Monday, March 24, 2014


Yeah, I admit it.

I came oh-this-close to not attending church this morning.


Because I didn't feel like it, because I didn't want to go.  (Confession is good for the soul, right?!)

OK, so here's how it went down.

I usually set my alarm well ahead of time, because I am not a morning person.  So, awakened out of a deep sleep this morning, I began my dance with Mr. Snooze Alarm.

I must have been really tired - because I kept falling asleep in the 9-minute intervals.

When I wasn't sleeping, I was arguing - (with myself?  with God?)

"I can't go.  I don't fit into my clothes right anymore - even my *fat jeans* are snug (ish)."

("Jesus doesn't care about appearances.")

"I have a huge pimple." (I do...)

("Really??  That's an excuse??  See above.")

"I'll have to go alone.  "The Hub" doesn't want to go."

("This is between you and God...only.")

"I don't feel like going."

("Did Jesus feel like going to the cross?")

"I don't want to go."


I turned off my alarm.

A few minutes passed.  My guilt finally overcame me, so I reset my alarm, just so I could put off the wrestling until it was time to get up for the second service.

Of course, this time I could not fall asleep.  And so, I got up...less than 1/2 hour before church was supposed to start.

I went through the motions of getting ready.

At each step, I was battling.

I almost gave up.

Finally, as I checked my hair and makeup (and makeup-disguised pimple) in the mirror, I had one last thought...

"You know, it would be rude if I walked in late..."

And so I checked the time.

It had only taken 20 minutes to get ready...even dragging my feet...even hiding a pimple.

I wasn't late.

Grabbing a protein bar and the keys on my way out the door, I sighed.  I'm chagrined to tell you that I actually went so far as to sit in the car in the parking lot for several minutes...still almost not venturing in.

But, like a robot, I finally walked slowly to the door.

The singing had already started.

It was at this moment that I realized one of the reasons that I didn't want to go to church was because I did not feel like talking to anyone.  I dreaded the question, "How are you?"

How could I possibly answer?

The token, "Good, real good."

Or the truth, "Feeling pretty depressed and fighting the enemy.  But thanks for asking."

I'd like to tell you that the message completely turned my heart around, and that I left the sanctuary singing and rejoicing.  No commentary on the sermon, but I did not leave feeling that way at all.  I still felt incredibly blah.

But I learned something.

I learned that sometimes obedience isn't pretty.  It isn't natural. Sometimes it doesn't feel good.

I learned that sometimes obedience is a war zone, a battleground, a contentious battle between our feelings and our faith.

Sometimes obedience wears a bandaid over deep wounds.

Sometimes we have to obey even if we're bleeding.

Obedience is willful.

Do I think that the heavens broke out into cheers when I took my place in church?  A mighty victory won?

No, but I think maybe God smiled.

For in some small way, I had made a choice for Him.

A choice against myself.

(Might I just add that my phone alarm went off right in the middle of the message?  I'd forgotten to turn it off!  As I embarrassingly silenced it, I had this thought: "Ha, chalk one up to me and God!  I'm here!!")

As I sit here reflecting upon my morning, I am not celebrating or patting myself on the back.

But I do have a smile.

For, once again, the Lord proved to me that He has a tight hold on my heart...

And He won't let go.

These thoughts from John 17 (what the sermon was based on):

"...they belong to You..."

"...You have given them to Me..."

"...protect them by the power of Your name..."

"...keep them safe from the evil one..."

"...not one was lost..."

Yes, I am held by Jesus.

The Savior who will not let go - 

The One who draws me to Himself... spite of myself.

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers...
He will certainly care for you.

(The view from the parking lot this morning)

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV)

"This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus." (Revelation 14:12, NIV)

"...blessed are those who hear God's word and obey it." (Luke 11:28, NIRV)

"You are my friends if you do what I command you." (John 15:14, ESV)

Are you having any trouble with obedience lately?

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Thanks for sharing your honest heart. I understand, been there, felt that way. Bless you for your obedience. I love you.

  2. Oh and haven't we all been there, many times. Watch out satan... this girl is connected to the vine, and God trumps you every time! You keep the one foot at a time going Sharon, there is so much ahead. In the meantime, your writing is blessing your ole Westmont buddy every single time. Isn't it great that God uses us in spite of ourselves??

    I agree, God smiled yesterday, your choice was to obey, even if it was 'barely'...Kind of like when a touchdown is messy, it still counts! :)

    Score one for God's team!

