The Lord has been opening up something from deep within the bowels of my soul. The Holy Spirit is pulling forth a swelling up and pouring out like none I have experienced to date. This began one summer evening when I was desperate for Him, for his presence, while in an atmosphere where the Holy Spirit was manifesting God’s love, healing, grace and mercy upon those seeking, and those interceding on their behalf.
“And He hath put a new song in my mouth, ever praise unto our God; many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3)
The Holy Spirit urged me into complete submission, a posture of worship, face to the floor. A bit later I felt my Lord, Jesus – he was gently lifting me up to sit upon my knees and provoking mine eyes to gaze upward, toward His brilliant light. Without a thought I raised my arms heaven-ward, then opened my mouth to sing out in praise and worship of my King. What came forth was a sound so passionate and powerful, it couldn’t possibly have been of this world.
Completely taken aback, I wondered if this might be the groaning of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the Bible: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
The sound was not a groan per se, rather something more beautiful, unlike anything I had ever experienced while singing. That which escaped my throat was pure and cleansing. Holy.
Give me Jesus
Several months later, after more turbulent waters passed beneath the bridge of my life, I found myself again seeking His face, desperate for a touch or movement of the Lord. The search for a home church had become something I dreaded. No where seemed to feel “right” and realized that meant I hadn’t found the place God intended me to worship, yet. I spent more time out of church than in, simply because I wasn’t led to be there. I found it taxing connecting with new people due to the healing I recognized God was still working out in my heart, mind and spirit. I even found it difficult to open my mouth to worship my Lord through song, with my whole heart. The desire existed, yet, the ability was “stuck” somewhere between my heart and mind.
I wept, crying out over and over again to my Lord, trying to break the stronghold. Then, it happened:
An opportunity to audition for a new worship band.
I had been in prayer for which song God wanted me to sing that would bring him honor and glory. He firmly decided, just days beforehand, on “Give Me Jesus“, a hymn planted deeply in my heart; one I had solo’d with in the past and felt every note of.
“In the morning when I rise.
In the morning when I rise.
In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world.
Just give me Jesus.”
For several days, I felt the song well up inside, then flow out like a stream of living water. At work. In the car. In the shower…. No matter, this was recognizably “me.” The “me” who worships so freely, I probably sing to my Lord while sleeping. God used this song, and the repetition of “rehearsing” to unfreeze the gift God bestowed upon me in the womb. Worshipping from a deep place, through song, has long been my love language with Him.
Albeit, the Holy Spirit wasn’t finished…and it was somewhat uncomfortable. Why? The night of the audition He was so in my head, I could barely focus on singing the words to other people. I barely got through it. (It wasn’t irony that the Lord decided to use this old spiritual to bring about healing. It’s an old slave song, one sung out from a place of need for all Jesus has to offer.)
Praise God he goes before us and paves the way. Only by His will did I land a spot in the band. Undeniably God. They even stated in the email that they could see my love for Jesus and his sweet spirit on me, but noticed my discomfort. At least I had an opportunity, after the fact, to explain the situation from that night and how what they experienced wasn’t my normal stage presence in the Spirit. (This was hopefully apparent during our initial rehearsal as God so craftily arranged for me to be the only singer there that night….)
In the days after, I was overjoyed to realize the stronghold had been broken and I was walking in freedom again! My heart song had once again come alive, in and for Christ!
Back to Church
The search for a church home ensued. A woman I met through street ministry invited me to join her one Sunday, whenever I felt ready. I knew of the church, but very little about it. Going off of the church’s website it was difficult to discern what it might be like. I put it off. Then, one Friday I felt my spirit move in the direction of this particular church. She had mentioned the services are very “spirited.” Uncertain of what that really meant, I felt led to pray for discernment. I let my sister in Christ know I’d like to join her on Sunday morning.
Sunday came; all I could muster after the service was WOW….
The body of Christ at this church blew me away. The joy, the love, the power of the Holy Spirit LIVING in this congregation, the pastor (who is still new to the church) and the worship team. It took the Holy Spirit all of 10 minutes into the service (during opening worship) to move me to my knees. Oh, my Father knew what I needed. He definitely understands his children well! I had been yearning for a church where I felt comfortable truly submitting myself to Him. Giving him all of my worship. I had missed the deep, meaningful worship I’d grown into at my home church in Florida – on my knees…on my face…or dancing around like a girl crazy for my Lord. I hadn’t felt free to be God’s girl, like that, anywhere I’d attended in the past year or so.
“I was made for God’s eternal pleasure…I was made for intimacy with the Lord…and everything else in the world fades away as I stare into His face…and the look in His eyes melts my heart and leaves me speechless…” (from the song “Chambers” by Catherine Mullins)
Then, it happened again…
A call to worship: The Holy Spirit called me into submission. I was prompted to my knees, arms raised to heaven. That ethereal voice once again escaped through me…however, this time it was different. I was singing from a holy place in tongues. Oh, what a powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit! Tears streamed down my face; I was completely obedient to His will over me: mind, body, spirit and heart (finally)! If my sister in Christ hadn’t been there next to me to express her desire to hear that angelic voice sing again and again, I wouldn’t have believed it real. To call that moment surreal is an understatement. That, my friends, was a pure movement of heaven flowing, bringing Jesus’s restorative life unto my very soul.
For months I recognized God working and shifting me into a new phase of this walk with Jesus. What it would resemble, I had no clue. After this, I presume a past vision given from God will take fruition. One where this God given gift, the one he kept to himself – to be used for His glory – for so many years, will be thrust forth, whether I’m ready or not. So, I shall prepare my heart for whatever is next in this journey…
Praise Jesus! Here am I, Lord, send me!
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation…” (Revelation 5:9)