We were up early today to drive out to Lebanon (pronounced LEH-beh-nin) to finally perform with the Christian DIVAs.
I was able to book us for a morning service at Gateway of Hope Christian Center. Gerald and I sang in their Christmas concert, and I felt the DIVAs would be a great fit for their community.
We were actually doing the entire service, which was a fairly new experience for me. I've lead music for a whole service before, but that's always been guided by a pastor, and it's usually been liturgical.
The pastor and praise team did open things up with a few songs and prayer, and then handed the service over to us. We opened with a praise song, where we sang our fabulous 3-part harmony and got everyone on their feet and clapping.
Leah and Beth have called their tour the "Road to Recovery Tour". The core of our service today involved 2 songs from each of us, with a 5-10 minute testimony on the theme of 'recovery'. I chose to speak about losing Steve, and my anger with God, and how letting God back into my life started my recovery from grief. It's been a while since I've spoken about it publicly. In Toronto, almost everyone who knows me knows my story. Here, it's something I tell people as I get to know them. You never want to introduce yourself to someone with the line, "Hi, let me tell you how I was crushed by suicide", and yet, I really think people don't know me until they know about that part of me.
I opened with "Do You Wanna Be My Neighbour in Gloryland", and people smiled and laughed and clapped along. It felt awesome! Next came my testimony. I was really nervous, but Gerald had reminded me just to tell the story and be honest, and that's what I did. After the service, I was blessed when several people told me how much my testimony meant to them, so for that, it was all worth it.
After my testimony, I sang "Abide With Me" as a song of comfort, and I think that really worked. As a trio, we ended our portion of the service with a praise and worship set. Again, we were able to sing in harmony, which was a wonderful blessing. I felt like I was in a girl band!
The pastor ended the service with a time of prayer (he used some of my "Neighbour" lyrics as the transition! whoo-hoo), and an incredibly joyful dismissal. That church has such a great sense of community, and it was an honour to join them today.
And happy day, we were there on Cookout Sunday! After the service, we were treated to hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salads, brownies, cookies... all good stuff!
All in all, I'm so happy I was a part of this DIVAs weekend. Musically, spiritually, and in relationships, I am just feeling so full and satisfied. Praise God!