Category Archives: Worship

He put a new song in my mouth and a crown upon my head

… He gave me life forever more.

A worship leader in my church wrote a song to this piece of Scripture and earlier this week I shared it with another person as encouragement from God. It really spoke to them at the time and now as I sit to write about recent things God is doing in my life, it really speaks to me.

First, I want to say how good, and wonderful, and (duh) true truth is. A revelation, I know. It blows my mind that God gave us His TRUTH in this book called the Bible and it is never false. It is never out-of-date, and it is never irrelevant. The best part is that it could be read inside and out and serve a multitude of purposes one year, then be read the same way the next year and address a whole new series of things and continue to grow someone in their faith. Year after year after year. Amazing.

Second, Satan’s guilt is heavy. Not heavy enough to ever overcome God’s truth, but certainly heavy enough to cause plenty of destruction and put up a damn good fight.

Last night this was blatantly apparent. For the last two months I’ve had the privilege to be a part of a Truth study with the high school girls at my church. We’ve been going through the book Lies Young Women Believe… and the truth that sets them free. Initially I thought this book would be flaky or irrelevant to me. WRONG. God’s Truth is never irrelevant. Last night’s meeting was on the topic of guys and lies we believe about them (I can almost hear EVERY female reading this exhale a large sigh of understanding…!)

Lots of people shared their experiences and mistakes and we talked about God’s forgiveness. However one thing became quite apparent during ministry time with one another. We know that God forgives us, but we have to forgive ourselves!! It is not enough to know that God forgives us if we don’t truly feel forgiven. We have to take the next step and understand why we must forgive ourselves… because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. If we were fully able to wrap our minds around the reality of what that means we would not be able to hold ourselves in contempt.

I don’t think this situation could have been more true for me. I have  sexual brokenness that I am not even able to begin to write about. I’m just beginning my journey. Last night as I was receiving prayer I could feel the battle between light and darkness. The most beautiful and true part was that Jesus reminded me that He has cast my sin as far as the East is from the West. That HE no longer keeps count of it. It is erased in His eyes.

The ugly part was that because I am not yet able to forgive myself (although I do feel God has forgiven me), Satan was able to put a wrench in that little crack and fill it with guilt. Earlier that day I had painted my toes for the first time in months: a perfect baby doll pink. And as I looked down at my freshly painted girly toes, guilt came into mind:

“You don’t deserve to have sweet, innocent colors on your toes. You are not Daddy’s little girl. You are not Jesus’ little girl. You don’t deserve to feel like a beautiful princess.”

Someone wanna argue and say that was from the Lord? I think not. The Enemy took a seriously low blow and was playing on my guilt. On that crack that I still have. Which I believe many girls have.

But here’s the Good News… Jesus doesn’t want to just fill in our cracks. If we will let Him, He wants to open up our wounds that have healed up okay and clean them out. He wants to remove any trace of yuck that is preventing the wound from healing perfectly. Then He wants to seal the deal, leaving no scars, no trace of imperfection. He wants to make us new.

 That’s what He shared with me last night and I think it totally trumps Satan’s plan. He came to me sweetly and lovingly and said, “Jenn, I know this is going to hurt and I know you’re scared but I want you to trust me. I want to reopen this wound you’ve had for so long that never got cleaned out properly. It is not going to be easy and it might take much longer than you’d anticipated but it’s my plan for you and it’s going to be so good.”

There is a big difference between forgiveness and healing. God has forgiven my sin but that doesn’t mean it’s healed. I’m totally exhausted but I know it’s time to start the healing process. So today I have a new song in my mouth because He puts a crown upon my head even when I’m a sinner and feel undeserving. He loves me and treats me lavishly when the things I’ve done are hideous in His eyes. He gives me reason to sing, He crowns me a princess and His little girl, and He gives me LIFE forevermore.

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

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Shoulda Seen It Comin’

Welp. I finally had a good Africa breakdown tonight, although I have an inkling that it won’t be the last. I guess it’s kind of expected when you spend, oh, a month avoiding talking to God about what you saw in a third-world country. Honestly, I could laugh at myself now for thinking maybe I could just carry on with my life and God would never get to me. Hardy har har.

Tonight at Joshua House, I was mid-worship in the song “Hosanna” uncomfortably keeping this nice little wall up between my heart and God, as I have been doing for the past month, when we came to the lyrics “Break my heart for what breaks Yours…” As soon as I sang them I felt my gut wrench and my breath caught in my throat. “Oh no,” I thought. Here it comes. For a moment I tried to close my eyes and hold it in. “I don’t have to ask, He’s already shown me and I can see it all vividly right now.” I quickly decided that in the past it’s been much worse (and probably very strange-looking for those around me) to fight God than to just let myself go. I didn’t have to think twice about those lyrics. I don’t have to ask because He’s already shown me. “I’ve seen what breaks His heart, I’ve held them in my arms.” A month ago He gave me a week-and-a-half-long insight into what breaks His heart in Nsoko, Swaziland.

