Do you ever feel like the world is spinning around you, but your feet seem to be stuck? There is this sense of forward motion, however you cannot seem to allow yourself to budge even a little? Normal tasks seem difficult, your world seems a bit more muted, and sometimes it feels as if you are yelling into an abyss of nothing?
That has been my life for the past two months. I do not believe that I even have the correct words to describe how I have felt, but life has been hard. I have not experienced anything difficult necessarily, but things just seemed to take a lot more effort than normal. Things that I love, like sitting on my porch to read scripture, listening to the sounds of nature, singing worship songs, spending time in prayer, have all been filled with a heaviness and weight that I cannot explain.
I have wrestled with so many lies, like “I am not valued, loved, or cared for.” I have played the comparison game: “Why is it their faith seems so easy through difficult seasons and mine seems to shake?” I have suppressed emotions because everything I have felt has been too much. Too heavy. Too painful. Too exhausting.
In all this, the Lord seemed so distant.
But my story does not end here.
Over this past week or so, the Lord has revealed to me where He has been with me through this all along. It started by just simply admitting where I was at to the people I love most. When people asked me if I was okay, I finally stopped pretending and started to be real. The lies I had began to believe were now out in the open and the weight began to lift.
It was exactly two weeks ago that I sat in my car after work and cried, sobbed really, for the first time in about a month (only the second time in about two months). I had been holding every negative thing I was feeling so deep within me. I think my body just kind of gave up that day as I began to let it all out over the next hour.
I remember sitting there in my driveway. I was listening to my worship playlist and Elevation Worship’s new single “Here Again” came on.
The song starts:
Can’t go back to the beginning. Can’t control what tomorrow will bring. But I know here in the middle is the place where you promise to be.
Okay Lord, you have my attention.
I had heard the song before when I saw them live back in April, but the lyrics seemed to jump out and take hold of me, and I began to listen as if I was listening for the first time.
As I walk now through the valley, let you love rise above every fear.
I began to weep. My body was shaking from so much release of emotion.
I’m not enough, unless you come. Will you meet me here again?
That night was definitely a turning point, but the Lord was not done doing a work in my life, He still isn’t, but in the season I was in, He met me there and said, “I am here. I have always been here.”
What a prayer this song is! “Not for a minute was I forsaken, THE LORD IS IN THIS PLACE!”
As I entered into last week, that song became my battle cry. I would find myself saying, “You are here Jesus. You are in this place. You are present. You are near.”
The battle seemed to only intensify as the week went on. We were preparing for our annual Fall Retreat, and the enemy seemed to push back harder than ever before, not just with me, but with the entire worship team. So much happened to my teammates throughout the week, broken cars, hard work days, and overall exhaustion. However, we knew the Lord was preparing to do something big because of this push-back. As exhausted as I was in the season I was in, my excitement only grew. God was going to move in mighty ways, and we were all excited for it to unfold.
Our first rehearsal ended up getting cut short because we were all run-down, exhausted, and at the end of our fuses, so we scheduled a second rehearsal for the retreat music set. I remember how exhausted I was spiritually and emotionally upon arriving to help load up our equipment to take to our practice space that evening. In that moment though the Lord stepped in and created this beautiful sunset that peaked as we finished unloading the van. I was so caught off guard that I paused in pure adoration. I could not help but smile at the simple reminder that my prayers of “Reveal yourself to me Lord” had been answered.
As practice went on, I could feel the heaviness of my teammates. I found myself praying silently to myself between songs, just asking the Lord the same thing I did for myself. “REVEAL YOURSELF TO US JESUS! To each of these men, in such a profound way.” In that prayer, I was met with a word: Relentless: showing or promising no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace.
I think we all know this or have heard this at one point, but the Lord’s love for us never changes. He gives us all of Him the moment we surrender our life to Him. As we began to sing our last song, “Reckless Love” I felt inclined to share with the guys to think of the moment they first fell in love with Jesus. His love has not changed since that day. It has not grown, it has not decreased. He loves us the same as the day we first welcomed Him into our lives.
What happened over the next 10-15 minutes is not entirely explicable. We all just seemed to lose ourselves in His presence. The world seemed to stop moving and time seemed to stand still as we all encountered the Lord in a very special way. I saw these men around me lay down their hearts in a sweet surrender. Never have I heard such sweeter sounds.
Through that experience, we were able to go into our set at the retreat with hearts abandoned. We were met with the presence of the Lord in such a beautiful way. I truly believe that worship can set people free. I used that same reminder for the team, with those who attended the retreat: To just simply remember the moment you met Jesus. Such power and grace filled that place.
I titled this post “Here as in Heaven” because I believe we were given a glimpse into eternity through worship that night. Freedom, adoration, celebration, restoration, and so much more came through that night.
Praise be to God for the freedom found in Him and Him alone. For His constant pursuit of us. For His protection. For His grace. For His promise that we are not alone.
My prayer for you all is this: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, here as in Heaven!!