Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Dreaded "N" Word

You've heard it.  Admit it, you dread it.  You try and get out of it.  I know I have.  But if you are a parent that attends a church, then sooner or later you have to face the dreaded "N" word.  NURSERY.  I know, I know, you change diapers and wipe boogers all week, Sunday is your day to escape that!  So WHY in the world would you want to go to that with SOMEONE ELSE'S CHILD?!?  The INSANITY of it all!

Ok, I say that in all humor, really, but let me give you my perspective.  I used to sing in the choir.  I used to do my once-a-month dread-it-and-get-it-over-with nursery duty and then breathe a HUGE sigh of relief as it was finished.  Then I felt the Lord leading me to join the nursery staff more often than my once-a-month deal.  At first, I was like, seriously Lord?  I wipe bottoms all week and now you want me to be in there MORE?  I started working in the nursery more and seriously fell in love with it.  I fell in love with the faithful volunteers who are there EVERY WEEK, even though they don't have any babies in the nursery anymore.  I fell in love with my sweetie babies who I have the privilege of watching them grow up, just like my own children. 

See here is why I had a change of heart.  Our church has a HUGE service every year around Christmas.  The nursery is the LAST place people want to be for that service, because we have some pretty cool people come speak (Kirk Cameron, John Smoltz [go Braves!], Bobby Bowden, and this year is Nick Wallenda, the tightrope walker). We have a TON of people from the community come and have the opportunity to hear the Gospel.  Last year, I went to help in the nursery, and there was a couple who brought down their son, who was about 3 years old.  He did NOT want to come in at all, but I took his hand as he cried, and his mom said "he's never been apart from me".  She was VERY nervous to leave him.  I didn't blame her!  But I assured her that he would have loads of fun, and we would text her if he needed her.  She waved at her little boy, and went to service.  After service, she picked him up, asked how he did (great, by the way), and then with tears streaming down her face told me "thank you for taking such good care of him.  I have never heard anything like that before in my life."  Wow.  Talk about a wake up call!

Here is my take on why nursery workers are so very important and vital to a church.  Yes, it is nice to drop your kiddos off, and have a break from them.  Yes it is important for you to be fed spiritually.  But our church exists for the community, to reach lost souls.  These big events are for THEM...The unsaved and the unchurched (thank you Cassi for that perspective!). We can give up one service a month (or more, nursery directors will GLADLY take any time you want to volunteer!) so that an unsaved mother can sit through a service and hear the Gospel preached.  Honestly, we will never know the impact we could have, just by loving on some babies.  There may also be those parents who are saved, but this is the first time in a new church, and they are nervous.  Having a reassuring face take their child and care for them can be a huge help in allowing the Word of God to enter their hearts.  Then there may be a child who is in your care that doesn't normally get loved on, or held.  That hour or two that you take to show that child the love of Christ may make a huge difference in their life.

No, it is not glamorous.  You might even get spit up on your clothes.  But the smile or the snuggle that you get from that sweet child is seriously worth it.  And knowing that someone might have come to the saving knowledge of Christ makes it even more worth it. 

So the next time you hear that dreaded "N" word...think about it...what is one or two hours a month compared to all of eternity? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This is Me

This is me.  This is a work in progress.  This picture was a long time coming.

You see, for the past I don't know how many years, I am the person BEHIND the camera.  To a point, I still am, because let's face it...little kids are WAY cuter than adults, and I have three of the cutest kids EVER!  But if you were to ask me even several months ago, to stand and pose for a picture, I would be trying to stretch my neck, hide behind people, etc., etc., etc.  I MIGHT even go as far to say that I "hated" myself.

