|James, Ryan, and Bryce with their blond friend, Jackson in church.|
Since moving to PA, we have started going to church at the chapel on post. You won't believe this, but I am part of the Praise and Worship team that sings uplifting songs prior to the service each Sunday. I have met some of the most wonderful people in this group, including a sophomore whose name is Sara. She is a bright young woman with an outgoing personality, an absolutely beautiful voice and a heart of gold.
A couple of weeks ago, she told me she had invited James to church, who unlike his brothers, had not chosen to attend church each Sunday. She was singing a solo and wanted him to come listen.
When the Praise and Worship team met to practice prior to Sunday School, Sara told me she was very nervous about singing her solo in church, but what helped her find her strength was knowing that she was singing this song for James to help him open his heart. As she explained this to me, tears filled my eyes. I was so touched that she cared so much for him (miracle #1).
Sara and I stood next to each other during Praise and Worship and I smiled as I saw James come into the church and sit by his brothers, Ryan and Bryce (miracle #2). They all three smiled, sang along and even got their entire pew moving left and right to the music. They were having fun...in church (miracle #3).
At the offering, Sara and Dan, her accompanist, came back out to set up for her solo. The music started and the entire church was silenced and in awe of this beautiful soul singing out to every person who has lost their way...but especially to James.
Here are the lyrics to the song, "Cry Out for Jesus" that Sara sang this morning:
To everyone who's lost someone they loveBefore she had finished, I had tears in my eyes. My heart was happy and sad all at once. I prayed that James' heart would open, and I realized that my heart was opening too, and that my heart had been sad. Sad about his sadness, grief over losing his father, loss on so many levels, and just having to experience things that nobody his age should have to face.
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye
And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right
There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus
For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith and love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough
For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering
When your lonely (when you're lonely)
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight
When Sara ended her beautiful song, the congregation clapped, and James was the only person to stand up as a standing ovation for Sara -- and he didn't care at all that he was the only person standing. I was sitting behind him and as he sat back down, I noticed James was crying. Perhaps his heart had opened, possibly a little bit but maybe even a lot (miracle #4). Ryan was sitting beside James and he was crying too. I moved up next to James and hugged him, both of us crying.
Sara's beautiful voice cut through all of the layers of grief and emotions and reached out to us and to all of the other people in the church (miracle #5). It was absolutely beautiful.
It took me several minutes to find my composure. I couldn't believe so many emotions came pouring out. Even typing this now, I am teary-eyed by the memory.
I am so very touched and moved by what happened today. WOW! Miracles DO happen.
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