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Updated: Aug 20, 2020

“For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven..." Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV

There are moments in life that suddenly become consecrated for a purpose that extends beyond understanding. Like a piece of paper, surrendered to the movement of the Author’s pen, whether brisk or measured, receives a narrative written upon its lines without ever making a request. The paper’s barrenness beckons to be saturated; therefore, it initiates a response from the Creator.

“A time to keep silent...” Ecclesiastes 3:7 ESV

These five simple words above, from Ecclesiastes, became a chorus covering the expanse of this sacred space I settled in during a waiting period.

For a time, I instinctively assumed a hushed posture under the Author’s dominion. Detecting the rarity of this occurrence, my priority became capturing the details, patterns, emotions, and holy weight encompassing the moment. The empty canvas of my soul submitted to the Story Teller’s narrative.

With a tender heart and unusually fragile emotions, rather than seeking clarity, remaining aware and yielded to the Presence at work was essential. Nourishment, in the form of love and trust, were breathed into spaces holding the deepest longings.

And throughout this distinct time, the only words I was capable of uttering originate from a simple hymn, learned as a child while sitting in a wooden pew that groaned with every movement of my jittery legs.

“In moments like these, I sing out a song,

I sing out a love song to Jesus.

In moments like these, I lift up my hands,

I lift up my hands to the Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord,

I love You.”

This hymn holds a tender and holy memory. Twenty-five years ago these lyrics formed a deep, resounding impression within the depths of my heart. A melody was embedded there, waiting to be fully known. The unwrapped significance drifted into a slumber while the Spirit covertly anticipated the appointed moment of grace greeting surrender.

Rounding out my seventh year of life, I practiced this hymn for weeks in preparation to sing a solo during my church’s worship service. My father and mother were the worship leaders and my grandmother played the piano. Needless to say, my family was ecstatic that I agreed to join them on stage for this special occasion.

Frequently, I rehearsed alongside my grandmother leading up to the event. I genuinely enjoyed music and the quality time it created with those I loved. However, the second I thought of standing on a stage with a crowd of expectant eyes on me, butterflies swarmed my stomach. From a young age, I did not want to disappoint those dearest to me, so I kept my commitment amidst my nerves.

The big day arrived and I was fashioned in my Sunday best (per the southern rules that reign over the “Bible Belt”). Outwardly, I looked the part, while inwardly I was nauseated from the drunken dance fear and hope had performed all morning in my belly.

With wavering emotions, I shyly assumed my place next to the piano. Suddenly, I realized my sense of control had vanished. Clenching my sweaty, shaking hands around the microphone, I attempted to anchor myself before I fell over.

My grandmother’s introductory chord progressions, accompanied by her confident smile, inaugurated the moment. While singing the first few words, I glanced at my mom. She intentionally responded with tender eyes depicting her understanding of the state of horror I appeared to be in. Her compassionate expression comforted me as I finished the first verse.

Next, I caught sight of my father, on the other end of the stage. He was to lead the following song. With a flushed face, his blurry eyes conveyed delight. His gaze and proximity to me ushered in a sense of safety that covered me in a moment that I felt afraid and intimidated. Remembering his reassurance before service that he would "take the lead" when I finished, or would "rescue me" out of a musical mishap, instilled the confidence I needed to survive. I trusted his words completely.

With my voice trembling, I was overcome with unsolicited emotions flooding over me. Unseasoned in my faith, the lyrics did not hold the deep meaning they now signify for me. Yet, as a tenderhearted child, I sensed a loving Presence embrace me.

Relief overwhelmed over me as the song concluded. My turn was over. And my father picked up immediately where I left off with these lyrics,

“You are wonderful in counsel, you are wonderful.

You are excellent in working, you are excellent.

You are mighty to deliver, you are mighty.

Glory be to God, forevermore.”

“God, you are my God. I celebrate you. I praise you. You’ve done your share of miracle-wonders, well-thought-out plans, solid and sure.” Isaiah 25:1 MSG

In this memory, I was a child, carried collectively by the friendship of my Grandmother, the comfort of my Mother, and the safety of my Father’s presence. This trinity empowered me to fully participate, even trembling with fear, in my role of the family’s ensemble.

It is innate for a child to be reliant on a family. The weight of stewardship in our adult years can rob us of the childlike faith we should earnestly protect. To once again “become like a child” we must journey onto the path of surrender and submit our life, layer by layer, to the Giver of Grace.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:1-4 ESV

Eagerly waiting to greet us at the threshold of “surrender” is God, our Father, who created us in His image with a unique purpose that leads us into the beauty and deep fulfillment of co-creating with Him. His son, Jesus, through whom we receive grace and redemption, is our Friend that never forsakes us. And, the Holy Spirit, our Helper, comforts, counsels, and nurtures us in truth. God is the only provision we need.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Psalm 23:1

My obedience, not my giftings or the assurance of a positive outcome, led me to participate that day. If I had allowed my fear of inadequacy, failure, or comparison to prevent me from walking onto the stage, I would have missed the opportunity of beholding God in a new way and the dear memory it created with my family.

Obedience is our protection and turns the knob to open doors we never knew existed. The path to experiencing His power is walking straight through our weakness, not hiding it. This way only He receives the credit. Only Him. And, He deserves it all.

I agreed to participate in something I was not exceedingly gifted at, and it felt vulnerable. Yet, in my weakness I learned something that day that would become the storyline of my life: God’s power overtakes my human frailty.

So where I’m weak, let it be, so You, oh God, may take over in your strength.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:98 ESV

He is the God who extends an invitation, enfolded in grace, of childlike faith. The Trinity collectively carries us into our True Home in Him.

He authored Home.

He is the Home we long to behold.

Dear Child, let's return Home.

And perhaps, residing in this unprecedented time, with tragedy and trauma escalating and devastating headlines haunting our minds, has left some of us in speechless shock.

In the absence of our own words, may these lyrics fill the space of our worshipful lamenting...for when we don’t know what to do or say, we should keep our eyes turned upon Jesus anyways.

“In moments like these, I sing out a song,

I sing out a love song to Jesus.

In moments like these, I lift up my hands,

I lift up my hands to the Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord,

I love You.”

Father, thank You for embracing me in my humanity. You invite me to breathe deeply. You break the chains imprisoning me. You set my feet on a spacious path to dance wildly. Following the sound of a melody, I behold the table You adorned for me. Oh, how your banner over me is Love. Bouquets of flowers fall at your feet as I worship, You, my God Almighty.

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