  3. Hang in there! Obedience in the face of such discouragement is obedience indeed! Bless you for doing what's right!

  4. Sharon, I have been there my friend. I love your words about obedience not always being pretty and it being a war zone at times. Appreciate you sharing this truth. I would imagine many of us have those fights with ourselves about attending church we just have not had the courage to share those struggles.

  5. Hi Sharon, I didn't want to go yesterday either. I did go and although the service didn't inspire me especially this week, I know a lot of people were and are praying for myself and my family., Last night God showed us, just how much He has been and is working quietly in the background. More another time. Thank you again for being so honest and open. God Bless

  6. Always good for obedience, indeed, Sharon. I am glad that you chose to get up and get going to church. I think it is good to be around the body of believers especially when we are struggling with things in our lives. I think we need that unity, even if we might not feel it at the time.


  7. I can relate to this soooooooooooo well. You have nailed it with your words. AMEN. Yesterday God started convicting my heart before I even got up. I prayed what was on my heart and sure enough, the final round came with the sermon. God had prepared me before hand so His loving rebuke at church was easier to swallow. Had I know I would be rebuked I probably wouldn't have gone.
    Yes. and yes...thanks for sharing these powerful words.

  8. To be able to openly admit your struggles and write so truthfully and eloquently about them is truly a God-given gift of yours, Sharon. In your darkest days your lovely light shines through your heart-felt posts. You are blessing so many of us, whether we have been through this type of depression or not... I love your heart, dear Sister in Christ. May God bless you this week.

  9. Oh, I have been talking to God about obedience so this really resonated with me.....Loved what you wrote about obedience. Also, this had me recall a story Max Lucado told about his wife if I remember right. She was fighting depression and really struggling. She did not want to go to church but did and decided when people asked her how she was that she would be honest. She said to each one, I am really fighting depression and I can use your prayers. That was the turning point for her in the battle. The honesty she displayed, the asking for prayer and the prayers of others and the depression subsided and she was healed. Last week someone asked me how I was doing, I said great....but then stopped myself and said, "you know I am not great today, but God is and things will improve!"
    Again thank you for this....very helpful for me and an answer to prayer with what your wrote about obedience. So grateful for your openness, Sharon. You are a gem!

  10. Obedience is something I struggle with. Yesterday when my world was falling a part - again - with the family - I went to my bedroom and just had a cry. I really tried to hand over my life to God Sharon, and it almost took my breathe away - to give myself to be obedient to Him. It was not easy and I will probably have to do it again.

  11. God calls us to obedience in different ways, but He calls all of us to obedience. Thank you for sharing this, Sharon. Your posts are always thought-provoking and challenging - I always feel refreshed after visiting you.

  12. Obey, even when we are bleeding. Truth, that.
    One of the blessings of your obedience was this post....and also the fellowship it engendered.
    Thank you!

  13. Hey, you know, maybe there were loud shouts happening in Heaven because you went. And I think going was also an "in your face" to the enemy, too. There was victory!

  14. I appreciate your honesty and the struggle to obey God. You got the victory. Hooray.

  15. I love the honesty here - we have ALL been there! I've found that the discipline of the action, doing it even when you don't feel like it, eventually makes it more meaningful. Going to church, reading my Bible, even being nice to someone - doing it when I know I should but don't want to makes it easier to obey when the circumstances are easy. Good for you!

  16. Oh, man - just left you a real personal bit here and google crashed it with an error screen when I published it. BLAH!

    I think I want to email you on this topic, though - later today.

    Your assignment, though - presently - is to LINK-UP with my All Things Bright and Beautiful - and then, think on such things.

    Wish I was there for hugs and tea . . .
    Love ya!

  17. Hi Sharon! Don't kid yourself, heaven was cheering. Jesus knows all of our feelings, and how they can keep us from him. You didn't let that happen, even though it was like peeling your hands off that pillow. (I am not a morning person either. It takes FOREVER for me to get going.)

    I think prayer and praise when we don't 'feel' like it is the greatest praise. You did good my friend. Very good.
    Blessings...I am still holding you in my heart when I pray.

