When Prayers Aren’t Enough

healing power of musicMusic has a way of speaking straight to my heart. More specifically, lyrics set to beautiful music has a way of capturing emotions I’m incapable of expressing.

Does that make sense?

Have you ever heard a song that so clearly explained how you were feeling that you needed to play it again? Needed to google the lyrics so you could read them slowly….letting them sink deep into your heart?

My daughter endured the most difficult experience of her life earlier this year. During one of her most painful moments, I overheard her humming. It was in the wee hours of the morning, and she was high on pain killers, eyes closed, but she hummed. The sound was beautiful even as tears streamed down her face. Although the tune was familiar, I couldn’t quite place it. While she hummed, I prayed for her comfort.

Later that week, I heard the same familiar song on the radio – Oceans, by Hillsong. As I listened to the lyrics, I had one of those moments when I when I wished I could hit replay on the radio. Comparing the painful experience my daughter was living with the sentiment of the song…..well, tears streamed down my face. As a matter of fact, every time I hear the song now, my eyes still fill with tears.

To be clear, my daughter had no idea what she was singing that night. She was out of her mind with pain and painkillers and doesn’t remember humming. But, without a doubt, I believe the Holy Spirit was using that song to comfort my child. I believe He ministered to Hannah when my prayers and groanings were not enough.

Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Read the song lyrics for yourself. If you are facing circumstances that are too deep for words, may you remember that you, as a child of God, are His, and He is yours. He will keep your eyes above the waves.

Oceans, by Hillsong

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

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Lessons from Adele

We’ve been playing a lot of Adele in our car lately.  Rumor Has It and Rolling In the Deep are belted out  as we drive down the road.  (Don’t judge.  Chris Tomlin isn’t the only artist on my playlist.) 

I’m intrigued by this uber-talented girl.  She put out a fantastic album with heartfelt songs that tell the story of her own heartbreak.  I absolutely adore songs that reflect life, and her’s do.  What’s more, she had no idea just how fabulous she was until the Grammies earlier this year.  She won the night, to be sure.

But, just before the awards, Adele was interviewed by Vogue magazine and stated that she would soon take a break – a long one – to drop out of the spotlight for a while.  Check it out:

“I find it quite exhausting,” she says of being a singer. “It wears me out. And I have a tendency to think I am missing out on things.” Which is why, after the Grammys and after she makes up the last of the concerts that were canceled last year, she plans to go away for a long while.

Most successful pop stars these days, all but forced by their labels to produce albums at a frenzied pace, don’t have that luxury. But because Adele signed with the British indie label XL, which licenses her music to Sony, she is under no such obligation. In other words, she has the clout to do however she pleases, even if that means, as she says, “taking four or five years” to put out another record. 

In short, Adele was tired.  Quitting for a while seemed good.  Until the Grammies.  It’s amazing what a few accolades can do.  After her 6 Grammy statues, Adele released this statement:

“I’ve a few days off now, and then it’s the Brit Awards here at home and then I’m straight into the studio. BOYYAHH! 5 years? More like 5 days!”

Writing about her Grammy triumph, Adele also says, “Oh goodness!! I’m absolutely flabbergasted!…I keep having flashbacks to Sunday night. The most incredible night of my life. Thank you to you all, I am so overwhelmed, it’s the strangest feeling.”  She adds, “I was totally unprepared. Despite the phenomenal year, I swear I didn’t think I had any chance. All the categories were full of people I adore with brilliant songs, records and performances.”  Adele finishes by saying, “Thank you to everyone who enjoys my music…All of this is yours — the songs, the shows, the moments like this. Not that there’s any other moments like this one, but you get my drift… Ha!”

What changed things? Encouragement. Love. Compliments. Simply put: Adele felt good about WHO she was and WHAT she does.

What about you?  What about the people in your life?  What could some encouragement do for you and for them? Could it help you put one foot in front of the other?  Could it inspire you to dive head long into something that has been depleting your energy?  Parenting? Ministry? A job? Community service? A relationship?

