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Dear Diary – My weekly Michael’s flyer arrived in my inbox today. It said “Summer is here!”. Meanwhile, it’s the end of May and I’m watching it snow outside! I took a video clip of the lilacs dancing in the breeze, as large snow globs fell from the sky, but I can’t seem to post it here. I took still photos as well, but they don’t begin to capture the horror! By the time it was thick enough for a good photo, I was too depressed. How did it go from deep summer temperatures to this?!? Good thing the cars’ snow tires are still on?

Dear Diary – On Saturday I attended a Worship Conference. I bounced out of bed early, showered, and put on a fresh pair of pjs. I threw my hair in a top-knot, applied some make-up and filled the kettle all the way to the top! From 9 to 5, I sat and swilled with other musicians, pastors and technical peeps worshipping and growing together.

This last year, it seems, has been a year of feast or famine, an extreme spectrum for us all. While some have grown weary from high expectations and great challenges to connect online with their congregations & beyond, others have grown weary from inactivity, loneliness and soul-searching. Both extremes are God’s way of challenging hearts, both in terms of who He is and who we are in Him.

I know that I have wrestled with self-doubt, especially in terms of my place and purpose in my own church home, and in the greater Church. I had left my job in October of 2019 and faced 2020 as a year of personal growth. I adopted the song, “Finish Line” to inspire me to run well. I would dig deeper in the Word. I would take steps to become healthier physically. I would write. And I would see where God was leading next. None of us had any idea that “next” would become an intense time of isolation, separation and mourning. I have dug deeper in Word and that has been my source of strength and joy. I know God is moving. Even in my life, as I continue to wait to see what’s “next”.

The second speaker, Christy Nockels, singer/songwriter, talked about life on the road. She was living “the dream” but also reaching a point of complete exhaustion. She just wanted to go “home”. It was during a time of rest that she realized that her fatigue was God’s way of rescuing her. She had everything she thought she wanted, but not what she needed most: Him. She talked about how a ready heart can look like an exhausted heart, because you have come to a place where you are ready to lay it all down and rest in Him. When we live from God, instead of for God, and when we learn to love and been seen by Him, we come home. The enemy keeps us busy so we are ineffective; God offers us rest so that He can propel us forward.

She also said “God unfolds dreams bigger than our own”. That just blows my mind, and it makes my heart ache. I don’t know what my dreams are…except to say they are to follow His dreams. And perhaps that is enough.

I also joined a break-out session for women in ministry called Boldness, with Leah Andrade. What a phenomenal woman! She said this: “You are chosen by God, divinely woven together to bring change to the world with your unmatchable story” and “your fabric is woven with God’s purpose”. O Diary…my story is pretty unremarkable, but it’s exciting to know that there is so much more going on that just what I see on the surface. To be reminded that I was chosen feels like a hug around all those places inside that hurt. I can feel the rejection and the longing to be loved melting away and being replaced by a sense of belonging. I feel hope and joy, and yes, peace. Even peace to wait. Something is coming and I want to be ready to run…

And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing: make something of me. You can do it; you’ve got what it takes – but God, don’t put it off.

Psalm 40:17

Dear Diary – I’m not gonna’ lie. Slipping from the softness of my bed at 6:30 Sunday morning was hard! It hurt! I wondered if it was worth it.

I had showered and laid out my clothes the night before. All I had to do was get dressed, fix my hair, apply make-up and make a large tea before heading out the door at 7:30 so I’d arrive for set-up on time. I had been asked to play with a worship team at another church. Services are still limited to 10 people so I felt comfortable in that environment. We were spread out and only 2 of us would be unmasked, and only while we were singing. I was going to get to sing and play, and not irritate anyone while doing it.

Set-up/rehearsal ran late and with 3 minutes until the start of the live service, I had to race to the restroom. I should have waited and slipped out during the sermon (sorry Pastor)! I had 20 seconds to get my in-ear monitors in. They had to be in place because, unlike the worship teams at my home church, this team played with tracks. That meant you can’t go off course or juggle your timing. You have to be precise. In addition, the only sound in the room came through the-in ear monitor…the vocals, drum, guitar and piano, which I was playing. And I was the first instrument to start with the song.

I felt like I was in a Mr. Bean skit. As the technician counted down from the back, I was scrambling to plug in my “ears”. I might have made it…had I remembered to take my face mask off first. The same thing happened at my home church 2 weeks before, as I wrestled with a face mask, 2 in-ear pieces, and a mic that clipped over one ear. I didn’t make it for the closing song, but I could hear the other musicians so I could manage. But with the only sound coming from in the in-ear, I was doomed!

I ripped the mask from my face and holding the plug by one ear, I counted. When it was time to start playing, I dropped the plug and played the first 4 bars. I could only hope that I played the correct ones! I spent the remainder of the first verse wrestling to get these things in, and praying it wasn’t all being caught on camera. I was horribly embarrassed; I’d never be able to face these people at the end of the service.

That’s when the hotflash started. It began with prickling around the back of my neck and spread into my armpits and up my face. Instead of looking like a pasty-white zombie, I was going to resemble a tomato! My hands started to shake as the back of my knees grew damp. And I wondered, what else can go wrong?

By the time we started the third song, the flush had died down. I was thankful we wouldn’t be sitting together because I was certain I no longer smelled like a rose. I allowed myself to set aside all the distractions and just worship.

As we moved into the interlude where would build toward the bridge by adding layers of complexity, our in-ear monitors went dead. I saw the lead singer stiffen and heat rising up the back of her neck. The guitarist stopped strumming. We knew the track was still playing live, and every note I was playing, but we had NOTHING! In 7 bars, the bridge would start. Would the lead singer keep going, hoping that our timing wasn’t off? Would she apologize and cite technical difficulties? Would it magically fix itself in time?

7 bars passed and I kept playing open chords. By now, the guitarist had indiscreetly turned to look at the drummer. The lead singer was madly communicating with the drummer with her eyeballs. So I glanced over too. By now, it was already past awkward. It had to be obvious to those watching that something was wrong!

But the lead singer was able to reset the track to the bridge and we had sound again. We continued on… we finished the song. The pastor prayed and introduced a short missions video. As soon as the video began, the drummer shouted “I’m so sorry”. One drumstick had gone flying (we watched it later on the video and it was hilarious) and he was preoccupied with how to discreetly pick it up. He knew he had lost the track but it wasn’t until the lead singer glanced over with fear in her eyes, that he realized he had hit the main power switch!

Needless to say, technology is great…when it works.

I picked up Tim Horton’s on the way home. I figure I deserved it after my early morning. And unlike 2 weeks ago when I treated myself to Tim’s, I got it home in one piece without spilling it and ruining my sweater! Too bad they gave me black coffee instead of black steeped tea!

I won’t be impressed with technology until it can download food.