"So Let God Work His Will In You. Yell A Loud No To The Devil And Watch Him Scamper. Say A Quiet Yes To God And He'll Be There In No Time. Quit Dabbling In Sin. Purify Your Inner Life. Quit Playing The Field. Hit Bottom, And Cry Your Eyes Out. The Fun And Games Are Over. Get Serious, Really Serious. Get Down On Your Knees Before The Master; It's The Only Way You'll Get On Your Feet."
James 4:7-10 (The Message)
I woke up early, 6:55am to be exact.
I didn't want to be late for Church (I had to be there at 10:30am and I don't like to be late), I wanted to spend some serious alone time with Him and I wanted a shower before anyone woke up.
Wasn't about to happen, Tigger woke 5 minutes later and when his feet hit the floor he has to eat.
I fed him and put him on the computer with strict instructions to be super quiet while I showered.
My all white, head to toe, suit was pressed and hanging, waiting to be slipped on.
My 4 inch royal blue suede pumps, ready to be worn.
My sermon, fresh off the printer for what seemed to be the 16th time, sitting on my dresser, with my Bible, all ready to go.
My Nana woke about 7:30am, right as I exited the bathroom to put my make-up on.
My Dad woke about 8am.
They were the ones going to accompany me.
My Mom and Sister opted to watch Tigger and Monster Princess (If you read the post after this, which is the sermon I preached, you will see there are some things in there my son didn't need to know at this time, therefore it was decided he wouldn't go).
I sat in the garage and had a cup of coffee, trying to figure out if I was nervous or just in complete denial.
Went and put on my make-up, hair in a ponytail, filled with curls because it is hotter than you know what here in Florida and I just can't wear my hair down without feeling like I am going to rip it all out.
Put the suit on, which by the way, I couldn't stand...
It was a color I just don't look good in due to the fact that I am so pale I could be see-through, however it was Missionary Sunday, so white is the color of choice, with a splash of royal blue.
It is now 10:15am, time to go...
My Nana sat on the couch waiting, as did I, for my Dad...
His door opens and his head peeks out, looking a bit "off," he was sick, like out of the blue sick and didn't look very hot...
Enemy strike one.
It's all good, come later if you can etc...
To the restroom one more time, oh of course...
Look what stress has brought me today, 2 weeks early... (ladies, you can relate)
Enemy strike two.
So my Nana and I depart.
We get to the Church without incident, enter in through the back because she wants to meet my Pastor...
Had the introductions, went and sat her in the Sanctuary and headed into the back once again.
He summoned me to his office, told me to have a seat and left...
My heart was racing a bit, not to bad at this time though.
My female Minister (now known as R) walks in and lets me know the Pastor put me there so I could focus without so many people talking in my ear, (my decision to Pastor hasn't been announced yet, so once people saw me as the speaker, they wanted to talk and ask questions etc....)
Just be alone with Him.
She walks back in a few minutes later with my Pastor and one of the male Ministers...
We talk for a few minutes (I will share that later when I get the go-ahead), then pray.
We head to the outer circle, (everyone who is on Sunday programs meet in the back for prayer before service) where he lets them know what has been decided where my walk was concerned, but to view me as just the 5th Sunday speaker for now.
Put her in the 3rd chair he says to R, and my head starts spinning, no way, that is his chair...
I am there every Sunday, I know there is an empty seat in the pulpit, on the very end so I just assumed I would be sitting there, nope, I am directly in front of the pulpit so in order to see, I have to look around either side, wise move, since it allowed me to focus on what was at hand and not do a head count of how many people would be watching.
Thanks Pastor :)
About 5 minutes into service, he stands up and announces one of the a/c units has broken, someone was on the way to fix it and to please have patience...
It must of been the one putting air up in the pulpit because I don't think I have ever been more hot in my entire life.
Enemy strike three.
We go through service, which is about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on the Sunday.
I don't deliver until the end of service, right after Altar call and right before the invitation to join the Church.
Pastor is the one who I have chosen to introduce me and while I knew he was speaking, I didn't really "hear" him.
Altar call is over, he prays, over the congregation, for the ones who couldn't be there, over me.
He announces me, turns to offer a hand, hugs for him, hugs for R.
Surprisingly, I am rather calm.
I started with "Good Morning" and then the Lord's Prayer.
I wanted to do "thank you" to people, however it would have been some big Oscar production and I feared leaving someone out, thus hurting feelings.
Open my mouth to speak, and say to myself, "What is that noise?"
Feedback from the mic...
Move further away from it, it was an awful noise and it wouldn't let up, until the mic went out altogether...
Enemy strike four.
I am saying to myself at this time, "Bring it on, I will march up and down the aisle preaching if I have to, however I will get this message out."
That was the last strike from him.
So I started yelling as loudly as I could, praying those in the back would be able to hear me, as my Pastor comes to the podium with a hand-held mic, mine comes back on, and there weren't any other problems with it after that.
I don't recall my whole sermon play by play, which is why I put it on here for you all to read.
There was a form of tunnel vision, which R said would happen, I could "see" the people, but I couldn't truly "see" them.
I could "hear" the murmurs, yet couldn't "hear" what was being said.
I know that the Pastor got me choked up when he did the introduction, and I had to stop for a few to catch my breath upon speaking about the past 2 years, I had 3 fumbles with my tongue not wanting to cooperate, however it went as smoothly as I had hoped...
Or so I thought.
It actually went better than I had hoped.
After the final prayer, Pastor & I hugged, R & I hugged, and as she was speaking to me, she stopped and said, I don't want to keep you from the line forming (or something to that affect) and as I glanced over to where I exit the pulpit, oh my word...
There was a throng of people...
Hugs all around as I made my way down the stairs, tears from some, words from others who I have never spoken to, more hugs, more words, smiles and laughter and all I wanted to do was find a quiet place to soak up what I was feeling.
My emotions were on overdrive and I will completely filled with Him, with His mercy, grace and love.
I needed to "feel" what I was feeling, however I couldn't.
It took me a good 25 minutes to get from the front of the Church to the door and our Church is small...
I stepped out into the very hot sunshine and took my shoes off, (because I am southern like that) took one step onto the sidewalk and felt a searing pain on the bottom of both feet...
If you guessed "burn" you are correct, I burned both of my feet because the sidewalk was so hot, and not a little burn, there are blisters on the bottom of both of them and it was worth it all.
After all was said and done, and I was able to actually reflect back on the day, after watching the DVD a few times to see where my errors were as well as listen to the reaction of my Church family, I had such peace...
The moment I stepped behind that pulpit, any second guessing I had been doing, about myself, about what others would think, about His calling on my life and about whether I was "good or worthy" enough, disappeared.
I knew, without a doubt, my Father was standing right beside me & I knew that no matter how I felt, I was doing this for Him, not me.
I knew I would never be the same again. (I actually knew that Tuesday night when I went to feed the homeless, I went to the Altar after we were done and as I was praying the thought that after Sunday, I would never be the person I thought I was, came over me.)
There was no longer any fear, no more questions, no more second guessing...
And in that moment, I finally understood what it meant to have "The peace of God that passes all understanding" and it was so glorious and it was so filling and so beautiful...
But When You Spoke My Name
Oh I Swear The Angels Sang
Peace Came And Stole My Shame
When You Spoke My Name