Friday, June 8, 2018

why do i worship?

i grew up in the Church of Christ
acapella worship
and i loved it. still do.
there's nothing more beautiful than the sound of a hymn being sun in four-part harmony.

last year, we started a second service at our church that uses instruments during worship.
i love it.
the implementation of instruments within the building has brought in many new people. unfortunately, it has been the reason for some to leave our fellowship.
i won't discuss that here.

what i would like to discuss is my heart for worship
and that it is not determined by the use of or lack of instruments 

i'll tell you why.
it's because i love the people
and i love what the Lord has done in their lives
when i watch people that i love worship, i witness their outpouring of love for their God and of praise of what He has done for them.
I get to see people who have known hurt and pain live with joy and peace because of the hope of heaven. 
when i watch people worship, i can't help but do the same.
because i follow a God who changes lives.

i don't determine if i can worship by the quality of the music being played, or if the lighting was right, or if they play songs that i know.

it's sitting by the elderly woman who has lost a child and a husband in her lifetime.
as she sings, 
"when peace like a river attendeth my way
when sorrows like sea billows roll
 whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well with my soul"
only accompanied by the other voices, no instruments
she taps her tightly-clenched fist on her leg, eyes closed
because she knows, even in the midst of terrible pain, it is well with her soul.
she personally knows the God who has given her peace to sustain her.
and she can't help but praise Him (however quietly) each time she sings those words of reassurance and comfort.

or sitting next to the young guy who had never stepped foot in a church building until a few years ago when he was required to attend a recovery program within the walls of the church.
he learned about the grace of God and has found forgiveness and hope.
and as he sings, 
"i am redeemed, i've been set free
 so i'll shake off these heavy chains, wipe away every stain
 i'm not who i use to be. i am redeemed"
 to a full band, lights dimmed. his hands are raised and he is on his feet. 
because he had no hope and now has hope
he was guilty and ashamed, now we has no shame and has a new identity in Jesus Christ

when i witness these two very different-from-the-outside kinds of worship, my response is the same.
usually i'm crying.
emotionally, i am overwhelmed with love for others and the joy i feel in watching them worship.
i am in awe of the power to sustain and the power to change that comes from knowing Jesus.

so, it doesn't matter whether i attend a service that has a band or just has the voices of those in attendance.
what matters is the relationships that i have with those behind the voices and the music.
it matters that i know the One who changed their life.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Josh & Kristen. (alternately titled: A new sister!!!)

(first of all. let me note. these are all out of order. my computer won't cooperate for long, so organizing them in order of events just ain't happening)

they're married!

the wedding and reception were absolutely GORGEOUS!
the wedding was at Royal Lane Baptist church and the reception at the Adolphus downtown, where we stayed
the flowers were exquisite
and all of the details were just perfect
we really had a wonderful weekend with our family
GTs parents came in town to help with the kids, along with Garrett and Cristie
and they were a HUGE help!
i seriously could not imagine doing the weekend without them.
they had the boys since GT and I  were both in the wedding and doing bridesmaid/groomsmen things all weekend. baby girl just hung out with me and the girls. 
i have the absolute best in-laws ever. the end. 

i so wish Kristen were in this photo!

trying to feed the baby at the reception, but Townes can not leave her alone, ha!

all of the crazy grand-boys

Kristen looked amazing!
getting ready with the bridesmaids and Kristen
and watching the Royal Wedding

my cousins from North Carolina came in!
we always could use more time together...i love being with Memory
and Debbie

the rehearsal dinner was at Campisis downtown
it's dark, but Josh looking at Kristen while talking about her. he was a crying mess. it was adorable

you're welcome for the photobomb x 4

looks good on you, Josh

cutest little ringbearers

bridesmaid luncheon was at the T-Room in Forty Five Ten 
Kristen was so sweet talking about her relationshp with each of us, her family and Josh

this girl, y'all
she's too much with that smile!

sweet grandmothers

i am eager to see the official photos from the weekend!

it really was an all-around wonderful weekend.
not only was it all beautiful, but it went smoothly and they're married!

I gave a tiny little toast at the rehearsal dinner. 
and besides being an emotional wreck (which i quickly blamed on the 1.5week post-partum hormones), i talked about my relationship with Josh.
as a sister, you know a lot about your brothers. you know how annoying they can be and what buttons to push to really make them mad. 
but, i've also watched Josh become a really good man. 
a man that has worked incredibly hard in his education and profession. 
he is an unbelievably loyal friend. with friends all over the country that he accumulated as he gained 2 masters degrees and a doctorate degree while living Mississippi, Texas, and California and Tennessee.
He seeks truth and understanding. He is quite hilarious and a gifted artist. He is a ridiculously good and natural athlete and loves to compete. 
 I so so strongly wanted him to marry a woman who knew these things about him and totally appreciated him for it. 
and he did.
Kristen adores him. and she puts up with his quirks (rambling, to name one).
She is his perfect match and a super-awesome new sister-in-law. 
Josh adores her. 
it's been fun and slightly awkward to watch him show affection and be all lovey-dovey with her. 

as much grief as i've given him over the years, I sincerely only want the absolute best for him.
and ya know, he got it.