I love listening to music. It wakes me up each morning (my alarm is set to play music), and I listen to it throughout the day in my car, at work, and at home. Random song lyrics frequently come to mind. It’s weird how I can forget something at the grocery store, but I can remember song lyrics from the 80’s.
When some people hear the word “Pandora,” they automatically think of jewelry. I think of all my favorite Pandora radio stations (I’ll save that for another blog).
Why do I love music? It’s an escape for me. It can change my mood. It can bring back memories. It also has been an important part of my faith journey. I feel closest to God when I’m listening to or singing praise and worship music. God often reminds me of important truths through the notes and lyrics of songs.
Even though I love music, I rarely buy CDs anymore. Thanks to iTunes, I normally buy individual songs. It’s hard for me to find an album where I love every song. There’s one album, though, that I didn’t hesitate to buy - MORE by: Rivers Crossing Worship.
I’m blessed to hear Rivers Crossing Worship each Sunday at my church, and their passion for God is evident. They are a group of talented, but ordinary, musicians who desire to see others connect with an extraordinary God.
This 12 track album has been playing on repeat. It's my new favorite CD. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite song, but right now, “You Hold Me” and “The Valley” are two songs that God has used to encourage me.
If you’re looking for some new music that will help you draw closer to God, download MORE by Rivers Crossing Worship on iTunes .
You can also download FREE chord charts and check out some videos at www.riverscrossingworship.com .
I recently finished reading Jenny Simmons' latest book, Made Well: Finding Wholeness in the Everyday Sacred Moments.
Made Well is full of stories – stories that will make you laugh and stories that will probably cause you to shed a few tears. All of the stories remind me that healing is possible but often comes in unexpected ways.
What I admire most about Jenny Simmons is her willingness to be vulnerable. She shares stories from the lives of friends and family members, but also honestly shares struggles she has faced in her own life. Through those experiences, Jenny has learned:
“Healing happens all the time, even if a cure doesn’t. I am invited to be made well even when the broken things don’t get put perfectly back together. Healing happens.”
This quote resonates so much with me. The truth is, God doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we would like. For 9 years, I watched my mom battle breast cancer, and I prayed that God would heal her. I wanted that healing to take place here on Earth, but instead my mom was healed when she met Jesus.
What does healing look like for those left behind after a devastating loss? God often reveals His love to us through others. Many times it’s through simple acts: someone brings us food or runs errands for us, we receive a card or text/e-mail, someone asks us to share memories of our loved one, or they are willing to simply sit with us in our pain. Being “made well” doesn’t mean our grief disappears. Instead, it’s love displayed in ordinary moments. Moments that give us hope in the midst of our grief.
One of my favorite chapters of Made Well was Chapter 6 – “Psychiatrist, Therapist, Pills – Oh My!” First of all, the title made me laugh. Then, I thought, “Is she really going to write about this?” The answer is yes! I’m especially thankful for this chapter because of the words of truth that are shared:
“Naming our broken bits is the first step to finding healing for them. Inviting someone else into your journey might be your bravest decision.”
Jenny invites us into her journey of seeking help for anxiety, OCD, and ADHD. She reminds us that God does amazing work through counselors, doctors, and sometimes He even uses medication to bring healing.
It was so refreshing to read this, as many people think it’s a sign of weakness to ask for help. I used to be one of those people. Now, I see asking for help as a sign of strength.
Like Jenny, God brought healing to my life through a Christian counselor. Sitting in her office that first session and naming my “broken bits” was scary, but it was a huge step on my healing journey.
Part of my brokenness has been the result of experiencing childhood sexual abuse. It was something that I kept a secret for most of my life. Breaking the silence allowed the healing process to begin. While I won’t be completely restored until I meet Jesus, I am currently in the process of being “made well.”
Healing has come through the love and support of family and friends, learning healthy ways to deal with my emotions (writing, exercising, music), connecting with other survivors of abuse, and reading books, articles, and blogs by people who honestly share their experiences. Realizing I'm not alone has brought comfort and hope.
Healing has come through words of truth spoken by pastors and friends at my church. While I still struggle at times with feelings of shame, guilt, and unworthiness, they have reminded me of who I am in God’s eyes.
Do you desire healing? If so, allow others to walk with you on the journey.
God still performs miracles, but many times healing happens in the small everyday moments of life. It may even happen while reading the words and stories of Made Well.
“Healing in this life is but a foretaste of what is to come.”
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.