I stood at the front of the church after service packing up the computer and answering the all too familiar question again…
“So now that you’re graduated with your master’s degree… What are you going to do?”
I graduated at the beginning of May. May 8, to be precise. I graduated without a job lined up even though i’ve been applying since December. December. I thought that surely I would have had a couple of offers by now! Surely I won’t be graduating with nothing!
But I did. I am. I’m here. I started applying to retail jobs last week. Just in case. You know? I had nightmares about this happening 6 months ago and turns out, it’s not the worse thing in the world. I’m alive and my needs are met and my parents are patient. And so am I. For the most part. Sort. of.
“So I guess the question is, out of all the options you have, what do you really want to do?” her voice brought me out of my thoughts.
What do I want to do? I stared down at the computer I was putting away. Trying to keep a poker face. I looked up at her earnestly. “This. I want to do this! If I could worship for the rest of my life just like this. I would.”
I interpret/sign the music at church every now and then. I love it. I feel alive. I know WHO He is… and I know who I am and I know what He did for me while I’m singing to him. It’s all clear up there. I want that clarity. I want that worship. all the time. Every moment. Worship. Worship.
Driving home that night I kept thinking about that word and went back to each time I had truly worshiped. My mind floated back to various situations, circumstances, songs, moments, days, weeks, months and years… And I landed on a very vivid memory. One that I would dare say was probably the most worshipful time of my entire life.
And music wasn’t involved. Signing wasn’t involved. No one was really involved in that particular moment but me. Me and Him. That’s it.
It was the most painful part of my life and the part full of the most worship. The most memorable worship.
It was close to three years ago now… maybe 2.5…I had not been following the Lord. I had been doing my own things. I hadn’t even bothered going to church. I didn’t even know if I believed the Bible and if I didn’t believe the Bible why would I want to follow it? So I didn’t. I did my own thing completely. And I was in secret. Avoiding people. Avoiding things. Avoiding church. Avoiding God. Not sleeping. Not being alone. Not being still or quiet. Constantly going. Constantly studying to show myself that even without God I could make good grades. I could still succeed. I still believed in Him. I just didn’t know if I believed in Him the same way that I did before when everything was so much more simple, because I believed that at that time, my way was right. It felt right. How could it have been wrong? I trusted my feelings, i trusted my mentors, my friends, myself. I looked into other religions for another way to worship where I could accept myself and accept a god.
I only found myself. I was my religion.
My church family at the time found out. They pulled me aside. Several times. Not just once, but several times over several months. With each time they pulled me aside, the more in my way I became. The more miserable I became. The less I slept. The less I ate. Or maybe the more I ate, I don’t know anymore.
And then it happened. I went to meet one of the “church people”, as I called them, for coffee to explain myself and a recent facebook post I had posted that had offended them all. I thought “If she has the balls to ask me to go to coffee and wants an explanation instead of judging me, then she deserves that explanation” So I went.
And they all were there. Not just her but all them church people. And they sat me down in love. With Love. With tears. With grief. They shared their heart with me. They wanted to see how I was doing. They cared about me. They want whats best for me. They pray for me. If I decided to come back to Jesus they would be there. The entire time.
And I sat there with tears spilling down my face angry. Pissed off angry. Not just angry but… infuriated. Seething. How COULD they? How could they surprise me? My self righteousness built up walls of defense around my heart. My pride. Mine. My thoughts. My actions. Mine. Mine My. I. I…. I.
Then one said “If you come back to church. If you come back to Jesus… we will sit with you. We will grieve with you. We will cry with you. Walk you through it. You are our sister, our daughter, our friend. We love you. You are not alone. You don’t have to do it alone.”
And I cracked. I wanted to hear that. I wanted her hug. I wanted that support. I wanted out.
I said “thank you.” still angry. And I got it my car and drove off.
As I drove back to where I was staying, I cracked more. So deep to the core that I heard a sound come out of me that i’d never heard before. And I cried. I wailed. I screamed “WHY? WHY GOD? WHY? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I DON’T UNDERSTAND… I don’t Want to understand…” But I understood. And in that moment. Between those tears. Between the snot. Between the loss and the hurt. Between those moments of wailing. Between the screams. In my hoarse whispering voice, I knew what I had to do and I surrendered. I surrendered and there I was.
The most painful, raw, excruciating, pure worship of my life.
Those words… are not that different from each other.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17.
So that’s worship.
What do I want to do for the rest of my life, you ask?
Surrender my will to His. Continually come back to a place of broken repentance. continually wail out the name of “Jesus”. Continue humbling myself and my will. Continue to deny my emotions, because emotions LIE! Continue to move forward to Him and look back and remember what He’s done for me. He forgives me. He forgave me. He’s forgiven. He loves me… he died for me just to know me.
He surrendered His will so I could have the strength to surrender mine.
That’s what I want to do forever.
If that means I stay in Knoxville, I will.
If that means I move. I will.
Work retail. I will.
Work a job I don’t want. ill try… hehe.
I want to stand at the alter with my empty hands lifted to Him in all painful, joyful, beautiful and broken times of life and say
“oh Lord, I will”.
Help me do that, because I cannot alone… that’s why He died… so that I can with Him. With Him I can… WIth Him I am able.