Worshipful Wednesday: Can’t Get Enough of You

For much of my life, I was paralyzed by fear. Fear of failure. Fear of loss. Fear of the walls that I’d so carefully constructed falling down around me.

Fear of trusting God and having Him disappoint me, too.

Though I had worked through some of this, I carried much of this fear into my marriage. I would at times ask my husband not to go out without me, such as an occassion where he was going to hear music with friends. I was totally gripped by a fear that something would happen to him while he was gone. This, thankfully, happened very infrequently, but when it did, it was as real and oppressive as anything I could remember experiencing.

In 2004, my husband and I were involved in an amazing church plant. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It really felt like this was how the church was supposed to be: real, welcoming, warm, convicting – just full of Jesus. I was the worship leader, and personally, I felt as if I was finally walking in the fullness of my calling: to use my songs to glorify God and to lead people to Him. I signed up to attend a local worship conference with Andy Park, Rita Springer, and some other well-known leaders.

Just weeks before I was scheduled to attend this conference, the church plant closed when the pastor chose sinful behavior (a sin that he had struggled with for years but had had several years of victory over) above his calling.

I went forward with my plan to attend the conference, though I had no idea why. It felt as if all my dreams had come crashing down, once again.

The conference was amazing, but on the morning of the last day, that dark voice began to beckon: You need to leave. Something awful is going to happen. You need to go home NOW or something will happen to Roy.

I called Roy, sobbing in my car, telling him I needed to come home RIGHT NOW. It didn’t matter that there were only a few hours left in the conference (something Roy pointed out). I replied, “Right! There’s only a few hours left! I might as well just leave, so nothing horrible happens! It won’t hurt to miss a few hours!”

Thank God for my patient husband. He talked me down, and we hung up. And as I remember the story, I sat in my car, crying out to God, weeping, so desperate for Him to show up.

And at that moment, this song, Can’t Get Enough of You, flowed out of me. It begins:

I come to You in desperation

On our last Sunday at our beloved church in Virginia, I was asked to lead worship, as our regular worship leader was out of town. I lead the congregation in this song, Can’t Get Enough of You, for many reasons. For one, I have lead worship numerous times at the church, and it is a team and a congregational favorite. And I sang it for myself because of the special place it holds in my heart: in times of desperation, in places where I am stepping out in faith, the song reminds me of God’s faithfulness. I needed to be continually reminded, is times of ease and trials, of Jesus’ wordsApart from Me, you can do nothing.

My husband captured this video on his iPhone. The lyrics are below, as well as a link to the chords.

Can’t Get Enough of You
By Brenna Kate

I come to You in desperation
I wait for You with expectation

I wouldn’t want to take even one single breath without You
I don’t want to make even one little step without You

Without Your touch, without Your breath, My life is meaningless
I need Your power, I need Your love, I just can’t get enough

I just can’t get enough of You, more of You
Lord, You’re the one thing I desire
I can’t get enough of You, more of You
I need Your passion and Your fire

God, take me in Your arms and fill me with Your love
My heart wants more and more, I just can’t get enough

© 2005 Unveiled Faces Music

Here’s the chord sheet: Can’t Get Enough of You in C#m. I wrote the song in B minor, but it seems to be easier for the congregation to sing in C#m.

I also want to mention that this was the last time I had one of those dark episodes. God is able.

Worshipful Wednesday: Breathing the Breath

I’ve always found breathing a very spiritually-centering activity. Not in some sort of new age, emptying one’s self sense. But in a way that reminds me of who gave me breath in the first place.

When fear, doubt or anxiety threaten to overwhelm me, having a seat and taking a few deep breathes reminds me that the same God who breathed His very breath into me to give me life can handle whatever concerns I am facing today.

Several days ago, I read the following about prayer in Oswald Chambers’ devotional My Utmost for His Highest:

We think rightly or wrongly about prayer according to the conception we have in our minds about prayer. If we think of prayer as breath in our lungs and blood from our hearts, we think rightly. The blood flows ceaselessly, and breathing continues ceaselessly; we are not conscious of it, but it is always going on.