I can't tell you when all that started to change.  Maybe the change has been gradual, I'm not quite sure.  But this folks, this is me.  I am 30 years old (yikes!), VERY overweight (working on that!), but I am HAPPY to be me.  That doesn't mean I'm happy I am overweight.  No, I am NOT happy about that, BUT I am happy to live my life the way I was meant to.  I have started changing the overweight part (work in progress, I'm impatient, it's slow, pray for me!) and I am also changing the attitude part.  See, this body has given birth to FOUR children.  For the longest time, I would pretty much yell at myself "look, that momma has had lots of kids too, and look how skinny and fit they are!" But no more.  The yelling is DONE.  That other momma, the one with the fit body, does not have MY body and MY makeup.  So why in the world am I comparing myself to her?  That was a lesson a LONG time in coming.

Self love is something that I have always struggled with.  But there is one person that has REALLY helped me with that, and honestly, I am so grateful for that person.  He has taught me that who cares what people think (even what I think!) because HE loves me and HE thinks I am beautiful.  It has taken a long time, but guess what--now that is all that matters.  To be loved is such a precious gift, one that I am so thankful for each and every day.

I may not be a size 2.  In fact, I am the biggest female in our entire family.  I'm not going to lie and say that doesn't bother me (because it REALLY does) but I have learned not to let it control my life!  I used to be SO unhappy because I looked terrible in any article of clothing I put on, and in every single picture that was taken of me (and there weren't many for that very reason).  But I have since learned one HUGE thing that has changed my perspective forever:  I. AM. LOVED.  I am loved by an amazing man who cares for ME.  I am loved by three ADORABLE children who call me mommy.  I am loved by countless family and friends.  And most importantly, I am loved DESPERATELY by a Father who has loved me with an everlasting love.  That alone is what gives me the smile that I can now put on my face.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Love is My Why

     Out of the twelve months of the year, I think that March and October are the two months that I dislike the most.  Not that they are bad months, they are just months that bring to mind things that make me cry.  And I do not like to cry (really, who does?).  March 21 is when we lost our second child, Malachi.  And the month of October, buried beneath all of the breast cancer awareness activities, is also Miscarriage and Infant Loss awareness month.  While our family does have ties to breast cancer (my grandmother died from it), the second is the one that is closer to me.
     Unlike other awareness months that try and raise money for research, Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness (in my mind at least) exists so that others can know that they are not alone in their pain.  It is staggering to think that one in four pregnancies end in loss.  Most of these are not even known, and many that are known are not shared on purpose because of the pain it brings.  I am no stranger to that pain.  Some years, the pain is so bad, that I live my life in a fog, blinded by the pain that creeps up into my heart.  Other years aren't so bad, and there is light breaking that fog apart.  I think it is different for everyone.  But I think deep down inside we are all searching for that one thing that sometimes seems to elude us: peace.

   Peace is such a wonderful thing to have, isn't it? When you have peace about a decision, your life is light and happy and carefree.  But I write this today not because I haven't found that peace, but to tell you that I have come to terms that I DO have that peace...I just have to claim it.  Daily.  It is amazing what happens when I pray "Father, remind me of the peace You have given me."  If you have not met the One who can give you that peace, I would be more than happy to share with you where I found my peace.  If you have a hard time claiming that peace that God gave you, do not be discouraged.  You are most certainly not alone.

     I wonder sometimes if people get tired of me always posting my images that remind me of him.  I want to say up front that I don't do it to get sympathy.  No, I do it in hopes that someone, somewhere will see it and want to start a conversation.  You see, when we lost Malachi, I asked God the question that I am pretty sure we all ask: why?  Why would you take my baby from me before I even held him in my arms?  Why would you put our family through this pain?  Why would  you give me a baby for 12 short weeks and then rip him out of my body?  And here is what I learned.  God does not have to have a reason why.  He is God. End of story.  But what I also learned is that I can take that pain and turn it around to be something good.

