One of my favorite songs right now, is one written by the phenomenal Freda Battle. It’s a pretty simple song with a pretty powerful punch. Here are the words:
Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that’s within me
Every day is a joy to know You as Savior and Lord
I’m reminded as I reflect on Your goodness
Your love and mercy endure forevermore
Oh, bless the name of Jesus
Oh, oh my soul, bless the name of the Lord
Oh , oh, oh, oh, bless the name of Jesus,
Oh, my soul, bless the name of the Lord
Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Prince of Peace
The God who heals all disease and removes all my iniquities
See? Not that complicated. I’ll bet you already have it memorized. But, I could – and have – listened to this song for hours on end. Why? Simple – I understand it.
Back in 2000, I was going to a Christian college. I grew up in a Christian home, but decided that I wanted to know if I really believed in God or just was trained to believe in God. Actually, that’s not entirely true. There was a boy (duh) that was feeling like that and even though I did have my own questions, when he decided he was an atheist, I decided that I was an atheist. It didn’t’ go so well.
My (literal) week as an atheist went something like this:
Me: I don’t believe in You anymore, God!
God: Then, why are you talking to Me?
God: And, we both know you hear Me. So, you’re either not an atheist, or you’re crazy. You pick and get back to me.
Me: Oh, crap.
I wish I could tell you I was making this up, but, there are people who were there who still (as of this past weekend in fact) like to joke about it. It doesn’t bother me. In fact, I love to remember that because it reminds me how far I’ve come.
God was right, I’m not an atheist and I never was. I am a worshipper. Worship is the stuff that makes me get up in the morning. The day we found out my son, Kameron (now 9) had cancer (he wasn’t even 2 at the time), the first thing I did was cry, the second thing I did was worship. That’s always been my go to reaction. Something bad happens – first I cry second I worship. In my entire life – even when I tried to walk away from Him – God didn’t walk away from me. He’s held me in the palm of His hand my entire life and He’s doing the same with my family. This is why it wasn’t a surprise to know that my son’s tumor shrank faster than it was supposed to and his 18 month chemo plan was finished inside of 10.
In the words of a fabulous songwriter, William Murphy, “praise is what I do”. There have been times – including during the chemo…and the autism…and the celiac disease – that people have wondered how I can still believe and turn to God. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” What that means to me is that even when my kid is sick because he’s had poison injected into his body, even when my husband has trouble finding a job, even when my mom dies, even then, my Heavenly Daddy is there to take care of us.
“For this I give You praise” (“For Every Mountain” – Kurt Carr)
I sing because I get it. I praise because I understand. I ran away and came groveling back expecting to be reprimanded and told how much I “knew better”. But, that’s not what happened. The loving arms of my God welcomed me back and set me at a place of honor. And now? Now He’s using who I am to bring glory to Him. I love that! I get to write and to sing and to – through Him – be the very best version of me.
I’m not perfect. I’ve messed up and I’ve even been an (albeit very bad) atheist. But, it’s not my past that gets to define me. Dare I say, it’s not even my present that has to define me. It’s the words that are written on my destiny by my Creator. The words that say, “you are mine and that’s why you are enough”.
So, like I said, I’m a worshipper. It’s not what I do, it’s the DNA that makes me who I am. And now, I get to walk that out. I even get to take my cheesy dancing husband (who, btw, wasn’t the boy, but knew the boy and did know I wasn’t the atheist I claimed to be) with me. He has no rhythm, but I love him anyway. I have enough rhythm for both of us. LOL.
I guess February has been the month of me encouraging you. It’s been me letting you know that your life isn’t over and that your future is just beginning. God’s love is bigger than your past. My best friend likes to say, “your destiny stands in need of you”. Take God’s hand, find out who you are – and who you aren’t – and go get it.
See you next month,