Today something so cool happened: a prayer/plea I released to the Lord even as much as a year ago was answered. It probably will seem so small once you hear it, but to me…it is like a big blue whale. I’m writing it down more for my own documentation than anything, to be reminded of God’s goodness later on, but I hope you get something out of it too if you decide to read it. It is a testimony to prayer and to the fact that God still talks to us in beautifully interesting and personal ways.
Here’s the big/small what: I needed a new church or a new heart for mine. I suppose the answer I got was both!
I have dreaded going to church for a very long time and I hate that feeling! Church, no matter if that’s on a Sunday or a Tuesday with hundreds of people or tens, is a place where the believer can go to receive the Word of God, to wrestle with it and feast on it. I felt I hadn’t been growing in the Lord, in my knowledge of Him, and in my identity in Him through the church. Of course this is not the church’s job alone to seek Him (who is glorious!), but ours! Yet, a church should ideally be a place that pushes us in our goals of knowing Jesus. Quick disclaimer: the church I am moving away from is truly a wonderful place. I love the people there! I love the pastor! There is nothing wrong with it. But my spirit has changed since I began attending and so has the group of people I originally followed there…so has the pastor…so has the worship band. So the original church I chose 3 years ago is simply a different church now in the same location. But my loyalty to it, even through the changes, has made being open to finding a new home hard! But I have yearned for a new place to call home and asked for prayer for a long time.
One of my best friends just asked me this weekend, “so what are you waiting to feel from the Lord to know where to go?” It was such a beautiful question. Clarity is what I told her - I wasn’t looking for a perfect church with some right mixture of ingredients that I liked (by no means!); I just wanted to hear from the Lord about it. He certainly knows my heart better than me and I trust Him far more to make the “right” decisions for me. I just needed to hear His voice.
Here’s where the good stuff comes in; how God set me on the right path and showed me where to go:
The Yellow Brick Road.A couple months ago I was visiting my roommates church with her. After the sermon was given and before the worship began, the pastor let everyone know that men & women would be in the back to pray with you. Sometimes you just know that call is for you. I practically ran back to find a pray-er, but everyone seemed taken! A woman I know was standing in the back as well and I asked if she was one of the people praying - she said no, but that she’d be honored to do so anyways.
And that she did. As she prayed she saw a yellow brick road and said the path would be clear, that it would be confirmed through multiple friends quite soon, and that a creative spirit would be welcomed and cherished there. I don’t think this woman could have really known what those words meant to me. The Wizard of Oz carries a deeper meaning to me than just a silly kid movie (although when I was little, my mom tells me I wouldn’t let anyone call me by my own name for almost a year…they had to call me Dorothy, hahaha). When I began my first voice lesson as a junior in high school, the first song I was assigned was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” If any of you are singers, you’ll know that singing is extremely vulnerable and lovely all at once. The voice teacher was convinced the song was a perfect match for me and made me perform it in front of all her other students at my first studio. That all being said, it was the song I was given to begin in the journey of singing, something I feel strongly the Lord has called me to, though I don’t know just what He has in mind yet.
The old/new church (they are one in the same, yet different places completely) is doing a series on Romans this year and certainly reminded me when I saw the new flyer…of the Yellow Brick Road. Confirmation 1 one where I was to be going.
A creative spirit fostered.The Lord has created me to sing! Ever since I became a believer a few years back, it’s been something those I look up to have encouraged and aimed to strengthen me or embolden me in. As much as I respect the worship pastor at my old church and love hearing the redone renditions of old hymns the worship band plays, my heart was checked a bit when he began to lead worship. See, as he came over from a different church and began leading worship, he only wanted fellow worshipers whose walks with the Lord he already knew. As much as I understand that and respect it (truly!), being one of the worship volunteers beforehand, I was somewhat sad when I began to realize he never remembered my name or invited me to coffee to learn more about my story, therefore never fully being invited to help further in a meaningful, encouraging way.
I can only imagine the Lord used this for my benefit over the years, as surely with leading YoungLife, working, and doing school all at once, this wouldn’t have even been a possibility (or a sane one). But there was something strange about it in my spirit, kind of saddening, to know that music, being a calling and joy in my life…wasn’t something fostered by my own worship pastor. Ugh.
So as you can see, just the encouragement from a new church toward that part of me was so part of my prayers! For me to be able to grow in creativity, especially in song, makes me feel giddy inside :) Now, I have no clue if this will actually be the case at the new church, but I do know that I’ve received confirmation from many people there that my gifting is valued and desired. Just that acceptance alone brings me to tears. Perhaps I’ll contact the worship director at the new church…perhaps not. I still need to pray over that specifically. But God’s encouragement is certainly stirring in my heart that the way He created me is cherished here.
As much as this is an ugly-face photo, here is me & my friend Aaron singing “How He Loves” at one of our friends weddings.
Angels will guide you in. A couple weeks ago, my wonderful friend Grace who just brings the presence of God with her wherever she goes, asked me to listen to this song called “Fly” by Jason Upton. This track was apparently recorded live at a worship retreat without no background singers…yet there are beautiful…angelic harmonies toward the middle and end of the song. As she told me about this “angelic” encounter caught on a recording…I instantly doubted her…I doubted. I didn’t want to, yet my spirit was hardened to her request. I looked at her with big tears in her eyes, just touched by the Lord, and she asked me to listen to it sometime when I was alone. I happily said yes. I don’t say this with pride, but sometimes my spirit is faster to open up to the Lord and His miraculous doings when I am not with others.
I listened to it today on the way to the (new) church. If you’d like, please take a listen. Maybe do it while you’re alone :)
FLY TESTIMONY - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo6Nu5W256M
As I was driving to the new church, my spirit was so drawn in worshiping alongside the song that I was not only in tears, but almost out of breath. I could feel God prompting me into a very quickly induced hysterical state, understanding my total reliance on Him alone and my soul’s desperate desire to experience His glory. I knew He was doing it to show me I was heading the right direction. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I got inside the doors, the first worship song they began singing was about how Angels will point you in. I’m almost in tears now writing it.
God is so clear. He answers your prayers. He answers mine. He speaks to us in very personal and unique ways.
I am unworthy, yet still He loves me. And because of it, I am completely changed.