Monday, December 14, 2009

Season of Joy

This weekend and last weekend were like night and day for me. The events were the same for the most part, but the feeling was completely different. You see, last weekend a very exciting thing happened for our little church family here... we had seen so much growth that we launched our first Saturday night service and saw numbers over 400 come and join us for worship. Two services for a three-month-old church campus is pretty remarkable and shows that God has been with us on this journey, blessing this ministry in amazing ways. But last weekend, for me, it only meant one more day of giving up my husband. I was perfectly fine on Saturday night, willing to help out and enjoy myself, but on Sunday morning I was a mess. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and could only think that having two services was "stealing my weekend" away. When would I ever get my Sabbath? When would Josh and I ever have the same day off again? Why did we have to find a way to make our already busy lives even busier? Take these thoughts, throw in some pregnancy hormones, and by the time I got to church it was obvious to everyone there that I was not having a good morning. And on top of it, I felt guilty for even feeling this way, knowing that two services is an amazing opportunity for us and this church, and that I should count my blessings. Sunday passed (with many little dramatic moments from me about one thing or another) and when Monday rolled around, I seemed to be back to my old self.

So along comes this past weekend, which was the second weekend for our two servies and the message, appropriately enough, was all about JOY. As a bonus, my wonderful husband preached the message in both services which is always something we look forward to. So just like the week before I showed up on Saturday night with a much better attitude and no begrudging feelings, which was a good sign.

Before each service, Josh has a meeting with the worship team and tech team, and since I run slides during the Saturday service, I am in the meeting. He tells us what the message is about, the different elements (music, video clips, etc.) that are a part of the service, and as usual, how there should be no "dead" moments and everything should run professionally and flawlessly. The plan for the Saturday service was as follows: the worship band would be playing 2 songs, then Josh would come up and make a few announcements, and then we'd play a short video from our kids program. During the video, the kids would come in and get on stage and sing two more songs, at which time we would play pre-recorded tracks off of the iPod for them to sing along to, and we would film them and project the images on the big screen so the people in the back could see. The kids were then going to march out while everyone sings "Joy to the World" together. Then we'd go to the message, two more songs from the worship team, and then we'd be done. Okay, got it... I even took notes. This should've been easy as pie.

But this is what actually happened...
The service starts with no problems, and while I am scrolling words for the first song, I catch a glimpse at the notes for "Joy to the World". I recognize a verse that I have never seen before about joy unspeakable. I quickly check my version of "Joy to the World" that is saved in the computer and as I suspected, I have the wrong version in the computer and the words won't match. I have a moment of panic, but then realize that since I am a fast typer, I can make new slides for that song during the announcements and kids' program. Awesome. The second song happens without any problems, I put the Crossroads logo on the big screen as Josh comes up to make announcements, and I start typing away to create a new song in the five minute window I have been given. And then I hear it... the "dead" moment that Josh always warns us about. The silence is deafening and people are shifting uncomfortably in their seats. I tune into what is going on and for the third time, Josh mentions the "kids' video" as Todd, the guy who runs the sound board, taps me on the shoulder and whispers, "kids' video"! Oh no, this is my fault! I click the video and it starts to play as I take a deep breath and silently scold myself. I then finish making the slides for "Joy to the World" and regroup for whatever is next.

As rehearsed, the kids are now standing on the stage ready to sing, so Todd presses PLAY on the iPod. The kids start their performance and the music stops. The kids stop, too. Todd presses PLAY again and the kids start dancing. The music stops. The kids stop, too. I stifle a giggle, relieved that it's not just me messing up today. Finally, the music starts up again and continues. Todd is laughing a little bit, too, now. The first song ends and it's time for the second song, at which time we have the same issues with the iPod. The performance starts and stops about three more times as we try to figure out how to make it the device work properly. The kids are not phased at all, but seem trained to start and stop their performance every time the music goes on and off, which I find even more hilarious. Finally, the second song gets started and Todd and I both share a laugh of silent relief. As I focus my attention on the cutie-pie kids who are singing and dancing their hearts out, I hear something fall beside me and then see the video screen on stage go blank. I look up at Mike, who is standing on a ladder filming, and he looks down toward the ground. I look down, too, and notice a remote control, which must have landed on the button that turns the screen off. I reach down to pick it up and the batteries have popped out. At this point, I lose it. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong in a five minute span has gone terribly. I get down on the ground to search for batteries in the dark, but mostly to hide so that nobody can see my fits of hysterics. Once we get the screen fixed and their performance is over, the three of us were completely useless, laughing uncontrollably because we knew how bad it all looked and how we were all responsible. But for some reason, it was just funny. Funny to the point that I had tears rolling down my cheeks... but I'll come back to that in a minute.

After the chaos, Josh got up there and once again delivered an incredible message. In a nutshell, it was about how our outward circumstances do not have to affect our inward attitudes. He gave many examples such as instead of complaining that your husband is home from work late, thank God that he has a job. When your kids are driving you crazy, rejoice in the fact that you have a healthy family who loves you. When your wife asks you to do the dishes, find joy in the fact that you can give the woman who committed her life to you a well-deserved break. It's all about perspective, and that resonated through my entire being. I consider myself a pretty positive person, but like everyone else, I can get it twisted around. That night at church, as I shared a laugh with the rest of the tech team and everything seemed to go wrong, God filled me with so much joy that tears rolled down my cheeks. You see, He doesn't expect everything to go perfectly... if He did, we wouldn't need a Savior and He would've never sent us His son. No, God understands that as humans, we mess things up and things go wrong. We make bad decisions, we let others down sometimes, and cause mayhem during a service that's meant for worship, but God understands and offers us grace. And I think that it's in these moments that God sits back and puts His feet up, knowing full well all of the chaos that is about to happen. And He enjoys the show. Because if God created joy, don't you think that He must have His fair share of it, too?

On the way home as we talked about all that went wrong and how great the message was, I told Josh that I found much joy during the service, because of all of the mishaps. And in that moment I realized that I find much joy during every service. Our church is a wonderful place filled with the most sincere, genuine, caring people you will ever meet. Seriously, I have never been around people with such kind hearts in my life, and those of you who have visited us out here would probably agree. So yes, maybe our weekends just got busier and maybe our days off together will be fewer, but how great is it to be able to open our doors for just one more day of joy during the week? I could be sitting at home on the couch watching mindless TV on a Saturday night, but now I get to be surrounded by friends, hearing great music and a great message about God's love, and it's about twenty-times more fun than anything else I usually do on a weekend. This church has brought me such great joy and I consider myself to be pretty darn lucky to be a part of it. So instead of it being one more thing that we "have" to do, I reailze that it's something that I "get" to do, and that makes all of the difference in the world. When Sunday morning rolled around this week, I happily got out of bed and looked forward to my Sunday routine. And you know what? Even though I had heard the same message the night before, it was so much better the second time around.

My challenge to you is to find joy in this week that lies ahead. It may only be Monday, but let's celebrate the season and remember that this life we get to live here is only temporary, so we must not waste it on worry. Instead, find joy in all that you do, especially during this holiday season of joy. Just watch what it does to your life.

1 comment:

  1. Kimberly Joy - Your parents gave you the perfect middle name! As your best friend I can agree sometimes you have your moments... mostly revolving around lack of food or sleep. Luckily we are both the same way and we know to keep each other well fed and rested. The rest of the time, you are full of happiness. You find FUN in everyday life (i.e. sit-ups, cellular biology labs) which makes you such a JOY to be around!