Tears were streaming down my face as all of the first-hand images came flooding back into my mind. Pictures I’ve taken with my own two eyes of hundreds of children in Swaziland surfaced and each one crushed my heart a little bit more. I really felt like I couldn’t breathe. (Partially because there was snot literally hanging out of my nose like a string). I had to sit down because I was heaving so hard. {Praise God for extremely loud contemporary worship bands!}

I sat with my head lodged between my hands and the seat in front of me. I half-heartedly asked God to make it stop so I could stop crying and embarassing myself. But I knew that wasn’t what He really wanted. I couldn’t stop thinking about Tmbalithle and baby Anitah and Boss Lady and all the Muchos of Swaziland. My chest hurt so bad. My heart literally felt like it was being ripped in half. This is super awkward, but I was basically silent screaming. (My emotional sisters out there know what I’m talking about, right? Like when your heart literally hurts and you’re basically screaming but it’s silent? Someone please affirm me on this one haha) God was literally breaking my heart for what breaks His. Now I know God doesn’t give anyone more than they can’t handle, so it makes me wonder: If that moment felt excruciating for MY heart, I can’t even begin to fathom what God feels when His heart breaks for orphans… for His children.

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be,” ran through my head. “This is not what God intended for His children.” It’s not their fault and He’s not punishing them. Quite the contrary. I’ve never witnessed so much of God’s love as I did in Swaziland. His love is abundant, but so is sin from The Fall. It’s because of sin that these children have broken homes, that there’s abuse, that they are neglected and go without food or shelter. Some people might ask why, if my God is so mighty and loving then, doesn’t He save these children? The answer is because He’s God. Because I don’t really have the answer and no one does except for Him. Because if God made everything perfect here on Earth it wouldn’t be Earth, it would be Heaven. If all was right in the world, we wouldn’t need God. We wouldn’t seek Him out in times of trouble or despair. We wouldn’t cling to Him and worship Him for his majesty. We’re on this Earth to glorify God and to worship Him. We’re also called to be His disciples and that means that it’s OUR job to take care of His children. God sustains them in more ways than we’ll ever know, but in no way does He owe anyone anything. WE owe Him everything and as His followers WE are called to take care of His children….

“You’re right, Jenn. I didn’t intend for Tmbalithle’s mother to be consumed by alcoholism and abandon her with extended family. I didn’t intend for her to grow up without a mother and a father and to run around half-dressed.”

“No, Jenn, it is not what I want for Anitah or the other orphans at Eskalene to wander the countryside with little-to-no supervision collecting grasshoppers to tide them over for the day until their next meal.”

“No, it is not my intent for children to grow up in a home where the father has abandoned them and their mother; for their father to travel far away for work, to take another wife, or to die because of AIDS.”

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I guess I’m beginning the “processing-process”. More to come.

Music, good music, is good for the soul.

I woke up this morning and blogged a huge blog but had to leave for church and couldn’t finish it. It’s amazing how by the end of the day so much changes. I don’t even feel like posting it because I think it’s stupid. Or maybe it was just meant for me to blog and keep as a draft. Just a mental process.

Tonight was my first time back at Joshua House in a realllllllly long time. Like, I don’t remember the last time I was there because so much happened leading up to Swaziland that I couldn’t ever make it. I was kind of lukewarm about going because sometimes I feel like it tends to be more of a show and that was the last thing I wanted after spending a week in a third-world country. I walked in a few minutes late… to them playing my favorite song right now! The lyrics at the top of my blog actually belong to the song– “Your Love Never Fails.” This was really cool because I’m pretty sure they’ve rarely, if ever, played that song before. It was like I was being welcomed back. I immediately just had to worship. God knows me so well. He knows me better than I’ll ever know myself.

But it gets even better! Not that the service was outstanding or anything, but it’s amazing how much better it is when you are intentional about being there. Being intentional about prayer and about taking notes and about the words that I’m singing just totally made the service. I guess I didn’t understand that I wasn’t being as intentional before. Or maybe I wasn’t able to feel this way until I came back from Swaziland and had experienced things to be intentional about.

Tonight I’ve been really anxious. There’s just a lot coming up in the…. well, I would say next few weeks but there’s just a lot coming up in my life! Haha. I’m really trying to give everything over to God. I was sitting here trying to wrap my head around it all and I just gave up. I turned on some worship music–which I haven’t done in a long time!– And have just been blogging out my thoughts and letting Him consume me. It’s so much better this way. I could literally drive myself crazy and the crazy thing is I don’t have to! I don’t ever have to worry about anything (not saying that I won’t!) but I don’t HAVE to because Jesus went before me. He went before me and He’s with me and He follows after me. Either way I look at it, I’m covered.

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What songs really speak to you? What can you just turn on and listen to and feel completely at peace?