Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Looking for the Grace

Sunday just couldn't get here fast enough for me this past week. Working double the hours I'm accustomed to, getting up at midnight to go help a friend in need Saturday, and the lack of progress on a project I'm working on, had really taken its toll on me. I needed a "do-over".

Leaving a sick child and an injured husband behind, I stumbled into church because I'd had a bad week. With my daughter by my side, we walked in and took our seats. As the room filled, songs began to permeate the air. I looked to my left and saw a cancer survivor with her daughter close behind her. With her grandchildren seated all over the church, she had a slight smile upon her face as she sang the words, she was just happy to be there on that pew.

From behind me, a voice was heard full of renewed strength, determination, and she too had survived cancer, and was happy to be there. I sat shamefully as I had merely survived a week of the average, and I actually walked in asking for a do-over.

I saw a young lady walk to the front of the church to lead a song and just when she'd almost completed her journey down the aisle, she looked over her left shoulder and said, "Maw Maw, will you come help us."

I thought of how wonderful it was that her grandmother could still stand by her side. I listened to them sing, and at that moment, there was nothing better. I could feel my chest rising with each breath, but it felt like His hand had reached down inside me to give me air when I felt smothered. Chill bumps covered my entire body but I was not cold. Within four or five cleansing moments, I realized why I was there.

I was grateful for the fact that I was healthy enough to walk through those doors. I was grateful for the fact that I had someone who needed me, even at midnight on a Saturday. I was grateful that I had a job, and that it provided food for my children and I was grateful that the Lord had blessed me with a project that I will continue at His Will. I was proud of the way I had handled the situations I'd been faced with this past week, even though I was physically drained.

As I sat on pew, I realized that I had in fact wasted much of my week viewing the unpleasant, when all I had to do was look for the Grace. As I prayed, I asked Him for a do-over. A week in which I can hear sweet giggles from my kids, a week in which I smell the richness of life, and a week in which I see the meadows instead of just empty fields. I am just happy to be here, and I'm grateful for do-overs as I spend my week looking for the Grace this time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Biscuits

Through broken speech, a grown man stood and told of how he went to church for years with only one parent. The sight of a younger, but very brave father of two standing up before us to give Devotion tonight, who had noted something beautiful about his daughters, something very special that brought tears to all of our eyes, had tugged deep inside this other man. With pride gleaming from him, he illuminated the room with the warmth of his memory of going to church without his dad.

Another parent stood soon after to just tell us how blessed she was which led her up front to take her place at the piano and just sing about it instead. I watched her Sunday as she sat at that very piano. While her fingertips gently touching those ivory keys, her daughter walked from the very back of the church, to hug her Mama in the middle of a song. I didn't think I could like the song any more, but with that moment, it became much more valuable.

Tonight she sang and almost every voice in that church sang with her. She looked up as she often does, like she's lost in the song, unaware that anyone besides her and The Lord are even present, and I could see a sparkle under her eye. A single tear glimmered as bright as the finest silver and she sang again.

When the preacher stood up he read several verses and the more he read, the stronger his voice got. The stronger his voice got, the more he paced across because he was being filled with more energy than his voice alone could project. He got loud but at a civilized volume and the more he spoke, the more attracted the congregation seemed.

With keen interest, we listened as he talked about favorite places. From childhood to adulthood, he spoke of different places he loved to visit. He mentioned his aunt's house where he always had special homemade biscuits. Everyone could have what they wanted but he had special ones she made just for him. He said his wife noted one of her favorite places was going to her grandmother's house. She had the knack for making each one of her many grand kids feel like they were the only one.

I could relate to both. I loved Maw Maw's biscuits, and each one of her grand kids were her favorite. I could smell breakfast cooking the more he spoke. I watched my Paw Paw walk over the oven and get the biscuits out for Maw Maw as I set the table. I had to drag myself back into the present before I slipped completely from the message. He spoke of different churches he's been a part of over the years and how each one held a special place in his heart. He then said, that as grown man today, he loved coming to New Welcome Church because he loved each and every one of us. He loved just coming to the House of the Lord.

