Last night I helped a Presbyterian church with their spring concert. I was asked originally to be a sub, but then everyone could come, so they put me at the bottom, playing bells they normally don't play. The service was interesting, definitely different from what I'm used to! The first song we played was "The Bells of Wythe" (don't ask me how that's pronounced!).
Last week, Pastor started a new series: How to deal with your feelings. When he announced that title, I'm sure half the church was with me in groaning, knowing he'd probably step on a few toes. (The other half was probably with my husband, looking forward to hearing how an abundance of feelings have no place in a healthy person's outlook on life. Or something weird like that.)
The first message was about grief. Normally, when you think about grief, you think about the sadness one experiences when a loved one dies. Up until a few years ago, that's all I ever thought anyone would grieve over. Over the past few years, though, my horizons have been broadened and through no real fault of anyone in particular, I have learned first-hand that a multitude of things (situations) can bring real heart-rending grief.
I have to say, this year, I was not AS nervous as I was last year. Probably because I knew he'd done this before, and he had done just fine last year!
EJ sang with the 1-6 grade choir to open the service (this is not MY recording--someone had their camera right in front of EJ's face the whole time, so I got her recording!):
I have a huge regret regarding this. The kids stood up there for about 5 minutes before church started--the leader wanted to make sure she got everyone in place correctly and all that. EJ and the taller boy next to him were hilarious during those 5 minutes! They made faces at each other and were just generally acting like silly little boys. I loved it (other than the fact that they were standing in front of the entire church!). I found out later that they both like the same girl and they both think they are going to marry her. We'll see how their friendship weathers the teen years! :-)
Next, EJ preached. It wasn't an option on the sign up sheet, so I just asked about it and they said he could. It's kinda hard to understand him, but he did an awesome job! I'm so proud of him. (And I didn't know he would pause like that to make sure everyone had time to turn to his passage!)
Today I almost got really mad. I haven't felt like this in a very long time. Actually, I can't remember the last time I felt so upset. And it was all my fault. Everyone around me did exactly as they should. I just lost focus of what was important for a second, and I started seeing red.
See, we're going to sing this awesome song in choir. The schedule says it won't be for a couple weeks, but if you've ever made a schedule involving more than one person, you know that invariably it's going to get changed after it's printed. The music schedule for my church involves over two dozen people, and that's not counting the choir. That is a lot of possibilities for schedule conflict! And sure enough, this awesome song got moved from a couple weeks from now to next week. Which, ordinarily, would be wonderful--the sooner to sing it the better! But next week I have other commitments and I won't be in choir. Meaning, you guessed it, I won't be able to sing this awesome song in church.
As soon as I realized this, I got angry. Mostly at myself, because I volunteered for this other commitment all on my own. No one coerced me into signing up for something I'd prefer not to do. No one even asked if I would be interested. I just walked up and said, hey, I would like to be involved here. Sign me up. And they did. For next week. Which, ordinarily, I wouldn't care. But we're singing this awesome song!
Before I got so worked up that I started throwing things, I decided to take a walk, get some air, drink some water, down some pills (not like that, but yes, I took two tylenol--my head was pounding and surprisingly it had nothing to do with my emotional state). Normally I don't walk out of choir practice, but my head was pounding and I figured if I'm not going to be here to sing it, I could afford to skip practice-singing it.
I made it back to choir just as the second verse was starting. The time away had done wonders. Kinda like counting to one hundred, but without all the math. I silently read the words as the ladies around me put voice to a beautiful thought (full song, no way could I make this song into a video and only do the second verse!):
As I barrel through November, I find myself contemplating at every turn, "What can I be thankful for in this situation?". And like no other month in the year, I hear my mind answering that question with a forceful "nothing". Why is it that the harder I try to think of things to be thankful for, the easier it is to see the less thankworthy things. The cold. The cold shoulder. The difficult decisions. The advice unheeded. And every other little thing that happens as life happens that makes me want to scowl rather than smile.
