Today I attended a massive church service, in which the people attending were celebrating the fact that over the past few years they have been faithfully chipping away at their debt – in order to become debt free.
They made their goal and the intention of the service was to glorify God in all that He has provided for them. While I am not a member of this church, I went today with the intention of experiencing some corporate worship. There is something about worshiping with one voice, one song, and one beat that can put everything else in perspective.
Yes, the institution of church is a VERY broken place and I have been VERY damaged by her and it’s lack of knowledge on domestic abuse. However, I have to remember that the CHURCH is IN ME and NO ONE can take that away from me. The people in my life who are the physical embodiment of Jesus – who kneel down and love me in the depths of despair the way that Jesus does – THEY are the church.
I say all that, to say, while this corporate body was rejoicing in the faithfulness of God and their own diligence to pay off an entire church building – In my heart of hearts – I was rejoicing in ALL the ways that the God of the UNIVERSE has shown his faithfulness to this little girl. Her heart did not believe that HE was GOOD. Her heart did not believe that HE CARED FOR HER, her heart did not believe HE KNEW and SAW what was going on, her heart did not believe that SHE COULD BE RESCUED – and yet – HERE she stands.
With each song that played this morning, and with each voice that rose in one accord, I lifted my hands, with tears in my eyes praying aloud in my spirit a THANKSGIVING. Secretly, I proclaimed EACH and every WAY the Lord has provided for me in the broad place (Psalm 18:19) “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”
“Remember Lord”, I said, “the $500.00 that just showed up, the countless dinners that friends have treated me to, the free groceries that one time, the free vacuum cleaner (in the SAME brand I was planning on buying and saving up for), the way the house sold so quickly, the Target gift card you provided, the wise words my mentors and sisters have spoken over me, the time my friend showed up with Culver’s and helped me wash windows, the way I got a mysterious refund in my checking account, the way you have provided the emotional support I needed, the hug at just the right time, the way she told me she was “so proud of me”, when she cared for my dog while I was at work, the way I’m learning to take care of myself as a single woman, the song you had that woman send me over text, the way you provided for my dog Lucy, the way you gave me the teapot I was dreaming about for weeks on end, the way you provided a spiritual mom to help me learn I’m a good daughter, the women who helped me hang things up in my new place, the best friend that brought me Dairy Queen when I couldn’t leave my apartment”… and the quiet thank you’s went on and on and on…
(My free Dyson Vacuum!)
He is GOOD to me. HE has RESCUED me. HE does care for me. As I connected to gratitude in that service – everyone else’s voice got louder and louder. I had an image of what it will be like – when that day comes to finally ALL gather together as ONE church as we move in closer toward the GLORY and GOODNESS and LOVING KINDNESS of God. I saw light, I saw motion, and I saw PRAISE.
“All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. For you are great and perform WONDERFUL DEEDS. You alone are God.” -Psalm 86:9-10
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,” Revelation 7:9
My Dear Sister,
I wonder – what are the quiet songs of THANKSGIVING in your heart today? You are the church – and I rejoice with you for the ways he has rescued you!
“The young women will DANCE for joy, and the men – old and young will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into JOY. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for REJOICING!” – Jeremiah 31:13