Sunday, March 29, 2009

Praising God in Hard Times

I have to admit that my response to our failed IVF attempt wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. I might not have blogged about it, but it hurt to have my hopes built up by that first BETA, only to have them swept away when the second results came in. I didn't spend a lot of time crying and moaning about it, in fact I think I took it in stride all things considered. But I felt a bit numb all week, and I found it hard to express my feelings to God in prayer. I took a break from my personal Bible study, and didn't turn to God in prayer as much as I should have. I wasn't angry with God, but I was and am weary of this journey. Why does it have to be so hard?

My parents went with me to church last weekend, and the song I've posted above was part of the worship time. It really spoke to me. They did another one that I've downloaded from iTunes called "Everywhere That I Go", and it, too reminded me of God's presence in difficulties. I've always felt that my heart was especially receptive to God's revelation to me through music. I may not have the energy to spend on a Bible study when I'm hurting or frustrated, or to communicate my deepest feelings in prayer because my emotions are too close to the surface, but I will listen to a song and sing along with it until my heart is softened and I begin to get what I think God must be trying to tell me.

A few weeks ago my pastor gave a message about praising God in hard times. What really impressed me was the testimony given (via video) by a young mother whose child had suffered from leukemia in the recent past. She, too, had retreated a bit from her relationship with the Lord while she was consumed with concern for her child, and the endless hours she spent by his bedside. But one night, as she stood vigil at her child's bedside in that hospital room, she felt the Lord urging her to lift her voice in praise to Him. She's a worship leader at the church, so one might think that would be easy for her to do, but she resisted because her heart was hurt and it seemed contrary to her nature to do something that should be so joyful when she was in such a dark, lonely place. She went on to say that she knew she needed to be obedient to the Lord's prompting, and so she began to sing praises to God. Her testimony concluded with her acknowledging that that was the turning point for her spiritually in that whole experience.

So, last night, while my husband was out working a gig and I was home alone (I don't like being home alone!), I downloaded those two songs, turned up my speakers and just lifted my voice in praise. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders as I put my focus back on God and His goodness - all that is amazing about Him - and off of me and my problems. My heart felt lighter and freer than it had all week long. What a difference!

My goal this week? Keep praising God even if I don't feel like it.


AprilMay said...

You are so amazing! Thank you for sharing your journey and your love for Him. I was feeling sorry for myself today and your post was a gentle reminder that I need to praise God for the blessings that I do have!

Alex and Jill said...

You are in my constant thoughts and prayers. I know so well the heartache that you are experiencing. We are much alike in the way God speaks to us. :) I find time each day, to put on my worship cd and just sing to Him. He always meets me right there in my living room and I know that everything is going to be okay.

He's okay with us hurting...He just wants us to bring it to the foot of the cross and let Him have it. You are an inspiration to many, dear friend.


Lea said...

Your continued courage and faith amaze me and you are always teaching me something my friend.


Parisienne Farmgirl said...

You are right on girl. How brave of you to praise Him simply because he is worthy.
Praising God when we don't feel like it is amazing.

My Mom gave me that advice. I called her on the way home from the doctor with my first pregnancy, it had become clear that I was miscarrying. I will never forget where I was on the road when I cranked Darlene Check (Hillsongs, SP?) and sang at the top of my lungs.

I was never the same after that moment, even though I had to go through the miscarriage and still felt all the pain and sadness that goes with it.

Praising God when I don't feel like it is very important to me. I appreciated this post and being reminded to do so,
Love you!

Christi and Abbey said...

go Joannah! He is worthy, even in the hardest of times. This momentary affliction is working in us an eternal weight of glory.
It sure doesn't seem momentary though when you are in it.

Faith said...

What a great goal! Thanks for sharing the video.

Kathryn said...

I'm new to visiting you, but our paths are not too unalike.

Waiting on God, waiting on family, waiting . . .

So hard. Yet for some reason this is what God calls us to.

Thank you for sharing. I'll be praying for you.

mekate said...

Sweet Joannah,
how wonderful to hear that you followed your heart and allowed it to lighten-- there are so many dark and lonely places in this journey, and so much sadness. I wish Faith meant a free-pass, a way around, but I guess instead what it offers is a way through. Wishing you a garden full of wonderful tomatoes, a healing heart, and a wonderful road trip this summer. I am always amazed at how the land changes as you head north from southern CA toward Oregon-- I hope you find it is *just* the trip you need. Thank you deeply for your support these past crazy days. Warmly, Kate

Alyson and Ford said...

Praising God is good!!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Anonymous said...

I really loved reading about your story and praising God through the storm. Our own journey has been marked with three devastating miscarriages. Each felt like a blow in the stomach and really had me question my faith in the Lord. But through it all - He gently called me back to Him. Words and whispers too sweet that made me realize that as long as I had Him - that was all I really needed.

I wish you all the very best in the future. May God abundantly bless and keep you and may He make His face to shine upon you and give you His precious peace.

Living for the eternal home,


Ben said...

Hi Joannah,

My name is Ben Hitzfeld. I am a pastor in Darlington, IN. I am preaching a sermon tomorrow about giving thanks to God even in the darkest times of our life. While searching the internet on this topic, I cam across your blog page.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband. My heart goes out to you.

May the grace & peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ guard your heart and mind.

In Christ,

Pastor Ben