My Song Will Never Cease

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A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease.

John Muir

There’s something about the words of John Muir that stir the wildness in me. Muir was so close to nature he could hear God’s whisper in the trees, he could feel his heart beat in the mountains, he could feel his breathing in the air and taste his goodness from the fruits of the trees.

I’ve always been a bit of a hippy at heart but the ways of the world have always drawn me away from the desire to be as free as I dream. But the most wonderful revelation I have had is that when we truly place ourselves in the hands of Mighty God our dreams come true. The world thinks that to follow Jesus and obey his commands is a sanctimonious set of rules made to trap a man; the irony is it is the complete opposite.

When I turned my back on God I went to wild parties, travelled the world, gave my heart and body to whatever, whoever I chose. But, the sad, sad fact was I was desperately trapped. I was in a prison of rebellion.

When I came back to church I looked at all the people and felt immediately irritated by the fact that they were all worshipping with their hands in the air. Some were even shaking and making weird noises and my immediate thought was, these people need to get a grip. If they want people to turn to God then they need to sort out how they conduct themselves during worship! Little did I know that a year from then I would be the one with my hands in the air, jumping for joy, shouting at the top of my voice how amazing God is. Little did I know, I would lay prostrate on the floor, weeping into the carpet because of the beautiful revelation that I am loved, I am forgiven and I am saved!

My mum always said we are made to worship God and if we don’t worship him we will worship something else. Every single soul on this planet is worshipping something because that’s what we are made to do. Our hearts are made to turn to what we love. Whether it is ourselves, our bodies, our food, our jobs, a person, a hobby, a house, a car…whatever it is we think about most is most likely what we worship.

When I came back to God, I worshiped him with such intensity, I thought about him all the time, he was my last thought before I fell asleep and as soon as I woke up I would smile a big smile because of Jesus! I couldn’t get enough of church, the bible, any book about God, any song about God. I told everyone about God! I even chewed the ears of the taxi drivers at 3am on my way home from a night out as I went on and on about God.

As the years have gone on and nights out are a distant memory, my love and passion for Jesus still burns bright, but it’s more like a fire in my bones that I’m tired of holding in. And the demands of family life have taken those precious moments of stillness in his presence. Oh how I took that time for granted! Now I am desperate for a small chance to get alone with God and read his precious words. And to be honest, I have felt frustrated at times because I couldn’t fully focus on him, I couldn’t read his words, or sing to him, or close my eyes and be in heavenly places, but lately God has been talking to me about worship in its fullness.

Worship doesn’t just happen when we engage our brains with him, it’s more than that. It’s more than music, its more than the raising of hands, its more than the bowing of heads and the bending of knees. I am discovering worship in the busiest moments, in the chaos, in the middle of the storm my spirit is stilled. I’ve discovered I don’t even have to utter a word or even move a muscle and I can be immersed in wonderful worship. Because worship is deeper than what is seen on the outside, worship is a matter of the heart, it is the positioning of the heart in every single moment.

I’ve come to realise that worship can be everything. When we are truly intimate with him, we become worship. Everything I say and do can be done worshipfully. When I look into the eyes of my beautiful children I am filled with gratitude and my heart is dancing with praise. When my boys smile and my eyes well with wonder, my heart is pounding a worshipful drum. When my boys are crying and hurting and I call out Jesus’ name and my heart bows in worship. When I’m tired and sick and fed up of the world and I turn to my saviour and shed my tears, my heart sings a sad song, but it’s still a worshipful one.

Jesus says, If we stay silent even the rocks would cry out, everyone and everything is made to worship the creator. Just take a look at us here on this earth, look at how we use our bodies and minds to express our love and praise. Whether it be jumping up and down and shouting at the top of our lungs at a football match, raising our arms in a concert, being intimate with a loved one or simply being unable to get a particular thought about someone or something out of our minds we allow this love to consume us. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with all of the above but my question is: Do we love these things more than we love God?

Do we jump up and down and shout at the top of our lungs for him? Do we raise our arms to him? Are we intimate with him? Are we unable to get him out of our minds because he is so wonderful and all consuming?

I long to be like this but he knows my heart, he knows I ache for him even though my time is limited and like the gentleman he is, he is showing me a way to find him in pockets of time. He is helping me posture my heart like the once swirling trees, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm. I am finding that the simple act of what I eat, what I say, what I think and what I fix my eyes on is worshipful.

The God of the universe who created the earth and every living being takes residence in my heart and how I worship as I write these words. And although lately my worship has been stilled to silence…my song will never cease.

Let the skies sing for joy,

Let the earth join in the chorus,

Let oceans thunder and fields echo this ecstatic praise,

Until every swaying tree of every forest joins in,

Lifting up their songs of joyous praise to him!

