Tuesday, December 2, 2014

// O C E A N S //


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These are the opening lines of a song that has been playing on repeat in my mind over and over again for the past few weeks. The story is somewhat personal, but I think it's something some of you may be able to relate to, so to me, that's a good reason to share.

When I shared my conversion story a couple months ago one of the things I talked about was how before I became Catholic I had relied on praise and worship music and feeling "emotional highs" in my relationship with God. One of the things that was really hard but really good for me to learn as I was entering the Catholic Church was that I could praise God without contemporary music. In fact, I could praise Him with no music at all.  I learned that God was active and present in my life regardless of what I might be feeling.

I went about a year without regularly attending a contemporary worship service. I  was really settling in to more traditional forms of liturgy, but I still missed having praise and worship music in church.  Well, imagine my joy when Alex and I started going to a church that offered a more contemporary mass! And they were looking for people to help with music! We jumped right in and it was such a blessing to sing the praise and worship songs that I had loved for years right along side the ancient Catholic liturgies that I was learning to love. I played piano and sang every week for 3 years until Johnny was born. Having a baby has forced me to cut back my involvement in music ministry a little bit, but I still lead worship for "Emmaus", a night of adoration, confession, and praise and worship that our parish holds once a month. Sometimes I don't feel like going, life is so busy, sometimes I wonder if I should give up this volunteer opportunity as well and just focus on the needs of my family. But I every time get to church and start singing I'm always so glad I get to do it.


All this is back story to something that happened a few weeks ago. It was the third Friday of the month and I was playing for "Emmaus". We were playing a song called "Oceans". We've played it before, and while I love it and think it's a beautiful song it had never really struck me on a personal or spiritual level before. But then we sang these words:

"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior"

And I couldn't sing them. Every time I tried I got a huge lump in my throat and my eyes started welling up with tears. I couldn't quite understand what was going on because it had been so long since I had had an emotional experiences during a worship service. I wouldn't say I'm going through spiritual dryness. But I will say that even though I'm seeking the Lord on an (almost) daily basis I don't regularly feel His presence in the way I would like.  I know He is present and working in my life, but I don't always feel it. And I know that that's ok.

But in that moment I felt the Holy Spirit working on my heart.

Did I mean the words I was singing? "Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander". That's a scary request to make of The Lord. That's essentially asking the Lord to take me to a place where I have no control so that I have to trust in Him.  I have been in places like that before. Miscarriage. Two years of infertility. A baby in the NICU plus 4 separate surgeries. I don't like being in those kinds of places. Why on earth would I ask God to take me there again? 

Because there "my faith will be made stronger."

Things have been pretty easy around here.  No, having a toddler is not always easy, but I know what to expect. I essentially know what each day will bring. I'm pretty comfortable with our routine and I feel like I have things pretty well under control.

Control. That's the key word. I like being in control. But maybe I'm not supposed to be in control.  Maybe I need to give up control in my life and surrender to the Lord's will. I don't know what that will look like yet, but I am preparing myself to follow when He calls me out on the water. It's scary when that happens. But I know from experience that being in His will is the best place to be. 



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13 comments:

  1. I know that feeling when you can't sing along because of emotional waves! And it's really hard to ask for Him to be in control. I'm all, no, thanks!! Great words.

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    1. Thanks Nell! So glad you can relate!

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  2. ACK this just speaks right to my heart tonight. I want to control All The Things around me, and it appears that all I can control is my own response. This is one of the hardest lessons for me to learn in adulthood. Thank you for this.

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  3. Laura, I love that you said all that you can control is your own response. That is so true! But so much of the time I have really sh#@!y responses. Lord, grant me patience and self control, and all the fruits of the spirit for that matter!

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  4. Definitely one of the things I consistently am working on in my spiritual life (especially but not exclusively) is relinquishing control. Thanks for a beautiful reminder on letting God take us farther than our comfort zone.

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    1. Yes, control is the hardest. Thanks for reading!

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  5. Letting go of my false sense of control is something I am constantly working on too, Anna. Thank you for this beautiful post.

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  6. I've had moments with that song too. It comes on for a playlist I have with Matt Mahar and Audrey Assad and I love it so much. It is so much easier getting lost in what we think is good rather than seeking what He desires for us. His Will for us requires so much I know I steer away more often than I wish I did. It is so hard to trust Him so fully. I love that you are able to do choir though. I would absolutely love to do that with my husband, but we have to little guys that keep us in the narthex more than in Mass more often than not. Beautiful post :)

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    1. Thanks, Amanda. But you're not alone in spending mass in the narthex. We do plenty of that too!!!

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  7. Anna, I am a convert to Catholicism as well, for me it was in my undergraduate years in college. Music is a passion of mine and I agree that there is a beautiful space for both contemporary and traditional music in liturgy. I have seen such a beautiful ability to engage youth with the more contemporary artists and videos. How awesome that you were able to find a parish that also was able to best utilize your gifts! So happy that you could join us for Worth Revisiting Wednesday!

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    1. Thanks for hosting, Elizabeth! And Woot for converts!!

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  8. Anna, this is one of my most favorite P/W songs...so beautiful!

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