Can You Imagine?
A very amazing woman I know sent this to me recently for a project at church and I asked her if I could share it. We certainly do serve an awesome God, I read this and just lost it. Thank you Jeanne and thank you God for Jeanne.
“Can you Imagine?”
In 2004, I lived in Kettering with my 2 daughters. My 9 year old, Megan was a faithful Christ follower already. Every Sunday she would get up early and go to church with her friend’s family while my 11 year old, Faith, and I would sleep in. Faith and I had no interest in church, but that didn’t stop Megan from going regularly since the age of 6.
One day in November of 04, I was eating lunch in my car, scanning the radio stations. A song had just begun on a country station. Who knows why I stopped on that station, I’m no country music fan. The lyrics began, “I can only imagine, what it will be like, when I walk by your side”. I thought “Oh jeez, another cry-in-your-beer song!” It didn’t take long to realize to Whom the song was being sung. “Will I dance for you Jesus, or in awe of You, be still?”
The name of Jesus sent an electric jolt down my spine, an actual physical pain. I hated that song! But I didn’t change the station. I kept listening. The more I listened, the more I hated it, but I couldn’t change the station! By the end of the song, I was in tears and had no idea why.
A couple days later, fully recovered and that song fully forgotten, I heard it again! This time on one of those “we play everything” stations. Same reaction, I hated it, the name of Jesus put my nerve endings on fire, but I listened to the whole thing, crying every minute.
Soon it seemed like that song was being played every time I got in the car. It was like a fly, buzzing around my head… You know the ones, they always seem to be fascinated by your ear when you’re trying to sleep in…
Megan, my faithful church-goer, signed up to be in the Christmas Pageant of her friend’s church. She didn’t tell me anything about it, she said all the kids were keeping it quiet so the parents would be surprised. So, wanting to help her keep the big secret, I didn’t ask anything more.
So, the big night of the Pageant arrives. Faith and I dress up and go to the church to watch. It was the first time I’d been inside a church in over 15 years. I felt like the whole building was speaking to me, telling me that I didn’t belong there. The name of the play was “Three Wise Men and a Baby”, with one of the Wise Men bearing a strong resemblance to Elvis Presley… His robes had rhinestones, and he had “pork-chop” sideburns glued onto his little face. Very cute!
Then, the Big Finale, all the kids gather around and sing… You guessed it, “I Can Only Imagine”. I have goosebumps just writing this.
Finally, it dawned on me that maybe – mayyyybe – Someone was trying to get my attention.
Nahhhh… It’s just a coincidence! It’s a popular song, probably every kids’ pageant has that song stuffed in somewhere…
October 05, we started coming to the Ridge. Not happily, mind you, but my new stepson was friends with Carter, and Faith’s friend Lauren would not rest until we agreed to come. In December, Faith came to know Christ. Her life was changed at a Dare to Share Conference. She shared her new life with me, and I was happy for her, but wasn’t quite sure that I was God’s type. The following February I told her, “OK, you think God is interested in me? If He really is, I’ll listen for a song.” She had no idea what I was talking about.
Then, on the “Grand Opening” service in the new building, the guitar player pulled the microphone close and began to sing. “I can only imagine, what it will be like, when I walk by your side.” For the first time since attending, I stood up to sing with everyone. I couldn’t sing because I was too busy crying. But I was filled with happiness that I never knew, and the name of Jesus being sung made my heart so warm, I thought I was going to faint.
For the next week I was overwhelmed between feeling wonderful to feeling awful, like a fraud, someone who shouldn’t feel that wonderful. The next Sunday, when Darrel invited people to come to the stage and pray, I think I was on my knees before he finished his invitation. I let all of my shame, my hate, my sins, my fear flow out of me and let the Holy Spirit flow in.
I’m so glad that God is a persistant God!