    In my search to answer the why, I started a small support group, HOPE (Healing Our Pain and Enduring).  I admit, it has not grown as much as my impatient mind wants it to grow, but the Lord has laid it on my heart to work on that.  I want to be a light to those who need it, a friend to those who feel that no one understands. Maybe the answer to my why is "so you can be a blessing and encouragement to others".  So that is my prayer.  That is why I share my child with the world.  Love is my why.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Cherish the Moments

I put Softie away today.  It was hard.  Maybe I should have let him keep it, but as much as I hate to see it, my baby boy is growing up.  Softie is his blanket, with the soft, velvety square that is gray.  That square used to be white, but over three years of loving and rubbing it has turned it into that sad color.  Even with many washings, that white never came back.  Softie has been through a lot.   Softie has been that faithful companion of comfort for my son.  But we have now traded the pale green and yellow baby blanket for a red, gray and blue twin comforter.

It is a difficult thing, I think, watching your children growing out of that baby stage.  I have been through it once before, and will go through it another time after this, but for some reason I am having a very hard time with this one.  Maybe because he is my only boy.  My sweetie pie.  I placed that blanket on the shelf in the linen closet, and all I could see were visions of those huge brown eyes, staring up at me for the first time.  The absolute second I looked into those eyes, I was lost forever.  My heart was stolen by that sweet baby boy. 

As a mother, you go through many emotions.  There's all the firsts: first smile, first tooth, first favorite being the first time he told me he loved me with his tiny boy voice.  There are also the emotions you go through when they break your heart: they scream at you, they tell you no.  The list can go on and on, but I choose not to dwell on that.  There are the emotions of pride: pride at all they accomplish; pride at the times they do right; pride when they show how grown up they are getting. Then there are the emotions when you think about how these things never last as long as you want them to.  My baby boy is getting ready to start school.  How did this happen?  I feel as though I did not have him long enough as my baby.  That is why I am learning to cherish the moments.  They fly by so quickly, if you are not careful, you will miss them.  Cherish EVERYTHING.  Even the things that seem so terrible (can we say potty training?)--because one day, you will wish you had those moments once again.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Facebook Expirement (What Happened When I Deleted Facebook)

August 15

So today I deactivated my FB account.  Honestly, I don't really know why I did it.  I hope in the next few days I will have more of that figured out, but for now, I will start with saying that it is a STRANGE feeling.  My account has been deactivated for all of 45 minutes, and in those 45 minutes I have sat down at my computer and looked for my tab with FB open FIVE TIMES.  Can we say ADDICTED?!  It is a strange feeling, being "disconnected" from the world, and my friends.  But I can also say in those 45 minutes I have made my menu for the next week, made my shopping list, rocked my sleeping baby, and listened to my five year old show me a magazine article on how to grow a plant in a cup.  Do you think I would have done that if I were on FB?  Ummm, no!  This "experiment" is opening my eyes to what all I have been missing!

August 18

So it's been three days since I deleted FB.  Wow, what an eye opener!  I didn't realize how much I was on FB until I didn't have it anymore!  I will admit, I got on my husband's account this morning to post first day of school pics.  But I didn't linger, and it was nice!  I think the thing that is keeping me off of it consistently is the fact that I only told two people I was deactivating my account.  I didn't even tell my husband.  Part of it was vanity (I wanted to see who would miss me on the way, so far no one has haha) but part of it was I wanted it to be a personal thing...not for show.  It hit me today though, that I most likely will not be on in a month...which is my 30th birthday.  That kind of made me sad, because I LOVE getting all of the birthday wishes on there!

August 22

So yeah, my husband thinks I'm crazy and it won't last.  Maybe not.  But guess what...I have found myself happier in this week off FB.  A week?!  Wow it hardly seems like it has been that long.  But in that week, not once did I compare myself to some super mom on there, or get angry at some dumb post someone put on there, or jealous because someone got something I wanted.  I realized how JUVENILE Facebook has made me!  I realized that yeah, I may not be super mom on FB, but guess KIDS think I'm super mom and that is all that matters.  And I may not have that to DIE for name brand item, but I have everything I need, and most of what I want!  I have a loving husband and beautiful children, a beautiful house and great vehicles, and I have more love than I know what to do with!

