One of the things that’s really important to me before I go in for any procedure is to make sure that my heart is right where it needs to be: clean before God.
One of the things that’s really hard about being in the hospital is being isolated somewhat. Yeah, I’ve got the laptop and I can email with people some, Facebook some, keep up with some of the various online communities I’m a member of. And friends and family do call and check up, and come and visit. That’s all great.
But here it is – September 14th, and the last time I was in church was August 16th.
So if you know me at all, you know that faith in God is what has sustained me in life. You know I get all gushy about the things God has done for me (how can I not?!). You know that it’s not unusual for me to include part of a song or verse from the Bible, or reflection about my faith in what I write. Why? Because it wouldn’t be honest – it wouldn’t be real – if I didn’t include the things that I’m really thinking, feeling, wondering. And if it’s not real – why even write it down?
So if you know that faith is what I’m about – you may also know that religion is NOT what I’m all about. I’m a little bit of a rebel – hey, I’m a DS’er! Hello!? Can you be a DS’er and not be a little bit of a rebel at least?! So when I mourn not having been in church – it’s about something that I don’t even know if I can express well in words. Forgive me for trying, but it something *I* need to say for me.
It’s not about going to the building at 12208 NW Cornell Road, Portland, OR 97229. I like the building well enough, heck, I’m a lifer there – been going there since I was 4.
It’s not about the routine. It’s not about “Oooh! Let’s get up early Sunday morning and go to church cause I love doing stuff like that!” Um, no – if truth be told, I’d much rather sleep in and be a slug.
It’s not about being seen, or seeing others.
It’s not about the way the service happens, one fast song, one slow song, one prayer, announcements, the sermon, then wrap it up.
It’s not about which songs are sung.
It’s not about who prays what prayer.
It’s not about who is wearing what.
It’s not about who is sitting next to who.
As I’ve been mourning having been away from church the past couple of days it dawned on me what it is.
It’s about being in the same place with a whole bunch of people – doesn’t really matter how many – who came specifically for one reason:
To be right with God.
There is an atmosphere – if you are a wholehearted follower of Jesus Christ you know what I’m talking about – it is in the air that you breathe.
There is a sense of expectation that you are coming to meet and be met – not a person – but GOD.
That seems huge and ominous in some ways. And it is – God is GOD – for heaven’s sake – and I am NOT! (Thank you!) But it’s so personal and at the very same time corporate.
What I miss so much about being in church is being in a room with people who are the brothers and sisters of my soul – and some song is playing and it’s a song expressing our love for God and His sovereignty and love for us. You can sing at the top of your lungs – and you’re not singing for the person sitting next to you – you are singing TO God. It’s not about performance. It’s not about perfection. It’s not about anything other than worship – and it’s one of those things in life when you get the shivers – you know – it’s bigger than you are. And it’s not ABOUT the emotion – but the emotion is there.
I’m not a teary kinda girl. But if you sit with me in church be prepared – I get gushy – the tears come – not because of sorrow – but because of JOY, PEACE, HOPE, PROMISE.
Oh – I don’t think I’m communicating what is needing poured out of my heart so well right now. But I think this is the best I can do.
Bottom line: In half an hour I’ll be transported from my lovely hospital room to radiology, and then eventually endoscopy, where I’ll undergo anesthesia yet again – and they’ll attempt to plug the fistula with my own plasma. (A pretty smart idea, really.) And my heart is full of the wonder of the fact that THIS DAY is written in God’s Book. And it’s full of the fact that Holy God not only knows who I am – but passionately loves me and cares about every thing my heart fears, hopes, loves, wonders, holds on to.
Gosh – you know when people ask why God would allow me to go through this season of illness and hospitalization and procedure after procedure – doesn’t He care about me? It’s difficult for me to express how incredibly grateful I am that He keeps me in a place where my NEED, my first DESIRE, is to be desperately dependant on Him and His love.
So – whenever I go in for a procedure I try to have a verse or song or something that I recite as I go under anesthesia – it brings me such peace. Here’s what I’m focusing on today:
3 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!
Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
BTW – I spent part of this morning listening to the sermon from church on Sunday online – www.cmbc.org – the messages are there in mp3 format and there is even a PDF of the note sheet that you can get at church on Sunday mornings. I’m so thankful for the ability to do this! Cause to some extent it is about the sermon, of course – and hearing the Word of God taught faithfully and keeping me rooted in it is what sustains me and grows me. I’m so thankful. Thank you God!