Living Life With Arms High And Heart Abandoned

This past week has been a whirlwind of travel. It actually started on Wednesday with a flight to Toronto to meet up with Michael W. Smith and his band of merry men for the start of his Canadian tour. I’ve never spent any time in Toronto or Montreal, which was day two of the tour, but I loved both cities and the French side of Montreal was awesome. The food was great and the city… WOW! clean and super efficient.

But I experienced something I know I will have a hard time truly painting the right picture with my not so grandiose use of the English language. But I will try…

During the first night of the tour I was standing near the front next to a row of people who were all confined to wheel chairs. These sweet people couldn’t talk and if they could, it was merely noises of communication. They hardly had any control over their bodies and I suspect they have been this way their whole life. They were also at the show with their families.

You know how when you observe people confined to wheel chairs – how even though they have a hard time communicating or moving around that you know they know exactly what is going on? And when it comes to their belief in God – you can sense their love for God is more pure than you could ever imagine? Well… this was exactly who I was watching.

There comes a point when Michael W. Smith goes into this worship moment and sings “I’ll stand… with arms high and heart abandoned…” and there I am… watching this whole audience transcend into this place of worship that I could only explain as holy. I don’t comment much on the corporate worship moments I see, but this one was an experience for the books. (or blog)

And then I saw it… a sister of one of the boys in a wheel chair leans in and grabs her brother (who would be about 5’8” if he could stand on his own) and lifts him up from under his arms. His legs were bent and provided absolutely no support for him to stand up so she held him up, her arms wrapped around him tight so that they both faced forward. She did this so that she and he could stand together… with arms high and heart abandoned.

He LOVED it… she gave him that moment to stand with everyone… and with every ounce of energy he had in him he worshiped…. with arms high and heart abandoned.

So that nothing could get in his way of expressing himself… with arms high and heart abandoned.

Just like everyone else in the room… with arms high and heart abandoned.

Even now as I write this I’m tearing up at the vision of pure love that was wrapped around that whole moment.

And for that moment… for me… all was right and perfect in the world.

It’s a sweet, sweet reminder that I desire a child like faith. Pure, Simple and Loving… with arms high and heart abandoned.

As you go through out your day, what are those unexpected moments you experience that remind you how sweet life is?

Disclaimer

The views expressed here are those of a personal nature and do not reflect the corporate view of my employer or anyone else who employee my services.
  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

    I know what you mean… and yet there's this part of me that feels like such a heel for taking for granted what i know is true and pure. I couldn't help but to smile… and cry… and just feel the joy in the moment.
    thanks for your comment!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

    I know what you mean… and yet there's this part of me that feels like such a heel for taking for granted what i know is true and pure. I couldn't help but to smile… and cry… and just feel the joy in the moment.
    thanks for your comment!

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/princessej Princess Elizabeth

    tears here too…im a mother of a deaf/blind 10yr old and he has taught me how to worship. so much of our worship these days has become so visual with things flashing across screens or even just the words projected on screens. i've brought him to church since he was just days old and we have participated regularly in a number of different churches that he has a wide variety of songs that he knows, but even the ones he doesn't i will still hear him trying to sing along. he is quite a gifted musician and it took him setting aside each week for his own personal worship for me to recognize my need for this. he is in 4th grade now, but how many 1st graders start their Sat mornings with 2 hrs of worship? I love being woken up on Sat mornings with his worship time. His favorite instrument is the organ so he changes his keyboard to that sound (he's playing it in the basement right now) and just lets it all out. Sometimes the house is vibrating/rocking with the booming sound a great cathedral organ and other times its much more serene. He led me to set aside my own time now as well. We even brought all of my sound equipment and his keyboard up from the basement and out to the back yard a couple of times last summer to have outdoor worship together. i think too often those of us without some sort of disability get distracted from what real worship is. We are distracted by the traffic zooming by or the billboards and flashing lights or pictures all around us. God made it simple enough for little children and as we grow up we make it complicated. We need to stop complicating things and abandon our hearts in worship just as these people did at the concert, just as the deaf people did at WOF and just as my son who happens to be blind and have significant hearing loss does regularly. Its amazing what we can see and experience when we just open our eyes(hearts) to it. My son has taught me how to now just go through life but how to experience it. I pray that as you remember this experience you will look for more and see all of the wonders God has out there.

