Worship Stories: No Other Name

I thought about documenting a few of my experiences in worship – I know we all are blessed to have them, but worship is such a huge part of our daily routine (with Paul being a worship leader) that I find myself wanting to write down my stories to share them with others. Worship is what kept me in church when I first came back in 2007. I was in a bad place: totally desperate and completely doubtful. Desperate and doubtful is a bad place to be. But when I walked through the doors at my church and watched (yes, watched) people sing… not out of a hymnal… but on fire and in love with this distant God that I was so sad I had been letting down for so long, my mind was blown. God likes this?

Worship helped to solidify in my mind that God wants me as I am. He doesn’t want me because I am portraying an obedient-hearted believer and dutifully singing words on a page (although, He wants plenty of people that way! Just not me). He wants me messy. And loud. And passionate. And convicted. And awestruck… that’s how I’m moved. And I am so grateful for the ability to worship Him how He has built me to worship Him.

Anyway. My love of worship was born then… and I have a lot of stories of songs that I’ve listened to alone, in bed, crying – completely moved and speechless because I felt so loved. Songs that played on repeat as I struggled to rock my new baby to sleep. Songs that became our anthem during our second son’s health journey. Songs that helped me to understand how to deal when bad things happen. Songs that I fell in love with when I fell in love with a guy that led people in worship.

This weekend, our church did a new song – No Other Name, from Hillsong’s same album of the same title.There was a single part of in this song that completely reduced me to a pile of nothing. I just felt so small, so finite, so overwhelmed with His goodness. This song is SO powerful, but in recently walking through the scary times we did with Simon, singing this this past weekend reminded me to remember exactly Who we serve, in all His glory.

God isn’t a God that might show up. He will.

Also, He’s not a meek and emotional and soft God. I am meek and emotional and soft. He is UNDEFEATED. When I sang that line this weekend, I got chills. I love worship, but I don’t get chills often.

Seated on high
the undefeated One
Mountains bow down
as we lift Him up

MOUNTAINS bow down. Mountains, you guys. MOUNTAINS. Look out your window at Mount Rainier (well, all you Washington folk). That is a huge, unmovable piece of earth… and imagine that epic monument reducing to a pile of nothing in His presence.

He is strong. He is a force. Do you have any idea how huge that is? I loved how powerful this song portrays God. It will definitely be one that I recall when I need to remember that hard times don’t have anything on His greatness. And He’s on our side… how lucky are we?

The earth will shake
and tremble before Him
chains will break
as heaven and earth sing
Holy is name of Jesus

Get Lost

This weekend, Paul and I got out and drove.

It wasn’t intentional, until it was. We were planning on just running out to get coffee, maybe stop by the Farmer’s Market… but then we found ourselves one kid down (Porter spent the morning with Grammy and Opa), so we packed up our sleeping 4 month old into the truck and just drove.

We drove past the Farmer’s Market (which was SO PACKED. That’s what happens when it’s a sunny Saturday in Washington… everyone decides to get out and be active, ha), we stopped quickly by the post office and then Starbucks, and then we just kept driving. We went down the valley and into a small town called Orting. We were going to stop for an early lunch at a cute cafe or bakery, but we didn’t see any that looked worthwhile (sorry, Orting). So, we kept driving. We drove through Orting and the further we drove, the more tranquil and peaceful the setting became. Rolling countryside, farms, evergreens, blue skies, whispy clouds… and we began to talk.

One thing about Paul and I: we have opposite communication styles, especially in regards to conflict. The other day, he asked me if I wanted to go to grab a dessert at a local diner, so we left the kids with the grandparents after they were in bed, and ran off to get milkshakes. I was feeling so excited – an impromptu date night! – only to find out when I got there and settled that Paul had decided this was an ideal time to unload all his grievances. How he was feeling – about life, about kids, about the aftermath of Simon’s health issues, about me. Had I been SET UP? It completely overwhelmed me.

I was ANGRY. I immediately got on the defense and refused to hear anything he said. I know he was frustrated with my reaction, because in his mind – he thought he was doing a good thing. Taking me out, getting us on neutral ground, putting ice cream in my face, and then telling me how he was feeling about life.

All I could see was him working hard to devise a scheme to catch me off guard and OMGHOWSELFISHANDANNOYINGISTHAT.

Needless to say, the convo didn’t go great. I cried, he back-peddled, we accomplished nothing. We did talk more that night, when we got home, and I was able to explain to him how I felt a little “tricked” and that I wish he would have come to me and said: “Hey, babe, I want to chat about some stuff – nothing too serious, but just some things on my heart. Let’s go get ice cream.” (For those of you that know my husband, that’s not weird – he would and has totally approached conflict like this before).

ANYWAY. After the whole Fake Date Fiasco, we found ourselves alone (not counting a snoozing 4 months old) in the car and driving through gorgeous countryside. The sun was beaming. John Mayer was on the radio. Naturally, we began to talk. No phones, no agenda. I asked questions out of curiosity, and not out of anger. He gave me honest and heartfelt answers. He asked questions. I analyzed, and gave heartfelt answers. We accomplished a lot, but better than anything – we just talked. It was so nice to reconnect on an emotional level, without the drama of a fight or a “come to Jesus” meeting of the minds.

When was the last time you truly connected with your spouse? Was it forced, or organic? Did you listen, or did you do all the talking?

Just like I think investing into date nights and alone time is so important for married couples, especially when you have kids (it’s still a non-negotiable for us!), communication is also key. It doesn’t have to be a fancy date away… you can literally get in the car and drive into unfamiliar territory, get lost, and focus on nothing but each other.

We were both so refreshed after our drive, and we had come up with a fun game plan for a few realistic dreams we have for our family… all because we chose to take a couple hours and just get lost with each other.