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April 5, 2009

i sang the following verse 5 times this weekend. once for practice and once for each of our four weekend services at church

“Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead”

it was the fourth service, as we sang this song – Jesus Paid It All – that i became overwhelmed by grace and mercy. to the point of tears. where i had to back up off the mic and i could no longer sing. all i could do was cry, lift my hands and bow my head in humility and gratefulness.

you see, i am a former pit dweller. thats where i lived for so long. for too long. i chose, for many years, to relive my past. to resurrect detail after detail of horrific choices and their effects on my life.

i was a dead woman walking. i had little to no inspiration. i was overwhelmed by regret and shame. i felt useless and unloved. that was my life. a lifeless life.

the past few weeks i have worked a lot on my book. recalling much of my past has left me reflective, tender and acutely aware of how far God has brought me. so, when i sang the words…”and raised this life up from the dead”,Β  i could not contain the emotion that had welled up within me.

for that moment, i saw myself raised from a grave. the grave that i spent years digging for myself. the grave that i lowered myself into then sat there in self pity. but He raised me up from that grave….and i walked away with Him. the old is gone – i have been made new!

i feel so blessed to know new life like i do. i can stand here today, alive and well and shout from the roof tops that i was once dead – but now am raised!

57 Comments leave one →
  1. tinymandolin permalink
    April 5, 2009 9:59 pm

    That is crazy, because I actually sang that song quite a few times this weekend as well …! One of my favorite hymns.

    • April 6, 2009 8:03 am

      a very fitting weekend to sing this song, thats for sure!

  2. April 6, 2009 12:14 am

    How Does that phrase go???..

    Out of the frying pan – into the Fire? πŸ™‚


    • April 6, 2009 8:03 am

      i think it does…but i still have no idea what it means. at least in this context πŸ˜‰

  3. April 6, 2009 12:14 am

    Those moments where we have that overwhelming realisation of God’s grace and just exactly what Jesus has done for us leave me in tears too.

    Sometimes I think it doesn’t happen enough…and then I realise, it happens exactly when He needs it to happen, so I keep Him where He should be in my life πŸ™‚

    • April 6, 2009 8:04 am

      i agree with you here david. a gentle, loving reminder from Him..”im here…”

  4. April 6, 2009 2:43 am

    I noticed that when I am singing, is when I’m feeling closest to God!
    Certain lyrics, but not always the same lyrics, will just resound within me.
    I usually get goose bumps and my voice chokes up a little. It took me a while to realize that, that is the Holy Spirit. It is hard to explain but when this happens I find myself in awe, humbled(as you stated) and yearning for more.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Our God is an AWESOME God!
    Have a great week.

    • April 6, 2009 8:05 am

      im the same way. there is definitely something about music that stirs my soul like no other. it moves and touches me in ways nothing else can or even comes close to!

  5. Jennifer permalink
    April 6, 2009 4:13 am

    Thank you for sharing this! Definitely one of my favorite songs…brings me to the cross each time! Amazing πŸ™‚

    • April 6, 2009 8:06 am

      me too. its the best place to be πŸ™‚

  6. April 6, 2009 5:09 am

    Colossians 2
    13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

    and then…

    Romans 6
    6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sinβ€” 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

    I am thrilled to say that I get it, Tam. I get it. I know the pit. I saw my old self die with Him on that cross, and I am living the new life He gave me. It didn’t come easy….it came with me fighting it every single step of the way–kicking and screaming.

    Yeah, all to Him I owe…

    • April 6, 2009 8:07 am

      im so glad you get it too. how freeing it is, isnt it? His cost…our gift! amazing!

      thank you for adding those powerful scriptures too…

  7. April 6, 2009 5:14 am

    Powerful words Tam. You are such an example of how God can take someone and turn them completely around. I’m so glad you took the time to reflect on those things this past week… And then to share this with us. Thank you.

  8. April 6, 2009 6:43 am

    Absolutely Beautiful. I have been in love to the point of tears many times this past week. His love is SO astounding …

    • April 6, 2009 8:08 am

      i find i get this way from plam sunday on every year. its all just so mind boggling….what Christ did. cant wrap my head around it i guess.

  9. Ron Swanson permalink
    April 6, 2009 7:14 am

    Great song. Tam you’re a great testimony to the Power of A Living God!

