no, that time stamp down there isn't kidding - it really is shortly after 3:00am at the moment. i woke up totally wired about half an hour ago, and when i asked God why, He said, "well, you've been wanting time to write, haven't you?" so i got up, checked my email, went to make an omelet and decided somewhere between fridge and stove that garlic buttered shrimp sounded better, and so here i am, writing and eating really good shrimp at 3:10am.
mmm. oh, wow. this is really good shrimp...
so i did something last night that i'm not sure i have ever done before. i went to rehearsal for Torch, had dinner with some friends (it was Torchfest, which is our end of the month "let's all bring food and hang out" night), stayed for the sermon - and went home. just about the time the band got onstage. i don't think i've ever not gotten onstage when i was "supposed" to unless i've been really sick. i actually wasn't "supposed" to be up there last night - it was a stereotypical two-people-called-in-and-no-one-knew-until-just-before-rehearsal night and so we all shuffled what instruments we were playing - the bassist took drums, the guitarist took bass (because otherwise it was going to be me, and i've never played bass in my life) and i took guitar and vocal because the girl who was leading this week told me she needed me to, and i was too tired to argue, and someone else stepped in and ran powerpoint for me.
there was a discussion time between the sermon and the musical portion of our worship, and a few of us were hanging out in the soundbooth talking. our pastor wandered by, and asked how i was doing. i said i was tired, and jokingly asked if it would be poor form if i went home. he said something to the effect of: "no, actually, i think it would be great if you did that. because godly women know when they need to walk away from ministry for awhile in order to abide instead. go home and get some sleep." and the next thing i knew, i was in my car on the way home. and i was asleep by 10:00pm. which is why i'm now up.... five hours a night has been the average for the past few weeks, and it's time for that to stop.
i've asked for some time off from ministry stuff. not because i don't want to do it anymore, but because i need to rest. re-root in God's presence. get my papers and the final done for the correspondence class i'm taking. sleep. learn to see straight again. i am really hoping they say yes. it would give me almost three weeks of freedom, and it would be so nice to just go to church...
this past weekend was amazing. it's not the biggest platform i've ever been on, but it's the biggest i've ever led from. and i got up there in my sockfeet and worshiped, and it was sweet. it was a bit of a weird zone, because the acoustics of the room prevent you from being able to hear the congregation singing, and the lights prevent you from seeing most of them, so it's almost like being in a really loud bubble up there, but i worshiped the Lord, and there were moments when i felt such joy bubble up in my soul as i sang. i didn't get a lot of feedback afterwards, but there were a few people whose opinions i value highly who let me know how incredibly sweet they'd found His presence that morning, and i was able to walk away knowing that i'd done my job well enough that i hadn't gotten in His way, and i was glad for that...
but at the end of the last service, i sat there on the edge of the stage for a moment, and i just started to feel a little depressed... it had been a good run. i think i can safely say that i didn't bomb it. i was really glad to be up there in my socks... but there was almost a sense of... "that was it?" it felt... anticlimactic. all that build up, and then it was done. it was great. but now it's done.
and i'm left with three songs in my head. The "so what we have learned" song from VeggieTales (along with questions about what i've learned from all this, which i will get to eventually, tho probably not this morning!), Jump 5's Spinning Around, and Charlie Hall's Marvelous Light. and... now what?
"spinning around, i've got this funny feeling, turning my whole world upside down..." (jump 5)
"lift my hands and spin around, see the light that i have found, oh the marvelous light, the marvelous light" (Charlie Hall)
jON has left an absolutely beautiful comment on one of my posts (Translucency), and i wasn't sure whether to laugh or weep when i read it, as it is so timely. this is what he said:
this brings words to mind from trent reznor.
"are you sure what side of the glass you are on?"
i think in my life, i was always facing the wrong way. god kept drawing me to himself, however, slowly but surely. it wasn't until he finally pulled me on the other side of the glass that i awoke.
why is this glass in my way?! what happened?! everything used to be so clear! now i don't know what's happening!
"turn around" he said.
then i saw it. the world in technicolor right before me. i was looking the wrong way the whole time. if i had turned around before, i would have noticed i was already encased in the translucent glass, never having seen truly before. and i would have known the instant i became free as a cause for rejoicing rather than fearing my entire world had failed me.
jON, that's beautifully worded. thank you.
i'm in that sort of a place right now. a place where i know if i just spin around a little further i'm going to be able to make sense of at least some of this...
what i wish is that i'd been able to ride the tide of worship that flowed through that room this weekend and been aware that i was riding it. i know i did - i just didn't feel it the way i wanted to. but the reality is that i'm so drained and so tired and so insanely busy that i am not habitually leading worship out of a place of abiding right now. God has blessed what i'm doing anyway - but He's also made it clear that it's time to shush for a bit, and draw away with Him for awhile.
There's a scene in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time that's been kicking around in my head for days now, and I think it ties things together rather nicely... Meg has just found her father, who is (ironically) imprisoned in a glass column on a very dark planet. Within it there is nothing but darkness, but with the right lenses (Mrs. Who's glasses), the very particles of the glass that traps him shift, allowing him to escape. So he picks Meg up, and they go through the glass together:
"For a moment it seemed that the chill darkness would tear her from her father's arms. She tried to scream, but within that icy horror no sound was possible. Her father's arms tightened around her, and she clung to his neck in a strangle hold, but she was no longer lost in panic. She knew that if her father could not get her through the wall he would stay with her rather than leave her; she knew that she was safe as long as she was in his arms." (p. 139)
and on that note... i think i need to go abide in my bed awhile longer. :) Good night... er, good morning, rather. :)