Waking Up To God

Really, I have it pretty good…

So do you.  Check out the words to this Christian rock song.

Oh how I adore You; Oh how I thirst for You

The way You make me feel; Waking up to You never felt so real

–Christian lyrics – COMATOSE – SKILLET

“Comatose”! Isn’t that a perfect name for one of those head banging metal songs teenagers love? And did you cringe at the name “Skillet” like I did when my teenager wanted me to listen to it because of the awesome violin solo at the start of it?

I’m not a fan of angry music, but what could I do? I didn’t invest in ten years of violin lessons for me to blow off my teenager when he wanted to bring my attention to a song with great violin.

I started to listen, secretly rolling my eyes—that is, until I understood what the songwriter was writing about.

He describes the world around us as filled with people living in a comatose state—minds saturated with media and world messages that keep us from seeing the reality of God. The CD artwork shows a little boy standing with a spellbound look on his face and a giant plug, which he must have just pulled out from a wall. When you open the artwork, you see what he’s looking at—a twisted discombobulation of electronics which must have been keeping him in a comatose state, until that moment.

“That moment” is what I wanted to talk to you about.

I had one of those moments! Like that boy who had just unplugged the media.

Last weekend I found a way to unplug my discombobulation (yes, that’s a word!)—that twisted feeling I’ve had since losing my husband years ago.

My pastor always told us how to do it, how to take that focus off of your own circumstances and get a new perspective.

It’s service.

My teens and I joined a team of thirty people at my church to head to the Appalachian mountains to minister to families in a coal mining town.

 

To say we were blown away by what we witnessed in the hills of Appalachia is an understatement. We expected poverty and hearts eager for shoes. What we didn’t expect was unimaginably severe circumstances, an absolute hardship for something so simple as shoes, and hearts starving for prayer and understanding—kids and parents eager to find the real Jesus Who can help them.

We returned home wanting to pray more. After seeing the need people had, our home, even without a husband or father felt perfect because we had Father God in control! And I slept.  So soundly, and not because I was exhausted.  I slept that peace of knowing it’s all going to work out, because it is.  He’s really in control.

I think of how many times I slip into a rut and look at what’s wrong instead of what’s right. If you find yourself falling into that pattern, I hope my message helps to open your eyes to how serving others can help you. Of course, if you’re new to your loss, please know that grief has tears and you need the time to heal. Our challenge is to know when the Lord is calling you to move beyond the tears and what to do to step out and move forward. Serving others is one ?tools you can use to take your focus upward and away from your circumstances.

If a mission trip is not feasible for you, try something smaller. My kids and I served once a month at a soup kitchen. I take a team of teens whose families agree with the philosophy of making service a habit.

I can’t tell you I always feel great when I leave to go to that soup kitchen. Some mornings when I’m already scheduled to go, I’m not feeling like going and I’m distracted with burdens of the day. I go anyway. When I get to the kitchen, I start my work—lifting canned foods in the pantry, handing out servings of a lunch, or peeling potatoes for a meal. Within minutes the movement of my joints synchronized to the sounds around me and the needs on the faces of those that I’m serving all work together to melt away my self- focus and re-energize me, returning me to my life with a new perspective. It’s not hopeless—my life, I mean. It’s not overwhelming. Really, I have it pretty good.

So do you.

3 replies
  1. Robin Zarate
    Robin Zarate says:

    Sweet Kitty,

    Your post brings me back to my early widowhood when a woman who had walked in our shoes (Elizabeth Elliot) gave me a verse that has proved to be true over and over again.

    Isaiah 58:9-11
    10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
    then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
    11 The LORD will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
    You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.

    Thanks so much for the reminder to continue to spend ourselves on behalf of others and to teach our children to do the same.

    Much Love, Robin

  2. Kitty Hinkle
    Kitty Hinkle says:

    Hi, Lu.

    1 year is not a long time. I’m praying for your strength during this holiday season. Glad to see your determination to step forward. Volunteerism and focusing on where God can use you makes your loss more manageable.

    Blessings!

  3. Lu Hartman
    Lu Hartman says:

    “Our challenge is to know when the Lord is calling you to move beyond the tears and what to do to step out and move forward.” That sentence in your article is right where I am now. My husband passed away one year ago. I have been involved in volunteerism and it has helped. I, too, can be distracted by looking at all the “what is wrong” and not looking at what is right. I would love to go on a mission trip. I have sent an application into The Red Bird Mission but have not received an answer back. Formerly I worked in a bank for 20+ years but now I would like to change my career. As you know, every aspect of our lives as a wife is completely turned upside down! Please pray with me “to know when the Lord is calling me to turn from my tears and what to do to step out and move forward.” I will be praying for you. May God Richly Bless U! Lu

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