Learning to trust fully again.

Friday night my church had a womens praise and worship night and it was very powerful. While the group was small, there was a distinct longing in each of us to meet with God and worship him in honesty and truth.

I really have craved such times of setting aside the cares of this world and seeking God just to praise him and offer my all once again to his mighty and holy presence. You see, in my early days of faith it seemed that we were always finding times to set aside the cares of our world and pray together, huddle together and encourage each other in our faith. We had a strong sense of community, and a sense of how critical each of us are for the well being of the whole. God was very gracious in my young christian years to allow me that watershed of strong believers who love God above all, and I benefited from their overflow.

At some point in my young christian years the Lord moved my husband and I from this nurturing place to an inner city ministry. The inner city was a place where you had to keep your faith strong, and keep yourself in God’s word daily because the raw pain of life was much more visible and the spiritual battle was more intense. We saw so much to do there, and offered ourselves to the work. And in those first years I longed for that simple fellowship of spending time praying and worshipping God in community, but it was not always there. As our ministry efforts grew, so did the number of workers (praise god). But we never seemed to have that experience of finding those around us wanting to just stop and sit before the Lord, or even spend time together. Slowly and very gradually my willingness to be vulnerable and honest gave way to concern that the information I was sharing would either bring judgement or shut me out of ministry by others.

Everyone needs to have someone safe to talk to, who will not judge or criticize us, but accept, pray with and walk along side me. I yearned for this, and every time I made any effort I found I could not break through the “cliques”. And beyond the clicks I experienced harsh criticism from the life I have – a full time working woman who has never born a child. My sisters in Christ found no measure of grace, or willingness to see beyond this to realize I wrestled for all of my 20s and 30s asking God for a child. It was only after my 40th birthday that I came to the Lord and layed this down, agreeing to accept his will because he must have a different purpose for my life. Very few of those sisters understood this deep pain and made me feel useless. (You would not believe in those days how much I identified with Hanna before she gave birth to little Daniel).

So almost 2 years ago Steve and I feld the Lord leading us out of that ministry, but to the unknown. We had no idea where to go. So over almost a year we visited churches, still searching but just not connecting. Some churches had lovely and very kind people but the passion for God’s word and for body life lacked. In other cases the word was there, but the people were unwelcoming and cold.

We had been attending a Lutheran church with our neighbors. Great church, lovely people, wonderful sunday school, but perhaps it was my evangelical background that left me very unsettled with the worship. One sunday we walked to our neighbors house to go with them to church and they told us were not going that day. So we snuck away and went to the next church on our list – Grace Old Brooklyn. And God confirmed we were home there almost immediately.

Grace Old Brooklyn was more than we could imagine. The people are warm, honest, loving, and the sense of community is balanced with a healthy acceptance of us, for that matter the accept anyone at face value. Wow.

Old thoughts are like old habits and they die hard – Both of us had learned to not fully trust other believers because they misused that sacred trust, abused us with our own disclosures, or limited their acceptance and held us in judgement for who and what we are. When we arrived at Grace Old Brooklyn I keep waiting for a snide comment, or the biting criticism, and thank God it is not there. I have become vulnerable, and shared my heart and truth with others and it was received, and they agreed to pray, or walk with me through this time. Wow, the refreshment of a community of believers that love God above all else, and love me as an overflow of that passionate pursuit of the Lord. Home again, if any place on this earth is really home. But it is a place where we can be real, and vulnerable, and honest. together… knowing that sacred trust to uphold our sisters and brothers, and bear one another’s burdens.

So friday night the worship was sweet, and the presence of the lord was powerful, and my soul was melted by the wonderful promise that I can be honest and vulnerable with others and more than that, they can trust me with their vulnerability. May it always be so.

This worship chorus written by Jeremy Riddle whistles through my soul tonight as I write this. May it bless you also:

Full Attention – Jeremy Riddle

May Your voice be louder
May Your voice be clearer
Than all the others, than all the others

May Your face be dearer
May Your words be sweeter
Than all the others, than all the others in my life

Please keep my eyes fixed on You
Please root my heart so deep in You
Keep me abiding, keep me abiding
Keep me abiding that I, oh, that I might bear fruit

May Your presence be truer
May Your presence be nearer
Than all the others, than all the others

May Your light burn brighter
May Your love go deeper
Than all the others, than all the others in my life

May Your voice be louder
May Your voice be clearer
Than all the others, than all the others

May Your face be dearer
May Your words be sweeter
Than all the others, than all the others in my life

Please keep my eyes fixed on You
Please root my heart so deep in You
Keep me abiding, keep me abiding
Keep me abiding that I, oh, that I might bear fruit

May Your presence be truer
May Your presence be nearer
Than all the others, than all the others

May Your light burn brighter
May Your love go deeper
Than all the others, than all the others in my life

(Lyrics found on the following web site: http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=1930)

What can I say but AMEN!

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