Don’t underestimate the power of kind words.  Take some time today to spread the love and tell someone WHO they are and WHAT they do. Your words just might propel someone to greatness.

A Little Inspiration For Today

I was thinking about my life the other day.  As I wandered through memories, I couldn’t help but to pinpoint times when I know God put my feet on solid ground.  Times when I know He plucked me out of the muck and the mire to protect me, rescue me, or revive me.

Ways He’s chosen to use other people to disciple and mentor me.

Lessons He taught me out of unpleasant circumstances.

Seasons when He held the world at bay so I had time to rest.

Days when He snatched me out of the clutches of the enemy.

My God is with me always.  His help has been ever-present in my life.  Because of my past experiences with Him, I don’t fear the storm.  His help is on the way…..always.

This song by my friend, Kristian Stanfill, led me to worship God with love and thankfulness this weekend.  I hope you will worship God, too, for all He is in your life.  As you listen (click the link), walk down memory lane with Him.  He will be with you…..always.

ALWAYS by Kristian Stanfill

My foes are many, they rise against me
But I will hold my ground
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

Troubles surround me, chaos abounding
My soul will rest in You
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord
I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord
I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord
I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord
From You Lord, from You Lord

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always, always

 

Will You Worship?

Does your life move at the speed of light?  Mine does.  I’m up before the alarm has a chance to beep.  I take advantage of quiet moments in the morning to learn from God, but then my feet hit the ground running.

Get 3 kids ready for school, fix hair, pick out outfits, pack lunches, clean up from the breakfast my hubby is sweet enough to lay out for the kids, car pool, exercise (insert grunt), ministry planning, speaking prep, emails, meetings, errands, writing, chores, car pool (again), sorting through 3 backpacks and agendas, help with homework, cheerleading practice, football practice, team mom duties, dinner, laundry, family time, and (gratefully) fall into bed

Sound familiar?  Oh, the specifics may differ, but I bet your life is no less full.  You know, with such a busy existence, it would be easy, even tempting, to forget my real purpose – to know and love my God.  That’s why those early morning moments with Him are so important to me.  He uses that time to grab my heart, teach me His ways, and set my feet on solid ground.

Do you need to be reminded of Who God is in your life?  Take a moment to focus your attention on Him with this Hillsong song.  Don’t allow your life to get so busy that you forget how great your God is.

 This Is Our God

Your grace is enough
More than I need
And your word I will believe
I wait for you
Draw near again
And your spirit make me new
And I will fall at your feet
I will fall at your feet
And I will worship you here
Your presence in me
Jesus light the way
By the power of your word
I am restored
I am redeemed
By your spirit I am free
And I will fall at your feet
I will fall at your feet
And I will worship you here
Freely you gave it all for us
Surrendered your life upon that cross
Great is your love
Poured out for all
This is our God
Lifted on high from death to life
Forever our God is glorified
Sovereign king
Rescued the world
This is our God
And I will fall at your feet
I will fall at your feet
And I will worship you here
And I will fall at your feet
I will fall at your feet
And I will worship you here
Freely you gave it all for us
Surrendered your life upon that cross
Great is your love
Poured out for all
This is our God
Lifted on high from death to life
Forever out God is glorified
Sovereign king
Rescued the world
This is our God

This Is Our God

If you’ve been keeping up with my weekly Sunday Summaries, you know that a new message series at Mountain Lake just kicked off this past weekend: When All Else Fails.  So, when I heard this song the other day, the words resonated with me in a deeper way.

Have you made a mess of your life?  My God can return your wasted years.

Has sadness overcome you?  He can wipe away your tears.

Are you in need of rescue?  My God is able.  He is a lifeline of hope for you.

Listen for yourself…..and celebrate the greatness of our God.