He wasn't saying it for fluff, he wasn't saying it because he wanted something in return, he meant it. Tears rolled slowly down like the morning dew on blades of grass and I had soaked my single tissue. I left there feeling really good, refreshed, revived. After spending years in and out of silent churches, where no one says anything out of turn, the man on the second pew is guaranteed to sleep through every single service and leaving not sure I even heard the message...I am Blessed beyond to have arrived here. Where I know that if I can't see church, I'll hear it...if I can't hear church, I'll feel it. All those years, I rambled around looking, and it was right here all along. I just had no idea.

Three minutes

I was listening to my husband's car leaving. As he set out on what he thought would be an average day at work, there was something much bigger in store for him. My thoughts were interrupted by an eerie howl that attacked me from the nearby woods. I pondered only briefly what the sound might be, and then sat straight up in the bed with nothing but disturbance. Tornadoes.

I need to warn my husband. I had forgotten all about the bad weather, we rarely even watch t.v. but the storms are coming, and he doesn't even know. I turn the t.v. on as I walked past it to do my usual three minute wake up routine of coffee, clothes, glasses, etc. I automatically heard the weather man and at 3:30 a.m., you know something big is happening for him to be there.

I came back to the the television to see exactly where the storms were and for now, we were okay. I texted my husband and told him to be sure he listened to the radio on the way to work but not to text me back, he needed to focus.

As the weather got worse, I watched my husband's route to work in my head and tried to time his every move. With my hand's clinched around my coffee cup I watched in horror as the weather got worse and worse the more distant my husband travelled. I could only hope he was heeding my advice and listening to the radio. Right about the time he arrived within miles from work, I heard the weather man say there was a tornado travelling in the same direction. Firemen were calling in telling of overturned vehicles right where my husband was supposed to be. The tornado was crossing over one of the busiest highways right now, and my husband was on that highway. I watched, knowing "it" could happen, but knowing I was never going to be ready for "it" to.

Sunday night one of our preachers hit the nail on the head when he said something like, we all say we're ready, and then turn around and make plans for tomorrow. We put a lot of things off until tomorrow, because in the past, tomorrow has always come for us. It's not always going to be that way.

I'm not sure I even took a breath as I watched on the screen that map showing the twister go over that highway. I listened intently as they named towns, cities, roads in it's path. Whispering quick prayers as the tornado ripped across the land.

The phone rang. My trembling hands picked it up and saw my husband's number. For a moment, I thought it was going to be someone from a rescue crew on the other end. When I heard his voice, I was so elated. He was arriving at the spot where the tornado had just passed over. He told me of power lines down, debris, damage, and within his own confusion, he finally realized he'd just missed the violence of a tornado. His phone had not been on...he never got my warning. He had not listened to the radio, he was listening to a cd.

He told me that right down the road he had stopped his car at a gas station. He can drive through almost anything but this time, he pulled over for about three minutes. Those three minutes probably saved his life. It obviously just wasn't his time to go this day. All I could do was thank the Lord for having him pull over because all other attempts failed to reach him. But he was safe.

At a pitch black 4 a.m. hour, he really had no idea until he got off work, what he'd just survived. He saw the path of the storm later on that day, the devastation that killed, the devastation that hurt so many, and he was so grateful. Overturned 18 wheelers, homes ripped apart, schools torn to pieces, yet, he stopped for 3 minutes. Thank you Lord for one more day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Connecting Dots

When we were blessed with our kids, we had no idea what lied ahead. We had a blank sheet and could design any picture, and as many as we wanted, we just had to fill it with enough dots for the kids to connect, so they'd see the wonderful pictures in the end.

I've realized over the years that we can't possibly be every dot for every picture. As they grow and the pictures become bigger and better, they also become more complicated and less visible when we first start out. Pictures become filled with so many tiny dots that looking outward in, the kids can't always see how beautiful it will be in the end.

