Finding the Kingdom During Covid 19

Finding the Kingdom During Covid 19

March 2020

I sat with a towel twisting my wet hair up on our bed, back in our master, while our worship pastor, our children’s director and my husband sat no more than 10 yards away and I listened to their honest, pure, worship. Tears began to fill behind my eyes and threatened to stream down my face. The words that rang throughout my house were, “You are making all things new…” And yet, as I sat in bed with a fever and a desperation to heal quicker, I knew and loved that my church was still being a church.

In the Confusion

This time with the craziness of Covid-19 has been a whirlwind or as some have referred to as being like the movie, Groundhog’s Day… over and over. Social media has gone RIDICULOUS with people now having free time to spout off their thoughts and ideas about the situation (I’ve seen an immense amount of good come out of our situations) but this morning… I could just be… and listen… and softly sing to my King while no one watched. Honestly, I could barely get the words out. Here’s the conclusion I’ve come to amidst all of this chaos and disorder:

  • I’ve found peace where once my heart was jumbled and stressed.
  • I’ve been able to breathe, really breathe in, and experience pure joy with my kids daily.
  • I’ve been able to dig into Scripture and geek out to the possibilities I find there.
  • I’ve been able to worship with no one watching.
  • I’ve been able to spend time reaching out to my church family more regularly to ask for or pray for them.
  • I’ve watched my kids settle in and just be… without the crazy amount of time constraints they used to have.
  • I’ve been able to see all of my church family’s faces via Zoom and laugh with them.
  • I’ve watched our church family come together in a tighter knit community to support and love on each other even virtually.

Chaos and the Church

It’s not the same… we can’t meet together collectively. It’s not normal… we aren’t allowed to worship together in the same room anymore. It’s not even similar… we are spending church virtually instead of spending next to flesh and blood. But here’s the thing… we are meeting separately… but we are together in spirit.

We’ve got to let go our our stubbornness… our resentment for how things were handled… our need to want things our way… and move into a time of healing, rest, and thankfulness that we live in a time and age where we can still meet- even if virtually.

I think back to one of the first Sunday’s after Jesus’ death. We find the disciples and Jesus’s followers spread out all over the city of Jerusalem… hiding. Some followers had even left the city and were headed home to Emmaus. But when Jesus finally appears to them in Luke 24, they think he’s a ghost. They can’t even believe he’s back!

The Kingdom they thought was coming… didn’t.

The life they thought Jesus had alluded to- was completely upside down.

I mean- the guy they’d been following around had been preaching of a new Kingdom… and then, whelp, he was killed. And now, they were huddled in a house, just waiting for something and thinking that there was no way this Kingdom was going to happen anymore.

“Then he said to them, “Don’t you remember the words that I spoke to you when I was still with you? I told you that everything written about me would be fulfilled, including all the prophecies from the law of Moses through the Psalms and the writings of the prophets—that they would all find their fulfillment.”  He supernaturally unlocked their understanding to receive the revelation of the Scriptures,  then said to them, “Everything that has happened fulfills what was prophesied of me. Christ, the Messiah, was destined to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.  Now you must go into all the nations and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins so that they will turn to me. Start right here in Jerusalem.  For you are my witnesses and have seen for yourselves all that has transpired. And I will send the fulfillment of the Father’s promise to you. So stay here in the city until the mighty power of heaven falls upon you and wraps around you.”

Here’s what’s crazy about us humans: we think we’re soooo smart. The disciples thought it was all over when their Savior was killed (and who’s to say we wouldn’t have thought the same?) They thought the Kingdom that Jesus preached, would never rise up. And yet, it did.

The Kingdom is happening around us. I’m seeing it in the faces of people who are selflessly dropping off food on our porch so that my husband doesn’t have to scramble to make dinner for all of us after taking care of us all day. I hear it in the voices worshipping from my living room. I receive it from the texts and social media messages that encourage and build me up with promises of prayer and healing. I read about it through the words of my King in scripture. I feel the Kingdom when I pray while weeping when no one is watching. It is all around us. God is with us.. even when we feel like church isn’t normal. The Kingdom is here… do you feel it?