This Is Our God, by Chris Tomlin

A refuge for the poor, a shelter from the storm
This is our God
He will wipe away your tears and return your wasted years
This is our God
Oh…
this is our God

A father to the orphan, a healer to the broken
This is our God
And he brings peace to our madness and comfort in our sadness
This is our God
Oh… this is our God
this is the one we have waited for

Oh… this is our God
A fountain for the thirsty, a lover for the lonely
This is our God
He brings glory to the humble and crowns for the faithful
This is our God

God Still Loves a Good Gift

Recently, I was reading in the book of Numbers about the offerings God required from His people.  I discovered I’m more like God than I realized…..I love a getting gifts, too.  As a matter of fact, my hubby returns from Africa tomorrow, and I’m hoping he has a little something in his suitcase for me.  But, I digress.  God instructed His people to make offerings to Him.  Lot of them.  There were daily offerings, weekly offerings, monthly offerings, and several different yearly offerings.  Lots of offerings.

Life in 2011 looks vastly different for us Christians.  We don’t sacrifice animals to atone for sin or bring flour with oil as a symbol of worship and thankfulness.  But, one thing remains the same: our need to bring an offering to God – often.

What will be your offering to God today? This week?  Will you provide for someone’s need out of love for God?  Will you serve in His House out of gratitude for all He has given to you?  Will you give the tithe as He commanded?  Will you bring a repentant heart?  Or, maybe you’ll give something up on Christ’s behalf to show your commitment to Him.

These aren’t simply tasks you perform.  They are acts of worship – offerings to our Heavenly Father to speak love and thankfulness to Him.  Oh, but it’s more than even that.  Worship – our response to the overwhelming love and grace of God – is lived out as we offer our lives to Him…offer our service…offer our schedule…offer our resources.  Worship is not checking something off the “to-do” list.  It’s not viewing your volunteer service at church as a job.  And, it’s certainly not something done out of habit.  Bringing an offering to God stems out of a thankful heart.

So, that’s what God talked to me about the other day.  Then, I heard this song.  God has a unique way of putting the period at the end of a sentence.  I pray God uses it to inspire YOU to bring many offering of thanksgiving and praise to the One who set you free.  Click the link to listen.

Offering by Third Day

Magnificent Holy Father

I stand in awe of all I see

Of all the things You have created

But still You choose to think of me

And who am I that You should suffer

Your very life to set me free

The only thing that I can give You

Is the life You gave to me

This is my offering, dear Lord

This is my offering to You, God

And I will give You my life

For it’s all I have to give

Because You gave Your life for me

I stand before You at this altar

So many have given You more

I may not have much I can offer

Yet what I have is truly Yours

This is my offering, dear Lord

This is my offering to You, God

It’s Going To Be Worth It

This journey called life is full of high’s and low’s.  Thrills and hurts.  Hard work and pleasure.  And, if you are anything like me, you want to know your life has purpose, significance, and impact.  Nothing less will do for me.  The journey can be exhilarating, but it can also leave me feeling harried and used up.  Nevertheless, I soldier on.  Why?  Because I know my Heavenly Father.  I know Him well enough to know that He’ll never allow to go without His strength and that He will refresh me as I go.  Yet, even if He didn’t, I know that my God is worth it all – everything I have, everything I can give, everything I am. 

This song recently popped up on my Pandora mix list, and I stopped what I was doing to sit down and listen.  Maybe you should, too.  Go ahead, click here to listen.  The lyrics are below.

Rita Springer
Worth It All

I don’t understand Your ways
Oh but I will give You my song
Give You all of my praise
You hold on to all my pain
With it You are pulling me closer
And pulling me into Your ways

Now around every corner
And up every mountain
I’m not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains
I’m desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need
I will say to You

It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it all
I believe this
It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it all
I believe this

You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it all
I believe this
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it all
I believe this

I don’t understand Your ways
Oh but I will give You my song
Give You all of my praise
You hold on to all my pain
With it You are pulling me closer
And pulling me into Your ways
Now around every corner
And up every mountain
I’m not looking for crowns
Or the water from fountains
I’m desperate in seeking, frantic believing
That the sight of Your face
Is all that I need
I will say to You
It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it all
I believe this
It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it
It’s gonna be worth it all
I believe this
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it all
I believe this
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it
You’re gonna be worth it all
I believe this

I Will Follow

Sometimes music, well, actually lyrics, catch my attention.  Catch my heart.  “I Will Follow,” by Chris Tomlin is one of those songs.  If you’ve ever wondered what kind of attitude pleases God, I’m sure it’s the one described by this song.  Oh, it’s the prayer of my life that I would follow my Savior with such abandon, with such surrender.  Go ahead, click here to listen for yourself.

