It was good to be back in the adult services this week. I enjoyed my two weeks with the kids, but I was glad to be able to hear Shawn's sermon this week, and to not be running back and forth between the stage and the gym.
The worship set was great. It was not anything new or different, but it struck me pretty deep this week. There are weeks that for some reason every lyric of every song carries great weight and meaning. Maybe because they were familiar songs, I was more easily able to focus on the lyrics and the meaning and being genuine in singing them to my Creator. Who knows, but for whatever reason, for me this week, it was a great time of connection with God.
I loved Shawn's sermon this week. He was talking about knowing who and whose we are. I love to hear him speak about how beautiful and valuable we are to our God. We are His own children. He loves us more than we could ever love our own children. That is unfathomable to me. God spoke to me in several of the scripture passages that Shawn used this week.
I John 3:2, "Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he come we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is." In turning 35, I have confronted my mortality all of a sudden. I don't know why it has hit me that I'm aging. Maybe it's all the gray hair and needing to dye it. Who knows. But whenever I try to picture eternity, I hit a brick wall. I can't seem to imagine life with God, and then I panic a little at the unknown. It was great to see this verse- that even one of Jesus' best friends, John, couldn't imagine life after Christ's return either. So that made me feel a little better - that it's okay that I don't understand it all very well yet.
Galations 4:4-7 brought tears to my eyes. It talks about us being bought as slaves so that God could make us free. That concept is nothing new - but it made me teary eyed in vs. 6, "now you can call God your dear Father." Don't miss this. God who formed the earth, who made the oceans, who named the stars, who is surrounded eternally by angels singing His praise - that's the God that loves me. He says that I can call Him "Abba", or "Daddy." All majestic, powerful, wonderful, worthy God - says that I can call Him, "Abba," as a beloved child. WOW!
Ephesians 5:1, "Follow God's example in everything you do, because you are his dear children." The version Shawn used said that we should be imitators of God. That reminded me about our son James trying to imitate his daddy when he was a little boy. He would put on his tiny toddler feet into his daddy's shoes and stomp around and pretend to go to work. James was imitating Shawn, just the way we should imitate God. I worry lots about finding out what God's will is for my life. Imagine how amazing my life would be if I just mimicked the things that Jesus did in the New Testament. Ministering to the sick - helping the poor - loving children - sharing hope with the hopeless - if God never spoke to me again to give me any other guideline than to imitate Jesus' ministry, it would still be more than I could ever fulfill in my lifetime.
I absolutely loved this sermon. Tonight as I write this, it is at the end of a hard night. When I am exceptionally tired, old demons come back to haunt me. Some experiences and insecurities at the gym tonight coupled with some other recent events have left me broken and uncertain. Tonight I am hearing the voices that are certain that I am too old, too weak, too fat, too untalented, too hopeless, too sinful, too stupid...... that I can never be who God wants me to be or accomplish the things that God needs me to accomplish. All of my dreams are for nothing, and I will never be anything. Rationally, I know that all of this is a really big load of crap, but it does not make it any less loud or any less painful to hear in my head. Going back through these verses is like cool water on a hot day. It soothes the pain and helps me to sort out lies from truth.
Oh - and one last part of the Monday Morning Update - tomorrow is Shawn's birthday. For his birthday gift, some of the families from The Crossroads went together and bought us tickets to the Bon Jovi concert in Dallas Sunday night. He was completely surprised and thrilled. We had such a great time on our date! And how cool is it that we are a part of a church who blesses their pastor with rock concert tickets! Now that's just fun!