Into the Throne Room

Into the Throne Room

My soul is at peace.

My thoughts only reside on the One who sits seated on the throne in heaven.

I feel broken and restored in the same moment.

A song flows from my voice, but I cannot even hear it.

All I see is his glorious face. Sometimes, He is smiling.  Other times, He is crying as my heart is mourning my hurts, sins and problems.  There are moments when He is dancing with a wild sense of abandonment as I raise my voice in joy.  And there have been moments when He is smoothing my hair as I weep at his feet.

All of this happens on any given Sunday morning. While the band plays, the music swells and envelopes me and I am transported to the throne room.

Yes… I know… transported sounds so science fiction.  And although I do have a LOVE of that wonderfully, imaginative fiction… transported is the word that most closely describes how I feel in those moments.  One moment, I am squinting because of the stage lights… and the next… I am blinded by something from out of this world.  I close my eyes and realize I am in the presence of the Almighty and his love surrounds me. I do not hear my voice as it feebly shakes out of my vocal chords. When tears begin to flow down my face, my voice breaks… but still I sing. All I know is that I am singing to Him.  No matter how bad or good I sing, if it is from my heart, it delights Him.

Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:18b-20)

Fruition of Worship at Thrive

Fruition of Worship at Thrive

Our first practice was a couple of musicians smashed into a corner of our children’s area while our warehouse was under demolition. As we straddled 5 gallon buckets of paint and boxes of tools, I played the keys on a $120 keyboard that I had inherited from my father-in-law and our worship leader strummed on his acoustic. We sang our hearts out while two guys from our church stained the concrete a few feet away. They paused occasionally and then came and worshipped with us when they finished.

Worship .5

As with every church, our music at Thrive has dramatically changed. We went from one guy on a guitar and a couple of vocalists- to a full band within two years. We’ve gone from singing simple choruses to original songs to intricate worship songs. We were a tight knit group for a while, but as our church has grown, we’ve been blessed with more and more people willing to join our team and our ministry.

Worship 1

Although I’ve been involved in many worship ministries over the years, I’ve learned one lesson more consistently here at Thrive, than anywhere else. When I become comfortable, God moves to change. He changes our views on Him, changes our songs, and changes our team. But through all those changes, good comes and health approaches. Change helps us to focus our attention, to evaluate our own intentions in worship and helps us to prune away our selfishness, pride and egos. When I become upset at something that irritates me, I take a moment and step back to try and see it from God’s perspective. Is the enemy preying on my emotions? Am I allowing my own agenda to sway my view on things? Am I allowing God to move and make shifts in our perspectives?

Worship 3

When I move my emotions aside and allow God to work, amazing things happen. The team grows closer but opens their arms to new people joining. Hearts and minds are shaped after God’s heart. And the church begins to change as well. They begin to lift their hands, not afraid of being judged or of being showy. They close their eyes and listen to the worship around them. Emotions cross their faces and their hearts are barren for anyone to see. At times, when a song moves the congregation, it is hard to continue to sing. I am moved to tears. I watch as realization dawns across people’s faces and they move into the throne room to worship our Great and Good God.

And through all the changes we’ve made here at Thrive and will eventually make, I hope and pray that we continue to honor our God. That He is praised here; no matter who is playing an instrument, who sings and what song is being sung. That through it all, He will be praised.


Psalm 96:8-13 (NLT)

Give to the Lord the glory he deserves!

Bring your offering and come into his courts.

Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor.

Let all the earth tremble before him.

Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.

He will judge all peoples fairly.

Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice!

Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!


Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy!

Let the trees of the forest sing for joy

before the Lord, for he is coming!

He is coming to judge the earth.

He will judge the world with justice,

and the nations with his truth.