When Worship is Difficult

It all started with a song. One inspired by Psalm 118. One Sunday morning in church, probably in late August when I had all but given up. Somewhere in the middle of singing praises to the Lord, this song started. I know it was in the middle because I was already standing and then the weight of it all hit me, and I just couldn’t any more.

🎶Oh, give thanks to the Lord

Oh give thanks to the Lord

For He is good

He is good

For He is good

He is good, oh

His steadfast love endures

Forever, forever He endures 🎶

You can listen to the song here : Psalm 118 (Your Steadfast Love)

The truth of this washed over me as tears fell to the ground. I didn’t want to believe it in my heart, because I had felt that He was everything but good at that moment. But my head knew it was true. His Spirit inside nudged me along. And I sang, though I was angry and hurt and broken. And when I couldn’t manage that for the tears, I mouthed the words. No one could hear them, but I was declaring the truth to the One who is Truth itself. It was my sacrifice of praise. While I didn’t want to acknowledge Him at all, it was really the only thing I could do.

If we praise God only when we’re getting what we want, how is He different from a genie in a magic lamp? His love for us is unconditional, and what’s more, He is God. That fact alone deems Him worthy of worship. Always.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

    bring an offering and come before him!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth;

    yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,

    and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

~1 Chronicles 16:29-31

This is not easy. It’s not easy to worship God when you feel unseen by Him. Or when you can’t help but think He’s holding out on you. We all have ups and downs. Times when we feel super close with our Lord and times when we distance ourselves. But He stays the same. He doesn’t change. He sees our struggles and heartache. He sees our success and joy. None of our circumstances can change who God is and so our worship of Him should remain steady through it all.

A few months later, probably some time in November (after we knew I was pregnant), we sang the same song again. As the words began I couldn’t help but cry. Not out of brokenness this time, but because I knew, with all my being, the truth and grace in the words. He was good to me and His love endured. Through all my craziness. Through all my doubts. And sorrow. And questioning. How could I have ever thought differently? I praised Him for His providence in it all; not knowing the reasoning behind it, but grateful that He did.

I don’t know where you are, dear friend. You may be high on a mountain or low in a valley. Know this truth, wherever you find yourself; God is God and He is good. Always.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

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Thankfulness: Day 8

Since yesterday I’ve had the hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer” stuck in my head. I found it ironic, because if I were to add up my prayer time for the month so far, I might get up to 30 minutes.

This has been something I’ve been struggling with for some time; finding taking the time to spend with my God. To cry out to Him. To call upon His strength. To repent and ask His forgiveness. To praise Him for His many blessings.

And then this songs pops into my head. And I suggest it as one we use to open our LifeGroup tonight. It reminds me that I can leave it all with Him. All my worries, sorrows, pain. And I can find rest there.

So today I am thankful for two things: these songs that were written to remind us of Truth when we’ve forgotten; and a God Who is always ready to listen when we come to Him.

Oh that I would remember that daily and put it into practice. I hope you’re able to do the same.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?” Last night and this morning those words ran through my head among the lies that floated in last night and made for a difficult nights sleep. I couldn’t remember the rest of the words but I knew who’s voice I heard singing it. Just looked it up and thought I’d share, because maybe, just maybe, you’re in need of this encouragement too.

Love & blessings,

KJ

Day One

I heard this song as I was driving to work this morning and have since heard it at least twice more today. It resonates today as I just feel like I’m in such a good place, regardless of the craziness abounding. I’m trying not to let that take me captive and instead doing the “next right thing.”

“It’s Day One of the best of my life.” I remember hearing people say that their 30s were great; I shrugged it off as I wasn’t yet there. I hit them and began to wonder “What’s so great about this? I’m single and I’m really not fond of myself; inside or out.” Oh, how things have changed!

I can do nothing but thank God for that.

For His mercies that are new every day.

For His love that endures forever.

For His hand that I cannot be snatched out of.

I feel as if I’m finally coming into my own. It only took 33 years, that’s not so bad, right? I appreciate the woman God has made me to be and am excited for what He has planned next. This year itself (and we’re only 4 months in) has held a few firsts and other surprises that I could not have foreseen or imagined. And good or bad, I have come through them stronger.

I’m done wishing and am working with God to become who He has made me to be. I used to think that starting over meant that I had failed previously. While that may hold true in some cases, it is more important to focus on the fact that starting over means having the benefit of a clean slate. In Christ we get that. Every. Single. Day.

Are you ready for Day One?

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Fix My Eyes

A new year has come and my goal is firmly set. This seems like a good theme song for it. It took a while for me to really hear all of the words – in fact I think it was only yesterday when I really heard & understood the first few lines. This morning I also read some verses that seem to speak on the same thing:

A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,

but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. – Proverbs 17:24

So here’s your challenge (and mine) for the day: fix your eyes on the One who gives all wisdom. In doing that, anyone else who is watching will see where your heart and priorities really are. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll ask you what it’s all about.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

The Broken Beautiful

As a quick follow-up to the other day; this song has been an anthem of sorts for me since I heard it for the first time. It’s really amazing. Just take a few moments to think of all the ways God has taken your brokenness and has turned it into His beauty. And if you can’t see that, if it hasn’t happened yet, know that He’s waiting for you. He sent His son, Jesus, to pay our penalty, to take on our sin, so we would not have to. Jesus did so, willingly, to save us from God’s wrath. To save us from our own sin, our ugliness, if you will. So we could have a relationship with Him and rise beautiful from the ashes of our former selves.

If anyone in in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone; behold the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

How are you letting God show His beauty in you today?

Love & Blessings,
KJ

Promises

I heard this for the first time as I was driving home last night and was surprised to find out it came out like 2 years ago…where was I? It’s a great reminder when we feel things going from bad to worse. There are so many promises made known to us through God’s Holy Word. One of the very best to remember is this:

Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Love & Blessings,
KJ