The weeks were long and she spent much of her time tired. By the time the weekends rolled around, the last thing she wanted to do was to go to church...especially with her bed beckoning her to sleep in. She went anyway. There's more than one kind of tired. There's soul tired...and she knew full well that the only cure for that was to go.
It's hard to focus when you're spent...when even short conversations on the way into the sanctuary feel like you are giving away what little you have left. Worship quickly turned into a time of asking rather than praising. She often spent the first few songs asking God to lift her above her circumstances so that she could focus on Him...worship Him. It didn't happen all at once, but eventually she began to notice a change. The lyrics were no longer just words that she sang. They leapt off the screen and pierced her heart in all of the already sore places. While everyone else sang she wrestled with tear filled eyes, determined not to let go until faith became sight...until she was certain she really believed what she was singing to be true of the God that she sang the words to. Only once the wrestling was through, did she feel herself being lifted above her circumstances and into the presence of God...caught up in worship. So caught up, that prayer at the altar became a place of peaceful surrender. God's presence so sweet, so soothing, that she couldn't help but kneel with hands open to release the long weeks, the burdens- and receive whatever He wanted to give.
This was her experience week after week. Each Sunday she struggled to go but returned home feeling a little more rested and a bit more whole. She marveled at this in part, because she had never experienced worship like this before. God was using worship as a hydrogen peroxide of sorts for her soul. Much like hydrogen peroxide stings while it works to make the dirt and infection ooze up to the surface cleaning the wound, worship brought to the surface all that needed to ooze out of her soul. As she wrestled with the words she sang during worship...the hurts, frustrations, and questions oozed up to the surface and spilled out. Each moment at the altar was a bandaging up of sorts on the road to healing. Before she knew it, she was able to sing without wrestling and worship without tears. That's when she realized that true worship is far more than singing songs of praise...or lip service. (See Matthew 15:8) True worship is an intimate interaction of the heart with God. True worship has a way of bringing things to the surface and laying a heart bare, before the only One who can stand to look at the ugly brokenness and make it beautifully whole again.