    • April 6, 2009 8:19 am

      ron – i hadnt listened to your message yet when i had had this moment during that song. i really think God was prepping my heart for what He was going to speak to me through the message you shared. so thank you for allowing Him to shape your words, to speak through you.

      note to everyone…ron swanson is my pastor and hes been speaking about the Living Water the last 2 weeks. below are those messages. they are powerful! transforming!

      Chang On The Inside


  10. April 6, 2009 7:21 am

    Is it crazy to say I WISH I was there to see you cry;)???
    I think just to see you up there would help me see that your heart is exactly the same as it is in blogworld:)
    And I would stand there and say and I cried too..
    ” That is my friend Lord, I am blessed to be her friend, thank you.”


  11. April 6, 2009 7:46 am

    Beautiful….a humbled heart, overwhelmed by our KING! Feeling the same way this weekend…been listening to “I Will Never Be the Same Again” Hillsong……Have a BLESSED Holy Week!

    • April 6, 2009 7:58 am

      I KNOW that song! I remember singing it at 17 yrs old;)
      I love that entire ” Shout to the Lord” album:)
      Brings back memories:)
      thanks for sharing:)

      The song that always gets me though is,
      ” Lord I offer my life to you, everything I’ve been through, use it for your glory, Lord I offer my days to you, lifting my praise to you, as a willing sacrifice, Lord I offer you my life.”

      and ” Jesus will still be there.” Point of Grace.

    • April 6, 2009 8:20 am

      i listened to that cd a thousand times when i was pregnant with kota. it got me thru preterm labor and bed rest πŸ˜‰

    • April 6, 2009 8:31 am

      Awesome song!!!! Sung that at a few baptisms way back when.

  12. April 6, 2009 8:02 am

    I never really thought I was a “pit dweller” till this weekend and now this post. But it catches me off guard. I am not so good at accpeting His hand in front of me to lift me out. But I am learning. Its funny how it works. I need to start to learn to enjoy the view from outside the pit and truly feel what you sang. Thank you for sharing. You really blessed me.

    • April 6, 2009 8:22 am

      “I need to start to learn to enjoy the view from outside the pit”

      mmmm…THAT is a powerful and TRUE statement. well said…and i highly encourage you to try viewing life in that way….it will change everything, kristi…

      thank you…

  13. April 6, 2009 8:29 am

    Just read this today in Heb 9:28 “so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

    My favorite part: “not to deal with sin” since he’s already done so frees us up to live an abundant life.

    That chapter is really speaking to me today. Love it.

    Do you find you are more vulnerable or sensitive now in the process of reliving your past, so to speak, through your book?

    • April 6, 2009 9:48 am

      i love that too joni! NOT to deal with it. been there, done that – Amen!

      i think as i spend time reflecting, yes, it does seem to leave me more sensitive. not in a “walk on egg shells” kinda way – just so appreciative and mindful of where i came from and where i am now…ya know…

  14. April 6, 2009 9:09 am

    It’s interesting…you saying that writing has left you vulnerable. It reminds me of what Mandy said about recording when she visited you all a few months ago.

    I wonder…if we each took more time to share our stories, our messages, our hearts in whatever art God has gifted us with…would we end up more open to hearing Him speak? More open to remembering how blessed we are? More open to being blessed once again?

    • April 6, 2009 9:50 am

      i think so. like i just said to joni above – it makes me mindful and ever aware of His work and miracles in my life. aware that He IS a God who saves! Who gives new life! Who is powerful enough to raise one from the grave. and i suppose, like you said, if we choose to remain in that grateful, mindful state, it could make us more open to being blessed once again.

  15. April 6, 2009 9:24 am

    thanks for opening up tam…not like you don’t but this was inspirational.

    i cannot claim to be one who has been in the pit and come out or at least not in a way most people would deem being in a pit…..i can tell you though it is writing like this that does bring me back around full circle when i let the little stuff in life get to me….

    thanks for a great read first thing this monday morning

    • April 6, 2009 9:52 am

      thank you joseph – im honored that these words spoke to you. God is certainly always moving!

  16. Heidi permalink
    April 6, 2009 9:48 am

    Loved this and it really ministered to my heart.
    I am so blown away that God uses OUR worship to draw ourselves to His ENDLESS bosom.

    It sounds like you experienced that.

    We all need too at times..

