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In the light of Your glory...

Sunday morning!  I wake eight minutes before my alarm.  I immediately start dry-heaving.

I slide air in and out and notice how my stuffed nose has eased.  The night before I had gone to bed so miserable that I could barely talk or breathe or think, let alone sing.  I took meds and went to bed early and prayed for a miracle.  And it's morning, and it's the day.  The week has evaporated and I'm stunned and voice scratchy.  How can I sing in three hours?

It feels amazing.  It feels horrifying.  And it is.

I drink coffee and sing along to the same songs I've been singing all week, preparing my heart.  Singing about who do I really have to fear?  And how God finds me right where I am.  And how my heart may be racing and pounding and shaking loose of its cage, but God rights it, steadies the beats.  I sing soft, don't wake the rest of the house.  I sing soft, can't believe I am going through with this.  I sing soft, can't believe I get this chance.

On impulse before heading out the door, I grab a Sharpie and curve letters onto my wrist:  Awake.

Inspired by the passage in Ezekiel that speak of the valley of dry bones and the beautiful, life-giving, breath of God, I whisper air in and out.  The strains of Chris Tomlin's beautifully powerful song, "Awake, My Soul" rattle through my memory.  I've sang it a million times.  I swear my heart was singing it before I even knew it.

Even though I don't rap, my heart pounds out Lecrae's recitation of the age-old scripture, "Come from the four winds, oh breath, and breathe!"  Every time I hear that portion of the song, I imagine God saying, "Charge it to three hundred!" and shocking us to life.  To action.  Breathe!

Breath!  Darn you, don't you dare give up!  Don't go out like this!

I looked at my wrist over and over, each time before I got on stage, reminding myself that God was awakening my soul.  That this was right.  Breathe!  In.  And out.  That's all I had to do.

Prayers ran fast on the short drive to church.  I prayed for peace.  I prayed to not have a heart attack.  I prayed for control over my emotions, because I was brimming.  I prayed for grace, because I knew very well that I was human and faulty and there is no perfection in me.  And perfection is a lie.  I tried to sing, to warm up, and I just really couldn't.  All I could do was breathe.  And literally two seconds before I wheeled my husband's truck into the parking lot, two geese fly overhead; over me, over the church.  I grinned, mad.

I wasn't flying solo. 

The message was loud and clear.  This wasn't something I was doing.  This was something I was getting to do with God... but it wasn't just me up there doing my thing.  This was God doing something in and through and with me.  It was something to take part in.  Not something to own. I felt the nerves fade and I jumped from the truck with joy and courage and God on my side.

And all I kept thinking is how I read once that the devil flees at the sound of a hymn.  That was my comfort every time as I opened my mouth to sing (my church currently has four services).  I knew that when I was singing about God's great name, His glory, His love, His ability to silence our fears and the voices raging for attention in our heads... that there was absolutely no room, and it was no place, for Satan.  There would be no way for him to be heard or to not be driven out at the name of Jesus.  I had nothing to fear.  No shame would come.

It was the most free I think I have ever felt in my life.

And now?  Now there's absolutely no going back.

And I'm so glad.

"I'm gonna move this mountain,
then I'm gonna move you in.
You were on My shoulders, 
now you're standing on the edge.
You've been looking 
for a sign all this time.
If you seek, you'll find Me every time.
This is your new song."
~ Brandon Heath, Comfortable

I heard this song for the first time last night on the way 
home from yet another choir practice.  Amazing.


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