Death was Arrested–So was My Doubt

This past Friday night our church had a Night of Worship. Part of me didn’t feel like worshiping. I had a lot on my mind. I decided to just stay home.

I’d taken Mother to the rheumatologist on Monday. Something was desperately wrong–a physical, emotional, and spiritual weakness. It had been coming on for weeks.

She has three autoimmune illnesses. She couldn’t eat. Didn’t care to talk.

Our family had been praying.

The doctor mentioned clinical depression. I’ve been there. Twice. I knew the symptoms and the dangers. 

He ordered blood work and discussed a medication change. As I drove her home, gloom and doom filled the car. By Thursday, she was worse. She said if she didn’t get better, she was ready for a nursing home.

Friday afternoon I called my husband. “Let’s skip worship tonight. Traffic will be terrible, and you’ll have to leave straight from work and meet me there.”

But he wanted to go. 

Inside the sanctuary, rustic decorations and small white candles covered the communion tables. I sank into my seat and breathed.

Just breathed. 

Kneeling mats were everywhere–simple brown pieces of cardboard.

Oh, y’all–

That’s when the change began.

When I knelt.

I opened my fingers. Turned my palms upward. 

I love You. I need You. I’m sorry. I trust You. Whatever happens. 

The worship team sang a new song called “Death was Arrested.”

Oh, this song! This song!

It arrested my doubt. My concerns. I didn’t hold back. I couldn’t hold back!

I worshiped wide-open–with my whole my heart. 

Something supernatural happens when we praise God. 

Worship welcomes us into His Presence.

I thought I might float out of the building–all the way to heaven.

Mother called the next morning.

SHE WAS LAUGHING. Laughing!

“Julie, you won’t believe it, but last night the depression lifted. I can’t explain it, but it’s gone! I’m myself again.”

Lord, I don’t understand how or why, but thank You. 

Sunday morning, the praise team sang my song at our church campus.

I took a 50-second video of the end of the song. If you can’t see it, click here.

Northpoint Church Worship Team wrote “Death was Arrested.” They sing the entire song below. The video quality is much better than mine. 🙂

If you can’t see it, click here. 

Worship Him–even when you don’t feel like it. Beautiful things happen. 

Have you ever praised God when you didn’t feel like? Awesome, isn’t it.  

Love,

Julie

( First 4 pictures from 12Stone Church Facebook.)

Worshipping at Walmart

Glancing at my last-minute Christmas brunch grocery list, I hurry across the wet Walmart parking lot. It’s damp and cold. I wish I’d worn my coat. Making my way through the crowd of grim-faced shoppers, my thoughts scatter like marbles. I check my list again.

* Find red tablecloth

* Eggs, orange juice, chocolate milk, bacon

*Send Katie mini-cheese blintz recipe 

Taking a short-cut through pajamas aisle, I hear Christmas music.

Is it piped in through the speakers?

People move toward the center of the store as though following The Star of David.

I forget my list and follow them.

Workers stop to listen.

This music.

This beautiful music. 

It’s a little rough, but in a good way. It’s raw.

Full of passion.

And powerful.

So very powerful. 

A form of praise that can’t be contained.

Warmth spreads through me as I pass a small nativity.

Spotting the giant circle of carolers, I’m filled with unspeakable peace.

This kind of worship isn’t planned.

It’s spontaneous combustion.

Not of this world.

So much bigger than me. 

Some drop to their knees.

Wipe their eyes.

A few raise their hands.

I remember yesterday when I heard, “Christmas Cannon,” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This same wonder and awe came over me.

(Click here if you can’t see the video.)

And now, 

Miraculously,

In the middle of a busy Walmart on Saturday before Christmas,

We sound every bit as beautiful as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Glory and honor and praise fill an ordinary building as a ragtag collection of us sing our hearts out.

(Click here if you can’t see the video.)

Unhindered,

Unrehearsed,

We worship Christ the newborn King.

 Have you had one of these moments this Christmas when God’s Gift fills your heart? Please share it with our group! 

Love,

Julie

Not Your Everyday Sunset

Of course, I expect to encounter God at church, but in a shopping center parking lot?

After I went to the YMCA last Thursday night, I followed the same routine as always. I got into my car to head home. Flipped on the radio. Drank some water. Turned right at the light.

And then I saw the sunset. I’m telling you, there was something different about this sunset.

I tried to look away–even drove past it. After all, I needed to get home. I had supper to cook, dishes to wash.

But my car had a mind of its own that night. It turned around and circled back to the Goody’s parking lot. I got out and stood there, staring.

This is crazy. I look like an idiot.

But the sunset.

I almost forgot to breathe. I took pictures.

People stared. I decided I didn’t care.

The heavenly glow appeared to hover above my everyday world.

WOW.  What are you saying to me, God? Why couldn’t I ignore this sunset?

I’m here with you, He seemed to say. Closer than you think.

Here? In the parking lot? I glanced at a chewing gum wrapper in the street.

Especially here.

I’m in the nitty-gritty of your everyday life. Believe Me. Look for Me.

But sunsets don’t last. I can’t even see the whole thing.

Worship Me anyway. Now. Always. Forever.

So, standing beside my car in the Goody’s parking lot, worshipped Him at sunset. “Thank You. I love You,” I whispered.

What a moment. I almost missed it.

Has anyone felt compelled to stop your everyday routine (even your car!) and worship?

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens…” Is.40:26 NIV

Love,

Julie