Worship is Who You Are

Today is the last Sunday we will be in Aberdeen, UK, but I’m so glad it’s Sunday.  In many ways God has been preparing me for this trip.  Not in physical ways, but in spiritual ways.  Long before I knew anything of these travels I believe God was putting a special desire in my heart- a desire to burst this little bubble I was in and really know what it felt like to worship.

God’s been inviting me to hear Him…”Brittany, worship is not a place, it’s not a song, it’s not an event…It is who you are.”  And somewhere in my spirit I’ve been saying, “Yes, Lord, teach me to worship.”  Along with that came an ache to experience a type of worship I have never known.  As much as I enjoy worship back home at the church I’ve been going to for over a decade, somewhere I longed for more.  I knew there was more.  I’ve felt a deep burden to experience the limitless bounds of true worship that is done in spirit and in truth, not confined by anyone or anything.  I’ve been longing to experience worship that doesn’t leave you unchanged.

To give you a little perspective, let me tell you about the church I was raised in.  Let  me say first of all, that I have nothing bad to say about it!  The Churches of Christ do not have instruments, and we sing A Capella, which I have always thought is very pretty.  But along with that we have always been a conservative type of congregation.  Never been big hand-clappers or even hand-raisers, and don’t even mention dancing in the aisles!  I have never seen it!  I grew up shy and quiet, kept to myself and if I was honest maybe even felt uncomfortable with those who felt stirred to dance or fall to their knees in adoration of the Almighty God.

But somewhere inside of my quiet soul, I longed to worship God like that.

Last week we decided to try a church here in Aberdeen.  It’s less than a minute walking distance from our apartment and we looked them up online before we went to make sure we were in agreement about their beliefs.  I was so excited to be trying a different church from the one we go to back home.  It’s different here.  Here in the city, the churches sit right on the sidewalk usually on a busy street.  Many people walk and there is very little parking.  The doors to the churches stay open wide on Sunday and as you walk past you can hear voices of praise and worship spilling out into the street.  It beckons you to stop what you are doing and just come in.  I love that!  So different from our huge parking lots and huge church buildings back home.  I think with all that space, somewhere we miss the opportunity to just grab people off the street with our praises and invite them to experience Jesus with us.

We loved the church we visited and this Sunday we went again.  It’s called New Life International because much of the congregation is made up of people from all over the world.  Indians, African-Americans, Scots, and I’m sure many more of different nations were all there to celebrate Jesus.  I was excited by this as I longed to witness different kinds of worship and everyone being free to manifest their love for Christ in different ways.  It is a much smaller church, just a tiny fraction of the two services we have back home, but they were incredibly warm and inviting.  They had a small band and we were led in praise and worship for a good hour.  There was hardly a break between the songs, not really any scripture reading or prayers except what the Spirit was putting on the heart of someone to say.  Voices were raised loudly!  Even in this small church you could hardly hear your own voice among all the voices praising God!  Some people raised their hands and clapped their hands without hesitation.  There was a couple in front of me who found it necessary to dance to some songs too!  I felt myself loosening up among people who felt so free to express their love to God.  Between the songs, the band played softly waiting for the next song to begin and mingled with the chords and strings were whispers from the people praising God.  Perhaps they were praying or singing to themselves but it was hardly silent, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if maybe someone was speaking in tongues.  I know it sounds like an ancient mysterious thing, but it is simply a sign of being filled with the Spirit.  All those voices were truly captivating.  You could truly tell this was a Spirit led church and I was excited to be a part of it.

God is so good.  Every morning I try to read a little bit of the bible before everyone is up.  This morning I decided to flip over to 1 Corinthians and read a little bit about what was going on in the early church.  I was reading about the Lord’s Supper, and this verse in particular jumped out at me. “Therefore my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.” 1 Cor 11:33.  I never knew that.  As far as my memory serves me when we take communion we’ve always just ate whenever it was passed to us, pretty informally.  God is good because I believe He gave me this verse for this morning.  I remembered it as we sat in church this morning and we were asked to wait until everyone got their little juice and cracker so we could all eat as one body- such a great demonstration of unity!

After this trip, I know I will never be the same.  It has taught me so much, and these past two weekends worshiping with the body of Christ has changed me.  I continue to be amazed and excited about God’s plans in and through me, and I know for sure that worshiping Him is a part of that.  I know it’s not about the songs or the place or the time it takes.  Worship is an attitude of heart when you wake up in the morning.  Worship is the way in which you live out your faith.  Worship is everything you were created to be.

Advertisements

Lessons in Gentle Healing

As I said recently, we have all been sick here at our house.  We were up all night with the little one for about 3 days until we came to the end of our wits and our rope.  She didn’t seem that sick.  Her fever was gone and she had a runny nose.  She was fussy and didn’t want to sleep and refused to eat at many of her nursings.  I just figured she felt crummy, and when you feel crummy you don’t really feel like eating a whole lot.  But after a few days of all of this, and barely any sleep, and my mommy powers being taken away because she didn’t want to nurse- well when my husband suggested we take her to the doctor in the middle of the night, I knew it was the right thing to do.  At least we could all have a change in scenery- even if it was the inside of an 24 ER.