You can read the rest of the day’s devotional here.

That’s how I’ve begun to think about prayer. As a mom of young kids who works outside the home, I began to be frustrated concerning my prayer life. No matter what I did, I seemed to lack a set-aside chunk of time to devote to prayer. I needed to think outside the box and get creative. I’ve learned to make prayer more of an all-day activity.

Sometimes, I just say the name of Jesus as I go about my day. I’ve even been known to say, “Holy, holy, holy” under my breath – though I realized it wasn’t really “under my breath” when my then 5 year-old started to do the same one day in a store! I realized that prayer is simply a recognition of Who is in control, a day-long conversation with the God who is able.

Today, I’m sharing a song entitled “Breathing the Breath.” It’s a Matt Redman song.  This song has become especially meaningful to me since losing an uncle to complications related to COPD, a condition which makes breathing difficult and for which there is no cure. The song recognizes that much of life is a “giving back” to the God who gave us everything in the first place, even in the very breath we breathe.

Here are a few of the lyrics:

We have nothing to give that didn’t first come from Your hands
We have nothing to offer You which You did not provide
Every good, perfect gift comes from Your kind and gracious heart
And all we do is give back to You what always has been Yours

Lord, we’re breathing the breath that You gave us to breathe
To worship You, to worship You
And we’re singing these songs with the very same breath
To worship You, to worship You

You can listen to the whole song on YouTube.


Monday Morning Meditation: And All That is Within Me

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name. 103:1” Psalm

I have just finished 30 days of concentrated prayer, something that Mark Batterson suggests in The Circle Maker. I asked a few of my closest friends what they would like me to pray about for them, and prayed for those things most days. Somewhere in that process I was reminded of Psalm 103, and read that psalm out loud many of those days.

This psalm has special meaning to me. Long before I knew much about Jesus, I loved using the gifts He gave me. One gift He has given me is music. When I was a tormented high schooler, ostracized among my peers because of my sexuality, I auditioned for the musical, Godspell. I was given the part in the production that sang, “O Bless the Lord, My Soul,” a song based on Psalm 103.

During a time of turmoil, God gave me moments of peace among my musical peers and even my non-musical ones. We performed pieces of the musical in front of the whole school. From that moment on, I may not have been liked by some, but in my small town, they respected me because of my talent.


Oh bless the Lord my soul!
His praise to thee proclaim!
And all that is within me join,
To bless His holy name!

God’s truth is still truth, no matter what its source or circumstance. Despite the fact that I didn’t know much about God, at this early age, God began to allow His truth to take root in my heart.

I auditioned again for another production of Godspell 5 years later at a theater company where my girlfriend worked. I was once again given the same role and sang the same song.

He will not always chide
He will with patience wait
His wrath is ever slow to rise
And ready to abate
Oh bless the Lord

Psalm 103 begins with self-directives. David sings (as psalms were sung) that he is to bless and praise the Lord with all that is within him.

As I have repeated this psalm many times in recent past, I recall the truth God began to weave into my soul decades ago. I am reminded of His faithfulness and sovereignty in a time when I did not recognize Him as Lord.

I also plainly see that there is much within me that does not bless Him at all: my complaining, my procrastination, my fear that paralyzes at times, my unloving and prideful attitude.

Oh bless the Lord my soul!
His mercies bear in mind!
Forget not all His benefits,
The Lord, to thee, is kind.

How would my life change if I were to choose to allow “all that is within me” to bless His holy name? No allowing the negative thoughts to take over my mind but instead, pressing my fears into God’s heart and choose to praise Him?

Take this thought with you for the week. Ask yourself: are my words, whether spoken or thought, allowing all that is within me to bless His holy name?

*Words in italics are from the song, O Bless The Lord My Soul, by Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak.

