Let Your Heart Beat Again

I am so grateful that my life, as it stands now, is one of freedom and wholeness. I Love the place that I am in and have so much hope for the trajectory that it is headed in. Having said that, anyone who has followed my writings knows that I have experienced some pretty low, lows (Nini; Never Cry Again). I know the pain of rejection, abandonment, abuse, and of utter loneliness. I share my stories because I feel like my life serves as somewhat of a beacon of hope that things will not always be as they are. There was a time, in the midst of one of the darkest moments of my life, when I discovered that worship isn’t limited to the songs that we sing, but extends far beyond the boundaries of what our mouths are able to utter. And to find myself on the other side of it now, I am in awe of God’s goodness through it all.

Covid had just stopped the entire country in its tracks, and I found myself alone in a six-bedroom house, going through an unexpected and very painful separation. During the separation, and subsequent divorce, my ex and I were working at the same small company. Day after day I had to wake up, force myself out of bed, and spend each day acting professional toward the one person who was breaking my heart in a way that no one else could. It was an emotional and mental burden that, had it not been for God, I could not have gotten through.

At the same time, I was 3/4’s of the way through Seminary and, at the end of each module, we had to write a personal theology paper; that module just happened to be about worship. In the chaos of my dissolving 30-year marriage, I had to write a 5000-word dissertation about my belief system on worship. The irony was beyond comprehension!

I will never forget the day that I hit a wall emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. The entire day I felt a meltdown coming down hard and I had to leave work early so I could rush home to get away from everyone. As soon as I walked in the door of my home, I dropped everything I was holding on the floor, walked the ten or so heavy steps to the front room couch, sunk into the cushions and began to cry uncontrollably. I was done. I was empty. I was lonely. I was in utter pain. I felt more hopeless in that moment than I had in a very long time.

After a while, I sat up and began to talk to God. I have always been incredibly real when it comes to my conversations with God because I believe that He expects nothing less from us. He can handle our hurt, our anger and our doubts. So, I began to ask Him to give me something…anything…to breathe hope into me again. I started thinking about my paper on worship and how I could possibly sing, let alone write about it, at a time like this. Then I asked God for something that I had never asked of Him before; I asked Him to give me song.

I opened Spotify and played a song that I was familiar with. As it played, I continued to scroll through songs I hadn’t heard before. Then, one in particular popped out like a 3-D image and I knew I had to listen to it. The title was, “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Goeke. But before I clicked on it, I felt a strong urging just to close my eyes and listen without any pressure to sing.  As the lyrics began, my tears began to fall again, but even harder this time as the life breathing lyrics were sung over me:

You’re shattered like you’ve never been before

The life you knew in a thousand pieces on the floor

And words fall short in times like these

When this world drives you to your knees

You think you’re never gonna get back to the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again, close your eyes and breathe it in

Let the shadows fall away, step into the light of grace

Yesterday’s a closing door, you don’t live there anymore

Say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again.

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dannygokey/tellyourhearttobeatagain.html

I was living out the moment that my personal theology paper would eventually be based on because, in one of my darkest hours, God had answered me and began speaking healing into my weary soul through a song I had asked Him for. The characterization of worship was no longer pigeonholed into a song that I sang; but an immersive worship experience in a moment of complete stillness. Then the next verse came accompanied by soul purging tears:

Beginning…just let that word wash over you

It’s alright now, Love’s healing hands have pulled you through

So get back up, take step one, leave the darkness, feel the sun

‘Cause your story’s far from over and your journey’s just begun

Let every heartbreak and every scar

Be a picture that reminds you Who has carried you this far

‘Cause love sees further than you ever could

In this moment heaven’s working everything for your good

https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/dannygokey/tellyourhearttobeatagain.html

It was no coincidence that I prayed for a new song and I found one that spoke directly to me through lyrics I had never heard before. Not only did I feel that God was acknowledging that He knew the pain I was in, but that He already had a plan laid out for my life going forward. I felt seen and loved that night and it was moments like these that kept me strong during that exceptionally difficult time.

For those of you wondering about my personal theology paper, I wrote it in a matter of hours and received the highest grade out of my three years in seminary. One of my professors commented that it was one of the most moving papers he had ever read. I didn’t have to figure out what my theology on worship was because I was living it out; all I had to do was articulate it on paper.

I understand that it is easy to blame God when things go so wrong (Dance through the Fire), but if you lean into His presence, instead of walking away, He will help you rise out of the ashes and you will end up stronger than you can imagine. People have let me down, but God has not. People have hurt me, but God has healed me.  People have tried to tear me down, but God has built me up again and again. People do things that don’t make sense; but God can work with whatever those circumstances are and help you to overcome what seem to be insurmountable mountains. I say this with utter confidence because, through every dark moment in my life, I continue to invite God in, and He continues to breathe life into my soul and speak wisdom into my heart. He has my back in a way that no one else possibly could.

Proverbs 3:2 says, “Let Love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” In every Bible I have owned, you will see a handwritten note that says, “God is the goal; man is a bonus.” Never let the approval of man distract you from the only One who can pull you through anything and use the things that were meant to tear you down into the very things that build you into a tower of true strength!

Until next time, trust, believe and stay safe!

1. https://open.spotify.com/artist/5Yu3b48Y29bZlI1cLPOZJz?si=ZbP_84xrTrmR3RbFVD1Nig

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