a stripping away of heaviness

Friday night was rough.  It was a night filled with awful nightmares and I found myself awake, sobbing at 3am.  Even knowing the dream was just that…a dream…it left me feeling overwhelmed by despair and fear.

And as if to add insult to injury, once I was finally able to settle down enough to fall asleep again, I had another rotten dream – this one leaving me filled wtih inadequacy and shame.

The entire night, I truly felt attacked by the accuser and so I did the only thing I knew to do.  I got on my knees and countered lies with prayer and Truth.

But even then, all day Saturday I just could not shake this feeling of heaviness that hovered over me.  It was like a thick darkness had just attached itself to me and would not let go.  And the longer the day wore on, the lower I felt.  I just wanted to crawl back in bed and bury myself under the covers, under the dark, and sleep.

By the time the late afternoon rolled around, it was all I could do to drag myself to Saturday night worship at my church.  And as much as I wanted to be thrilled about coming into the house of God…well, I just wasn’t.

I faked it through the first couple of songs and listened diligently to the sermon, taking notes, highlighting in my Bible.  You know, all the “godly” things a person should do when they are in “church.”  But then, my pastor said something that sort of caught my attention.  That he wanted to change the language (and thereby the attitude) we all have when we come together for service.  That we wouldn’t say anymore, “I’m going to church,” but rather that we would say (and live) “I’m going to worship.”  Because that’s what it’s supposed to be, right?  It’s not about us getting entertained, or blessed even.  It’s about us coming together with the Body to worship the Most High God.  It’s about pleasing His heart, about offering Him a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

I could feel the black muck hanging over me start to crack.

And when the second song set started ~ an opportunity to respond to truth heard ~ it was incredible.  I soaked in the presence of Jesus and offered Him back my heavy-hearted worship and He came and stripped away all the dark.  He peeled away the layers of lies the enemy had plastered all over me the night before and in exchange, dressed me in His armor of light.

How I love Him so.

We worship because He is worthy.

We worship because He demands it.

We worship because in the offering of praise and thanksgiving, there is truth and release.

The Lord inhabits the praises of His people.  And where the Lord is, there can be no darkness.

And on this Monday, I continue counting the multitudes of blessings…

#86 a day to recoup from vacation

#87 sleeping in my own bed

#88 a mother who is struggling for her daughter

#89 checks waiting in the mailbox

#90 my husband surprising me with dinner

#91 shadow puppets on the ceiling

#92 a play date for the little one

#93 grace where it didn’t have to be

#94 little fingerprints on my glasses

#95 my new bathrobe

#96 sending out greeting cards just because

#97 hot doughnuts

#98 a new knee for my daddy

#99 a slow start to the morning

#100 a bright blue bird chasing another

#101 a hospital room with a view

#102 rainbow socks

#103 the warm red and blue blanket my grandma made

#104 deep breaths

#105 waiting in the car with husband and little one for the oldest to get out of school

#106 a nightmare that brought me to my knees

#107 kindness of a stranger

#108 the oldest letting the little one help

#109 made-up words to a song

#110 a small bruise that could have been a lot worse

#111 clouds painted on sky

#112 a bird that soars just above the tree line

#113 red, blue, and yellow kite high in the sky

#114 scriptures written on door frames

#115 a sky that promises rain

#116 the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit

#117 being completely overtaken by Him

#118 little baby cooing during worship

#119 sitting in the midst of God movement

#120 pink, blue, and gold darkness

#121 loud worship

#122 hearing what I needed to hear

#123 a stripping away of heaviness

#124 a pastor’s wife with her own passion

#125 a grocery list

#126 wrinkly raisin toes in the tub

#127 a royal priesthood

#128 fog lying low, hanging in air

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Do you have a gifts list?  Oh, how I hope you will join me in listing your gifts.  Please feel free to add yours in the comment section here if you’d like.  And I’d love for you to read Ann’s book One Thousand GiftsYou’ll be so very blessed.  And please also head over to the Multitudes on Mondays community and read more gift lists!

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the majesty of the Almighty

My family and I just got back home from a trip to the North Carolina mountains.  And as an added surprise, it snowed a little while we were there.  If there’s one thing that calls to mind the majesty of God to me, it is the beauty of the mountains.  And with the blanket of snow covering the ground and sprinkling the trees, at times I could barely speak…breathtaking for sure.

And I’ve continued to keep my list and I guess I’ve gotten on a roll with it because I’ve got a lot to add today.  I hope you don’t mind.  It’s just that once you start to pay attention to all the sweet blessings and gifts, you realize just how many there are…and how many you’ve often overlooked.  So to continue my gifts lists from last week…

#25 rays of sun coming through gray clouds

#26 prayers with the oldest on the way to school

#27 trees bare in winter

#28 a smile from a friend

#29 a surprise visitor bearing gifts

#30 bright green apples

#31 a hot shower

#32 a bookshelf filled with books

#33 the tick tick tick of the ceiling fan as it turns

#34 warm sun on my face

#35 a cross standing firm in the midst of an entanglement of weeds

#36 lights and color reflected off flowing white

#37 a moment with Him carved out of noise

#38 quiet cool dark where the peace of God is thick

#39 smashed yellow flowers from the little one’s hand

#40 Lego creations made by a little boy with a big imagination

#41 made-up stories

#42 the sound of covers rustling as the boys begin to awaken

#43 parents that live close by

#44 clean, clear water to drink

#45 the splashing of raindrops

#46 anticipation of a journey

#47 a conversation with a dear friend

#48 women gathered together to study the Word of God

#49 yellow flowers popping up among brown winter grass

#50 yummy eggs scrambled with broccoli and cheese

#51 a sweet little snuggle-bug in a yellow shirt

#52 lunch with my precious Jesus sister

#53 clouds that touch the tops of mountains

#54 raindrops on leaves all at once

#55 playing Scrabble with the oldest and my mom

#56 the majesty and beauty of the mountains

#57 a picture of me drawn by the little one

#58 the oldest crawling into my lap for a big tight hug

#59 a dusting of snow

#60 middle of the night conversation with my mom

#61 the oldest sighing in his sleep

#62 surprised little faces

#63 bacon frying, popping and crackling

#64 red, green, and purple grapes

#65 little blue pajama pants with red firetrucks

#66 snow that falls soft and silent

#67 a belly laugh of a little boy

#68 a silly dance by the oldest

#69 a song from a kazoo

#70 hot chilli on a cold day

#71 the hissing and bubbling of coffee brewing

#72 a crown of thorns on my finger

#73 my husband humming in the kitchen

#74 a conversation between the little one and my daddy

#75 the oldest playing “Happy Birthday” on his sweet potato flute

#76 breath blown that shows in cold air

#77 orange flames dancing that warm my feet

#78 ducks huddled together

#79 creaky wood floors

#80 big, medium, small

#81 brown grass standing tall through a blanket of snow

#82 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

#83 ten little fingers and toes

#84 a small mountain town

#85 sunlight pouring through the kitchen window

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Do you have a gifts list?  Oh, how I hope you will join me in listing your gifts.  Please feel free to add yours in the comment section here if you’d like.  And I’d love for you to read Ann’s book One Thousand GiftsYou’ll be so very blessed.  And please also head over to the Multitudes on Mondays community and read more gift lists!