Well, I blinked and it’s been a year since the release of Let It Be Jesus…and what a year it’s been! I’ve learned that a record title isn’t just words pulled from a lyric or a clever phrase, it’s actually more like a prayer. So with that said, I’m careful about what caption I place over the songs God gives. In this case, it did happen to be a song title but that song in particular IS a life prayer…
It’s been a prayer to pray before my feet hit the floor each morning. It’s a prayer to pray whether I’m leading thousands from the stage in worship or my children through bedtime prayers. It fills my heart when I sing and sometimes my eyes with tears because it’s been probably the sweetest prayer I’ve prayed in a long while. To me, it simply says, Jesus YOU are still the treasure. I’ve said that very phrase so many times this year that my band is probably sick of hearing me say it. Hopefully, they know me well enough by now to know that I actually mean it. I’ve said it almost repeatedly and it’s been more than just a title for a song or even a collection of songs, it’s been a banner for my life.
From even the infant stages of these songs I prayed that the very essence of who Jesus is would be threaded in and through the melodies and the lyrics. I literally have prayed that the Holy Spirit would get inside of the soul of these songs and that people would be attracted to Jesus more because of them. I remember writing “Jesus, Rock of Ages” with tears streaming down my face. As I leaned with my forehead pressed against our upright piano, I prayed that others might know Him as their sure footing when it seemed like the ground beneath was sinking sand…as it did for me in that season. The Wondrous Cross, Leaning on You Jesus, My Anchor, Everything is Mine in You and Wonderful Name, just to name a few…if you listen, you hear the message woven through… “Jesus, You’re the treasure.”
Traveling far and wide and carrying these prayers over and over, night after night is hard to describe. There’s incredible beauty but sometimes incredible exhaustion all at the same time. Sometimes there’s what feels like a healthy fatigue if there is such a thing…like you’re tired but you say somehow “it’s like a good tired.” But when you’re “moving house” as our British friends say, just regular ole exhaustion can set in! I like that term “moving house.” It has a little bit more weight to it and better describes what we’ve just experienced. I feel like our British friends might could just say “we’ve moved” (like only someone with a British accent could) as they tidy up their teapots, fold their jumpers and trousers, place them in their antique trunks and head to the next furnished Hobbit house built in 1726. Ok, I’m exaggerating…kind of…even they know that the Hobbit House thing is real.
We Americans, we need to adopt the phrase “we’re MOVING HOUSE.” We’re the ones with all the stuff! Well, at least I am. In fact, I asked the Lord to forgive me multiple times for hoarding as we loaded that moving truck. That was even after the giant dumpster came to the house and we filled it twice. Then I confessed my horrible problem to Him again a few weeks ago as our friend helped us finally empty our 2 storage units into the garage. I promised the Lord that pretty much ALL of it would be given away this summer. I don’t know, I was raised in a ministry family on a pastor’s salary and my Mama is the sweetest lady you’ll ever meet but the most frugal. She’ll save one pancake in a ziplock bag after breakfast even though she knows full well that not one of us is going to take the time to warm up one silver dollar sized pancake, put syrup on it and eat it. We tease her and she lovingly tells us to back off because her parents made it through the depression and so on and so on. So…consequently, I. save. everything. I’m getting better though, I promise! I’m learning to let go…or at least find a good happy medium that will make my husband Nathan happy too.
All that to say, it’s been a big year… Not long after we sort of got settled in our new house I was in my bathroom getting ready to leave to go lead worship at a church in a city nearby. As I stood in front of the mirror trying to assess how much excitement I was going to need to somehow make my face and hair look like something other than it did…I let out a long sigh. I admit, that sigh really said “is it really going to matter if I go lead these people tonight?” It was a frigid winter afternoon and there were loads of weather advisories out for possible freezing rain. I even thought to myself, will anyone even be there? Still staring at myself in the mirror wondering what kind of short cuts to “I’m ready” there might be, a very clear and present thought filled my mind. Clear as a bell in fact. When that happens, when it’s almost like I audibly heard it inside my noggin, I know it’s the Holy Spirit.
“Keep digging deep wells…”
I love when He speaks and I’m positive it’s Him because it’s almost like He speaks volumes around a few small words. All at once comes scriptures and pictures and encouragement and excitement. Even enough excitement to finish getting myself ready. By the time we got in the car to head that way through the wintry mix of ice and rain, I had renewed vision for not only what that night could be but for life from that point on. The Lord had encouraged my heart on a deep level to stay the course…to keep saying out loud “Jesus, You’re the treasure.”
That night before we went on stage, I briefly shared with my band how God had encouraged me that day. I wanted them to have the same encouragement. That somehow, God would take what we’re bringing as musicians and leaders and truly make it count. We didn’t know if we’d be walking out on stage in front of 10 people or a thousand, regardless, I knew we were there to dig a deep well. To not apologize for depth in what we’d sing or say, to not worry about some kind of vast impact but to plant our feet firm and dig deep so that we’d be offering living water to the thirsty. In fact, we were thirsty too, so we’d get to drink of it as well.
With renewed hope and purpose, I took the stage and led inside of what felt more like a promise. It might have seemed like, in the physical world, that I was just walking out there to sing some songs but in the spiritual world, along with my band, we were excavating surface things and believing for deep, supernatural things. I led with a new abandonment, trusting God for things I couldn’t see…for Him to truly meet us where we were. Looking every lyric and every note square in the eye, I believed each truth for myself and for the people. What might have ended up being a sleepy, Sunday night of pretty songs turned into a place for the people of God to gather and to drink from a well that never runs dry…that satisfies like nothing else can. I’ll never forget an elderly man in the congregation led us all by standing in the middle of a song with both hands lifted high and many followed him. All I could think was… “Jesus, You’re the treasure.”
So as you carry all that you’re carrying and whatever kind of “moving house” is going on in your world…remember that you have the capability to stop and dig a new well today. Dig below all the surface stuff, scrape below the mundane, pull back anything that needs to be pulled back. What is done in faith, even what might seem routine, unseen and un-world-changing is actually how we see that God both exists and that He rewards those who earnestly dig for Him. (Hebrews 11:6) The reward? That huge, life-giving swig of fresh water that we all run back to our village and tell everyone about. Maybe you keep digging up old wells, lapping up dust from what somebody else dug and all those wells have bitter names… (see Genesis 26) I believe Jesus would have you dig a new well today, in faith, and call it “wide open spaces” (Genesis 26:22d) All of the sudden, what’s deep becomes wide and what’s small is really vast. Look down that deep, new well and say… “Let it be Jesus.” My well, my living water, my endless treasure.