I feel kind of silly writing that I took my child to a 24 ER because she wouldn’t sleep, but we did and I’m glad we did.  Turns out she felt so crummy because she had an ear infection and tonsillitis.  I felt bad at first that I didn’t realize my baby was hurting so much!  But truly, this was the first time in 11 months she has even been sick enough to warrant a trip to the doctor or need medicine, and I don’t think I was expecting it, considering she’s not around very many other children.

The next day I also went to the doctor and we all got more medicine than you would think three people could use.  I decided not to take any of it.  I had a virus, so antibiotics wouldn’t do anything anyway, and I’m still (happily) breastfeeding and there’s very little that you even can take under that circumstance.  I didn’t want to chance it.  My husband, being sick for about two weeks, finally started getting better on antibiotics.  We really debated whether or not to give Marlee her antibiotics.  There’s information out there that states that a lot of children can safely recover from ear infections without antibiotics.  But I also read that children under 2 have a greater chance of developing complications from ear infections, and since she can’t talk yet, I felt we wouldn’t have a good way to know how she was doing without it.  Especially since we didn’t even catch on that she was so sick in the first place.  (But that is just what we did in our situation.  If you have a little one, you should make your own assessment, talk to your doctor and decide whether you’re child needs antibiotics or not.)

But through all this craziness, sickness, doctors and medicine, I still have this very strong, underlying belief…

I can help my body (or my child’s body) heal itself gently and naturally.

There are a few experiences in my life that led me to think this way.  The first was experiencing my father’s diagnosis of cancer, and in two years, it taking his life.  I saw all the latest modern medicine, and all that it did not do to help him.  It was around that time I became fascinated with alternative types of medicine.  The second was my own experience with anxiety.  For a while in my young life, it took over my life.  The medicine I was on for a short time, without a doubt, made things worse, and it was then I began to educate myself on my own, and read books about how to relax myself without drugs.  The third was my decision to have a home birth.  It was an easy decision.  I knew my body was created to accomplish that purpose and didn’t need man made inventions to do it.

But something wasn’t adding up.  If I had so eagerly educated myself and found gentler, better alternatives to other situations in my life, why wasn’t I applying it to my own child?  Who I want, more than anyone, not to be inundated with synthetic chemicals and drugs?  I realized my values in this area needed education and action behind them.  I couldn’t offer her anything but modern medicine, as long as I did not know what else to offer her!  So now I am embarking, just like in the other situations in my life, to educate myself about childhood illnesses, natural remedies, how food plays a role and other alternatives like chiropractic (which I already believe is very beneficial).

It’s not that I am against modern medicine like pain relievers or antibiotics, certainly there have been times when I was grateful for those things and more, but I believe that we were all designed wonderfully by a brilliant and infinitely wise Creator.  I don’t want to try and take God’s place, I believe healing ultimately and in every situation comes from Him (whether we recognize it or not), but I think by treating ourselves a bit gentler, we can honor God.  We can honor God by acknowledging His divine wisdom in the way He made our bodies to work and fight off diseases on their own, and also acknowledging the amazing wisdom and functionality in the different plants and herbs He made for our benefit.

I really want not just to learn about natural remedies for my family, but to put even more of my life in His hands.  Letting go of fear of the unknown, I can learn to trust and pray to Him when we need healing and wisdom and look to Him first, the Great Physician and Healer and Restorer of every part of our lives.

I love that God has given each of us common sense and intelligence, and the ability to acquire knowledge.  I think each of us can use that to better ourselves and our lives (as long as it does not contradict the word of God).  I am now just beginning this journey towards learning how to treat illness with a different perspective, that is, faith based, not fear based, and am excited to see where God will take me!

 

In what kinds of ways do you help your body heal gently?

 

texas fires rage on

This morning my husband and I awoke early to a little babe who decided to get up early…and so did we.  As my husband left for work he came back inside and said, “Honey, come out here.”  As I stepped outside the first thing I noticed was how cool it was (glorious!) but then immediately noticed the cloudy haze across the new morning sky and the distinct rich smoky smell of burning wood.

The wildfires have been particularly bad this year- worse than anytime I can remember.  The month of triple digit, hot and dry temperatures seemed to dry everything to a crisp.  Finally we are getting tolerable temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s, but with this wonderful temperature came a severe drop in humidity- bad for trying to put out fires. (Perhaps the only time we have actually wanted more humidity!)  And as we hoped the tropical storm would inch our way and give us a shower of relief, the only thing it brought to us was high wind- just awful for the fires that had already popped up.  And not one drop of rain!

My heart goes out to all those who have already lost their homes, their land and perhaps more than that.  I am glad though for everyone who is safe, albeit, homeless.  Recently, my husband and I have been looking at buying a couple acres in a neighborhood further from the city, and as it turns out, that neighborhood has been dangerously close to the uncontrollable fires as well.  I’m not sure why God allows certain things to happen, or why He wouldn’t just send some rain clouds our way to relieve us and help those exhausted firefighters, but what I do know is what the Scripture says.  This came to mind this morning and I will leave you with this:

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die…A time to kill and a time to heal, A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance; A time to gain and a time to lose…”

(See all of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

%d bloggers like this: