Experiencing Worship for the First Time.

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Church. A word, a place, a feeling that I have been apart of since I was born, but more importantly when I was saved at the age of 7. I knew, well, thought I knew the true meaning of worship, but that changed, today.

Carrie and I were invited to Holy Ghost Centre church by our host sister, Euince. Of course, the response was a quick “yes!” Church started out just like I was used to. Greeting the pastor, finding your seat in Sunday school and working through a lesson. We finished Sunday school, moved spots towards the front of the church, and service started.

When worship began, the atmosphere changed. The rustling of bodies surrendered to the beating drums, and the electric guitar which added a nice modern twist, along with the keyboard that kept a rhythm. All the sounds were so known to me, but they were put  together in such a foreign way. But, it was the singers. The worshipers in the audience, that changed everything.

I closed my eyes, and breathed in a deep breath as a woman with a powerful voice took over. The peaceful tapping of tambourines guides how I begin to sway to the music. There is raw emotion. I see for the first time the true surrendering during worship, and it was only song number one. The air is humid, but the fans move it around to keep it cool against my skin. I watch as the emotions of true love for Christ pours out from every heart and soul in the room. They do not just sing, they pour out everything they have to the one true King. As the song ends, another person takes over the worship and it changes to an upbeat song. Our host sister warned Carrie and I at the beginning, “I hope you can dance…” and I thought, “uh, what?” Sure enough. As the beat gets faster, the smiles begin to grow on everyone’s face, including mine. I look around and sure enough, the whole church has erupted in dancing.

Pure rejoice.

I begin to get more of a sway going, hand clapping, and a nice knee bounce as I just watch everyone enjoying worship; enjoying being in the presence of not only Christ but their brothers and sisters in Christ. At that moment, you could feel the Holy Spirit in and around everything, working its way through every chair, every skirt fiber, every vein that carries life. It was over powering, and moving. I just smiled and whispered, “Thank you, Lord.”


So often, there is a stigma that Christians and churches must resort to a particular image. You have to have your service go a certain way, have specified people for jobs. The worship will be planned out. We have to look and act like we are standing in a service that is full of prim and proper motives. But here, there is nothing like that. Their was rejoicing, outcry, and sheer hope.

I have never been in a church where I felt so comfortable amidst loud singing, and a pastor that shouted more than he spoke. I have never witnessed true worship until now, and I will forever be grateful.

If you see someone at your church praising a “different” way. It may look different, sound different, and it may make you feel uncomfortable, but think for a moment, “How in depth is their love for Christ that they have the comfort and openness to have an honest and raw worship moment, and you get to witness it.”

-Hope Sorrells

 

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Before even moving in.

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The A/C felt cool against my skin. The West Texas heat has a way of creeping in and settling on every surface. My ford pick-up was heading east down a long two-lane highway. My favorite music playing in the background, but I wasn’t truly focused on the lyrics. They sat and talked, one in the front seat, the other in the back, and although they were close in proximity, miles of space separated us. I felt as though I was trapped in my own thoughts, consumed with an overwhelming feeling of fear, anticipation, excitement, and nerves. I felt as though my stomach would betray me. Landscape after landscape, mile after mile passed by and as I passed a green highway sign that said, “Throckmorton County.” I opened my mouth and said, “Here goes nothing.”

Mom and Melissa laughed, but I knew that they both felt the tension that had enveloped me. I was trying to joke, be a goof, avoid the conflicting thoughts that were flying. The final question of, “Am I really doing this?” echoed in my mind as I pulled up beside the beautiful courthouse and stepped out of my pickup. Melissa met me with a soft smile and a warm hug. I sighed.

So this is really it?

The anticipation of meeting the other fellows was somewhat silenced as Melissa and I made conversation heading to the cabins we would be staying in. The gorgeous pastureland flew by us, surprisingly greener than I had expected. Rain can change a landscape so much. We finally pulled up to the cabin and as I unloaded my grey, overly large, and almost inconveniently sized suitcases, I was greeted by John. A large smile and an even larger hug eased my anxious heart.

I waited only thirty minutes before the other fellows pulled up, and the nerves returned. Will they like me? Will I be able to make friends? Such junior high, school girl questions rattled in my mind as the introductions began. After a day on the lake, settling down at supper and beginning to get to know each other I felt a sudden reassurance that, I am home.

Not home in the physical sense. Not a structure. Home had evolved into the state of which my heart and mind were in, and the people that surrounded me. Home needed to evolve for me. I needed to know that no matter if I was in Throckmorton, Texas or in Ghana, West Africa, that I could feel steady, stable, and full of life. I had a support system around me that was present the minute we were all in the same room. I knew, at that point, that this journey would change my life, more so than I would change lives. And now, as I sit and think about that… I am completely okay with that. Often we try and take new experiences and moments of vulnerability and find ways to extract those feelings to other people, and avoid our own. But as I sat around seven people who have beautiful hearts, I think to myself, “We are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime… but we have made a way to make it home, before even moving in.”

-Hope Sorrells

Mastering the Art of Chaco’s.


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I don’t know about you, but when I bought my first pair of Chaco’s I was slightly concerned.

I looked at the variety of styles. From different colored straps, to different amounts of straps to even the type of Chaco. I couldn’t help but think, “I didn’t know there would be so many options!” I picked a pair that were a red color and begin to put them on.

SO many straps. Awkwardly uncomfortable. Not my style.

I walked around like I had bricks on my feet. They weren’t necessarily the most comfortable foot attire I have ever worn, nor were they the most flattering. My naturally long, skinny feet looked even longer and skinnier. Trying to get them tight enough to fit my feet was another obstacle. After 15 minutes of pulling, tugging, maneuvering, I finally   felt like I had accomplished a huge task. For 3 weeks, I have worn them almost everyday, just trying to get used to the unfamiliar item that will soon be as familiar as an old friend.


But as I sit and think I can’t help but relate that experience and those shoes to life.

Sometimes life throws you a very familiar experience in a somewhat familiar facade.

[[Even in sandals that aren’t like most sandals.]]

You are handed an opportunity that will completely take you out of a comfort zone or put you in a situation you have never experienced. You begin to weigh all options. Pros, cons, likes, dislikes. The exact thing that will change you as a person and help you to test your limits. After much decisions, internal conflicts, and closing your eyes and saying, “Let’s do this.” You finally decide.

Then, comes the next move, actually prepping for that experience. It may look wrong or off. You will be standing on your own feet that are in a new place. You begin to describe to your friends and family your decision and sometimes, the support, isn’t always there. It is difficult to embrace the unusually or the unfamiliar, especially when your foundation is slightly shaky and unsure.

But, with each day, you take another step, you hit a new stride. You begin to feel stronger and more comfortable in your own skin. You know that no matter how ‘tight’ life gets or even how unsure and ‘loose,’ there is a strong and steady piece, that keeps you pushing forward. You know that not everyday will look as good as you would like nor will it have the same new feeling as before but the unfamiliar slowly becomes the familiar. The old friend that you can forever lean on or in this instance, a pair of sandals, that aren’t like any other sandal, that will be faithful and true as you venture out on a new adventure.

That is where Mastering the Art of Chaco’s become something greater than a simple sandal for a simple person. It is a complex life change, that begins with one decision, one try, and one step. Why not, begin… now.

-Hope Sorrells