It was already 7:00. We needed to leave in 15 minutes. The pets had been let out that morning and fed. I was dressed and had my church bag packed with my Bible, iPad, choir folder, and checkbook. The baby’s bag was packed with plenty of diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, and prepared bottles. The car was cranked with the heat on high. I had made an intentional effort that morning to get everything ready as quickly as possible so we could leave on time.
But Becca wasn’t ready yet. Reagan hadn’t even woken up, and her church clothes had yet to be picked out. I make toast for Becca and bring it upstairs for her to nibble on while she finishes getting ready. Then I dropped a 2-ounce jar of baby food on the floor, breaking the container and splattering sweet potato puree everywhere. I quickly began to pick up the glass pieces and left the food for the pets. I didn’t even notice the splatter of baby food on my suit and shoes. Then I forgot I hadn’t made my coffee (we normally hit up Starbucks on Sunday mornings). I get that going and go upstairs to give some help to Becca when I see that the two pieces of toast I had made earlier have fallen to the floor, and the cat is now nibbling on it. I break the news to Becca and go downstairs to make her one more piece.
Reagan still wasn’t completely dressed yet. I was starting to become very irritable. We finally get out the door around 7:30, and realize we forgot the meat we were to bring to our small group later on (we weren’t coming home before small group that afternoon). So once they were in the car, I raced back inside to grab the meat, and headed back to the car. We finally left.
Rehearsal with my musicians begins at 8:00, so I need to be there by 7:45 to unlock the doors, turn on the lights and sound system, print set lists, and make sure everything is set to go. That obviously wasn’t going to happen since we had at least a 20 minute drive. And since I was so frustrated already, I was not kind to my wife on the way to church. I said some things that I shouldn’t have in a tone that she didn’t deserve at all.
We got to church just before 8 and two of my instrumentalists were standing outside the church doors (mind you, it was 38 degrees out). If I didn’t feel awful already, I sure did then. I should have been there 10-15 minutes earlier than that so no one had to stand in the cold. I parked in the drive-up, got Reagan out of her carseat and into the church building, hopped back in the car to go park it. I gathered up my things from the car and went back inside. Unlocked the sound room, unlocked my office, turned on all the lights, raised up the stage curtain, and thought I was on the mend. Then I looked at my watch and saw that it was 8:10…and I still had not printed off set lists for everyone yet. So I ran to my office to do that. Apparently, I was not hiding this well because the first thing my pianist said to me when she got there was, “Are you alright?” I brushed it off and kept moving.
We began rehearsing. The first two songs went on without a hitch and then we got to one particular song that we hadn’t done since July…and it showed. Nothing was coming together. I couldn’t remember the melody in one particular section, harmonies were not tight, and chords were not consistent. After singing it through, I called an audible and changed the song to something that we were more familiar with. I absolutely HATE doing that; because I spent time planning something down to the tiniest details, I want to keep it that way. But it later proved to be a good decision.
Finally, I looked at all my musicians and apologized for my state of mind that morning. I confessed to them that I was not in any state to lead people in true worship. I said that I was getting there, but I certainly wasn’t there yet. With all that had gone on that morning, I was angry, sad, disappointed, frustrated, and overwhelmed all at the same time. And somehow, God still expected me to lead a group of musicians AND an entire congregation in worship. As I was confessing all of this and doing my best to be transparent with them, my drummer interrupted me and asked if we could pray at that moment. He prayed not only for my state of mind, but for the others on that team who may be trying to lead in worship when their mind and heart is nowhere near where it needs to be. And suddenly, everything changed. Our rehearsal finished on a high note (no pun intended), my nerves, heart and mind calmed, the service was Christ-centered with minimal distractions, and our music was spot on.
I recounted that big ole long story to make one point.
I realized the benefit of not holding back. So often, the ministry life seems like peaches and cream when, in all actuality, the minister and his family are aching and perhaps, breaking. This is why it is so important for us to be transparent with the people in our lives that we can count on to encourage us and pray for us. I later was told that one of my musicians learned a lot because I was transparent. She learned that it’s okay to not have it all together and to let people know it. When people know you don’t have it all together, grace and mercy abound. The more we actually live our lives together, the closer together we will grow.
Just another example of living a life out of tune.