I try, I really do. There are so many things to be thankful for, things that happen every day that I take for granted. My eternal future secured in Heaven. My family's love. My friends' trust. A roof over my head. Transportation that doesn't expose me to the elements. Money in the bank. Seriously, what more could I ever want? What I do have is more than I need, and so much more than I deserve. And yet, as the pages of my life flip past, I seem to highlight the negative events and bury the positives.
What's wrong with me this time? Remember a couple months ago, I wrote a post exploring why I sometimes feel empty inside? But I have been reading the Bible, every day, taking special note of something I can apply to my life. I have been praying, lately more than usual because I have several friends that just recently needed more intercession. What have I been doing, or not doing, the past two weeks that's new?
I sit here, writing this, listening to music, because I think that's the only way to live--with music playing. And I realized what's different. My music is different. Not different like, a different genre of music (that would be an entirely different post). Different because, about a month ago, I got a bunch of songs from a new CD off Amazon. The first two weeks after I got the songs, I listened to them maybe, two or three times. But then I switched to listening to Christmas music as I did Christmas crafts with my son. But about two weeks ago, I remembered my new music and decided to listen to it instead.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about talking to Jesus--taking Him my worries and cares and trusting that He knows best. Jesus is good like that. He's been here on earth, He knows all the things we have to worry about, and He can comfort us like no other.
But there's also nothing like climbing into your Father's lap to tell him about a little pain in your heart. My Pastor has been preaching a series on prayer this last month, and one of my blogger friends posted today about what she got out of the message yesterday. I was feeling quite unwell, so I wasn't at church yesterday, but her post further encouraged me to not stop talking to God. Her post title is the title of this song (which made me remember this song).
I started making "When Love Came Down" a while ago. I normally choose songs to put to pictures based on how I'm feeling. When I felt like twirling my way through life, I chose "Be Unto Your Name"--it's a very twirly song. I know a couple weeks ago I posted these two songs, but really, you can't listen to them too many times. :-)
My insides feel like they are going to explode. Or implode, I'm not sure which. My brain is misfiring left and right, well, left in my brain and right in my body. My hand won't stop shaking and my knee won't stop bouncing. I can't get a deep enough breath. Then, as if by magic, I am all better. A switch flipped, and I'm perfectly fine.
So what happened?
Tonight was Children's Night at church, and I was nervous for my son, who preached and played the piano. As you can see by the schedule, I had a long time of being nervous before it was his turn.
Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head. Does that ever happen to you? I will wake up with a song in my head, go to bed with the same song in my head, and it will be three or four days (and nights) before I can dislodge that one song. If it's a really good song, like You Abide by West Coast, or Be unto Your Name by the Galkins, I don't really mind. I'll play these songs on a loop on my computer and enjoy the pretty pictures when I sit down to watch and listen.
There I sit, listening intently, watching eagerly, soaking up every second of the opening ceremony for the London Olympics. Next to me, my little boy watches just as intensely as I, and on the other side, my husband makes it a trio. We were all enraptured, but each for different reasons.
My son reports that two years ago (when he was 4) he remembers watching the Olympics in Vancouver, but this show is completely different. His little sponge of a brain is taking it all in and leaving no time for boredom.
My husband's reason for being drawn in to the show is diametrically opposite--he is watching for clues to tell him if he needs to mute the volume or change the channel. His critical eye is evaluating each dance move, each drum beat, his finger poised and ready to save the innocent brain cells of his son.
Me? I'm sitting there, wondering what I can spin for a blog post. And then the boring-est part of all starts--the speeches. First some British guy, then the president of something. And wouldn't you know? From one of the speeches came the inspiration for this post.
Who am I, you ask?
In 2006 I had a stroke, and every day my husband encourages me to use my remaining brain cells to the best of my ability. I love to organize, make crafts, and go on adventures (safe ones). I hope that through my blog posts, you will be encouraged to accept and make the best of challenges God throws at your life.