6:00pm on Tuesday. She was loading plates into her dishwasher, watching four kids, and dropping truth as casually as someone might talk about tomorrow’s weather forecast.
Scrub a dish, speak life, repeat.
And I was losing my composure on a barstool.
It was nearly ten months since I had left my last church–fallen off the earth really–and I was back in the home of a radical woman I had first met there and she was asking me how I was doing. I told her I was okay. Married life was awesome and challenging and I was really happy. But health was still tough. Still not better.
Still not better.
I filled her in on what happened in those ten months since we had seen each other. When my hormones tanked, I slumped down with them. I stopped leading worship. I stopped showing my face at church. I slipped quietly into autopilot. Maintain. Maintain. Maintain.
I nudged active faith into the backseat and traded surrender for survival mode.
And I honestly went on like that for months, coming up for air only on occasion then sinking right back into my spiritual semi-coma.
Rachelle listened, nodding and stacking dishes as I kept on.
I told her it was my newfound love for 70’s and 80’s radio that dropped the first big hint at my mild-isolation. It’s fun, it’s light, it’s classic. I have no emotional ties to it. It had become all I listened to.
And at church, I wasn’t letting myself fully engage in worship anymore. Even when I sat in the back row. Then I told her, come to think of it, that I had practically stopped singing altogether. My guitar only came off the wall when Trev begged me to play something and even then, only when I felt like it.
I had practically gone mute.
“But I’m writing,” I added. “I do believe writing is a way I connect with God–it can be a form of worship. It helps me process. And it’s my biggest passion. But lately, every time I simply think of leading worship again I cry.”
Something in me was fighting so hard against it.
Rachelle crossed the kitchen to the counter where I sat.
“Writing is feeling something, expressing something, and sliding it across the table. Worship is feeling something and just being in it with Him.”
I choked up right away.
“Pretending worship isn’t a huge part of who you are is like cutting off your right arm.”
And that was just it. I was pretending, I was avoiding, I was pushing it aside. Because worshiping God through music lands me right in my most vulnerable place: sitting still at the feet of Jesus, feeling the fear and the exhaustion and the desperation.
Feeling it and handing it over.
Yes, it’s an emotional place to be.
But there is peace and power in the music that glorifies our God. There is hope in the songs that speak His name. It’s immediate and impossible to ignore.
I left my friend’s house that night knowing my stint in denial was done. It had to be. I simply could not continue on in a spiritual half-state. Not when there was fullness to be found.
The last two days I’ve been streaming worship music in my car to and from work. Singing and allowing the tears. (Not one stroke of mascara has survived.) And it’s been amazing. Fear is slinking away and hope is taking up residence again.
Don’t buy it? Get this:
I’m about to take a radiology test that will tell me if I can have kids or not.
And I’m not even nervous about it.