Some Non-Partisan Post-Election Day Perspective: Isaiah 40

My scheduled Bible Reading today is Isaiah 40 (NLT). It seemed very appropriate after Election Day.

Whether you are saddened by the results or encouraged, may these excerpts from Isaiah 40 be a timely reminder of God’s view of this world.

“The grass withers and the flowers fade,
but the word of our God stands forever.” 

Who else has held the oceans in his hand?
Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers?
Who else knows the weight of the earth
or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? 

The earth as seen from Apollo 17

Who is able to advise the Spirit of the LORD? 

Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him?
Has the LORD ever needed anyone’s advice?
Does he need instruction about what is good?
Did someone teach him what is right
or show him the path of justice? 

No, for all the nations of the world
are but a drop in the bucket.
They are nothing more than dust on the scales.
He picks up the whole earth
as though it were a grain of sand.

To whom can you compare God?
What image can you find to resemble him?
Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold,
overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
Or if people are too poor for that,
they might at least choose wood that won’t decay
and a skilled craftsman
to carve an image that won’t fall down! 

God sits above the circle of the earth.
The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!

“To whom will you compare me?
Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.
Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
not a single one is missing.

O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles?
O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?

Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Monday Morning Meditation: Faithful to His Promises

We are (finally!) continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

It has been interesting to reflect on this psalm over the past month, as it has become clear my dear loved one will be going home to Jesus before too long.

I began this psalm series in August, before we knew the current prognosis.  The psalm is all about the end of life and David asking God to remember him in his old age.

Let’s look at the topics we’ve touched on so far:

Lots of truth to be found in this psalm.

Now, here are today’s verses (v. 21-22):

You will restore me to even greater honor
and comfort me once again.
Then I will praise you with music on the harp,
because you are faithful to your promises, O God.
I will sing for you with a lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

It’s helpful to remember verse 20, for some context:
“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.”

Not only will he be restored to life again, he will be restored to greater honor and receive comfort once again.

When I read those verses in the context of end of life, they take on an even deeper meaning.

David then moves back to praise.  There is so much praising in this psalm it almost hurts.  Praise is not my default when trials come, when life seems to overwhelm.

I recently made myself a playlist of worship songs that I called, Absorb Truth. I just sit and listen and take it all in even when I struggle to believe.

You are faithful to Your promises.

This is David’s reflection in his old age.  God, just as He said, has been and will be faithful to His promises.

God recently answered a prayer of mine that I prayed 11 years ago.  In doing so, He showed me His faithfulness to His promises. His answer brought me great comfort.

You are faithful to Your promises.

Thank You, Lord.  Help me to trust in You.

Monday Morning Meditation: Called to Praise (Psalm 71 series)

We are continuing the series on Psalm 71. I encourage you to read the whole psalm here.

It’s certainly worth looking back over the themes of this psalm thus far before considering today’s verses.

Prayer Requests Intertwined with Truth
God’s Protection from the EnemyGod is Our Hope
What Am I Living For?
Never Alone

David, the writer of this psalm, combines the hope he has in God and the truth he knows about God with the reality he is facing. He is getting older, and it feels as if his enemies are surrounding him. Will God continue to come through?

Verses 14-16:

But I will keep on hoping for you to help me;
I will praise you more and more.
I will tell everyone about your righteousness.
All day long I will proclaim your saving power,
for I am overwhelmed by how much you have done for me.
I will praise your mighty deeds, O Sovereign LORD.
I will tell everyone that you alone are just and good.

“I will praise you more and more.”

I don’t know if that’s my natural inclination when trials come. I’m fairly certain my natural inclination is to complain and run around telling everyone how bad off I am. In a post back in February, I shared that when God calls for silence, we can pray, fast, wait, listen, obey and rejoice.

We are called to praise.

Despite the obstacles he was facing, David found multiple reasons to praise God and to declare to others all that God is.

David declared he is overwhelmed by all God has done for him. Usually, when I face challenges, the only thing I’m overwhelmed by is the obstacles I’m staring at.