A page full of tiny dots handed to a child sometimes leads them to start connecting random dots to make their own picture. Unguided by us, who knows what they would end up with, it could turn out good, or turn into a mess. Take some of the dots away, unused by the child and your picture will also change. This is where patience comes in. We don't always receive our a page with clear dots in the beginning. If we are unsure where to go next, we wait for our dot to reveal itself.

We talk a lot in church about people being led to do things. I'm so thankful that I'm in a room full dots. They aren't afraid to stand up and show themselves to the children trying to make sense of the pictures we want our kids to see. It may be their Sunday School teacher who sings a song, or the teenager who says, "I'll walk down the aisle with you." Hopefully with continued guidance, patience, and pictures full of beautiful dots, our kids will have a canvas full of love.

Just remember, we all can be dots for someone. We can make their picture complete, or incomplete. We can change their picture completely if they were left with a mess. Some people have no idea which dot to choose next and all they need is someone to guide them in the right direction, who can see something better than what their troubled eyes may see right now. Take time to be a dot today. It may be all someone needs to finish one picture and start on a new one, a better one.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

And She Shouted

I was thrilled it was Sunday when I awoke this morning. I needed it to be Sunday. I haven't had a terrible week or anything but I just needed church today. I needed Him, I needed my church family, I needed my family, all together. As we began to sing before Sunday School, I know I wasn't the only one who thought we may never divide to classes this day...voices were strong, proud, and strengthening.

We did in fact go to classes and when we returned, it didn't take long get right back where we had left off. For the very first Altar Call, I watched a tiny four year old march herself up the first pew, and bow down on her knees. I smiled and my hands began to shake. I knew He was gonna pay us visit today. I sat there wondering if He was going to use me, or my friend, or someone on the back pew...it didn't really matter to me, I was open to receiving whatever He had. Although I usually don't receive a Gift in the form of verbal words, I still received a Gift.

It's hard to explain in words how easy the hymns sounded. I knew something great was going to come through as I watched a young teen pound his hand down on the pew to the rhythm of the songs. One of the piano players sat behind me at one point in the service and I can't say that I've ever been blessed to hear him sing. Although soft to the sound, it was so pleasant, I was glad He let me hear it.

As we started to sing another song, a young twelve year old, stood up. I had already been brought to tears by the beauty I'd been surrounded by. This child of God stood up, filled with courage she shouted "Hallelujah!!!" I've never really witnessed her being led to say anything, she's always gonna shout it from the rooftops. Just hearing her voice, so full of passion, at such a young age made ME feel so good. I found myself overjoyed by her words that I was laughing and crying at the same time. I looked around and everyone else was smiling too but tears were still streaming like a waterfall from the side of the slated mountain. I was so glad she stood.

Soon after the man from behind me, with the pleasant voice, stood too. Not long after that, we were Blessed with another teen's Testimony. One after the other, the church was filled with all His Glory. We were asked to all walk around in Fellowship and I was so glad someone felt led to ask us to do that as well. We walked around the church just hugging each other. One of our oldest members reached out for me, I hugged her and she said, "I love you". She looks at the back of my head every service but I know that if I wasn't there, she'd probably miss me.

We are a very Blessed church. And nothing is more important right now to me, than getting my clothes changed, and heading right back there now. I look forward the the singing we are having next Sunday night. I can only imagine what will break out there.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Different Plans part 2

During all parts of church Sunday, prayer request after prayer request poured in, one after the other, so many sick, some in hospitals barely hanging on while others have been sent home needing miracles. The singing was really strong today, in every song we sang. Three people stepped up to sing together, and never would I have thought about teaming them up vocally but someone else had.  With mics in hand and one seated at the piano, they all began to sing. I found myself shaking my head back and forth as the beautiful music, their radiant songs, lit the church. They sang with confidence, they sang with intent and I was taken back for a moment. I was honored to be present. No matter how hard I tried to stop shaking my head, verse after verse entered each ear which filled my head and soon my heart. I didn't want them to stop, but they took their seats eventually.

