Love Came Down

02132016_LizCurtisHiggs_HeSings

A bright Sunday morning in south Georgia. The children’s choir stood on the carpeted platform in two fidgety rows, while their parents beamed. Anticipation hung in the air like dust motes.

When the piano introduction began, a fair-haired boy stepped forward to sing the opening solo for the call to worship.

After two faltering notes, he burst into tears.

A hush fell over the crowded sanctuary, as his mother and the choir director both hurried to his side. They gently took the microphone from his trembling hands, then escorted him to a quiet corner, out of sight from the congregation.

Sitting a few feet away, I could hear his muffled sobs. Bless his heart. During rehearsal a few minutes earlier, his voice had been remarkably strong and clear. Now, with the whole world watching, his confidence had plummeted.

We’ve all been there. Too scared to sing out, to speak up, to raise our hand, to take a chance, to offer our opinion, to say, “I can do this.”

And imagine being in his mother’s shoes, searching for the right words to say, while two hundred people anxiously waited for the service to continue?

Whatever comfort she offered, it was effective. Moments later, her young son reappeared, wiping his cheeks dry with one hand and gripping the microphone with the other.

The congregation applauded. Even before they heard him sing, they honored his willingness to try.

When the boy took his place front and center, I realized what his mother must have promised him: “I’ll sing with you.” Kneeling close beside him, she wrapped her arm around his waist, leaned toward the microphone, and matched her pitch with his.

Their two voices sounded like one.

With each note, he stood a little taller. Sang a little louder. When the choir joined in, his mother eased back so he could do all the arm movements to the song. But she never left his side, never stopped smiling through her tears.

This is what God does for us, beloved. He sings when we can’t sing. He does what we can’t do. He gives us strength. He remains by our side.

“For the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” {Deuteronomy 31:6}

Our brave boy made it through a second short solo and all the way to the final note, before collapsing in his mother’s arms.

More applause followed for the little singer that could. Life isn’t just about talent. It’s also about tenacity. Far more, it’s about the power of love.

God’s love. A mother’s love. A church family’s love. Glorious.

Now it was my turn to be nervous. I clutched the black notebook that contained my morning message. How could I possibly speak after such a moving experience, one we’d all shared and had barely recovered from?

My husband tipped his head toward mine and whispered, “I hope you’re talking about grace.”

I looked down at my notes. The verse God had prompted me to choose weeks before now marched across the page in bold 20-point type:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” {2 Corinthians 12:9}

God knew what would be needed. He always does. He always will. Oh, the things He can accomplish, not in spite of our weaknesses, but because of them.

I moved to the platform and stood in the same spot where a fair-haired boy had faced his fears with love by his side. His mother had left. But Love was still there.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord.

Later, when we spilled through the church doors, we discovered the children had run ahead of us, stubs of chalk in their hands. Rather than drawing stick figures, someone had written a mighty truth across the paving squares.

You are loved, friend. He is with you. In your weakness, He is strong.

You R Loved Sidewalk Art

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Life isn’t just about talent. It’s also about tenacity. Far more, it’s about the power of love. {Tweet This!}

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  • Kate

    I can relate. Absolutely could not sing for 2 years, although I embedded the words in my heart during the worship in church. However God loves and slowly, I hv been able to sing again.

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      How thrilling to know your voice has returned, Kate. And even MORE exciting to think of all those words of worship “embedded in your heart.” Beautiful.

  • Anna Smit

    What a beautiful image of our Father’s protective and emboldening Love for us. And so stunning how God gifted you that verse for this very moment. Yesterday, I read this Scripture from Isaiah 51 (The Message) with new eyes: “For I am GOD, your very own God, who stirs up the sea and whips up the waves, named GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies. I teach you how to talk, word by word, and personally watch over you, Even while I’m unfurling the skies, setting earth on solid foundations, and greeting Zion: ‘Welcome, my people!'” The night before, you see, I’d stood emotionally overcome surveying the starry skies and thinking of the promises made to Abraham that are now being fulfilled. The God who placed this blanket of stunning stars in the sky is also the God, who stoops down to “Kneel[ing] close beside [us]” to wrap[ped] [his] arm around [our] waist” and give us voice. So, so incredible and how easily we lose the wonder of this spectacular loving kindness showered upon us. Thank you for these powerful words here.

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      Your own words are wonderful, Anna. That moment in church (just happened last Sunday!) was overwhelming. God’s presence was palpable!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Liz,
    I needed this message today. I’ve been having one of those weeks where I feel like I suck at life sometimes. I love working for Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. I believe in our mission, our purpose, our reaching out with love to hurting orphans. I just haven’t been very good, this week, at holding back a little of that love for myself. I often wonder, God, why did you choose me? I am SO inept technically. If it were up to me to have advanced technology, we’d still be in the stone age. I often joke that I was born in the wrong century. This was a wonderful reminder that God sings with us/me. Our weaknesses are not an obstacle for Him – for me maybe – but, not for Him. This was a perfect piece of grace and just the right moment…thank you!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Joanne Peterson

      Bev, as soon as I read this, I rejoiced because I immediately thought of you! (Then I thought of me) It is perfect. I’m reminded also of the message God gave His people at one point in Deut 7, He loved Israel, and chose them, and they were the smallest of the nations, and He gave them what they needed to do the job He gave them because of the promise He gave them. Love, Joanne

      • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

        Oh, those promises of God, Joanne. Amazing!

