“It’s Almost Over”

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Her text should’ve encouraged me.
It should’ve been the very thing I needed to hear.
It should’ve brought me comfort and relief.

(Her) : Hey u! How’s that baby?

(Me) : She’s good. I’m on a 72 hr bedrest . Boo 😦 Gotta get my blood count up. But, she’s great! Such a little fighter.

and then she said it….

“So glad she’s well, and you’re well. IT’S ALMOST OVER.

and the tears came streaming down.

You see, I’m 30 weeks. It’s been a very difficult pregnancy.

5 trips to the emergency room. 8 weeks on bedrest. A hemorrhage. Tumors.

It’s been a journey to say the least.

But, this is my last baby. The last time I’ll be pregnant. The last time I’ll have a chance to feel a life moving around inside of me. The last time I’ll have a “pregnancy glow” (although I’m pretty sure I skipped that stage this go around). This is the last time my husband and I will sit up in bed at night holding hands and discussing baby names. This is the last time.

When we found out I was expecting, we hadn’t necessarily planned it. But, we hadn’t been against having another baby either.

Things were good. My husband had just received a small, but needed raise on his job. I was teaching voice lessons and had 6 paying students, plus I’d started teaching a toddler music class that met once a week. Sure, we hadn’t been saving and we were preparing to move, but we’d be fine. I was confident.

Just 2 weeks later I found myself bleeding…not spotting….bleeding through my favorite sweatpants and waiting to be seen at the ER…sitting in a wheelchair all alone. I’d prayed and cried the whole way there, trying my best to remain calm and positive for my children who were sitting in the back seat. But, even they knew the sight of blood wasn’t good….and my 5y daughter started to cry. My son grabbed her hand.

Once at the ER, my friend came to pick up my kiddos. Her van was already loaded up with her 4 kids, and after adding my 2 to the bunch she turned and blew me a kiss through the ER window.

My mother in law came eventually to sit with me. We have a pretty good relationship, but it wasn’t her I wanted to see. I wanted desperately for 1 person to be there, and 1 other person to call. I wanted my husband there beside me. And I wanted my best friend to call. My husband finally got there….just in time for the ultrasound. We were able to see our baby swimming around just fine with a healthy heartbeat. We both let out a sigh of relief. But, my best friend never called. We’d had a disagreement? Misunderstanding? Falling out? I really don’t even know….just 2 weeks before…and hadn’t spoken since.

I’m now 9 weeks from my c section date. Things have changed. I haven’t been able to get back to teaching voice lessons. Even teaching my toddler music class has been a struggle. My income is pretty pitiful, and my husband is taking care of everything. (a huge burden). I’ve worn my regular clothes through the majority of this pregnancy…with the occasional splurge on a maternity top or sweater. I’ve purchased 3 little outfits for our baby girl. My best friend and I still haven’t made amends ( I don’t think. Sigh…so complicated) . There have been so many trips to the ER, wonky test results, and scares. I’ve spent so much of this pregnancy worrying…that I’ve really just started to enjoy it.

Sure, I want to see my baby girl. I’m so excited to smell her skin, nuzzle my face against hers, and look her in the eyes and tell her much I love her. But, she’s my last. And I had so many expectations for this pregnancy. A lovely, extravagant shower was my hope. Instead I’m putting on a small sprinkle with cold cuts and veggie trays for a few friends. Dressed to the nine in cutesy maternity clothes. If you call my husband’s college sweatshirt and yoga pants cutesy…then I’m your poster girl. I wanted to be reconciled with my best friend, so she could be apart of this pregnancy. I don’t know if reconciliation is even a possibility ….for reasons I don’t even understand.

As I sit here reflecting….I don’t have an insightful scripture to insert. I don’t have a deep revelation to share. I just have my feelings. It’s “almost over”, and that makes me terribly sad.

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Lift Every Voice and Sing!

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There was a time in my life that I felt all I ever wanted to do in life was serve the local church by leading worship and being active in music ministry.

There was also a time in my life where I never wanted to lead again. In fact, that time wasn’t all that long ago.

I’d become tired of the “entertainment” aspect of leading worship. I was worn from have to cheerlead and excite a body of believers who claimed to know and love a God who is worthy of celebrating. Why come to church if you had no intention of raising your hands and singing a long? Why sit in the first 3 rows if you were intent on scowling and folding your arms?

It wasn’t until I began leading worship at my primarily “seeker friendly” church that my perception and understanding of corporate worship began to change.

I have an issue when believers won’t worship. (And that’s not to say that all believers worship looks or is expressed the same, either). But, I have compassion for unbelievers who still don’t know how to feel about Jesus and the church.

I have an issue when believers expect me to use my talents to stir them to an emotional pinnacle….allowing them to assume that my worship is for them and not for God. I do not however, have an issue using my gifts to allow God to sing through me to reach a person who’s questioning, hurting, or afraid.

I have an issue when believers sit on the first few rows, and refuse to participate. I find it absolutely fascinating when unbelievers or seekers sit on the first few rows and refuse to stand, or stand with their arms folded.

Last weekend our pastor felt led to do something at our church that doesn’t usually happen. He opened the altar to the masses for prayer, repentance, and worship. After a powerful message about confronting the walls in our lives that keep us from giving ourselves completely over to God….the altar and aisles were full. A father brought his family to the altar and wept with his arms around them. A woman dressed in the finest of clothes got down on her knees and wept with abandon. The same man who’d stared at me with a blank face and arms folded at the beginning of service , now had those same hands lifted and was freely singing along with me…..”I SURRENDER”.

As I sang “Here I am, down on my knees again…surrendering all, surrendering all…” it didn’t matter the “spiritual status” of anyone at the altar. It didn’t matter what attitude they’d come with, what burdens may have kept them from participating previously….we were all focused on one person, and Jesus was meeting each of us in a way we could receive.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of many peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, …” Revelation 19:6-7a

I love the visual that comes to mind when I read this. Elders casting down crowns, angels flying here & there, witnesses all around….singing and proclaiming the majesty of God …every voice …one voice.

I love to worship in my private time at home. In my car. In my shower. But there is nothing like experiencing God’s presence with a room full of people who are just as excited to be in His presence and just as aware of our need for Him as I am.

I have learned that part of my job as a worship leader is not to lead people to a place or person they are not ready to know. I worship, God responds. I worship, God reveals. I worship, God draws. My only responsibility is to worship.