  18. I do understand and several years ago, we watched early morning church on the TV instead of going. Actually we had just left a church due to pressure from the Pastor to teach something we did not believe in. Then our friends came to live in our town and I went with her to visit churches she might be interested in. She found one, but God told me "not here for you." (Just a forbidding feeling.) The church I now attend has a short service and fellowship afterwards and I still have time to pick up milk or what we need and get home. Robert is not able at this stage of life to be in crowds so I give him permission to stay home, and he gives me permission to go to the church I want and to go alone. Honestly, next Sunday our Pastor is taking a short vacation, and when I heard who will be the guest speaker, I made a decision. There is a new church in town, and this will be a good time for me to visit. Wow this comment is so long I think I will make a story from it and post it to my other Joyful Noise Blog. Thank you for sharing your honest heart with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

  19. I learned that sometimes obedience isn't pretty. It isn't natural. Sometimes it doesn't feel good.

    I learned that sometimes obedience is a war zone, a battleground, a contentious battle between our feelings and our faith. You got that right on obedient. The enemy of our soul loves it when we are disobedient on anything. He cannot keep us from going to heaven but he sure can keep us from being joyful here on this side. Good post.

  20. Everyone commenting here has agreed they have been there, done that, and I have to join in and say I have as well. We don't go out to church anymore due to the autism issue but I well remember days when I could've gone and didn't want to. My husband would go on without me and I would stay home and sulk thinking God could heal my son but wouldn't. Those days are gone and I am closer to the Lord than I ever have imagined. But, I would tell anyone who is able to attend church to go. You will always be blessed and the victory over whatever tried to keep you from going is so sweet!

  21. Sometimes we have to obey even if we're bleeding.
    Obedience is willful.
    Sharon..what a timely word for me as I recently took a chance and.made a choice.for God by being obedient. Yes, sometimes obedience hurts. Laughing with you over your alarm ring in service. So glad I stopped by.

  22. There have been Sundays over the years that I felt very much like you did last Sunday. But, being the pastor's wife, it would really not be good if I just didn't show up. Truthfully, I am always glad afterward that I went, but, boy, what a battle to get there! Praying for peace and joy to flood your heart, Sharon.

  23. Sharon, I almost had the same kind of Sunday this past Sunday. It took much effort to get my butt out the door. And now that I've gone back and read some of the comments, I'm totally agreeing with what Ceil shared. (Love that girl!) And love you for so honestly sharing your heart with us. Praying for you and sending hugs your way. (((hugs)))

  24. Thanks for sharing! Love REALNESS and HONESTY! I've been there too and as I always tell the ladies in my Bible Study class. When we walked in that door, even if it was the last 5 minutes of class, we defeated Satan! Thanks again! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  25. the view from the parking lot and Wow! Wow! and Wow! You're honest sharing hits right on. I did the same dance with forgiving the people who hurt's all a choice...our choice to be free. Love love love your realness. Hugs from my heart to yours.

  26. I've so been there. I've convinced myself that I can't go when DH is at work because it's too hard to get 7 kids out the door and checked in to Sunday School by myself. :/

  27. Vulnerable and real. Love the Scripture. We are in His arms. To the Lord, all praise, honor, and glory!

  28. I truly agree with much of what you shared. However, the main reason I will go to church ... whether mine or visiting others... is to be there on time for worship. Worshiping is all that counts for me. Then my heart is filled with joyfulness and strength in Him. Dealing with our world, the sinfulness, the "hatefulness" ... is a heartbreaker. BUT He will always pour His joy and encouragement and blessings...and that can keep me moving. Thanks.

  29. First of all, your story here almost sounds hauntingly familiar! Oh, yeah! Think I've been there, done that! :) I LOVE how you turn a simple situation into a wonderful story and lesson! Guess that's why I also wanted to direct you over to my blog post..( and to inform you that you've also been nominated for a "Liebster Award". I couldn't find you on any Facebook page or email. So, I'm just going to post my 11 questions to you here. If you would like to find out more about how it works, my email is
    If you choose to play along, here are the questions I would like you to answer and post on your own blog:

    1. Describe yourself in three words. 2. Who is your favorite author and why? 3. What was the last thing you read, watched, and listened too? 4. What is your favorite comfort food? 5. If you were a zoo animal, what would you be? 6. What accomplishment are you most proud of? 7. What is your favorite season, and why? 8. Who is your favorite Bible character and why? 9. What inspires you? 10. What is something you like to do to relax? 11. Which do you prefer visit...beach or mountains?

    Thanks for being such an encouraging blogger!
    Blessings, Ann @ Christ in the Clouds

  30. Hi Sharon. Great post. Every day it is a battle, do I do as the Lord says, or not... I have been away for awhile, but getting back into blogging. It is good to stop by and read your post. God bless, Ken

  31. I can so relate to you and it is a battle everyday. But with God, there is no impossible.
    A post that reaches to the heart and teaches and encourages:)

  32. Was this ME talking; it sounded exactly like me! Haha! :) Oh; applause to you Sharon for sharing what (I am sure) many of us go through but are too ashamed to admit! I have learned (sometimes the hard way) that when I "insist" on disobeying His will I am the big loser. He always wins anyway at the end, so why go against him? It is better to obey him and win with him at the end by gladly obeying him and by loving him. In return God will give us the best which he has in store for us! ♥

    Blessings for a joyful weekend!

