I’ve been listening to a pre-release of Sara Groves new CD, fireflies and songs, and have been deeply moved by one of her songs. Sara is among my favorite singer/songwriters, right up there with Andrew Peterson and Jill Phillips, so I always eagerly await her newest work. Her own journey and experiences have helped guide me through some of the most tumultuous days of my life. Her lyrical content has given me hope and clarity, when I was falling prey to self-condemnation. In short, her music has been an important part of my spiritual re-formation over the past few years and helped me see God as I never had before.
So, I was listening to this CD last week on the way home from dinner with a friend. I had heard the track, “It’s Me”, a few times and knew I really liked the melody and the chorus but was intentionally listening to the lyrics this particular moment. Suddenly, I got to one of the hooks near the end and tears started rolling down. One thing I’ve learned while with the Serendipity team is – “Pay attention to what moves you! It’s either a part of your story God wants to speak into, or a part of the Larger Story He wants to invite you into”. So I spent some time looking inside for any tender places that might need to hear Truth.
The song is a beautiful picture of a relationship and how quickly emotions can turn and catch us by surprise. In the blink of an eye anger and hurt can replace tenderness. It reminds that those people closest to us are also the ones able to hurt us most deeply. So our tendency is to withdraw or, as Sara puts it, “so run for your life…”. In the hook she cries out – “Deep down inside the girl is waking up. She’s calling out to the boy she loves. It’s me…oh baby, it’s me” As I heard that last phrase, “it’s me”, I was pierced through my heart. While the context of the song may be saying something like , “Hello it’s me, I’m not the enemy…I’m your wife.” God needed me to hear something a little different.
You see my greatest fear and one of the defining wounds of my life is being invisible…of not being noticed by anyone. As the youngest of five boys, and an unplanned baby at that, it was easy to grow up and get missed. So those two words, “it’s me”, have been my heart’s cry for the better part of 40 years. In such a tender way, God is using this song to invite me into my pain and asking me if I will really believe He has “seen” me from my mother’s womb….that I was never invisible to Him. My life experiences have told me differently and many agreements I’ve made would suggest that this isn’t true. So I stand at a tipping point now, what do I believe in my heart versus what I say I believe about God. The fact that this song moves me so deeply suggests I dare not answer this question too quickly. The men in my small group, who know me intimately, are the ones that will help me explore these beliefs and the conclusions I’ve made throughout life. My group will help me find God’s Truth that I haven’t been able to grasp before due to the limitations of living from my personal, smaller story.
As small group leaders, we are placed in a wonderful position to give a powerful gift to those in our group. Pay attention to what moves YOU and share that. Share how you take these emotions to God so that He might tell you something you need to hear desperately. Model for them how God speaks through our emotions and how to process and test that within a group. When group members see you do this, they will follow your lead and practice this as well, often with life changing results. It is a rare and precious gift in our modern age to identify messages you’ve received over the years and allow a place for God to speak Truth into those messages. When we as group leaders model this, we create a safe container for others in the group to begin doing the same thing.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32