So first, a little inside information: I am a hint-o'-Type-A personality. I really don't think I'm full-fledged Type A, but I do like to know what's going on. What time are we starting? What's the order? What is expected of me?
Tonight was amazing and special and wonderful. We met at FAM around 7:00 as they were getting ready for their first ever women's retreat. The idea was to encourage comfort and community. Women and young girls were invited to come in their pajamas and spend the whole night in the sanctuary. Everyone brought pillows and blankets and found their own cozy spot on the pews. We were just there for the evening, but yes, Gerald and I wore our pajamas too!
Before the event began, Gerald and I met with Pastor Glenda to find out more about the church and the community. As with most inner city ministries, the needs are great and the resources are few. But FAM is approaching their work with passion and focus, and lives are being changed.
Here is where my Type-A-ness comes into play: I knew that we were going to be involved in the candlelight worship, but I really didn't know what that meant. Gerald and I had some songs prepared, but I didn't have an order for the evening. Was there a speaker? Did they want song and prayer? If so, who would lead the prayers? (add several more similar questions...)
I asked my list of questions. Pastor Glenda said, "We're just going to worship." I shifted a little in my chair, and asked my questions again. Pastor Glenda smiled and said, "We're just going to worship." Gerald looked at me with that you-need-to-go-with-the-flow look in his eyes. I took a deep breath, and found a quiet place to pray.
It was in that quiet place that I realized, "It's okay to step outside my comfort zone, because God is there too."
With that, the evening began. And we worshipped!
We sang great songs like "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" and "Blessed Be the Name". The ladies sang and clapped and waved their flags. The little girls danced and smiled. We had prayer, and after more song, I opened the mic for testimonies. We heard brave and honest stories of struggles and redemption. And we had a beautiful moment when each of the little girls took her turn to share a blessing or story from her week.
Pastor Glenda and I have been talking for a few months about having me at one of their services, but I was completely honoured that they would trust us with such an important event. It was humbling and inspiring, and I can't wait to go back.