Embracing the Story, being loved by God and leaning into a full life of following and serving Him

I would describe this past year as “a year of reflection”. Maybe it’s because I’m hitting some sort of mid-life crisis. I don’t know, but for whatever reason, I started this year with the idea that there are some risks in front of me that God is asking me to step into.

I’ve narrowed it down to 3 questions that I’ve been asking myself, and also taking to God:

  1. Am I really living for God?
  2. Do I really trust God?
  3. Am I willing to follow Him, and even make sacrifices to follow him in a new way?

Before I talk about these questions in my life, I want to start with what spurred the beginning of this journey. It started with worship.

Worship is the way that I connect most easily with God. In fact, when my wife Libby has a night out with friends, once I get my 3 kids to bed – I usually end up playing my guitar and singing to God, making up songs as I go. Strangely, that’s my idea of a good time.

Last January I was having this inner dialogue with myself about worship. Like a conversation in my own brain, you know what I mean. The best conversations I have are usually with myself. Strange.

I decided that as a worship leader, it might be good if I live the way I sing. I started to consider some of the words of the songs we sing. Many of the songs we sing generally proclaim the greatness of God. Those are easy to sing. It’s easy to proclaim God as great, because He really is.

But a lot of the more reflective songs we sing are actually personal or corporate prayers. Those can be tough to sing (unless you don’t actually listen to the words as you sing them!)

I remember one Sunday leading the song Take My Life. The entire song is a prayer. Somewhere in verse 2 and leading into the big chorus it hit me…these are hard words!

Take my voice and let me sing Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every power as You choose.

Here Am I, All of Me

Take My Life, It’s All For Thee!

When I sang this prayer it hit me, am I just singing these words?

And how do these words compare to my life?

Following God is a journey, and there will always be mediocre days. But I realized that I was not bringing God into all the areas of my life. I was leaving him out on some days at work, or when I’d hang out with friends, or even at home.

So I started to be a little more radical in my faith. I actually started talking about God to all my friends, and bringing Him into the conversation.

I started talking about my struggle to give all of my life to God, and live completely for Him.

What does it look like to give him all of my life?

I shared how I was trying to figure out what God wanted to do with me. As I talked to friends, I realized that everyone connected my journey with theirs. Everyone could relate to my struggle. And everyone is on a similar journey to really know God, and live for him in a true authentic way.

The second question of the year for me has been, do I trust God?

This idea of trust came to light this past summer through an example with my 5 yr old son Eli.

I go to all lengths to keep my family safe. Especially my kids. Just like any dad or husband, I would do anything to keep them safe.

We spent a week this summer visiting family in Winnipeg, Manitoba. My children have big cousins and their big cousins have a trampoline. Yes, a trampoline! And it’s not the kind with sides. No, it has big metal springs around the edge, then a quick 4′ drop. There’s nothing safe about this beast of a trampoline.

Eli and Eden are so protected from trampolines, that they don’t even know what these things are called. They named it the “bounce-aline” and the “jump-aline”.

Like I said, there is nothing safe about this beast. Oh we had rules. Rules like “one kid on at a time”. Then it morphed into “one kid sitting while the other jumps”.

Suddenly there were no rules (*you parents know what I’m talking about*).

The thing I noticed, especially with Eli is that he became more adventurous as the days went by. Each day he would try new tricks and venture closer to the edge. But more importantly (to me at least), I also noticed that he kept a boundary. A buffer of sorts, from the edge. He was keeping himself “safe”. It looked something like this…


upside down

Yeah, there’s nothing safe about this…but I’m starting to think this is OK. And that maybe “safe” is not the thing that God wants us most to look like.

God has taught me that my family being safe is not his highest priority for our lives.

This leads into my third question, Am I willing to follow Him?

My family is more open than ever to follow God in new ways. Of course I want to keep my kids safe in all of this, but I’m open to following God, whatever that might mean. If it means leaving my job, for a less paying job in some type of ministry – then I hope I have the courage to follow and to trust.

Some of the unknowns of following God can be frustrating. But this last year has also brought deepness to my spiritual life, which I’m thankful for and not taking for granted. I don’t think it was my own doing.

As an encouragement I’d like to share that God has penetrated my heart. And from what I know, there is enough of him to go around. I’d like to publicly praise him for penetrating my heart, and I know there are many others that can relate to my journey, because God has penetrated lots of hearts around me.

As a challenge, I’d like to encourage us to go deep with each other. And if God has not penetrated your heart, I encourage you to go after him.

This puritan prayer, called The Valley of Vision has captured what I want my life to look like. I pray it often.

The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
Edited by Arthur Bennett

Lord, high and Holy, Meek and Lowly,

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that they way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,

and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.


1 Response to “story”

  1. 1 Terry Foester October 9, 2007 at 10:12 am

    This is the “faith story” I shared at Hockessin Baptist on September 30, 2007. It marked a stepping stone in my journey towards becoming a worship/arts pastor.

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author – Terry Foester

I'm a family man at heart. I admit my world revolves around my wife Libby and our 3 hooligans...Eli, Eden and Silas. They are easy to love. I'm trying to learn to love the rest of you. I also like to ask questions.

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