How Worship Got Me Through My Darkest Nights
People have all kinds of different approaches to getting through the tough times in life. Many turn to self reliance, work, bitterness, alcohol, drugs, bad relationships or other ways to cope; but my vice and escape is worship.
Let me tell you what I mean.
Over the last 6 years of living with active disease, there have been many many days and nights of misery. I mean screaming out in pain, weeping, breakdowns and days where no medicine or strategy will take the physical or emotional pain away. These seasons can go on for months at a time without a break or any good moments. In those times, I am unable to work, unable to go outside and live and sometimes I am unable to even take a breath without crying from the pain. It gets dark. Real fast.
I remember when I first found my vice; my escape and hope in the darkest times: worship.
I was hospitalized in Newport Beach, CA after an aggressive spreading of the disease in just a few months. I was losing more than half the blood in my body, couldn’t walk on my own, was hooked up to heart monitors and beeping machines, meanwhile feeling like my life was over; so no need to comment on the emotional toll that the extended stay there was having on me, I’m sure you can imagine. I was gasping in pain, so like most nurses in hospitals do, they rushed in to give me a new dose of pain killers and anti-nausea to help me cope for a bit. I warned the nurse not to give me the regular dose for an adult, but rather, to give me the baby dose. Literally. My body overreacts to just about every medicine out there and I had to warn each and every nurse that came in, when they rotated every 12 hours. They always doubted me and thought I was exaggerating, so many tried to push the limits; until they saw my reaction and how I felt even the smallest of drops going into my veins. Well, this particular nurse gave way too much and way too fast. I almost immediately started to have a reaction. The room was spinning, the pain was still there, the nausea overtook me and I began to feel an anxiety and panic like never before. They had given me too much and I was having my classic reaction to pain drugs.
My body was hating every single drop of that drug and meanwhile it did not even calm the symptoms of the disease. Double whammy. I had Justin bring me to the bathroom in my room, since I couldn’t walk on my own and then and there was when I began to see what Jesus means when he tells us to praise him always, rejoice in him always; and why people throughout the Bible would sing and worship God while things around them crumbled.
Because the presence of God is the only place where you can find true peace, a real escape and a renewed Spirit to deal with the issue you are fighting.
I was desperate and I had no where to turn. There was no medicine that could help me (clearly), no words that could calm me and my mind could not handle any more. So I began to sing through my tears in that tiny hospital bathroom with a vomit bucket on my lap and a toilet beneath me. My husband was kneeled in front of me and my mom was stroking my hair beside me. I didn’t care what anyone thought. I didn’t care what people saw. And at that moment I left my husband, my mom, my dad, the nurses and anyone else who made an appearance in that room and I entered the presence of Jesus.
I began singing in a small cracked voice every worship song I knew. Before I knew it, my mom and Justin were singing along with me.
We were in this tiny airplane size hospital bathroom taking ourselves to church!
After exhausting every song I knew, the peace began to cover me. The reaction started to go away and the pain dimmed. Justin led me back to my hospital bed to get some rest, but that moment stayed with me ever since.
Worship is the only place I can escape. The only place I can find peace to get through. Since that moment, I have had countless situations just like that one. Singing in my bathtub through tears in the middle of the night, laying on the bathroom floor singing along with my iPhone playlist, and even some days I was too weak to even sing, I would hum and just play a slideshow of the words through my head. The crazy part is, when I stop singing the pain or nausea or dizziness would return, but as long as I praised and sang, I could find an escape and rest, if even for a moment.
I have been asked many times how I get through nights like that or seasons where moments like this happen for days, weeks and months at a time, and my answer is always a little unexpected to most people: I worship.
Because in worship, we lose ourselves. It’s not about us anymore. It transcends us to the presence of God where His love and healing is. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, our problems on this earth minimize. We find ourselves with renewed strength and perspective to handle what we are going through.
There are nights I will meditate over and over on a scripture or lift my hands straight up in the darkness of my room while my husband sleeps beside me, because I need God. I desperately need him. We all do. And the best way to find him is through seeking him with all your heart in worship.
Worship changes things.
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