I was raised with traditional (old) hymns, and loved them; I have not heard a lot of Christian rock that I enjoy. There are a few songs ("Blessed Be Your Name" "Beautiful One") that have moved me deeply, but some of them are just a bit emotional for my comfort zone. I'm a Northerner - a Yankee - and I didn't realize how much of a Yankee I was until I began to feel as if I had stepped inside of an old-time tent revival meeting. There were huge video screens displaying words to the songs, and images from the life of Jesus. The power of the music, lyrics and visuals was nearly overwhelming.
I was quickly moved to tears. A huge wave of grief came over me, broke me open, and I was missing Katie openly and powerfully. In Kansas City with my closest girlfriend, at a worship service with 9,800 other women, I found myself longing for my girl so much that I could not control my tears. What was going on?
I suspect that God was accepting my invitation to Him to "have at me." The music, in a form with which I am not entirely comfortable, broke open my "hard candy shell" (Maribeth's term), and I had no choice but to surrender to it.
When the music stopped and Beth opened the session, she issued a deep welcome to all of us. She prayed for all of us attending, she read excerpts from letters from some of those in the audience; she welcomed a group who had announced themselves as "God-haters," who were seated somewhere in the auditorium, and spoke lovingly to them. Beth assured them that God does not hate them. She pointed out that there were women from 26 states and a multitude of denominations (all Christian, but quite varied) in the crowd.
Beth got on her knees and we all prayed together. Then, she began to teach out of the book of 1st Thessalonians, focusing on the concepts of "we, you and they" as Paul was using them, writing about himself/Silas/Timothy, the believers at Thessalonika and the world around them. It was illuminating. She asked a large church - Maribeth's church, one of the sponsors of the event - to select three people to represent the "we, you and they" for the next morning's session.
We returned to the hotel, talked about what we had learned, and why I was stricken so strongly with grief in that place. I realized that, though I am thankful to God for all that He has done for us, and thankful for all of His gifts, when I worship in a group (especially through music), I miss Katie more than ever. I miss our church life; I miss the community, and worshiping with my family; I miss our old life, and that includes being with my daughter, son and husband in church.
The emotions that praise music evoked brought out a huge conflict that has been hidden deep within my heart: though I am glad that Katie is safe with God, I am terribly unhappy that she is not still here with us. In that auditorium, led by Beth Moore, and surrounded by women in fellowship, I found that I am not totally trusting God. I am not sure why this is, but suspect that it is because He has Katie, and I have not stopped wanting her back. I am in conflict. I still love Him, honor Him, am grateful to Him daily - but I am deeply hurt, to the point of tears, when I try to sing His praise - that her life was not spared. I miss the community that church represents, but I do not want to go back without my whole family. In that huge auditorium, standing next to my dear friend, I became aware of a tug of war inside of me. By the time the evening session was over, I was wiped out emotionally, and challenged spiritually.