  • http://WriteOnRideOn.blogspot.com Janet Lyn

    Wow. Tears in my eyes and my heart is full reading and picturing that.

    We take so much for granted in this life. I’m always so very thankful for those type of reminders of how simple and precious love and life and the ability to love and worship God really are.

    There is a young boy in a wheelchair who comes every Sunday with his family to my church and this made me think of him. He’s always smiling so bright and he loves worship time, even though he can’t really sing. It always gives me extra joy seeing him. I’m a very exuberant, arms and heart extended kind of worshipper myself and he always smiles and laughs with joy seeing me enjoy worship time too.

    Thank you for sharing this story.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      thanks for your comment! it's so good to have great reminders of the precious side of life.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/princessej Princess Elizabeth

    tears here too…im a mother of a deaf/blind 10yr old and he has taught me how to worship. so much of our worship these days has become so visual with things flashing across screens or even just the words projected on screens. i've brought him to church since he was just days old and we have participated regularly in a number of different churches that he has a wide variety of songs that he knows, but even the ones he doesn't i will still hear him trying to sing along. he is quite a gifted musician and it took him setting aside each week for his own personal worship for me to recognize my need for this. he is in 4th grade now, but how many 1st graders start their Sat mornings with 2 hrs of worship? I love being woken up on Sat mornings with his worship time. His favorite instrument is the organ so he changes his keyboard to that sound (he's playing it in the basement right now) and just lets it all out. Sometimes the house is vibrating/rocking with the booming sound a great cathedral organ and other times its much more serene. He led me to set aside my own time now as well. We even brought all of my sound equipment and his keyboard up from the basement and out to the back yard a couple of times last summer to have outdoor worship together. i think too often those of us without some sort of disability get distracted from what real worship is. We are distracted by the traffic zooming by or the billboards and flashing lights or pictures all around us. God made it simple enough for little children and as we grow up we make it complicated. We need to stop complicating things and abandon our hearts in worship just as these people did at the concert, just as the deaf people did at WOF and just as my son who happens to be blind and have significant hearing loss does regularly. Its amazing what we can see and experience when we just open our eyes(hearts) to it. My son has taught me how to now just go through life but how to experience it. I pray that as you remember this experience you will look for more and see all of the wonders God has out there.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      what an experience you have. That little guy is truly talented. I think going through this for me will always remind me to keep looking out for those special moments.

  • Marcie

    What a beautiful picture of true worship. I'm crying as I'm reading your description of the evening. Thank you.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/jayemarie Jacklyn Johnston

    Wow. That's beautiful. I need to look for these moments and pay attention to them. Great post!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      Thanks Jacklyn!

  • Marcie

    What a beautiful picture of true worship. I'm crying as I'm reading your description of the evening. Thank you.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      thank Marcie

  • Jo Ann

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful story! I posted it on FB for my friends to read.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      thank you Jo Ann. I appreciate that.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/6feetover Melody

    Wow, I'm in tears now, too.

    A few weeks ago, I attended a Women of Faith conference and sat right next to the hearing impaired. I had an experience similar to yours. I kept thinking how they can't hear the worship, but I knew they 'felt' it more than we could (the vibrations from the music). When you lack a sense, you rely more on the others. We can be so easily distracted from what the Lord is saying when our 'abilities' get in the way… sometimes the absence in our lives draws us closer to Him.

    They worshiped with all of their being. They beamed. I couldn't help but watch and smile knowing that the Lord was using them to minister to others and they most likely didn't even know it.

    Thank you for sharing.

    ~melody~

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      I know what you mean… and yet there's this part of me that feels like such a heel for taking for granted what i know is true and pure. I couldn't help but to smile… and cry… and just feel the joy in the moment.
      thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.aussiejoyslife.com/ Joy Argow

    Yep tearing up here too. how precious.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      i have tissue if you need some:)

  • Ani

    This is so sweet. Can I say "sweet" when a guy writes a blog that touches my heart? He's 40, but can I? (last sentence doesn't make any sense but just wanted too, haha!)