September 8

Umm, so wow it has been almost a month.  I must say, it has been really nice, and I have received some really funny looks when people ask.  I will be honest and say that I am REALLY tempted to turn it back on, but only to get all the cool birthday wishes (you only turn 30 once, right?!).  One thing that I do NOT miss, is the feeling of inferiority that always crept in as I saw all of my friends in their workout poses, or making awesome crafts with their kids.  My children are alive at the end of the day, and right now, that is all that matters!  I have learned many things about myself in this almost month.  I have learned that I CAN go a day without feeling like a failure.  I CAN go a day without making a mean remark on someone's post.  But I have also learned that I am a VERY social person, and the loneliness I have been struggling with has gotten worse.  Its crazy how you can be surrounded by screaming, laughing children all day, and still feel like you are the only person alive.

I guess a follow up post could be Why I CAN'T reactivate my FB.  Mainly because of all the NEW comments of ridicule I know I will get from family and friends..."oh I knew you wouldn't last", "once addicted, always addicted, right?".  I honestly need to learn to stop caring about what people say, but we all know that it is hard when it is someone close to you, right?  So here's the tough decision...continue in the "loneliness" that comes from being "disconnected" with the world, or face the ridicule and "I told you so's" from the people close to me.  It is so strange to me how something so ridiculous as Facebook can rule our lives so much.  If I'm on, I'm frustrated at myself and every other person in my list...if I'm NOT on, I'm lonely and get made fun of for not being on the cursed website.  It really is a no-win situation.  So we shall see.  Maybe I will reactivate it, maybe I won't.  But I can assure you, it will not be until I can get over what people will say....hmmm......

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Things a SAHM Needs

     Stay at home moms (SAHM).  They are the envy of most working moms, am I right?  I remember when I worked.  All I wanted to do it see my kids grow up, watch all of their "firsts", and basically just play all day long with them.  Now that I have the privilege to do that, I wouldn't trade it for the WORLD!  But sometimes, there are things about being a working mom that I miss.  I miss adult conversation;  I miss the chance to lock myself in the bathroom stall and "go potty" by myself. 

I was really thinking this morning, while attempting to tune out the whining of my threenager (a new term that I LOVE), that sometimes there are things that SAHMs need that people don't really think about doing.  PLEASE, please do not read this as a complaining post.  It is NOT intended at all to be that.  This is just me writing my crazy jumbled thoughts down.  I applaud all working moms, because I know where you are too.  You need these things too, maybe even more so. 

     We need help.  We need help, and we don't like to ask for it.  See, SAHMs are supposed to be super heroes (and I know I RARELY feel like a super hero), but truth is, there are so many days when I imagine what it would be like to have someone entertain my children while I do some dishes, or fold some laundry.  I KNOW that I can do those things WITHOUT help, but the thought is nice!

     We need time away.  I know that most SAHMs get that, but it is becoming SERIOUSLY hard to try and get away, because as much as I LOVE my three munchkins, they are a HUGE handful.  Yes, we have family in the area, and yes, they help, but I wonder if they DREAD hearing the phone ring with me asking AGAIN if they can watch the kids.  I love them for always being willing, but I know my children.  And they are exhausting.

     We need a hug.  A non-sticky, understanding, you're-doing-a-great-job hug.  We get hugs from our kiddos all day, and we LOVE that.  But having someone else just walk up to you and give you an encouraging hug just means the WORLD!  WARNING: we may cry.

     We need affirmation.  As mentioned above, we like to know that we are doing a good job.  Its good to hear, and does WONDERS to lift spirits!  When I see mommas in the store struggling with children, I try (when I'm not chasing down my own kiddos) and smile and tell them they are doing a good job.  Being a SAHM is a thankless job.  Yes, it is rewarding, but many times that affirmation gives that mom all that she needs to make it through another day.  

     We need prayer.  I know that I struggle ALL THE TIME with feelings of doubt, lack of strength, and just plain exhaustion.  But I believe in the power of prayer, and knowing someone is praying for you gives unbelievable reassurance, strength, and hope. 