“I Will Follow”

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow…

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my sight
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there’s life everlasting
In you there’s freedom for my soul
In you there’s unending joy
and I will follow

You know, it’s not all about us.  Nope.  It’s all about God.  Fully serving, loving, and following Him.  Won’t you replace your agenda today with His?

Are You Good Enough?

At our Churchplanters.com conference last year, Velocity 2010, I heard this song for the first time.  I was just about to speak to a group of Pastor’s Wives in a small group session.  As I always am before I speak, I was nervous and trying to focus my heart and mind on Jesus rather than my fears.  Not fears of speaking on behalf of Jesus.  That’s my honor.  No, just the typical fears of screwing up, losing my train of thought, looking foolish,….you know, the basic fears we all have regarding what others think of us. Not to mention, I was battling strep throat and a sinus infection, complete with steroids that were making me sick.  Needless to say, my nerves were building. 

As I sat in the first main session of Velocity 2010, I was praying and asking God to use me in spite of my silly nerves, fears, and inadequacies.  Just then Anthony Evans took the stage and sang a song just for me.  God used the lyrics to change my perspective and remind me that I am just His vessel; He’ll do the work.  I don’t have to be THE BOMB!  He is.

Want to hear it for yourself?  Click here to listen.

Hold on you got the wrong guy
And I’m wondering why you don’t seem to see
The job at hand needs a better man
But for some crazy reason you’re calling me
Overwhelmed and under prepared
It’s written on my face I’m scared
Then I hear you call out to me.

You don’t have to be good enough
This love is for free and it’s more than enough
I’ll be your strength in all you say and all you do
My Love will make you
Good enough

You don’t have to be capable
Just be available to follow where I lead
Whatever, whenever, wherever oh you’ll
Never believe all the things you can do through me
So when this big world makes you feel small
Hold your head up high and walk tall
Cause this is where the good news begins

Blessed are the poor they will inherit the earth
And the weak they will find their true worth
He said come all you weary come get closer to me

you don’t have to be good enough

Are you trying to accomplish things in your own power?  Are you trying to measure up or be good enough to win the approval of others?  Rest in the truth of this song, my friends.  You don’t have to be able.  Just be available.

Have You Ever Felt This Way?

Last Sunday, Mountain Lake was blessed to have Anthony Evans lead us in worship, along with our own incredible worship team.  Anthony is talented, no doubt.  He hits notes that just make me happy.  But, do you know his real talent?  That man can preach a sermon through his songs.  I’m not kidding.  He sang, “How He Love Us” so powerfully Sunday morning that I think we really could have closed out in prayer right then.  Oh, but I’m glad we didn’t because God used my husband to speak a powerful word, and then Anthony sang a song with lyrics so beautiful I simply had to share them with you.  Click here to listen.

On the outside
You think I’m alright
There’s a smile on my face
Everything’s okay
But on the inside there’s a different story
I’ve stumbled down this road
And I’ve got so for the go
I’m a broken man
On my knees again
Longing for a touch from you
I need your hand to

Restore me
I need your mercy
Take me
To the place I used to be
Use all the pain and the hurt
To do a greater work and
Restore me

I wore my mask
Running away from my past
Hiding all my scars
Thinking I’d gone too far
But he knew my pain
And He loved me just the same
He promised I’d be free
If I fell on my knees and cried

Chorus

Restore unto me the joy of my salvation
So I’ll sing again the song you wrote for me
Give me a clean heart I want a brand new start
Like the moment when I first believed

Chorus

If you have ever felt the weight of your sin or the burden of conviction, you’ll love this one.  Add it to your playlist.  Worship God through its words.  Be still before God, and let the words of this song speak for you. 

If you want, you can purchase Restore Me on Anthony’s 2004 CD, Even More, here.