Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hands in the Air

In 1991, I remember going to my sister's church in New York. We got there a bit late, I think, because we were sitting in the very last pew. There was a woman in front of us that really impacted my life. I didn't know her. I wasn't introduced to her. I just saw her.

It was the beginning of the service and people were already singing when we got there. It was then that I saw this tiny woman reaching for the sky. Reaching on her tippy toes. Trying to reach higher and higher. That is when my sister whispered that the woman had recently had a miscarriage. My heart felt such sorrow for her. I couldn't imagine.

My sister wasn't trying to gossip or say something mean. Those of you who know her know that she is not. She was trying to explain why this little woman was reaching for the sky with such determination. How this woman was showing her faith. She was reaching for her Savior. She was reaching for her King. She was reaching for her Comforter. There was such earnestness. There was such desperation. There was such longing to be touched by her God.

Up to that point in my life, I had been really shy and self conscious. So self conscious that I couldn't even think of raising my hands to sing to Jesus. Okay, there was this time at a youth group retreat. I was singing this song, "I want to be a sacrifice, Lord take all of me..." I closed my eyes (to shut out other people and not feel self conscious) as I sang and raised my hands because it was the desire of my heart. When I opened my eyes, I realized that I was in the middle of the seating, and that I was the only one lifting my hands. Felt more self conscious. Come on, I was in high school.

Over the next few years, I was directed to the hands down arena. The reason being that I had seen so many people raise their hands as a show. I know, that is a judgment that I made that I had no right to make, because only God really knows our hearts. But, I had had some pretty discouraging experiences with some, let's say, charismatic personalities.

But then, I saw this woman. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. Not because it was a show. Not because it was weird. But because of her determination to praise her Savior despite her circumstances.

Her faith challenged me.

To reach for Jesus no matter what.

To not be afraid to raise my hands in praise to Him.

To raise my hands despite my situation. Despite my feelings. Despite other people. Despite me.

It's  not about me. It's about Him.


  1. This blog really hit home. At my church there are a few people that lift up their hands to sing. I myself didn't quite understand it. I did at times thing it was just for show.

    Then, I had a miscarriage.

    On Wednesdays we would go to midweek worship at our church. That Wednesday I didn't want to go. I felt as if God had let me down. I had just become a believer and wanted to eagerly live in away that would glorify him...and then this happened. Well, I ended up going despite not wanting to.

    The first song they started singing was "BLESSED BE YOUR NAME" by Matt Redman. When they sang the words "you give and take away, my heart will choose to say Lord blessed be your name" It touched me in away I had never experienced. I couldn't help but cry. I sang along and my arms automatically went up. I closed my eyes and I sang to him, with my arms up...praising him. It was as if God was with me lifting me up, hugging me, assuring me it would be okay. That was the first time I had ever felt him so close.

    Whenever I sing now I close my eyes most of the time and when I want to raise my hands, I do. It is as if we have that one special moment just him and I. He knows that I'm praising him regardless of my situation. I close my eyes so he knows that in my heart all my praises are for him and I'm not worried about who's looking, who's not, and what people might say.

    God is good!

    Sorry for the long comment just wanted to share what it might have been like for that woman.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your painful experience. I understand your comments about closing your eyes, lifting your hands, and just having an intimate moment with God. I have not gone through a miscarriage but have had other sorrows in my life that have left me at His feet. It is amazing to see how God can bring such beauty through painful tragedy in our lives. May the Lord bless you!