?
Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker” (Psalm 95:6 NLT).
He invites us into his presence. Answer the call.
Deb DeArmond is an award-winning author, speaker and writing coach, helping others to achieve their goals whether in marriage, family relationships, at work, or in ministry. Her books reflect that path. Her newest release, We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished, encourages and informs women 50+ how to make the rest of their life the best of their life
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