Christian music has inspired and encouraged my soul since I began listening to 16-year-old Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith when I was in high school.  Spiritual concepts and scripture set to music help me to “Set my mind on things above and not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2  

Breaking, Crushing, Pressing

Today, I still listen to Christian music almost exclusively.  Sometimes the Lord wakes me up in the morning with a specific song running through my head that stays with me throughout the day and occasionally I’ll receive a phrase and tune from an old song, sometimes I can’t quite place, as just a word of encouragement.  Other times, I get a Word for something I’ve been mulling over. For instance, this week my heart’s been heavy over dear friends with cancer.  We know God has the power to heal and has said we have the same power in Jesus (Ephesians 1:19-20) – so where are the miracles of old?   I got in the car and the radio was playing Lora Story’s song Blessings.  I did not want to hear “What if your blessings come through raindrops, What if your healing comes through tears.”  But then I heard the bridge, and it went straight to my heaviness of heart.  “When darkness seems to win, We know that pain reminds this heart,  That this is not,  This is not our home. It’s not our home.”  Heard Lord.  Over the years, I’ve come to recognize and welcome this lyrical interference of the Holy Spirit because it helps me Abide in Christ (one of my core values) in the good and the hard.  (By the way, I do believe miracles happen today!)

That being said… You will occasionally see songs referenced and played here!  Recently, Hillsong Worship released their newest album, There is More.  This is one worship group I love.  In listening to the album one song, in particular, stood out.

New Wine

In the crushing, in the pressing, you are making new wine

In the soil I now surrender, you are breaking new ground

So I yield to you until you give a hand

When I trust you I don’t need to understand

Make me your vessel, make me an offering, make me whatever you want me to be

I came here with nothing but with all you have given me

Jesus bring new wine out of me

In the crushing, in the pressing, you are making new wine

In the soil I now surrender, you are breaking new ground

Breaking new ground

Where there is new wine, there is new power

There is new freedom the Kingdom is here

I lay down my old flames to carry your new fire today

Let me precede the next bit with this…. If we are in Christ, nothing happens to us unless God permits it.  Even though satan (little “s”- he doesn’t deserve a capital) has been defeated, he still rules this world but must ask God’s permission like with Job and Peter.  But God is ever and always in control.

New Ground

Gary and I joke about being married 33 years as the best 18 years of our life.  People who have been married a while understand.  God allowed our marriage to be tested and tried when the girls were 2 and 4 years old.  We were crushed and pressed for a number of years and had to work with God to break new ground so He could make new wine.  

Years later when the girls were in high school, Gary was asked to be an elder in our church.  We were both saying, “nu uh,” “nope,” “don’t think so!”  In fact, I told him I would divorce him so he would be scripturally disqualified! ( I was only half joking.)  Then Gary starts praying about it.  Really!   I felt we were too young, we were still raising our girls, AND it was a tremendous responsibility.  Well, he was convicted, I didn’t file, and Gary began his 9 years of service as an elder.  For those that aren’t familiar with the Church of Christ, in my tribe, each church is independent and is lead by a group of elders and not a pastor or pulpit minister.  The elders, as described in Titus 1:5-9, have the pastoral responsibility of the body of believers at their congregation as well as the leadership of the church workings.  It’s a mighty calling and responsibility.

About this same time,  I went to work in the inner-city with a Christian ministry helping the poor.  Fast forward… The end of 2017, marked 10 years of another crushing and pressing because satan attacked Gary and me through our daughters.  Our ground was pretty solid. We had raised our girls on the Rock! However, they were led astray and took some very wrong turns.

I won’t share their stories at this time because they still have healing ahead and this is a parents story.  Suffice it to say, they have both escaped death numerous times only by God’s permission and mercy.   Gary and I have experienced this period of brutal assaults, alone and together, in grief and pain, angry and despairing, on our knees, on our faces, taking one blow after another.   We lost our dreams and at times our hope but all in all, we’ve learned to love more like Jesus and trust God’s promises and faithfulness.  I take great comfort in knowing God loves our girls even more than we do!

They are doing pretty well today.  I like to say “There is peace in Jerusalem!”  However, we continue to pray for the full redemption of their pasts and God’s purposes for their futures.   We’ve broken lots of new ground personally and spiritually and we’re drinking the new wine God’s made because they drove us to drink. ;o) We are now in parenting recovery! 

Reflection

Think about your own journey… Where did God break new ground in you?  If you are currently being crushed and pressed, trust and believe that God is present, faithful and by your side.  Close your eyes, imagine sitting in your favorite place with Jesus and lean in. God works all things for the good of those who love him and have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28