     So next time you see that mom int he grocery store, trying to get what she needs with two kids running around the cart and another one in the cart crying (oh wait, it's probably me).  Say a prayer for her.  Tell her she is doing a great job.  And watch her face light up and her shoulders straighten. 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Being a Mom is TOUGH...

So I came across this wonderful website called Proverbs 31 Ministries.  They have online Bible Studies, and I am starting one today called "Am I Messing Up My Kids?"  I IMMEDIATELY signed up for this study, thinking "YES!  YES I totally AM messing up my kids!"

First day:  write a blog post about how being a mom is tough....oh boy.  I mean, seriously, I could write ALL DAY on that subject!

It IS tough being a mom.  I have three BEAUTIFUL children...(Brianna, 5; Carter, 3; and Makenna, 1) and I LOVE being their mommy.  But let's face it--life isn't all about bubbles and rainbows and hugs and kisses. These three precious children are HUMAN.  They were born sinners.  And they cry and whine and complain (alot!).  They do bad things, and drive me CRAZY, but through it all, I wouldn't change my life for the WORLD.

Another tough part about being a mom (at least for me) is that I ALWAYS second guess myself.  Am I doing what is best for them?  Am I making sure they have the best possible chance of being successful in their grown up lives?  Are they safe?  Are they loved enough?  Those thoughts alone can be so overwhelming at times!

There is one other aspect that I bring up that may or may not apply to some moms.  I hope and pray that it does not apply to you.  Another tough part about being a mom is not having your child with you.  We have an angel in heaven, and it is so tough feeling that empty spot so many times as life goes on.  I know God had a reason, and I know my family would not be what it is today if Malachi had survived, but believe me, that hole is still there.  If that has become a part of your life, know that my prayers are with you, and feel free to visit my page on Facebook ( HOPE Healing Our Pain and Enduring).  I am still in the building process of this new ministry, but know it is a safe place to honor you and your child.

So reading over this post, I think that I could say that YES, being a mom is tough.  But it is also the most rewarding thing I could have ever chosen to dedicate my life doing.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Launch Team!

I got the coolest email this morning!  It may become somewhat annoying to my friends, but I am VERY excited to be a part of the launch team for Karen Kingsbury's new book The Family of Jesus.  I am so excited to read this devotional!  So apologies if I am annoying about posing about all of this, but Karen's books have been such an encouragement to me, and I am excited to see how this one will do the same thing!  
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Friday, June 6, 2014

One year later.....

It's birthday season in the Bowman family!  We have two months that have multiple birthdays--June and November!

Today marks one year that this goober has been with us!  I cannot believe how much she has added to our family and how much I have learned since she has been born!  She is such a joy with her big, beautiful blue eyes and infectious smile.  She is adored by her big brother and big sister, and she adores them right back!  She is ever watchful of them (which is scary to me), and is content just to sit and watch all the activity going on around her!  She is getting to be a super fast crawler and is starting to walk around the walls and the furniture.  Kenna Roo, we love you so very very much, and we are so thankful that God blessed our family with you! 

This month we have three birthdays in one week's time!  Our youngest niece Keilah was just born on the 3rd, Kenna's birthday is today (the 6th), and Pawpaw's (Caleb's dad) birthday is the 9th!  Then daddy's birthday is the 26th!  So we are busy busy around here (while trying to close on two houses and move!)

Times like this, when I am so busy with everyday life, it is so important to just sit back and observe all that God has blessed is with each and every day!  It is amazing to see how our lives have changed in the seven years we have been married.  All I can say about that is I'm so glad I said yes!

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Nom nom nom

So we have some new chompers coming in at the house.  I have been surprised, for the most part the munchkin hasn't had TOO many pains with this latest round of teething...of course, the molars are still to come, but we will tackle that when it comes around!

 My sweet hubby sent me a pin the other day for teething biscuits.  I took one look at it, laughed, and said "ain't nobody got time for that!"  You see, as much as I love cooking and baking, I HATE rolling out dough and cutting cookies...blech.  But we have this HUGE amount of baby food that she really won't eat, so I decided, why not...and I'm glad I did! (You were right, dear)

Here is the original post I got the recipe from.  I made a few changes to attempt to make it "healthier" (although it is pretty healthy to start with!) and that is why I am writing a post about it (mainly so I remember what I did!).  Lish at Imprintalish did a great job on this so I want to give credit where credit is due!  Have fun!

