I’m still on a high from church yesterday. I spent the morning decorating the Hillsong NYC location in NJ for Father’s Day and went to the last service in Manhattan which I haven’t had the chance to do in a while. Today seemed like a good day to list out my thanks:
Thank You Lord:
1. For Hillsong NYC. I’ve gone to a handful of churches over the course of my life and by far this is my favorite house. I have never felt more challenged, more loved, and more creatively useful in my journey thus far.
2. For Venue Design Team. I remember going to my first Team Night/Creative Night at Hillsong NYC last July. It was a little awkward because I didn’t know anyone but I instantly felt connected there. From the playlist before the night started (Alt-J was amongst the songs played), to people giving me hugs, to the information bar helping me select a volunteer team, to the people who shared a message that night i.e. one about there always being room for you, I knew this was going to be a place for me. Now almost a year later I love my Venue Design team. I am one of the leaders of the team. And it feels good to have a mini church family.
3. For being a God of surprises. I am not an amazing singer. I can hold a tune but I’m not going to be cutting albums. I was on worship teams in two prior churches and in my last church I wanted to be part of the team but after auditions I was told my vocals weren’t as professional as they were looking for. I was disappointed but I wasn’t bitter about it. At Hillsong NYC it’s kind of a funny story. At my first Team Night I remember walking to the building and saying to God–“Well I just don’t want to sing here”. Little did I know there were only two creative teams meeting that night: vocals and musicians. Clearly I couldn’t fake being a musician so that only left vocals. I wanted to stay the entire night so I ended up going to the vocal team. I remember again saying to God–“Well okay but I’m not singing in front of anyone”. And I think you can gather what happened next. We were broken up into small groups and told to harmonize with each other. One of the leaders of my group sings in the worship band and is clearly much more talented than I am, but I swallowed my pride and harmonized with her. I felt awkward but other people were just as awkward and it was okay in the end. I remember weeks later another girl who sings in the band asking if I was going to join vocals and I recall saying something to the effect of “No, I’m not really that good. I don’t think it’s my gift”. Or something. And I wasn’t disappointed because well it’s not really something I was dying to do and not something I felt like I was up to par with. Hillsong is known for it’s albums and worship and there’s no way I am on that level. I admire it. I think it would be cool to have their voices for like 24 hours to belt out whatever I wanted to but beyond that I don’t think it’s what I was put on the Earth for. And I’m okay with that. The point of the story is God will surprise you. About three weeks ago this girl came up to me out of a group of friends as we were setting up for Venue Design and basically said “Hey, we’re short some people for choir, would you be interested? We always need 8 people or we can’t do it.” And I just remember laughing to myself like. Okay God. You’re hilarious. I didn’t ask for that. I didn’t even really want that anymore. And yet there was a need. And God knows me. I’m the type of girl who with no hand-eye coordination with small sporting equipment joined a JV softball team in High School because a girl in my class was desperate to play and the team needed 1 more player to keep a JV team. Now 100%. I was horrible. I can’t swing a bat. Apparently I drop my shoulder when I swing. I’m sure because I have the arms of an 11 year old boy. I was pretty much good for stealing bases and being hit with the ball to get on base. That was the extent of my talent. Now fast forward to this choir situation. I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now. Everyone is so happy to see me. I’m helping make sure that people who want to be in choir get to do it and meanwhile God is also showing me “Hey, if I want you somewhere–even if you don’t think you’re good enough for it–I’m going to create a need. I’m going to do this because I can”.
4. For this blog. For years it was painful for me to think about being creative with my writing. I had endured a terribly dark season following a horrible relationship. I didn’t feel good about myself. In a way I wanted to stay in my hole of despair and just go through the motions. I just wanted to survive. I didn’t really want to live. And granted. My blog is pretty insignificant in the scheme of things. But seeing people view it from other countries. Having even 50 people following me–is validation. It’s validation that this is my talent and my story is worth telling.
5. For my relationship with God. Ever since I started going to Hillsong I feel closer and closer to God. I don’t think it’s 100% the church but more like being in the right place at the right time. I started going to Hillsong late. I knew for about a year before I came that it was the place I wanted to be but I wasn’t ready to cut ties with my old church. Even though there was a lot of sadness in my old church and bad friendships I still felt like I needed to push on for some reason. I’m glad I took the plunge though. Even though I was in the midst of a horrible time at work, anxiety, sadness, and all sorts of things I needed something to be happy about. Something to look forward to. And church. And Team Night every week was like a dangling carrot to look forward to every week. I used to feel awkward raising my hand in worship. Worrying how I looked or worrying that it wouldn’t be genuine or thinking I was just doing it because everyone else was. But I look at my worship now and I feel God all around me. I hear Him in my days speaking to me, sometimes singing to me, showing me things in my dreams and as hard as this season of life can be–I still don’t think I would trade it for what I have now.
It’s always a good idea to reflect on what you are thankful for. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what isn’t happening but it’s a boost when you look at what is happening and what has happened.
A thought for the day comes from Joyce Meyer’s Power Thoughts. “As I began to study the subject of receiving God’s love, I realized I was in desperate need of the message myself. I had a subconscious, vague sort of understanding that God loved me, but I needed deeper revelation. The love of God is meant to be a powerful force in our lives, one that will take us through even the most difficult trials without our ever doubting God’s love. Power thought: I am actively aware of God’s love for me.”
I think even though I grew up in the church it was still hard for me until the past few years to really feel that God loved me individually. It was easy to think of God’s love as an umbrella and we are all equally underneath but His love for me individually is a waterfall and in actuality I am the only one underneath. He wants to bring us all to a place where we get a personal revelation of how much He cares for us personally. He is big enough to love each of us as if we were the only person on Earth He created. It’s time to receive that and to be thankful for all that He does to prepare us for it.
Photo Credit: Found on Etsy.com