“When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say! Blessed be the name of the Lord! Blessed be Your name! Blessed be the name of the Lord! Blessed be Your glorious name!” – Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman (2005)
Tonight (or last night rather) I had the fantastic experience of spending the night worshiping and praising the Lord at the Rise Out Of The Dark Tour with Mandisa and Danny Gokey. There were a lot of great moments and powerful things shared in that place, but one moment keeps replaying in my head.
I had not planned on sharing this publicly, but as I cannot sleep and it is on repeat in my mind I guess I am going to. Mandisa shared her testimony tonight (one that on some level I can relate to more than I wish I could) of loss and depression. The whole time she was speaking all I kept thinking in my mind was, “I relate all too well. Praise the Lord that it was my life eleven years ago and not today, but still I can relate”. After she shared she went into her song ‘Prove Me Wrong’ off of her new album ‘Out Of The Dark’. As the lyrics appeared on the screen and Mandisa sang my eyes started to sting with tears. I could relate to this song more than I want too. As I was listening to the words, “Prove me wrong, prove me wrong. These waves will take me under. My heart will not get over. And this pain won’t make me strong. Prove me wrong”, I thought back to that moment and that darkness eleven years ago. I thought of the pain that loss brought into my life at fifteen-years-old and I thought of how far I have come, thank You, Jesus!
With this still fresh in my mind Mandisa moved on to her next song, ‘Broken Hallelujah’ another song I can relate to because of all the loss I have been through in my twenty-six years. “When all that I can sing is a broken hallelujah, When my only offering is shattered praise. Still a song of adoration will rise up from these ruins. I will worship You and give You thanks. Even when my only praise is a broken hallelujah.” Though I could relate to it as well it did not hit me the way that ‘Prove Me Wrong’ did, but then she transitioned from ‘Broken Hallelujah’ into ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ by Matt Redman and I broke.Tears streaming, voice cracking, broken.
Here is something that not many people know about my journey eleven years ago when Leisha died. I struggled to praise the Lord after that August night. But I knew in my heart that I needed to. I knew I could not allow myself to stop worshiping my King even though He would allow something so horrible to happen. It took a couple of weeks for me to do it, but after Leisha died I found a song that spoke to my heart that I could worship to through my broken and depressed state. By now I am sure you have figured it out, that song was ‘Blessed Be Your Name’. That song was my “broken hallelujah” so to speak. It has been eleven years and I still do not think I can make it through the line “You give and take away, You give and take away. But my heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name!” without tears.
Tonight it all flooded back. Losing Leisha, the darkness that followed, the day I looked out at a pond and wondered how easy it would be to go under the water and not come up, ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ coming through my CD player and knowing that it would be the song I could praise to as I hurt and healed. More than all of that though I was overcome with joy as I could clearly see how far God has brought me these past eleven years. Tonight when I heard “my healing song” be sung I wept, but it was not out of hurt, but joy. I have known for a few years that I was healing, that it was getting easier, that the Lord was using my experience of losing one of my dearest friends at fifteen to shape me in the woman He has called me to be. But tonight I was brought face to face with just how far He has brought me.
I cannot praise Him enough for how He has healed and restored my heart over the years. I cannot thank Him enough for not allowing me to slip back into a depressed state after the 5 more losses I endured from August of 2015 till February of this year, particularly both of my paternal grandparents. I knew early on in 2017 that this year was the start of a new journey for me. Or maybe just my next step in my journey of hope, a journey in joy. Joy has been a reoccurring theme in my life for about six months or so now and tonight I was overwhelmed with it. Praise the Lord for all He has done!
“Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” – John 16:22 (NASB)
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.” – Psalm 126:5 (NASB)