    This is so loving that his sister did that for him. So much love we all could use. Why doesn't everyone do this for another? I'm not saying that there are no people doing this I know there are. I've been raised to help and reach out to others, to the outcast. I've always defended the underdog. I just can't help it. It doesn't have to be your own brother, sister, or any other relative, we can also help our neighbours or a stranger. My dad did. I think that makes a whole lot of difference if you're raised that way.

    Kids always remind me of the sweetness of life. My cousin's twins showed me sweetness, joy, love and how trustworthy they are at a very young age. My own nephew is so cute, sweet, faithful, loving and so unselfish.(Okay, maybe I'm a bit biased here.) So I will put some other sweetness of life here.
    The kindness of my neighbours, the sweetness and faithfulness of the people who became my parents after my parents died, the honesty and loving of the kids in my neighbourhood, the joy, fun, love and laughter and also faithfulness of my friends and former colleagues, an unexpected card or call from someone that was right in time in which I see His love. I can go on like this. There is always something I see of His sweet love. But most of them: kids remind me of the good life I live. They have their moments too that they cry but they cry, turn and the next minute they have forgotten about it and laugh and find joy in what they do. Really that simple. It makes me smile. I'm lucky I guess. I see sweetness in anything. There is always a person when I'm out who will say at least hello or smile at me. Isn't that amazing? Especially for the part of country where I live where people have no time for each other. My friends and colleagues always ask me if I know all these people saying hi or goodmorning to me or just start talking to me while waiting. They are amazed and I, I enjoy. Just enjoy everything. Even now at this very moment I hear the birds sing, just enjoying that. I enjoy watching a little flower in a field and study it. The colours, the texture. I'm amazed by the colours of the leaves of trees. So many different colours green. I enjoy when there are clouds in the sky and in the evening different colours in the sky when the sun is setting. I've learned to listen to the sound of the wind going through the leaves of trees or wind going through reed along the water or waves crashing. Flowers, smell of food, wine, don't forget the wine and cheese, hot choco in the winter, laughter with friends, inspite pain, struggle and/or loss, life is still good if you know where to look and how to look at it.
    I think God is good to you by showing you this and let you experience this. He is love Himself. He loves that boy and you both the same. The boy had his amazing moment with God and you had yours. Look up Spence, and smile because your loving Father in heaven is looking down and is proud of you and smiles over you. Maybe He's even laughing out loud. Hahaha! I'm sorry my mood just changed all of a sudden. I'm in a bad, VERY bad mood. I mean terrible. I'm terrible! (I hit my hand and say "bad, bad girl" hehe ) I tease. Please forgive me (don't have to). O please forgive me (don't mean it actually). Now I'm way out of line. So sorry. No I'm not. Sorry! Actually I'm not. I'm really sorry now because every time I write that I'm so sorry I'm laughing. I guess I AM terrible. Well, still life is good. A song just came up: Life is precious, life is sweet!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      wow Ani… thank you for this great comment. i think it's so good to take time out to really enjoy the little things we are given in life..

      and yes.. i think God laughs and rolls his eyes at me a whole lot:)

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/tejasfan His Girl

    Wow.

  • http://www.melakamin.com Mela Kamin

    wow – love it … beautiful picture in words & experience – I will also listen to that song differently now – thanks for sharing this moment

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      thanks Mela:)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kevindeshazo kevindeshazo

    Yep, bawling like a baby. Incredible story. If only we could all remember to a) worship in that way, and b) do whatever is necessary to give others that same opportunity/experience. Great stuff, thanks for sharing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      thanks Kevin. i think this is really going to make me appreciate life even more.

  • Stacy

    I know you were truly touched by his worship, but by describing him as part of a "special" group, you separate yourself from these people with their various disabilities. They are not "confined" in wheelchairs–they use them in a way that gives them a great deal of freedom and mobility.