Homemade Teething Biscuits

1 cup all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 cup baby cereal (for this recipe I used Gerber multigrain)
1 container stage 2 baby food (for this recipe I used Gerber apple banana strawberry) or 1/3 c mashed bananas, applesauce, or any puréed fruit or veggie.  I am going to try a sweet potato one next! 
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
3 Tbsp. water

 Preheat oven to 425°.  Mix it all up and knead slightly to get it mixed really well.  Roll it out to about 1/2" thickness and cut into your favorite shapes.  Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.  Cool and let the munchkins enjoy!

Note: This "cookie" has been approved by my crazy, curly headed 3 year old...and of COURSE the human disposal loves them.  I will update once the all-knowing 5 year old tries them!  YES, I did try them, and while they are bland and you can tell there is baby cereal in them, they actually aren't that bad! 

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Here I Am To Worship

I have been writing this in my head for a long time.  Editing it on here so it sounds just right, without offending anyone (I pray!) but getting my heart across in a way that makes sense.  I write this after reading an article posted by David Cloud of  In that article (which you can read here), he attacks a church in California for taking Contemporary Christian Music and adapting it to suit their style of music.  Cloud pretty much says that CCM is "pure mysticism created by sensual music (composed of dance rhythms, non-resolving chord sequences, the dramatic rise and fall of the sound, repetition, sensual vocal styles, and electronic distortion)."  I'm not going to go into the rest of that article, but rather just give my thoughts regarding music and worship in the church.  I KNOW there will be people that disagree with my opinions (and that is fine, everyone has a right to their own opinion) but I will NOT argue with people concerning this and if there are any attacks, your comment will not be published. 

     I think that there is a misconception in today's church as to what worship truly consists of.  Webster's 1828 dictionary defines the transitive verb worship as "to adore; to pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration."  To adore, as defined by the same dictionary, is "to worship with profound reverence; to address with exalted thoughts, by prayer and thanksgiving; to pay divine honors to; to honor as a god or divine." Another definition is "to love in the highest degree; to regard with the utmost esteem, affection and respect; as, the people adore their prince."  When someone is in church worshiping, they should have that adoration.  Nowhere in that definition does it say "when one worships, one raises his hands and jumps up and down;" or "worship is defined as one standing still as a statue with a solemn look on their face."  It says to pay honor to.  And for each and every person in this world, how they adore their Creator is different.  

     I have the privileged of singing on the praise team at our church.  We sing praise songs and adapted hymns.  And I can tell you that in this small group of us that sing on the praise team (and each and every member of the choir as well!) that not one of us stands up there and sings the same way!  There are some that raise their hands, some that jump up and down, and some that just stand and sing.  Is one or the other wrong?  Absolutely not!

     I want to address something that is in that definition by Cloud--the words "sensual music".  I know for me personally, when I am up singing in a service, that I in no way AT ALL fell that the praises I am singing TO GOD are sensual.  That right there threw me for a loop!  Maybe there are some people out there that interpret it as sensual, but I am pretty sure that the majority of church-goers do not feel this way.  As a musician, (and studying music and theory in college), I DO feel that unresolved chord sequences are annoying, and in our church at least, we resolve those for the most part.  There is just something in you that feels like it NEEDS TO RESOLVE!  But on the flip side of that, I have been thinking about something.  I don't know why modern composers choose to end something in an unresolved matter, but maybe it is to allow you to subconsciously keep the thought of the song in your head.  A way to meditate on what you just sang.  I would be interested in exploring that further...maybe one day!

