What or whom do you love the most? What or whom do you want more than God?
I should want and focus on God more than my husband, my marriage, my children or my desire for the divorce to stop, but that hasn’t always been the case. For the past 8 years, my focus has been on fixing the marriage and stopping the divorce.
It’s not that we shouldn’t devote time, prayer, and energy into fixing a problem, especially one that is worth fighting for. My problem was that I took my focus off God in the midst of my marital troubles and divorce. I was living to fix the marriage and to stop the divorce instead of living for God. Though I relied on God at times to walk me through the storm, the absence of answered prayer and changes in the divorce left me angry and frustrated with the Lord.
Recently, my oldest son (11) frustratingly said, “What’s the point of praying? Nothing has changed.” My heart sank. It ached. It grieved. I was reminded of the helplessness and hopelessness during my struggles and heartaches as a wife and a mother. I was reminded of times when I pounded my fist at God, screaming and crying:
Why should I continue talking to you, God, if you won’t answer my prayer?
I’m already making changes to myself. Why hasn’t this situation changed?
How much longer do I have to wait?
Why do my children have to suffer?
Are you not answering because you’re not pleased with me?
Each time these questions filled my mind, I found myself moving God further into the back room of my heart and mind. It wasn’t because I wanted to shrug off God when life got stressful or painful. In fact, I knew I had to hold onto Him more tightly. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was hurting too much and grew tired of waiting on God to remove the troubles and heartaches. I was too focused on fulfilling the desire of my heart instead of fulfilling God’s desire for me.
When I did fill my spiritual tank with His Word and promises, my heart still wasn’t comforted because my mind was on my problem instead of on Him. And my worship of God experienced many seasons of ebb and flow. I felt as though I was being forgotten, even though I knew in my mind that God would never forsake me.
And He does not! “The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession.” Psalm 94:14 NLT
During the last few years of wrestling with the pain of the divorce that is now in its final stage and the challenges of raising my two boys, God’s been whispering to me:
Remember the passion you once had for me? I need to be YOUR first love again.
Desire me more than your desire for the divorce to stop. Focus on me above all things.
Time to worship me no matter the length of your waiting for the storm to pass or your prayer answered.
While slowly learning to redirect my focus on God, He started preparing me for a new form of worship – hula worship. I have watched hula worshippers dance for God at my church years prior to meeting my “kumu”, (teacher in Hawaiian), at a party. I remembered saying to myself, “I want to dance like that for God” but quickly brushed off the possibility. I felt that my love for God wasn’t deep enough to praise Him before an audience.
Through hula worship, and the leadership of kumu Cheryl, I learn to dance (literally) with Him through each trouble, whether alone or surrounded by my own “Aaron and Hur”. (See Exodus 17: 10-13). I want to model for my boys what it means to have unyielding worship of God, to love God, and to pray to Him even when my prayers aren’t answered the way I’d like or at the time I’d want because He IS in control. He knows me. He hears me. He cares about me.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27:14 ESV
My life circumstances haven’t changed much. What is changing is my attitude and focus. “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:23 NLT
By God’s grace, I’m learning to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).
Does it mean I am perpetually high on God these days? Not at all. I still have moments when troubles and pain would overwhelm me and cause me to backslide in fear. But I have tasted too much of His goodness to allow myself to remain in that state of mind. As I learn to focus more on Him, I find His loving reminders to worship Him, to dance for Him. Even on those gloomy days, He whispers to me to just “kaholo” forward (hula step where one foot extends to the side and the other is brought alongside) with Him one step at a time in spite of the storm, trusting in His goodness and resting in His peace.
And He will use me – a “work in progress”, to glorify Him, to reach the those far from God, and to encourage those who do know Him. Worship Hula is more than just a form of exercise. Through my act of worship, I find healing, encouragement, and a closer relationship with my Father.
Whatever storm you are going through, I pray that you, too, will find God’s strength and peace as you ride it out. Mahalo for reading!