Despite all this, I will worship

God’s worth is not diminished by our circumstances. Rob Miskowski  (from the sermon, Worship Anyway)

At one time,  I struggled with malabsorption issues related to Celiac disease. During one period, it was so bad that I could not accomplish daily chores at home without suffering from pain and fatigue. Even in my sleep, my bones hurt, not allowing my body to rest.

I would read the Bible, pray, and do my best to stay the course. Admittedly, there were many times I didn’t feel like reading the Bible, and many times I didn’t feel God close.  Even more so were the times I stayed in bed, with only enough energy to pray, “I love you God. Thank you God.”

 At some point, the Holy Spirit put on my heart:

“Despite all this, I Am.  

Despite all this…praise God.

And so, this became my declaration everyday:

Enter doubt…“Despite my doubt, I will praise you God.”

Enter fear…“Despite my fear, I will praise you God.”

Enter weariness….”Despite my weariness, I will praise you God.”

“Despite all this, I will praise you God.”

Today, I am physically much better. And yet, even still, I find myself awakened in the dark hours of the morning, heart already whispering,

“I love you God. Thank you God.”

#WorshipAnyway

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#TBT….A “Throwback Tuesday”

Today, I was looking through old emails trying to find something specific for a friend. And, then, I found this old email entitled:

“How God Changed My Life.”

From seven  years ago…

Seven years ago, I began to get to know God and fell in love with His heart.

Then, I sent this email to my friends and family to let them know of my new life.

Seven years ago indeed….

Here it is:

I wanted to send this to all of you because you are people in my life that I can trust, that will not judge me, and you are people in my life who I have a great love for.

 

This morning, I was doing my “God time” like I do every morning….for the past couple of months. I didn’t start this because our preacher suggested it, but because I listened to God, who directed me to do it. I sometimes feel a little silly for saying things like this, but I really have been hearing God lately, and during my God time, a verse inspired me to write about how God changed my life.

 

I really wanted to share it with you because I have never shared it with anyone in its entirety…and it still really amazes me!

 

Genesis 3:8

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God in the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

 

How many times have I hidden from God? How often did I hear him say, “Where are you?” Not often, but for years I remained hidden, lost really. But, I would still pray, asking God, where are you?

Then, I was running. Yes, literally, I was outside doing my morning run, and I called out to God to give me strength. But, after I did this, I heard Him!

At first, I heard Him, sensed his presence, but I could not really understand.

            Throughout the day, I felt God’s presence, but I could not talk about it. I just didn’t want people to think I was crazy, including my husband.  Part of me wanted to push God away. I felt like, why me? I had been hiding, living a Godless life for so long.  Why and how could this be God talking to a person like me?

            I felt an overwhelming desire to find a church and go to it.  I didn’t realize that God had already started working on my heart.  The whole day, I felt overwhelmed with tears, but I kept them pushed inside.  I cannot explain this presence, God’s presence around me. I have never felt or even heard God in my entire life before, so how could I hear him and feel him now? That is one of the questions that was on my mind.

            The next morning, I ran again.  I called out to God again, and I heard him again!  But, this time I understood.  That morning, I prayed, “God I need you, please help me to finish.”  And, I heard him say loud and clear, “I have been here all along, but where have you been?”

 

            Without realizing it, I began to cry.  I must have looked so silly!  But, I ran home, and cried.  I wasn’t crying because I was ashamed or sad.  But, because the words of God were so powerful and so overwhelming.  No words can explain hearing God speak to me.

            I repeated his words to myself all throughout the day.  Where have I been?  I knew that my life had begun to change already.  That day, I began to look for a new church to go to.  I knew I couldn’t keep going to St. Brigids. The only other thing I knew was that I longed to continue to feel the presence of God.

             For some reason, a church I had passed, the BRCC (Bandera Road Community Church), stood out to me. So I got on the internet, found the times, and Chris and I went to the church on that Sunday.  As soon as I walked into the church, I felt the presence of God magnified by many times. I had never felt this feeling before…I had never felt God in my life before, even when I was going to church regularly and reading my bible regularly. That Sunday was the perfect service for me. I know now, that it was all because of God. As I cried in church that Sunday, I didn’t feel alone, discouraged, or even sad.  Being in the presence of God is the most magnificent and amazing experience ever, indescribable, and I yearn to continue to stay in it.

            I still wonder why, though.  Why did God choose to speak to me?  How could I even hear him, how did I know it was him?  I know God has a use for everyone, and I feel special in a way… because God spoke to me, and I heard him! Now, I speak to God everyday! It’s amazing, and ever since I started having my God times, I feel God’s presence, especially during my quietest, most mundane parts of the day.

            What could God have in store for me? What is he calling me to do? These are questions I never asked myself before, but now I can’t wait to find out.

My whole life has changed since then.  It’s amazing how quickly and easily this has happened. And, all because I was vulnerable again. I came out of hiding, when I thought I was the weakest, and asked for Him.

            I once heard from my pastor that God will break you, so that he can rebuild you and use you.  Well, I have been broken in so many ways before.  There are things I have even kept hidden from my sisters, my dad, to keep my burdens off of them.  I was for a very long time, so angry! I was angry at the people who have hurt me and broken my spirit, and even angry at God. The past year or two, I was just beginning to let go of all my anger.

            But, now, I understand. God didn’t abandon me. He was there for me, giving me strength, and carrying me when I couldn’t carry myself.  He has a plan for me. And, now I understand this.

            Amazing Grace…..It is truly amazing.  And, when I hear that song, I truly understand the words now. I almost feel like the song has been written for me.

 

Thank you so much, you guys, for reading this. I love all of you, and I wish I could tell you much of an inspiration all of you have been in my life. 

Alicia