The article deadline was encroaching, and I didn’t have an article.
My topic was “worship.” For someone who spent years engaging the word while working in music ministry with my dad, I was coming up short on ideas.
This one was supposed to be an easy write.
I began with a Sunday School definition of worship, something that involved singing, music, and praising God truthfully from the heart. I looked for an illustration from my life, adjusted my approach to the topic accordingly, and sent in a draft.
It wasn’t right.
I spent a day or two sighing over my dilemma. I didn’t have energy to rewrite. I was fresh out of ideas anyway. I write too much poetry, and often leave the concrete behind, which makes for too-vague writing. But I had volunteered to write the article, and I knew that it would be good for me — and for my writing — to see it through.
I started editing my draft, trying to gather my brain-fogged thoughts, but the words weren’t coming. I hadn’t had enough sleep to process.
Still, I had to write something. But I also had to change diapers. And nurse my baby. And get meals. And try to get my rest so my body didn’t fall apart. And keep up my relationships with my husband and children and our families.
Writing in spurts between naps and meals and responsibilities wasn’t working. My frustration grew. The article was just one more responsibility on top of it all.
Five days after my draft was returned to me, God tossed a thought at me in the middle of a diaper change.
What if writing the article could be an act of worship?
Did He mean that the thing hanging over my head was something I could do to praise Him? Did He mean that changing diapers and planning meals and making the bed and staying up with a colicky baby was worship too?
The Psalmist states that the trees worship God. The beasts of the field worship God. The birds of the air worship Him. Little children praise Him perfectly.
They have no words. They lack the will and the ability to choose worship. No, they merely grow. They breathe. They fly. They play. They do what they were created to do. They worship by being what God created them to be. They are His handiwork. He is glorified in them.
Every breath I take can be worship — because I am His. And because breathing is what He created me to do.
My whole perspective suddenly changed. I sat down at my desk and scribbled the words, typing quickly, writing this time for Him.
Memories from the six weeks since my baby’s birth wove their way into the story: the intentional moments with my toddler, so suddenly grown since baby came; the diapers changed, the dishes done, the carpet vacuumed; the time spent pursuing my relationship with my husband.
These were worship too.
God created me human. He made me from dust and gave me life to live. I don’t always know how to write. I don’t always know how to get up in the morning. I don’t always know how to love my husband and my children the way God loves me, the way He wants me to love them.
I’m going to fail. I’m going to have days when the things I have to do pile up higher than the laundry in my house. I am going to lose control of my attempts at an ordered life when my children have needs, when I can’t finish that one last thing, and when the tears come because I can’t always figure out the most important thing.
This is why He is God and I am not. This is why He is worthy of worship in the first place.
As I eat and drink, as I love and live, as I change diapers and fulfill my responsibilities from day to day, I can offer myself a living sacrifice, doing what I do from my heart for God. Acknowledging Him in all of my ways — in the nitty-gritty as well as the seemingly glamorous — this is the worship that pleases Him. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1).
As I ruefully concluded my writing on my second article draft, the baby set up a howl from his bed. I grimaced — just a little — at the irony before moving him to my lap and pecking out the finish with only one hand.
There aren’t always words for praise.