I generally do not post on Sundays, but I wanted to share some things from this morning while everything is fresh in my mind.
First of all, if you are a regular attendee at our church and were not there this morning, you missed a really great service! We missed you a whole lot, and I hope to see you back next week. If you are not a regular attendee of our church, I hope you will come visit us! :)
I knew all week long that this morning's service would be great. It was one of those "God things"-I just knew. Without going into a whole lot of details, Satan has been attacking our church with a fierce intensity. He has fought hard for the members of our church and the leadership as well. But I can say that we have been fighting back hard against his attacks. And I had a feeling that this morning God was going to show up in a big way. He was going to refresh our spirits and give us strength and peace to keep fighting against the enemy.
So needless to say, I was feeling slightly down when I looked out at the congregation and realized just how few members had shown up for church this morning. "Looks like we'll be singing to the pews this morning" I joked to our Children's Pastor.
Add to that, I was playing the piano this morning. Confession time: I feel really inadequate some days when I sit down at that piano. I don't know a whole lot, and I definitely can't do all of that fancy pretty stuff. And some days, Satan likes to have a field day in my brain telling me how I can't play and how everyone is just sitting out in the congregation thinking about how bad I am.
So there is the full scenario: an enemy that has relentlessly attacked our church, a small congregation, and a piano player that felt two inches tall.
Funny how God can take a little and turn it into something big.
As soon as the worship service began, I could feel the presence of God. I could feel that He was in the room, and He was getting ready to do something big. At the beginning of the last song, I felt His presence so thick that I could barely breath. It took everything in me just to push the words of the song out. The weight of His glory was definitely in the room, and I am certain the whole church could feel it.
I cried. There were times were I wasn't even sure I was singing anymore. And I really didn't care. I was reminded of why I play the piano and sing-why I love worshiping God so much. You see, it's not about who can play the best or who can sing the best or who seems the most passionate. It's all about showing our Lord just how much we love Him. It's all about that communication of gratefulness and love to our Savior.
I thought that was all God wanted from us that morning, but He wasn't through. At the end of the song, our Pastor came up. He invited people to come down to the alter if they needed prayer. I stayed where I was and continued playing. After praying for the ones who had come, he explained that he normally didn't do what he was about to do, but he was about to call specific people to the front for prayer. "My name won't be called, I'm good." I thought to myself. (One of those things I've thought to myself that I'm pretty sure makes God laugh.) "Sarah Casterline". The voice of my Pastor came through the speaker. And God said, "Think again."
I have a very nasty habit of assuming that I have everything under control. That I can stand the heat when Satan really starts throwing those fiery darts at my heart. But if I had to be totally honest, the truth is that I have more break downs and bad days than good days when I have that kind of attitude. To think that I can handle the heat all by myself is silliness. To think that I can have dart after dart thrown at me without eventually wearing down and needing some help is, well, just plain dumb.
But that is exactly where I found myself. Roman's job situation. My job situation. Our finances. And just the general uncertainty of the future has been the constant occupant on my brain. There are some days where I am strong and can stay positive. There are other days when I have a total breakdown that lasts anywhere from thirty minutes to twelve hours. When my mind and my spirit is completely overwhelmed and I just want to throw in the towel and stop trying. God is standing right there, offering His help and some days I just refuse to take it. Silly me.
Today was a day where God was so close I could barely breath. He's always with me, my pride just chooses to ignore Him some days. Today was a day where God healed a lot of hurt in my past. He told me what He thought of me. He erased the lies that Satan had put in my head. He reminded me of His promises. He calmed my anxious heart. He gave me a time of cleansing. He gave me strength and He gave me peace.
Scientists argue that God doesn't exist because we can't see Him. But I don't have to see Him to know He is there. I could hardly breath, the air was so thick with Him. Scientists can try to explain my experience away, but there is no other valid explanation. My God is alive and well. He still heals us. He still strengthens us. He is still with us.
God set me free from a whole bunch of stuff today. He wants to do the same for you....will you let Him?
"Realize that the Lord shows the godly special favor; the Lord responds when I cry out to Him." ~Psalm 4:3
"You make me happier than those who have abundant grain and wine. I will lie down and speak peacefully, for You, Lord, make me safe and secure." ~Psalm 4:7-8