“I’m coming back to the heart of worship…and it’s all about you…all about you Jesus.”
Up until the last few weeks, our family has been away from Church for nearly 18 months (Ty prematurity issue). This was a LONG time for us to be away from our church family and even longer to be out of corporate worship.
I have been reading Lee Strobel’s “Case for a Creator” this weekend (awesome book by the way – I would highely recommend it and you can buy it at www.cbd.com right now for under 6 bucks – it’s on sale). Throughout this book, Lee presents a solid and well defined case for ID (Intelligent Design). What does that mean? It means we didn’t evolve. Too much unexplained for scientifically. As a theist, I obviously identify with an ID crowd. That is just the big “duh!” factor as far as I’m concerned. Right after I finished this book I started Angela Hunt’s “Unspoken” (another awesome book – read my book and music review page to see my comments). Both of these books drove a point home to my heart. That is – all creation will praise Him – even if we do not. Scripture say’s that if we don’t praise His name even the rocks will cry out. Lee’s book shows such clear demonstration of the handiwork of God in all He created and Angela’s book talks about even the animals recognizing their creator.
I don’t know how to put words to “worship”. For those that are unfamiliar with this type of intimacy with Christ, how could I explain this? The simplest way to say it is this – my heart cries out in worship and I have an intrinsic need to spend time worshipping my Creator. It is in these moments that I feel the most peace, and hope, and the best understanding of where my home and heart is. I was born to worship and give glory to God. The apostle Paul said that the chief end of man is to glorify God. I can’t put a perfect definition to that but I do understand deep within my soul that this is my purpose and I am only at rest when I am pursuing His glory.
Tanner and I had a precious conversation today and the topic came back around to worship. First, some background though. To begin with, as I have previously mentioned, Tanner does not have the appreciation for music that Ty does and as a general rule, doesn’t care for singing. In the last few weeks though, something has changed. It started when Jenna taught him “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”. I can’t tell you how much my 4 year old has helped my heart move into worship with this song. So many day’s I have been going about my daily business when I hear my little one sing “He’s Got the Whole World”. That is the only line he sings. He repeats it over and over in this precious voice. Never when he thinks anyone is listening, only when he thinks he is having a private moment. There are several things that I have been stressed over lately but I am brought up short everytime when I hear Tanner raising his voice affirming a simple but profound truth. He is sovereign. He has everything under control. He has the WHOLE world in his hands.
This is particularly precious considering the state of our political affairs. The embryonic stem cell bill will be going before the Senate shortly and it is expected to pass by a large margin (this is not good news). The other day I was thinking about this when I heard Tanner singing this song. Precious moment. My snowflake child affirming God’s omnipotence – the same child that many in our country defend had no value in his embryonic state and should have been used for research. God intervened in Tanner’s life and I love to hear Tanner’s praise – even at four.
Since Tanner seemed to have a recent interest in music, I happened upon 2 DVD’s at Walmart that caught my attention. I have never been a “Baby Einstein” mom but when I saw DVD’s that were similar but were “Baby Praise”, I couldn’t resist checking them out. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE this collection!!!!! The DVD’s are visually attractive (like Einstein’s) and Ty loves them. Ty rocks back and forth and claps his hands when I play them. I play them almost every day now as I have found they are very soothing for my household. They put my heart in the right place and I do a better job being a mommy. I will put the Baby Praise Collection Information on the music page if you are interested. My favorite song on this collection (God of Wonders DVD) is “Our God Reigns”. There are two lines in this song that I just love. One line say’s “He sent His son to echo His worth”. I love that statement and I could write and write on that one but alas….I would be sidetracking. The other line say’s “Praise His name – all still standing – all that was – all that remains – our God reigns”. My favorite part of this is “all still standing”. There are moments in life when “standing” feels like a repetative process of climbing back off our knees. In a culture of moral relativism, it is so hard to avoid hurtful and unkind labels that are put upon us for maintaining absolute standards of morality. ESCR is a good case in point for me right now. Yet still…we stand right back up. Against opposition and even when it all seems doomed to failure. I am not called to solved the problems of the world – only to stand up – and I do. This line just affirms so much that is on my heart right now that I feel the need to sing it everyday – sometimes through tears.
Tanner denies loving these videos yet it is obvious that he does. He watches them right along with Ty and if I am not in the room my shy boy will sing. The other day I ended up with tears streaming down my face while doing dishes in the kitchen while listening to him. These DVDs have a woman’s voice singing these contemporary praise songs and then children’s voices join in. At the chorus of one of the songs I heard an extra child’s voice. At first it startled me. The voice sounded so near – surely it couldn’t be Tanner! He wouldn’t sing that loud or long! I peeked into the front room and Tanner was standing in the middle of the room with his eyes glued to the TV. Over and over he sang with the DVD “holy holy holy is the lamb”.
Have you had those moments of watching your little children raise their voices in sincere worship? I stood there in awe. Another moment forever imprinted upon my heart. It encouraged me too. When I had spent the week reading and researching about the very essence of worship and than to see my four year old praising God with this incredible serenity and sincerity – it served to affirm my studies. All creation will cry out in praise. At this point you are probably asking yourself if Tanner would have sang “Old McDonald Had a Farm” in the same sincere tone and I am making a point of a situation that could be chalked up to happenstance. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion when I finish this story.
So today Tanner and I were singing to the Praise Collection while I was doing the dishes. It just seemed like a really good time to talk about Jesus so I turned the sound down and asked him if he wanted me to tell him the greatest story ever told. I swept the floor while he sat at the table and I explained to him who Jesus is, why He came, why God only allows perfection into heaven, and how Jesus gave us a gift we couldn’t earn through his death on the cross. I then added “and this is why mommy loves to praise Jesus every day. I need to worship him and thank Him for purchasing my place in heaven. He gave me a precious gift and I want to praise Him.” I said nothing specific about the songs we sing – I was pretty general about it. This was not the first time we have talked about this but I was more specific in the details than usual. Too specific for what he could retain but sometimes kids will surprise you so I just talk away and hope at least a small portion sticks.
This evening we were in the car driving and we had a conversation that I will never forget. What Tanner said told me his heart understands something that seems beyond a 4 year old. Some may call it coincidence but I don’t believe it was. I believe God Himself is giving Tanner understanding in 4 year old size bites 🙂 .
Doni: Jim – Tanner and I had a long talk about Jesus and why He came today.
Jim: You did?
Doni: Yep. Tanner – tell daddy what Jesus did for us.
Tanner: He died.
Doni: Why did He die Tanner?
Tanner: For heaven. It’s a long way away.
Doni: But then He raised again didn’t He? He is alive right now!
Tanner: Yep. Bad guys killed Him.
Doni: Yes but remember that we can’t get to heaven without Jesus. He died as a gift for us.
Tanner: Yep. (He then directs his attention to his dad) Daddy. I cry holy holy holy is the lamb.
When Tanner said that last line to his dad my eyes welled with tears. What made him say that of all things? We had talked about why mommy praises God but we did not mention this song nor did I mention any definition of worship yet the minute we discuss salvation with his dad, my little boy’s heart jumps to praise. The fact that he referenced praise in this conversation isn’t what surprises me. I did tell him that mommy praises because of God’s gift. It is the fact that he could have heard and understood beyond the level of what I said – enough to tell his daddy at the end of discussing salvation that he personally cries holy is the lamb. Scripture teaches that all of creation will cry holy holy holy. Of all the songs on both CD’s – Tanner would happen to reference that one and personalize it.
At four, I am sure he has only the simplest of understandings of this…but he knew enough to say exactly what God say’s all creation will someday say – and I didn’t teach Tanner that.