“Look beyond the tombstone – see the Living God.”

As I was writing this today, this lyric came through my headphones from the song Glorious by Paul Baloche. Even though I know he’s singing of Jesus’s tomb, my mind immediately went to Lazarus, given the opportunity to believe that God has placed before me and my family in this season. We were just reading the story yesterday.

“Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Jesus calls us, as He did Martha, to look beyond the tombstone. He calls us to praise, more and more. Even before the answer comes, even before we see that victory is on its way, we can be overwhelmed by the reality of all that God is and all that He’s done. We can proclaim His saving power and call others to praise with us.

Monday Morning Meditation: I Call, I Seek, God Answers (Psalm 34 series)

This is part of the Monday Morning Meditation Psalm 34 series.

In a Freedom Friday from a few weeks back, “You Have Not Because You Ask Not”, I highlighted the song “Came to My Rescue“. I sang this with a group of people recently and could not help but think of these verses from Psalm 34.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Wow. This is what our Lord is capable of, if we ask.

Remember last week’s post, The Power of Together. This is being spoken to someone or a group of people. Read these verses out loud and ask God to allow faith and trust in rise up in your soul. Pray them with someone, for yourself, for a person in your life who is paralyzed, for the person you are praying with.

God is with you, Look to Him this week. Seek Him. Trust Him. Call on Him; He answers.

Freedom Friday: Practicing Gratitude

Last week, my husband & I went to see a documentary on modern-day sex slavery.

It opened my eyes to the challenges, economic, political, emotional and spiritual, of addressing this type of slavery. My heart both broke and soared at the victories and obstacles in the real-life stories of women who are trying to come out of prostitution.

Yesterday morning, I read the blog post of a woman named Sarah Lenssen. She started the Ask5for5 campaign in an effort to help families suffering from famine in the Horn of Africa. Two of her children were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought that is causing millions to go hungry.

Sarah brought tears to my eyes when she said:

If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother’s hungry child?

I have NEVER once opened my cabinets and found nothing to eat for my children. Never. In fact, my cabinets literally overflow with food. Roy & I will adopt a child at some point (we are homestudy-ready and waiting). Is our child (or children) out there going hungry right now? I wept and prayed at the mere thought.

After reading this, I headed to a moms group I attend. A member of this group died of cancer on Tuesday. She was 36, married, with 2 daughters, age 5 & 12.

I didn’t know her, as I joined this group a year ago when she was already in intense treatment. But I’ve been praying for her. Yesterday as the moms group gathered, there was much pensiveness, gratitude, and grief.

It all makes me thankful for every breath. We’re not promised another.

I have been praying for many sick relatives and loved ones this week, people facing unfathomable challenges. On Monday, I happened to pick up a little book off my shelf that was recommended by a relative. This book talks about the importance of giving thanks in all circumstances. I can’t say I completely agree with some of the author’s theological conclusions, but his thoughts encouraged me to search the Scriptures for myself.

Upon study, I found the Bible implores us over 60 times to “give thanks”, as translated in the NASB. Over 60 times, God commands we give thanks!

Here are a few examples:
1 Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 7:17
I will give thanks to the LORD according to His righteousness And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

Psalm 9:1
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.

Psalm 54:6
Willingly I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O LORD, for it is good.

Psalm 100:4
Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.

Psalm 109:30
With my mouth I will give thanks abundantly to the LORD; And in the midst of many I will praise Him.

Psalm 139:14
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

I think Paul summed it up when he said the following:

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Give thanks in everything? Really? I should give thanks when I get sick? When my car breaks down? When my bank account is empty?

The answer is YES.

I gave this a try today when I suddenly had a bad headache. It was time to get my younger son down for a nap, and he was not giving up without a fight!

The best I could come up with was this: “God, thanks that I have a head. If I didn’t have a head, I wouldn’t have this headache right now. I’m really thankful I have a head.”

I know, I know, kind of pitiful. But that’s a start!

Honestly, I have a good life. It’s hard at times, but I have SO much to be thankful for.