    Loving you

    • April 6, 2009 9:53 am

      my offering to Him turned around to blessing me. totally unexpected. im still choked up over it…

      love you too sister!

  17. April 6, 2009 10:49 am

    This song is not one of my favorites – this song is my testimony, my life!! It goes beyond favorite – I wish I could have been there Tam – I would have disrupted the service for sure! I have to quit – I have been weeping. πŸ˜₯

    • April 6, 2009 7:28 pm

      i know papa…i can see your face now πŸ˜‰ love you, papa!

  18. April 6, 2009 12:18 pm

    Man… I LOVE you! I also love that song. *sigh*

    Thanks for the reminder. I often beat myself up because I forget this very thing. In fact, I think I may still be burying myself at times.

    • April 6, 2009 7:29 pm

      i bury myself too, from time to time. we all need this reminder…and i was way overdue.

      i love you too my little asian πŸ˜€

  19. April 6, 2009 12:19 pm

    Someone once asked the question about the choir:

    “Are they there to Create an experience of worship OR Lead the people in their worship of God.”

    What is truly ironic is that your experience during your worship helped to lead those listening to worship. That is a beautiful thing.

    • April 6, 2009 7:30 pm

      it certainly was a beautiful moment. and i love those times so much! id like to hit repeat and just relive that over and over…

  20. April 6, 2009 12:34 pm

    love that song too…

    beautifully said, tam! thank you for that inspiration.

  21. April 6, 2009 12:44 pm

    Wow I had no idea!

    that THAT happened to you when you were 16.

    crazy stuff happened to me too in my life…

    no idea that THAT one link on THIS one post would lead me to another link and another post. On and on I read…I couldn’t put these posts down!

    All very WELL WRITTEN…

    Jesus DID pay it ALL
    and I wish your church was here!!

    I can’t wait to read your book…
    please email me the ordering info. when it’s done!!!

    • April 6, 2009 7:32 pm

      i have a lot of stuff up my sleeve πŸ˜‰

      thank you for your kind words!

      and you will definitely know when the book comes out…cuz i’ll scream so loud you all will hear me πŸ˜€

  22. April 6, 2009 12:46 pm

    I love you Sister!!

    oh and WHAT A TESTIMONY you and your daughter will share and write together!

  23. April 6, 2009 6:26 pm

    So powerful. Sad how so many times I’ll sing lyrics and miss the power of them. I love your heart!

    • April 6, 2009 7:35 pm

      me too jenni. i do it all the time. its easy too as part of the worship team who sings the same songs over and over every weekend. it can get pretty mundane and ordinary…when worshiping Him thru song should never be those things. im learning tho…

  24. April 6, 2009 6:36 pm

    I can’t get through that song one time without ballin and squallin. I just know tidbits of your past. Regardless, we all have one. Mine is so not pretty either. I’ve been free from pits for 11 years now. Jesus is a beautiful thing to me. He completely saved me!

    Love ya Tam. Thanks so much for sharing. What a gift.

    • April 6, 2009 7:36 pm

      im so glad youre not in the pit anymore either! what a difference a raised life makes, eh?

      love you too Fran! thank you…

  25. April 6, 2009 6:55 pm

    What a dope post! thanks.

    • April 6, 2009 7:37 pm

      im gonna add “dope” into my vocab this week. yes. yes i am πŸ˜‰


      • April 6, 2009 11:44 pm

        I visited Brewster’s Blog for the first time today and was glad i did πŸ™‚

        Co-incidence some may say?

        His Post on finishing lines was sort of where my mind was going with my very first comment on this post up above.

        When we think we are in a frying pan and things could not get any worse it is advisable to remember that it is not the frying pan that is doing us the actual harm – or rather it is not the original ’cause’.. That would be The Fire.

        So to be out of the Frying Pan might seem to us a relief – until we recognise what a flame is. And what it can do/already did.

        Then of course there is Holy Fire to consider also….

        Time for some ‘Deep Pan’ Thinking. πŸ‘Ώ πŸ˜‰


  26. April 9, 2009 7:06 pm

    I’m late…but great post.

  27. April 12, 2009 5:09 pm

    He’s raised my life up from the dead in so many ways already.

    and yet i find myself needing Him to do it again.

    • April 12, 2009 9:37 pm

      its the knowing that we need Him that makes all the difference…


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