My Calming

I can’t be the only one that feels this way. My mind has been totally overwhelmed lately. I’ve told you in previous posts how tired I am, how worn down I’m feeling in the midst of all that is going on around us. I won’t rehearse all of those reasons, you can go read them. In short, I’m worn down over all the extra steps that have to happen to make worship happen online right now. I mean, it’s been good, like really good. People are staying engaged with their church and going deeper in their faith, but I think we’re all longing for some semblance of “normalcy” to return. And as we’ve continued to receive new guidance from the governor and now a phased reopening plan from our Bishop, it has become obvious to me that “normal” (whatever that was) probably will never be again in the exact same way. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe, as I’ve posited before, the Church desperately needed to be moving to new frontiers of ministry and COVID-19 just happened to be the catalyst. But that doesn’t change that I’m worn down. I’m worn out scrolling my social media and seeing just how political this has all become and how angry and awful people can still be to those who disagree.

Add all of this to the 20,000 other stressors that typically exist in the life of a pastor, parent, spouse…yeah. You get it.

When I’m feeling stressed out, my dreams become really unsettling. My brain never stops processing the stress and emotion. Maybe you’re the same way.

About a week ago I was having a really unsettling dream. I can’t tell you exactly what it was about anymore. It wasn’t a nightmare. Just….unsettling. I was tossing and turning and struggling. Then I shot up in bed….you know that feeling. Usually it’s a daze of confusion and sleepiness as you realize that it was all just a dream. Except, that’s not what happened this time.

As soon as I became aware that I was awake, there was music in my room. Not just in my head, all around me. It was so loud that I thought I must have left my phone on playing music. I reached over to shut it off….but it already was. There was just music, all around me, calming me. Why was it calming? Because this is what I was hearing:

May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
And your family and your children
And their children, and their children.

May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with you

In the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you

This is part of the refrain of a song called “The Blessing”. I was introduced to this song when many churches throughout the UK sang it together to sing a blessing over their nation. God has been doing incredible things with this song. In the United Kingdom, where only 5-7% of the population attend worship even once per month….the video of the UK Blessing was viewed 2.1 million times in one week. That’s 200 new people watching it every single minute of every hour for a week. That’s incredible! And the video has been sweeping the U.S. as well. There have even been other versions, The Pittsburg Blessing, the South African Blessing, etc.
And I’ve been singing this song a lot…’s just a beautiful arrangement. It’s based on Scriptural blessings and I read somewhere that it took them less than 30 minutes to write most of it.
But that night, waking up from a stressful dream with a troubled heart…I wasn’t the one singing. It was being sung OVER and AROUND me.
I laid back on my pillow and prayed “Lord, sing over me.” I was thinking of a scripture from the Old Testament.
For the Lord your God is living among you.
   He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
   With his love, he will calm all your fears.
   He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. –Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
I don’t share this to sound super spiritual, like God sings song straight to me and I can hear them out loud all the time. It actually sounds kinda weird. But the Holy Spirit is wild and does what He wants.
I share this because I really needed my fears calmed by His love. I really needed the reminder that the Mighty Savior lives AMONG and within me. It was a beautiful experience that I’ve sat on for about a week but I keep feeling the Holy Spirit nudge me to share the blessing with others.
So maybe, you’re full of stress and have a troubled heart. That’s so many of us right now. I want you to know that God is with you! And with His love, He’ll calm all your fears and sing over you!
So no matter what state your mind and heart are in as you read this, I want you take a minute, sit back, open your hands to receive a gift….and receive this blessing straight from the heart of Our Father sung over you, His child:



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