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Thanks Joanne…I’m feeling like little Israel right now. But if God is for me…even my laptop can be against me…and I will prevail in God’s strength and abiding patience!! Once again, I’m taken back to a place of reliance and dependence – where I need to be!! Love you sweet friend, B

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      I’m SO glad this spoke to you, Bev. TOTALLY get the technology thing. I’m an 18th-century woman at heart! God’s blessings on you this day, sister.

    • Beth Williams

      Bev,
      Prayers that the computer will keep working! God chose wisely! He knew your heart would be in this and you would work tirelessly to get this off the ground! You are precious person and loved by many!

      • Bev @ Walking Well With God

        Thank you, Beth, your words are a sweet balm to my soul. You really made my day!! Thank you for the vote of confidence!!
        Bev xoxo

  • https://susefishblog.wordpress.com SuseFish

    Gosh, this made me cry!

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      I hear you, Suse. His mother’s love and his 9-year-old courage had us all reaching for tissues!

  • http://faithspillingover.com Betsy Cruz

    Lovely encouragement,here Liz. I’m so glad to read this word. I had missed your posts in January and just checked back at your blog now and see what a challenging time you’ve had recently. May the Lord continue to strengthen you, encouragement, and make you a blessing as you serve Him. You are such a voice of joy and strength in the Lord. Thank you.

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      Bless you, Betsy, for checking up on me! I confess, November through January were a bit gloomy at the Higgs house, but all is looking MUCH brighter now that my new knee is behaving, my heart is mending, and our Lord is constantly reminding me that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). HOORAY!

      • http://faithspillingover.com Betsy Cruz

        So glad you’re on the mend. Blessings and grace.

  • Joanne Peterson

    Liz, I cried. I would have loved to have been there to see this play out. The congregation clapping for this little boy, and the singing with one voice with Mom, then moving away. How lovely……This is perfect for today. What I do, and what I’m being moved to do is bigger than me, and overwhelming if I think too hard about it. How beautiful to be singing a duet, and Him smiling through His tears of pride for us. Just like a Dad. Blessings, and Happy Valentines Day! Joanne

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      What a lesson you’ve taught us, Joanne: “Don’t think too hard about those BIG THINGS God is asking us to do!” He’s already thought them through, as it were. We just need to say YES and GO!

  • Rebecca Jones

    Liz, this is so beautiful. I’m surprised that I’m not in tears. It is especially close to me, I was the one who never made it through her piano lessons, I was singing in the Christmas program, my mother worried that the person behind me would catch my hair on fire with a lit candle, then I was the chubby girl who couldn’t find the matching clothes to wear for the sign language program, then I was away from church but never Jesus, I never stopped singing, I’m glad to know He’s singing with me. Thank you so very much for sharing this.

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      Oh, Rebecca, I soooo understand everything you are describing. I love that you’ve never stopped singing. And I rejoice that God has never stopped singing over you! “He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 CEB

  • http://heartfilledmoments.com Janis Van Keuren

    I just love this! It’s not about the performance. It’s about the love, the compassion, the understanding we show each other~as God does for us!

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      There was so much love flowing from the platform and back up to the platform last Sunday, it literally stole my breath. God is SO good.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Oh, my. Tears flowed on this one, Liz. As you (artfully!) unfolded the scene for us, I felt the courage of that little boy, the fierce, supportive love of his mother, and the gracious caring of the congregation. Such a heart-touching story! And thank you for reminding us that “He sings when we can’t sing. He does what we can’t do. He gives us strength. He remains by our side.” I’ve lived long enough, experienced enough, to add a hearty “Amen!” to that!

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      You are the one who has PERFECTLY described the major players in this very true story, Nancy! And yes, AMEN to all God can and will do for His children.

  • Beth Williams

    Liz,
    This sentence resonated with me: “This is what God does for us, beloved. He sings when we can’t sing. He does what we can’t do. He gives us strength. He remains by our side.” I am forever grateful that God gives us strength to carry on. You see this year has been super stressful for me. I’m dealing with my aging dad’s health issues-many & varied. Without the love and comfort from God I don’t know that I could have gotten this far! It has been draining to say the least!!
    Blessings :)

    • http://www.LizCurtisHiggs.com Liz Curtis Higgs

      We’re walking that same path with you in our family, Beth, and I know many of our (in)courage sisters here would affirm how very hard it is. God truly can do what we can’t do. Our part is to have steadfast faith in His love for us and trust Him for the strength we need. He is with you!

  • Julie Ann Partridge Ramsey

    Very good reminder that no matter what we are going through we are never alone.

  • Martha

    I was part of this congregation and witnessed these beautiful moments of grace, encouragement, and love.

  • Niki Hardy

    Thankyou for this. I feel like God has asked me to step into the limelight but I’m not sure what He wants me to sing. I know He’s asked me to share my story but I’m not sure how or if there’s anyone listening. But I’m encouraged to remember that He put the song in my heart and it’s the story of His grace in my life. If He is the only one listening then I’ll still sing!!

  • http://beautybwb.blogspot.com/ Tricia@ beautybwb.blogspot.com

    What a wonderful reminder of God’s grace! The hardest part for me is just showing up and trusting that God is with me. I’m amazed how my weaknesses have been used to glorify the Lord! Thank you for this story!