New Ears


“Heal and restore me, God…” I whispered desperately. My plan and my body was falling apart. So, I spoke into that broken space and asked for what I wanted. I asked for what seemed right and best to me. I mean, if He had brought me to this place, surely He wouldn’t want me to fail within it.

Or maybe where I was and what I was called to do wasn’t actually about me at all?

We all want to bring our gifts to the table and bring our best. I want that, too. I am all about aiming for excellence in how we serve the Lord. But I am learning that there is often a fine line between seeking the miracle and seeking Him.

In the vulnerable spaces where we just don’t have the strength to reach the finish line, He is there waiting. Waiting for us to be willing.

Willing to be humbled.

Willing to open our clenched fists.

Willing to lay down that which we are proud of.

Willing to release that which we hope to receive.

Willing to trust Him beyond where we can see Him.

Willing to posture our heart, mind, and soul to behold something totally new.

Willing to get out of the way so that He may be glorified.


You see, I wasn’t always good at listening. Oh, I have always had a lot to say, but rarely willing to be quiet long enough to hear what anyone else had to say. Oh, how we can become so enamored with our own words, experiences, and interpretations of what is good and what is best.

We decide what is good and purposeful for our lives and we ask that God sign off on it. We can become so confident that we declare this destiny over ourselves like it should already belong to us and we are just waiting for God to catch up and make it happen.

How good are we at listening, really listening, to His heart? I am finding that the more I discover God’s heart and His ways, He is not predictable, but He is always good.

His voice is unmistakable, but if I am not careful, it is also easy to miss.

11The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12

Recently, I was asked to lead worship for a weekend retreat for military women. It was wonderful. These women loved me so well. They hired me to lead them in worship of our God and Savior. What an honor and joy! And I was prepared. For months I prayed over the song selections, worked with the retreat coordinators, and spent time with the speaker to be certain that everything I did would be in line with the vision and intent for that special time together.

All the details and pieces were seamlessly knit together and I felt confident that I could bring my best to this special time and do what they expected me to do. I was ready to lead. I was ready to deliver.

But as the days drew near for me to join them, I felt my body begin to get sick. In a desperate attempt to overcome, I took every vitamin I knew to take, gargled with various potions, and prayed HARD, “Lord, heal and restore me! Heal me so I can bring what You have given me to bring.”

Yet, my health continued to decline. I was frustrated.

I joined those precious ladies that weekend as a weak and depleted woman. I could not deny that I was not whole. I couldn’t ignore that I wasn’t at my best and it broke my heart. I was certain that if I didn’t get better, I would be a hindrance to the way the weekend was supposed to unfold.

One morning, as I was taking cold and stomach medicine, attempting to somehow override the inevitable, I went to my knees once more…

“Lord, please…heal and restore me.”

And then I heard Him whisper low…

“I am enough. Glorify me right where you are.”

Tears, wet and relieved, fell from my face. I knew what needed to be done.

As our group gathered for the evening session, we prayed that He alone would be glorified. I asked each woman present to join with me in doing just that. I confessed that I was weak and didn’t have the strength to bring our worship to the Throne Room on my own.

And as the hymn, “How Great Thou Art,” began to play, their voices truly rose like thunder. As my voice failed, they raised their arms and voices and ran with abandon toward the Throne with a confidence that was exquisitely beautiful. We could literally feel His Presence and His sweet pleasure as each poured out all she had to give.

By the end, my voice was ragged and gone. But as my lips closed, my ears opened…and I heard the Body of Christ singing loud and clear. He was glorified indeed. My body may have been broken, but my heart was full, indeed.

I didn’t have enough to take it all the way home. If we’re honest, none of us do. But we bring what we have, and He, in community and in such abundant grace, carries it the rest of the way.

33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.

Proverbs 8:33-35

His “favor” wasn’t found within my ability to bring a perfect gift, but at my willingness to lay what I had down at His feet. I am a grateful heart, indeed.

The song I want to share with you today is from Anna Golden, entitled, “Still Small Voice.” It is a gritty, soulful melody that really captured my new ears and heart that weekend as I realigned my soul with His. I pray that it blesses you as it has me.

And in all that we do and in all that we bring, may He be glorified.


With joy for the journey,

Sarah McKinney