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Worship in the Grieving Heart



Last September, I stood in a crowd of worshippers on the fourth anniversary of our Emma Grace’s homegoing. I had not know what it was to hold her, listen to her coo, and lay her next to my heart, and yet as I stood in that crowded room filled with exuberant praise and joyous melodies, the pain in my heart seemed to crowd out all else - all else but my worship. Had anyone looked in my heart and seen the ugly that was present, it would not have looked like worship at all. But over the last four years, I have learned that worship has very little to do with my expression of joy or my confession of praise in a church gathering. In fact, I’m beginning to realize that these things are simply an overflow of my worship - a fruit of the root of worship. Worship, much like trust, is a constant state of the heart to those who are abiding. It’s not an event. It’s not a song. It's not a devotional hour or a church service. All of that comes from the constant bending of my heart towards His. I have begun to learn many things over these last few years, and this is one of the beautiful lessons that is anchoring me deeper in Christ. Today, as I sit here on what was to be her birthdate, I find myself meditating on these lessons that her passing allowed me to learn.


Shortly after we lost her, my eyes stumbled on this verse:


Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.  – Ps. 57:1


I can say four and half years later, that I have finally found the calamities are further off in the distance as I peek out from under His wings. And as I’ve been hidden here, he has taught me about trust. He has taught me about healing. He has taught me about worship.


Over and over in those early days, I found myself identifying with the calamity more than the trust. But that never meant my worship was lost. I was still abiding. I was just abiding with deeper longings and graver questions. The Lord actually makes room for these aches, spreading His wings out a little further, because He knows, the anger and the questions won’t stop a worshipper’s response.  The hidden ones will still be bowed low here under his wings.


The song I wrote after I clung to this verse was a song of raw truth. I am so grateful that the words still ring true, but are not as current today as they were four and half years ago. All praise to He who hides me under his shadow. No one but the Lord has ever heard or seen the words, but in honor of the lessons my Emma Grace’s short life began to unfold, on her due date - March 23rd - I share it here now.


Find me in the dark. Find me in the shadows.

I’m lost inside my heart. I can’t see my way forward out of here.

And doubt it seems so near. Disappointment calls my name.

These heavy chains seem determined for me to stay.


But even now, my expectation is in you Lord (Ps. 62:5)

Even here my expectation is you are good. You’re good


So, You still have my worship. You still have my song.

‘Cause right here in these painful questions You still are my God.

You still are my God.


So, maybe now my worship will open heaven’s door.

Cause right here in my isolation it may mean something more than it ever has before.

Oh, Jesus, I can feel your nearness, but even still – it stings.

‘Cause on this side of eternal union, I know the pain life brings,

But still my heart it sings,


You still have my worship. You still have my song.

‘Cause right here in these painful questions You still are my God.

You still are my God.


You still have my worship. You still have my song.

‘Cause right here in these painful questions You still are my God.

You still are my God.


You still are my God.


Hide me under the shadow of Your wings until calamity passes me by.

Thank you, Emma Grace, for giving me the opportunity to learn the beautiful lessons the Spirit is teaching me.Until the Day comes, and calamity is no more, you are forever in my heart, little girl. And Father, thank you that I am your little girl, protected under your wings. You still have my worship and you will forever be my God.

1 Comment

Mar 24

Oh wow. I was needing this for past ones I said good bye to and in preparing to do so again at God’s timing. Thanks for expressing what I had no words to use….truly in the dark places I see light but expressing it…you just shared with me…THANKS. JSW

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