Have you ever had one of those moments when someone approaches you and says something that alters your entire day? I experienced this today and it was raw.
Today I went with a classmate of mine to a nearby senior living center where she preaches on Saturdays. She has invited me to be a guest preacher next Saturday so I wanted to come by and check out the facilities and meet the people and just be familiar with the way the program is laid out. The message was great, the music was great and the morning was well spent. There were several times when I felt the Holy Spirit alive and moving within that small space. To hear the words of seniors, to watch their hands raise up to the Lord and their mouths sing in praise...that is very powerful. Needless to say, it was a good morning.
After the service, I meet with my classmate to talk a little bit about next Saturday. Though I'm a minister in training and theory, I must admit, I have never given a formal sermon - EVER. It terrifies me really. I'm a bit of an introvert when it comes to that. I'd rather be the invisible face behind the written word. I have known that it would be coming; that eventually I would have to rip off this band-aid of fear and actually get up and speak a sermon. What's funny is that I'm not really a soft spoken person. In fact, I'm pretty unafraid of speaking my mind. I've done theater and debate. This isn't the first time I will have put myself out there. Maybe I'm just afraid of it because it means so much to me that if someone doesn't like my sermon and they say so, it would be a very painful rejection and it would really hurt. Long story short, I don't want to do this but I do. That's why my classmate is presenting this opportunity for me. Its a great way to start small so that when I'm asked to do much bigger, it won't be quite so terrifying to me.
As I'm talking to my classmate after the service, I notice in my peripheral vision, a nurse standing nearby looking at us. I had noticed her earlier sitting towards the back of the room during the service. She interrupted us and asked if she could speak with me for a moment. We had never met before. I didn't even know her name. She told me that God had spoken to her this morning. She said that God didn't reveal to her what was going on, but that she was to give me a message. She said that God told her to tell me that it will all be okay. That what is going on inside of me will receive peace. She then embraced me as if we had been old friends and her parting words were to have faith in God and that everything will work out.
I wasn't sure at first what was going on. In fact, I was initially a little concerned because I thought, gosh, do I just have this face on today that says stuff is a muck in my life? Then, while watching Madagascar with my son, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Oh my God. God sent me a message. I have been asking God for a burning bush like Moses had so I knew that everything I was doing was in God's will. Was this my burning bush? Was God really speaking through this woman? Is that why I wasn't able to make it to the service last Saturday but made it today?
You know, I feel like my faith is strong but I can't stop shaking. Me. God spoke to me through this woman. God told me everything was and is going to be okay. I can hardly keep my thoughts straight with this. I'm on the verge of tears and just trying to breath. A lot has been going on but I don't want to draw attention to it. I give it to God...and this is God telling me not to worry. I'm not sure if this will make my anxiety go away next Saturday before I tell my first public sermon, but it has definitely brought home that I'm with God and God is with me and everything is going to be okay.