Gratitude flows naturally when I compare my present circumstances to the challenges others are facing. Gratitude causes us to get our eyes off ourselves for a minute. It challenges us to look at the bigger picture, to ask for God’s perspective, to get a glimpse of His tender heart for us and others.

It’s God’s will that we give thanks in everything.

What are you grateful for today? What can you praise God for? What difficult circumstance can you thank Him for?

Today, I’m thankful for breath. I’m thankful for my boys, who keep “interrupting” me as I try to write this. I think I’ll end with that and go hang out with them!

Aren’t they sweet?

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7

Freedom Friday: A New & Glorious Morn

Today I’m going to share with you the One Thing that is the key to learning to walk in freedom!

This is not a continuation of last week, but a separate teaching due to the holidays 🙂 When I say “due to the holidays”, what I mean is “due to the fact that I am out of town and left my notes for today’s entry at home.” Then again, I thought it’d be kind of silly to ignore the fact that much of the world is celebrating Christmas tomorrow!

Last year at this time, I published an article entitled “God Gave His Only“. You should read it.

God knew before He created you and me that we’d inherit from our ancestors in the Garden of Eden a propensity to make bad choices, with the complete inability to throw off the chains of struggle.

Before the foundation of time, God devised a master rescue mission. Jesus was not God’s Plan B or C, as my pastor pointed out last week. He was God’s plan A.

My 3 year old son thinks Christmas is all about presents and for the past few weeks has daily presented me with things he cannot live without and must get for Christmas. I realized, quite pitifully, that he had no idea why we even celebrate Christmas in the first place.

Mommy FAIL.

Anyway, we started reading about the birth of Jesus in his kid’s Bible. For the first time, I noticed that little manger packed with straw and it really struck me: Jesus was a baby.

Mary pushed that baby out the old-fashioned way with no epidural or fetal monitoring in a barn with animals and their poo hanging out everywhere.

I’m sure this struck me as especially interesting because I had a c-section with my 3 year-old and a homebirth with my youngest. I had people ask me if having a baby at home is sanitary. More sanitary than a barn!

Anyway, Jesus was a baby. He cried when He needed His mom (contrary to what “Away in a Manger” says), He was breastfed, He had poopy diapers. For years, He needed adults to meet His every need.

Jesus could have easily come as a full-grown man. He was God, after all. He could have floated down from the clouds and made quite an entrance for Himself!

Instead, as my acquaintance Alicia Britt Chole says, Jesus had 30 hidden years (get the book with your Christmas money) during which He knew His call & His purpose, yet He lived a life that looked pretty normal from the outside – and did not sin.

Jesus was God’s plan A for learning to walk in freedom.

God saw that people He loved were drowning in their sin. Because of His great love for His creation, because of His compassionate heart for His children. He knew that it would be painful for both God the Father and Jesus His Son, but He did it anyway. He spared no expense, but extravagantly gave His only; He did what needed to be done in order for us to have the opportunity to be reconciled to Him, the chance to live in freedom, once and for all.

As The Message says, “Christ has set us free to live a free life.”

As we meditate on the birth of the Freedom Giver, let us reflect on the words of this song that are heavy on my heart:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Jesus, in His birth, His life, in His death and in His resurrection, gives us the opportunity to become recreated into the person He designed us to be. Because of Him, we can walk into “a new and glorious morn”: an abundant life of true freedom.

“Let all within us praise His holy name.”

God is Trustworthy

God does what He does because of who He is.

We can’t separate the two.

Often, we are willing to praise God and to thank Him when we see how He’s working and when we know that He’s answering our prayers. But during the times when it seems as if He’s not hearing us, the times when we can’t figure out what on earth He’s thinking, we tend to turn our backs on Him. We praise Him according to what we see rather than what He sees. God’s character hasn’t changed. We have changed. He is still the same God, whether we know how He is working or not.

What we think we want isn’t always what He supplies, but He will supply.