    They aren't by definition noble and they don't automatically get a special relationship with God, but their difficulties do shape them (as they do with everyone). If they are willing to let God use them (as He will anyone). God always meets us where we are and uses us in the way that best suits our gifts. Did the girl have to be his sister–did you have specific information? Couldn't she be his friend, or his girlfriend?

    Here's where I am speaking from: I am the mother of a young woman with a mobility disability She is more intelligent than most of the people I know and is tired of people expecting her to be unintelligent, and tired of people thinking she is either noble or pitiful.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/fgfpastor John

    Wow. What a wonderful picture.

    For me, the daily reminder of how sweet life is are sunsets and sunrises. Colors that have no name splashed in the sky against the grandeur of the hills and one mountain in our area. It makes me pause and worship every time I see it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      wow… that's really good. Thanks.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Lindsey_Nobles Lindsey_Nobles

    Tears…a beautiful picture. I love that song. It makes me emotional as is…now I'll always hear it differently. :)

    • http://house-of-stone.blogspot.com Jenn

      yep, Lindsey, Spence can make me cry… Thanks for sharing that story!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      it gets me a little teary when i'm standing there watching everyone else sing it… humbling moment

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      it gets me a little teary when i'm standing there watching everyone else sing it… humbling moment

  • http://twitter.com/dawnnicole @dawnnicole

    Thanks, Lindsey. You warned me… and I read it anyway… and now I'm all teary too.

    What a beautiful story

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      thanks dawn:)

  • Stacy

    I know you were truly touched by his worship, but by describing him as part of a "special" group, you separate yourself from these people with their various disabilities. They are not "confined" in wheelchairs–they use them in a way that gives them a great deal of freedom and mobility.

    They aren't by definition noble and they don't automatically get a special relationship with God, but their difficulties do shape them (as they do with everyone). If they are willing to let God use them (as He will anyone). God always meets us where we are and uses us in the way that best suits our gifts. Did the girl have to be his sister–did you have specific information? Couldn't she be his friend, or his girlfriend?

    Here's where I am speaking from: I am the mother of a young woman with a mobility disability She is more intelligent than most of the people I know and is tired of people expecting her to be unintelligent, and tired of people thinking she is either noble or pitiful.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

      Thanks for your comment Stacy. Your point is very well taken. You are right. They aren't confined and they don't get special relationship with God. In fact. I didn't say that. it was a great reminder to me at how much more of a relationship i need to engage with God.

      And yes… the girl was his sister. I talked to them later and the whole row of people were all families.

      thanks for your comment.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/chuckazooloo chuckazooloo

    i started crying before i could get to the end. my sister was confined to a wheelchair for the 4 years she was with us. thanks for sharing the amazing story. people so often shy away from what they don't understand or makes them uncomfortable, but God gave us these special people to show us that NO ONE is far from His love. thanks Spence.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/SpenceSmith SpenceSmith

    Thanks Chuck:)

  • http://thequirkyredhead.com redheadkate

    I guess I'm just like everyone else…teary-eyed at this one.
    Wow. I want to be like that girl. To look past the obvious. To truly have eyes that see what is needed. To be the one who lifts others up. To act.

  • http://whittakerwoman.typepad.com whittakerwoman

    i remember when we saw that happen at
    Buckhead for the first time. About rocked my world!
    We've confined God in such a small box it is so great to have it ripped apart. Love ya. H

  • http://www.jeremythiessen.com Jeremy

    Beautiful, Spence – sorry I'm not just reading this. Funny how it takes what the world would consider "the least of these" to help us put things into perspective.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mndunn26 mndunn26

    What an incredible picture. I read this a couple of times and I couldn't help but think to myself, "we're all like that boy at one point or another. we're bound to something. But God, in His grace, gives us faith to hoist us up, not to display our strength, but to give Him proper worship." Thanks for sharing this, Spence.

  • wheelchairstore

    Tears felt on my face while reading the situation does touches my heart. Oh God her sister shows us the courage and belief in you and towards her brother.

  • wheelchairstores

    Oh! how a loving children. Courage, belief and faith overflowing in both of you. God bless always

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