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.