The Grace That Passes All Understanding

This may surprise you, but I used to be a worship leader in the church. And I was very good at it. I loved to sing and to worship, and leading and ministering in this way was the thing that I believed God called me to do. I wanted to sing until I died, then go to heaven and sing some more. In fact, I prayed that God would let me sing for all eternity, because singing gave me a feeling that nothing else did, physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally, and I thought it would always be a part of my life. I felt completely connected to God when I was singing, and completely fulfilled as a human being. Nothing else has ever made me feel the way singing and worshipping did.

But I don’t lead the worship any more.

I don’t even sing very much any more, and I certainly don’t lead worship. In fact, I can’t.

I don’t go to church any more, number one.

I can’t handle crowds any more, number two.

And my voice is broken, number three. I’m having tests done. But whatever the outcome of those, I can’t physically sing well enough to do it in public any more.

What the hell happened?

Worship leading and singing was my thing. It was for a very long time what I believed I was called – in fact, born – to do. How do I feel now that it’s no longer possible for me to do it?

Some questions sometimes go through my mind.

Did God take my gift away because I was disobedient? Because I stopped going to church? Because of our family transgressions, or my individual sin? Did he take away my singing voice because I say swear words?

Did God take my singing away because I gradually stopped using it? Did he remove it because I became angry with the way the church treated us in our time of trial? Did my decision to begin telling the truth about my experiences mean that God could no longer allow me to carry such a precious gift as worship leading?

In other words, is God punishing me for being a very naughty girl by taking away the thing I once loved the most?

I’m not going to answer that question for you, however, I would like you to think on this. What I’ve just told you about me may lead  you to draw some conclusions, and you may think that those conclusions say a lot about me. But the conclusions you come to might also serve to tell you an awful lot about what you really think about God, and also, what you think about you.

“We see things not as they are, but as we are.” Anais Nin.

*****

I was given sufficient grace to do what God called me to do for the time I was needed to do it. Now it’s all gone – the grace, the gift, the strength and the opportunity. The moment has passed, the door has closed, the manna is gone with the morning. I don’t regret any of it, and neither do I wish it would come back. I served Him as best I could when the opportunity for me to do so was before me.

I never thought when they were with me that either the gift, or the grace I received to empower me to do it, would ever pass away. But like grass the gift and the grace has died, and something else just as fleeting has come to take their place.

I think my new calling is to accept this moment, and the opportunities to serve Him that are now before me, and not look to the past to define me, or to hope that my future resembles some former fleeting minute of happiness.

*****

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

*****

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Surprising Things I’ve Learned Since I Stopped Going To Church

 

 

 

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8 Replies

  • Hi Jo,
    You know I was singing in church after you left. I was also singing in Bensville after you left there, but I didn’t know you then. And like you, I thought it was my life’s calling. Never felt more connected than those times.

    But last year, someone very close to me said “How dare you raise your hands in worship to God? Who do you think you are?”
    Since then, I slowly but surely stopped going to church altogether, because I felt so unworthy.

    And guess what?
    I’m happy. I don’t feel harshly judged whenever I walk in the door of a place I served in dutifully for years.
    When I needed help, no one from church (or that very close person above) called me (ie marriage separation, etc).
    No one called to see why I wasn’t at church and if I was okay (it was unusual after all).

    After the above conversation happened (the “I’m so unworthy” one), and I stopped going to church this time, still no one called… wow! that pastoral care factor is huge!!!

    My boys go to a Christian school, where I have found other parents that are rude and judgmental of my child who is a bit different…. the same parents whose children are the bullies of my child. But I wouldn’t dare tell them the things their horrible children say to him, and tear their rose coloured glasses off their eyes! Do you know they wouldn’t listen anyway!

    That person who was very close to me and reminded me how terrible I am that day did me a favour. I now see many of these people actually as pharisees, not Christians.

    And if that is what church churns out nowadays, I’m afraid I don’t want a part of it.

    I, too, am accepting my moment.
    Happy to be warts and all, and living in the real world.
    Had my rant……
    Loved your story.

  • I used to sing too – in secular choirs, and as a worship leader (not THE worship leader) at church. And I loved it! But as life got busier I realised something had to go, and that while many people could sing and probably a lot better than me, not many people seemed to be able to write or had the passion for it that I did – so I chose writing over singing.

    Maybe it’s the lack of practise but I don’t really have a singing voice any more … I guess it’s true what they say, use it or lose it …

    I love your last paragraph:

    I think my new calling is to accept this moment, and the opportunities to serve Him that are now before me, and not look to the past to define me, or to hope that my future resembles some former fleeting minute of happiness.

    Amen!

  • Oh, it’s all about learning as we make our way through this journey and accept our new horizon’s as they are presented to us.

    Somedays, it’s easier said than done, however.

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

  • This is the first time I’ve visited your blog but how could I pass up a post title such as it is? Glad I didn’t. A truly thoughtful post that makes me want to think…and hug you. Here’s to us all finding FUTURE fleeting minutes of happiness as well as our current calling.

    Thank you for this, Jo.

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