  I am not saying in this post that in order to worship and adore Christ you need to sing the old time hymns and reject modern music.  Nor am I saying we need to "adapt to a new generation" as the only way of worship.  What I am saying is let people worship God how they are comfortable doing that, and you worship God in the way that you are comfortable.  I grew up in a VERY conservative church.  We had an organ, a piano, and a hymnbook.  I can honestly say that growing up I had no problem with that, and we were taught that the CCM movement was wrong.  I can also honestly say that looking back, I never really experienced true worship--in MY heart.  Why that is, I still am not sure, but part of me wonders if it is because I was restricted (without even realizing it!) in my worship.  I was the girl that discovered CCM in high school (Avalon and FFH were my favorites!) and sneaked around behind my parent's back to listen to it (although now that I am a parent I am pretty sure they knew!).  When I went to college, and studied music, that same thought was present (and I truly appreciate my college education and experiences there--that is their stand and I respect that, but it is not mine anymore).  Once again, I stood in church services and sang the hymns, not truly worshiping in my heart because it felt so WRONG feeling emotion in church.  Then I got married and we moved to our current church, where praise music is used.  That is when I experienced worship for the first time.  Being free to allow that emotion to course through my being, was something that I had never experienced, and it brought tears to my eyes.  You see, I am a VERY emotional person (just ask my husband).  A whole new world of responding to the One who created me was opened up in just one service.  And to this day, I still get emotional every single I don't always cry, but there is definitely joy, gratitude, and love flowing through me.  And I pray that it shows on my face.  Because that is what I want people to see in me.

     For those of you who do not attend a church with music like mine, I beg you--allow the Holy Spirit to move in you and allow the emotion of what you are singing to change your life.  You will never be the same.  I am a firm believer (because I have experienced it!) that even the old time hymns (which I love) can cause you to have emotion in worship.  Emotion does not have to be raising your hands, swaying, and jumping up and down.  You can be still as a statue, and have every emotion displayed across your face.  I will be honest and say that it really bothers me when I see people singing in church with sour looks on their faces.  How in the world can you sing "thank you Lord, for saving my soul" or "Amazing grace how sweet the sound" and not FEEL anything?  Jesus saved your soul from eternal separation from Him.  I challenge you to think of the words as you sing.

     One thing that troubles me is the constant picking that goes on from one side to the other.  I honestly don't understand why it is anyone's business how another person worships.  Worship, in my humble opinion, is something that is personal, between you and God.  It is a very private, intimate thing (I mean, would you pick at another couple's love life?  Bad comparison, I know, but when you think about it....). Let me worship how I worship, and I will let you worship how you worship.  I am so thankful to go to a church where if someone sees another raise their hand, they don't feel pressured to do the same.  I admit, it was awkward for me at first to see people raise their hands, and I wouldn't DREAM of doing that, but I never once felt like I was doing something wrong by not swaying and raising my hands.  Now is a different story, because I have become comfortable with the way I worship.  I don't think that once we get to Heaven that the Lord is going to look at us and say "the way you worshiped me, well, it was wrong".  I DO think, however, that when we get to Heaven, the Lord IS going to say either "your worship pleased me" or "why did you not truly worship me?"  The important thing that I am going to concern myself with is that I worship God.  Because we all know that he plainly said that if WE don't, then the rocks will!  Believe me, I do NOT want to get to Heaven and see my Lord disappointed because I did not worship.

     Now, here comes the part where I put my favorite verses about worship in this post.  Let the word of God speak to you and challenge you to evaluate how you worship.

Psalm 29:2  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Revelation 4:11  Thou art worth, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Romans 12: 1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Psalm 59:16  But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.

Psalm 150  Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.  Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.  Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.  Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.  Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.  Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 100:2  Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

     There are so many more verses in the Bible, but I think that these have to be some of my favorites.  The last thing I want to post on here is some of the words to a very popular praise song.  The words should be the prayer of every believer to God.

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
Altogether worthy,
Altogether wonderful to me

I'll never know how much it cost
To see my sin upon that cross
I'll never know how much it cost 
To see my sin upon that cross

Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God
You're altogether lovely
Altogether worthy,
Altogether wonderful to me.
Here I am to worship. 

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