Hey guys, Wow, what a busy week this has been. It has been a little out of the ordinary, but change is nice, right?! On Tuesday night, a group of our friends went and saw these guys live in Birmingham:
It's funny, one of my friends that went was telling her doctor where she was going and he referred to them as the Hillsongs...like maybe it was the Hill family singing songs? Not sure, but it was funny to us :) Anyways, for those of you not very familiar with Hillsong United, they are honestly revolutionists in the world of Christian music. Their songs are original and a battle cry to a desperate, God-seeking heart. Well, we definitely got the high energy that I expected, but at first it was different from what I expected. I don't know if it was the lasagna that I ate minutes before the concert (bad idea to have a heavy stomach and then jump around!) or the fact that we got there a little late, but it took me a couple of songs to really get into the concert. I had never been to a Christian concert before so it took me a second to get into the praise aspect of the concert. I believe that people should worship however they feel called to worship but sometimes it is hard for me to focus on the music when I watch how others worship. One thing I have learned over the years is my worship is for Christ alone and not for anybody else in that room. And, I have to remember that goes the same for everyone else so there should be no judgment. Anyways, one of the biggest differences in this concert than mainstream concerts was the bands' presence on stage. They weren't decorated in custom clothes and their show didn't really have lots of special effects but it was one of the most honest performances that I have ever seen. The members of this band are passionate about their love for Christ and that passion just overflowed into the audience. You couldn't help but be swept into the Jesus-loving, it was really uncontainable.
During the show, one of the lead singers (that had the CUTEST Australian accent) told the band's story about how they were just a bunch of kids in a youth group and decided to sing together. Now, with their new c.d. Aftermath, they travel all around the world sharing their love of Christ with others. Joel Houston, one of the worship leaders, says, "The message of Jesus Christ is eternal, yet He continues to reveal Himself in new ways... giving us what we need to be followers and disciples of Christ for this time in history," says Joel. "Life with God is fun, its an adventure, it is grace, freedom, peace and everything in between. Whether you are listening to our newest album or our very first, our prayer and passion is that you are empowered to live life with God, encouraged to stay on the course and excited about all that He has for your future." At the concert, Joel said that God took ordinary people, just like you and me, and made their lives extraordinary as they followed God's will for their future. It is so awesome to me to hear how people, just like you and me, gave their hearts to Christ and let Him do the rest. He is using this band to do powerful things for His kingdom and He has a special purpose for all of us....we just have to trust Him.
Trust is a big thing that I have talked about on this blog. I trust God with everything because I know He loves me and will take care of me. I have learned that trust is most needed during adversity and that is when our hearts choose to cling to God or pull away. Over the past two years, I have clinged to God tighter than I ever have before and I am so thankful for how that strengthened our relationship. But, to be COMPLETELY honest, going through the tough stuff is awful. Part of me doesn't wish it on anybody but then the other part wishes it on everybody. I KNOW that these life circumstances have formed me into the person I am today but it isn't something that I just want to jump back into. Saying all of this, I've been living life a little scared lately. I've let worry and anxiety creep back into my heart and at times I lose that place of peace that I so happily dwell in with my Savior. It seems to me that some of my hardest moments in life occur in the springtime. Don't know why, but that is where it all went down these past two years. With the girls' first birthday quickly approaching, I have been scared about our future as a family. What is going to happen? What trial are we going to face this year? God, I don't want to go through tough times again...let us stay where we are, please God.
Maralee born 3 months premature last April
Needless to say, this fear is not getting me anywhere good. On Wednesday night, we had a service to kick-off the season of Lent. As most know, Lent is the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. It is a time of sacrifice for believers and also a time to prepare our hearts for the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. Lent is a time to give something up - addiction, food, pride - and also a time to spend in prayer and repentance. As I sat in the dimly lit sanctuary, I just became still asking God what He wanted ME to do for Lent. Kneeling on the altar, I was overcome with all of these emotions of fear. I felt myself hearing God say, "Why child, do you not trust me? Why are you so scared? You know I will take care of you. I have great things in store for you; I just need you to TRUST me." Letting God take my fears was such a release. I committed myself to prayer during the season of Lent - prayer for our world, prayer for our church, and prayer for our family/friends. I need to give God my praise and my fears. He is fighting off the devil's lies that he whispers to me, but I have to be courageous in my faith to see God working in my life. I want to be aware, every day, of how He is moving my life in BIG ways. He loves me and He wants me to live out His will - not my will, not the devil's will - but His will for my life. I have to trust that no matter what happens in my future, that God will continue to take care of me.
Friends, I pray that you give your fears to God. We can't sit here and analyze our futures because it is not doing us any good. God loves us and He will take care of us - no matter what comes our way. Let's let go of Satan's strongholds, shall we?
Till next time, let your light shine!