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  • Deanna Rietgraf, Director of Elementary Ministries

The Floodgates Opened

On August 14th I drove to UNI with our daughter Mikayla to help her move into her dorm room. We had both had a good cry the day before but leaving her in the parking lot that day I thought, “I’m okay. This is fine. I’ve done this twice now and survived, so I can do it again, right?” About 5 miles down highway 20 toward Dubuque, the floodgates opened for me.


Oh, was I going to miss her.


She had been home for 5 months, something I would never have thought we would ever get again in her life. I started reflecting on the last 5 months and how good it was for Marty and I to spend those months with her. What a gift God gave us! Slowly as I drove farther away from her, my tears of sadness turned into praise.


Right about then, I decided to listen to a CD that our youngest son and his wife gave me recently. On our way out of the door that morning I had grabbed it, just to have some new praise songs to listen to and was I amazed at what I heard! Now remember I just dropped off my 20 year old at college knowing that there is a chance that COVID could hit UNI. Knowing her lungs are compromised from radiation. Knowing that her heart is weak because of chemotherapy. Right? But these are the phrases that I heard from those songs;

“Battles behind us, battles ahead, God you are for us, what stands against us? We have this promise, you’re never far away.”
“We’ve seen your faithfulness in our darkest hour, we’ve seen your goodness God, your grace is on our side.”
“When I’m weakest and in my darkest hour, I’ll let my worship be a weapon on this battleground. I am holding on to every Word You speak. Because the cross put the enemy to shame and now my song echoes through an empty grave.”
“You make mountains move, you make giants fall. You use songs of praise to break prison walls. So I will speak to my fear, I will preach to my doubt. You were faithful then, you’ll be faithful now.
“From fear to faith I surrender over and over.”
“I gain it all, in the letting go, so I’m letting go, you are in control. I find my life when I give it up, so I give it up, I can trust your love. "

Honestly! For the next 45 minutes these words and so many others rained down over my soul! A random CD grab was full of the exact words I needed to hear on my drive away from my girl! Our God is so over the top!


The next move God made on that drive, after drawing me into worship, was that He urged me to get together and worship and pray with others. So on Sept. 3, I invited any moms who wanted to spend an hour or so in Praise and Prayer to join me. Our focus was the same thing that I had just done leaving Mikayla except most of them were sending kids back to grade school, or teaching school for the first time or working full time and teaching school. God gave us the sweetest time together as we sat outside and praised Him through song and brought our requests to Him.


God calls us to gather so I decided after that day to do a study on the word, “gather” in the Bible It’s been His idea all along that we gather to praise and worship Him and so I was curious how often this is spoken of in the Bible. From Moses, Joshua, David, Hezekiah, the Psalmists, Isaiah and many others I read over and over of their gathering together to worship God TOGETHER. They stood, they knelt, they raised their hands, they danced, they bowed down and they humbled themselves before their God. I was so moved at the legacy we have to worship together!


If you haven’t attended a worship service at Hope Church yet, I urge you to come back if you are able. To gather together. To join other believers in worship. To hear the Word spoken to us together. We’ve all gotten out of the habit of coming to our Hope buildings but remember, it was God’s idea for us to gather because He created us and knows what is best for us! As I learned that day, He calls us to worship and He calls us to do this together. I look forward to seeing you!

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