  33. The way you write is so engaging. It has always been such a blessing to go to church even when I don't feel like it. You are right, it isn't the message but just simply doing what God wants us to do. I loved that your alarm went off in church and you were THERE!! I laughed!! Then, after reading to the bottom of the post I realized that I almost scalded the milk-based sauce for my mac &b cheese for church tomorrow!!

  34. Well now I feel guilty for sending my whiny hiney email to you.

    I relate in 4,728 ways to this one, Sharon. I even taught a lesson which included the verse "forsake not the assembling of yourselves together..." and know in my heart and head that EVEN MORE as we see the Day approaching, we need the assembling. I know it, yet this morning I am going to my Mother's to do my shift and frankly GLAD for the excuse not to go to church. I'm proud of you for obeying even when you are in the valley.

  35. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. I've been in that place before, using every excuse I could find to not get up and go. Obedience can be so messy at times, yet so rewarding for our spiritual man. So thankful you went!

  36. LOL - I could SO relate. It doesn't happen often, but I've definitely "been there, done that." I've always been blessed I made it though, as you were as well. Thanks for a fun reminder of past happenings and reminder of what to do in the future. Especially on those rainy weird weather days we seem to be having a lot of here in Pierce County Washington :)

  37. Sharon, you are are blessed because you obeyed God--says so in that Scripture you quoted Luke 11:28. And I agree with Ceil--the heavens were cheering, Sharon because you made the right choice. It may not have looked like a pretty, cheerful choice but God loved it just the same. He saw your willing heart whatever it took for Him and you to get you there.
    Your honest story is an encouragement to me for those Sunday mornings when I feel like pouting over something that did not go right, and I just want to stay in bed!
    Love and hugs to you, my dear friend.

  38. Thanks for sharing. I like how you felt God's smile, almost a "I knew you'd come around". Those mornings when getting up isn't easy are difficult. I hope you are restored in soul soon. You must live way further south than I do. No spring flowers yet in northern Indiana! I enjoyed seeing the beauty.

  39. Obedience!??? oh yeah ... I've had trouble with "that" and "this" blah and not wanting to be with people ... even at church ... and the dreaded "stay away" syndrome yet longing to be in God's Presence ... with like people longing for more of God and less of us, yet I struggle at times to "GO" when I know I should, when I know I should obey, when I know I am called, and I appreciate your candor and conversations with God, your open honesty and vulnerability ... and how often lately I have shirked away from circumstances and situations, just to linger alone with God ...

    Beautiful flowers ... beautiful words of our daily struggle or SONday battle of getting up and going, hoping the sermon will speak to us and waiting for God's touch, God's voice, and not wanting "anyone" to ask us "how we are?" when we are not in a place that we want to share or even answer ... I love when I sense and you write "God smiled" because I'm sure He winked and His grin was as reassuring as your sweet spirit ... smiling ... in the midst of it all. Yep, been here, done this ... sadly, I think we all do and have ... YET God loving restores us and as you wrote "holds you ..." and has a "tight hold on your heart" ... He loves you!
    and so do I ... wishing I could sit with you on that mountaintop, gazing at the valley and longing to be through as "YET I dare to hope" rings loudly and clearly even back in this post ... God is weaving your story with His and delivering a message sermon through you (even if the one at church was not), you were able to draw from the malaise and John 17 ... and "oh yeah, He never lets go ... "

    "Oh no, You never let go
    Through the calm and through the storm
    Oh no, You never let go
    In every high and every low
    Oh no, You never let go
    Lord, You never let go of me

    And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
    A glorious light beyond all compare
    And there will be an end to these troubles
    But until that day comes
    We'll live to know You here on the earth

    Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
    And there will be an end to these troubles
    But until that day comes
    Still I will praise You, still I will praise You"

    Singing this song of Matt Redman's and I let go today ...

    Love you and we never really miss church, for we are the church and He is always with us ... its the fellowship of others we miss-sometimes on purpose- for a season; YET God sees the heart wherever we are and knows the many excuses and reasoning ... still we must praise Him and thank Him and set aside that time to BE at one with Him and others (even when we don't wanna obey or like it)...


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)