Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Hands in the air

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 “So I will bless you as long as I live;
in your name I will lift up my hands.”

                    Psalms 63:4 (ESV)

When I first started attending church a couple of years ago, the first thing I noticed was this was not the church I grew up in! The big ‘ol pipe organ had been replaced with a full-on band which later I learned was called a worship team, there were screens projecting the words to the songs being sung and in the back there were people working the behind the scenes sound and projection systems.  Church had gone high tech.   I must admit, I felt a little out of place since I didn’t really know any of the songs but as I stood there listening to everyone sing songs of praise I took notice of something odd; odd to me at least.  “Why are people putting either one arm or both arms in the air?”  It was pretty random hand raising so I thought, “do they have a question?” There didn’t appear to be anyone looking to ask them what was up.  No one was coming over to them to give them anything, so “why on earth are their hands in the air?”  Eventually their hands would go down and they would just continue to sing songs of praise.

I found out after worship service that this hand raising was a personal thing between God and the hand raiser.  Some people are so moved by the Holy Spirit they lift their hands to the Lord in thanks, in awe of Him, for forgiveness, for total offering of themselves to Him, and countless other reasons.  Well, let me tell you, no way was this girl ever going to raise her hands in the air.  I bet God just shakes His head, smiles and thinks, “we’ll see about that.” I would like to add these same people who lifted their hands while singing also lifted their hands throughout the sermon and even said things out loud; Amen, praise God, Hallelujah, Yes Jesus, and of course there’s the vocal sound of uhmmmm-hummm. Not only did folks raise their hands and get vocal, but they also shed unashamed tears.  I figured these folks to be seriously moved by the Holy Spirit.

The more I attended worship service this feeling started stirring in me and I would have this conversation going on in my head, “I am not raising my hands, I am not raising my hands, no siree, I am not raising my hands.”  But the stirring didn’t stop there so another conversation would go, “I am not going to cry, I am not going to cry, no siree, I am not going to cry.” So, another service would be over and no hand raising went on and no tear shedding happened to this girl.  Whew!!  Funny thing is I had no problem back in my clubbing days throwing my hands in the air.  I had no shame in putting myself on public display for all to see while I “worshiped” a different genre of music.

Why was it so hard for me to let loose the new stirrings inside my soul?  Why, would I want to stop myself from praising in every way the God who loved me unconditionally and saved me?  To be totally honest, I felt like a phony, like I didn’t belong there with all the others.  I felt out of step with the ones who came to Christ much earlier in their lives. I felt like they could see right through my soul and know that I had lived a life of ungodliness. There it is.  I was embarrassed so I choked back my tears and kept my arms down and I suppressed the joy I felt because I thought I was being watched.  I cared more about what others thought over pleasing my Father.  I would imagine, the One who has done everything for me was watching from above, no doubt hurting for me as much as I was hurting for myself.

Fast forward to last month when I attended my very first Christian women’s conference called She Speaks.  I had no idea of what I’d gotten myself into.  First thing we did in the morning before the conference started…worship in song.  There were over 700 women singing their hearts out to the Lord, raising their hands in the air and yep, shedding those tears.  I looked around that room and I was in awe of all of these godly women giving it up to the Lord our God and you got it, first the tears, then the hands went up in the air and I imagined God sitting on His throne saying “gotcha,” and all I could do was smile ear to ear through my tears and let the Holy Spirit move me as I offered everything I had to my King.

And now for your entertainment, I present Tim Hawkins on Hand Raising!!  Enjoy 🙂

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