Psalm 96 (The Passion Translation)

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Drink Me

 

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But those who drink the water I give will never

be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling

spring within them,

giving them eternal life.” (John 4:14)

I often found myself, during my black and white years meeting up with the Cheshire cat in the most unlikely places. He would appear and disappear in the background of my sorry scene and grin and wait for me to engage in some philosophical conversation.

When I came close to Jesus, it was like God coloured me in. The black and white world around me slowly turned to colour. When I found my feet in church again, an inexpressible joy welled up in me and that joy has continually bubbled. It’s the same joy I felt during my childhood, those Sunday school days and worship times and prayers before bed. This joy is a joy that never goes away. It can be tested. It’s not like happiness; to be happy is momentary, it comes and goes. No, the joy of Jesus never leaves. I have known joy during grief, during times of deep sadness. When I miscarried my second child I was deeply sad but joy continually welled. This glimmer of hope, like a flickering flame that can never be blown out burned in my heart.

But I have experienced times when it seemed that this joy had almost vanished. From the age of 12 to 26 I closed the church door behind me and dived head first into a dark world dressed up as light. I gave my heart so freely and so dangerously but all along the broken path, I ached for truth; I wept for it. Deep into the night I cried out in emptiness for something to fulfil me, but I just found myself falling and falling deep down the rabbit hole and into an empty room with a tiny door of beauty beyond, but my flesh was too big to enter it.

But then, just when I thought there was no point in going any further, I saw the bottle that said, “drink me.” And as I drank the living water, joy filled my heart again. My dry and withered self revived into an explosion of wonderful colours. I could see the miracle in everything. I could finally see God touch every inch of darkness with his wand of light; I began to see God in everything. In the beads of rain strung like pearls on a cobweb. Through it I could see the glorious sun shine through black clouds slashing like a sword through the tired day.

God’s grin could be seen everywhere. Even on the most dreadful of days, when the rain was heavy and the wind played havoc with my mind; there He was smiling, like the still in the eye of a storm. Bringing me an inexplicable peace. I began to feel alive. More alive than I had ever felt before. Especially when I opened the bible. The words leapt like stars across the page. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Every single word struck my heart with incredible truth. I drank in the pages and felt every word hydrate my soul like liquid gold. It was as though every word written was just for me. Making me feel so precious, so loved, so unique.

Joy burns bright when I see the miraculous; the uniqueness in each and every one us. It stuns me to think that we live on a unique, beautiful green and blue planet in an incredibly gob smacking solar system of multi coloured planets in an infinite space. Doesn’t this just simply blow your mind? It amazes me to know that every single human being on this planet is unique. Our DNA is completely distinct. And what astonishes me is that at the moment of conception when the sperm meets the egg; DNA is formed and in that DNA we can determine the fundamental and distinctive characteristics of who we will be, what colour hair and eyes each one of us will have, what qualities we will carry.

When I look into the deep blue eyes of my beautiful boys ( my husband included) I revel in delight. My heart bursts with joy at how wonderfully unique and complex we really are. I have promised myself I will not be having any more children but I must admit, there are moments when I excitedly think…but if we had another one, who would they be? A completely brand new little human, made by our love and designed by God. We can choose this little being to come into existence. I must admit there’s something quite exhilarating about this. Something utterly miraculous and brave.

As I travelled through Wonderland I desperately tried to find meaning in life, but all through my time giving my heart away there was a hollowness that ached inside. Like Alice I found myself falling down the rabbit hole and almost drowning in my own tears. Sure there were moments where I would stumble upon happy times with the mad hatter at his tea party but soon enough i would dissolve into despair again; nothing fulfilled me. I tried to find satisfaction in all sorts of things and there were times I would feel good in the moment, but like most tangible things in life, the enjoyment expired, the moment faded.

The thought of not knowing Jesus now is unbearable. Settling down, getting married and having children is a blessing, but as wonderful as it is to have such precious boys in my life, I would not cope if I didn’t know the beauty of my Father. I would be an anxious wreck if I didn’t know the grace of God. The thought of losing another child (especially one I have nurtured and fallen deeply in love with) at one time would have destroyed me. Yet now I can face death bravely, I know where my babies are going when they leave this earth. I am absolutely certain that heaven is real. Jesus said, true faith is when there is no doubt in your heart. I can thankfully say I truly believe that the whole point of our lives here on earth is to know Jesus. There is nothing more fulfilling than this.

In fact, it’s worth your life. And it stuns me to know that Father in heaven loves me even more than I love my own children. In fact, i’m still trying to get my head around this one. Giving your heart to Jesus and knowing you are loved unconditionally leads to wholeness, it leads to a whole new and wild adventure; a pure, unadulterated joy that never fades. Eternal life beckons, heaven beckons. In fact, if you look closely enough heaven breaks out in Wonderland.