I watched an enthusiastic man preach. I saw his son a few rows up and his eyes were glued to his Dad. He was watching, he was learning, he was growing. I saw a man pick up his newborn baby, as he looked down at her with a genuine love, her bright eyes were drawn towards the light from the windows. With that tiny newborn grin and glow in her eyes from the light, I realized how lucky she was. She was born into the most inspiring, influential church I've ever attended.

The night service was just as grand. A different preacher stood before us, as he has several times in the past. As soon as he spoke, I realized how much he sounded like my uncle. His face would feel with color at times as his words thrust out, so absorbed in the message, he barely took time to refill his lungs. He gave an exceptionally powerful message that complimented what we'd already been discussing throughout the day. He said we make plans everyday, but so does God. His plans may not always agree with our plans, but He has the bigger picture and we do not. He recalled past events in the congregation's lives where the unexpected caught them all by surprise. But they used Faith to get them through.

As I sat at the stop sign, leaving the night service, I saw headlights approaching. As I waited for the road to clear, a cop stormed past. I pulled out and started my twenty five minute drive home. When I got to the main highway, I saw something. Blue lights lit the top of the dark mountain, reflecting off everything from asphalt to road signs. My heart sank as I knew, someone's plans had just been changed. I turned in the opposite direction and soon I saw more flashing lights approaching. As I got ready to turn off the dangerous highway, an ambulance was on its way, uncertain of what it would find when it arrived. Family members of the hurt, would soon be called to the hospital and they would likely be seeking God for help. In an instant we get the unexpected. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it seems so bad. But we have to remember who is in charge. He has plans for us, and in due time, He'll place those plans on your heart.

Different Plans part 1

I'm still devouring the messages we've experienced at church on Sunday. From Sunday School to the morning service to the Sunday night message as well. We began in Sunday School discussing Faith. We were given examples of how having confidence in people is fine but our Faith belongs with God.

When my son was one, we took him in for a surgery that I really had little hopes of working. I in fact said, "I'll believe it when I see it," as we made final preparations to prepare a deaf child to become a hearing deaf child. I didn't practice my Faith going into it. We'd been out of church for quite some time and all I prayed was that he'd be safe.

After over four hours a nurse burst through to doors to waiting room and with a concerned tone she said, "The doctor needs to see you...in private." I jumped to my feet and with my husband by my side, we walked to a room. Our hearts raced and I stood there cracking my knuckles until the doctor walked in. With disappointment on his face, he took a deep breath and told us that he couldn't do it. He said he drilled and drilled and just could not locate the part of his ear that he needed to place the implant's electrodes...to make my baby hear. He also added that he thought his face was paralyzed too. And it was. With a sigh of relief that my baby was safe, alive, and in recovery...I think I smiled. For a moment I thought he was going to tell me that he was gone. But right then, I knew God did exactly what I had asked, he kept him safe.

For a long time, I went over in my head what we should have done differently. Weeks and months passed. He learned to eat and drink and make a few sounds with half of his face drooping with paralysis. We had survived yet another obstacle. This is time in my life, I began getting closer to God. I was saved as a child of twelve years old but my spiritual growth was practically dormant. I prayed when I needed something. The more I prayed the more I saw Him. As we said in church, we don't always get the results we as sinners are looking for. But if nothing more than the fact that I started growing spiritually with all of the trials we went through with my son as he endured surgery after surgery after surgery, he's got to be approaching twenty or more procedures and operations for this child, with more to come at some point in his future, we were following God's plan which had been different than mine. I watched as his face slowly but surely started strengthening again, and one day he smiled, both sides of his lips curled up and the paralysis was almost completely gone away.

The next time we were scheduled for this major operation, as one last attempt to help a deaf child hear, I knew I had it right. My confidence was there. The doctor scheduled the surgery three months in advance to give him time. He wanted to talk to other specialists, and he said he needed the three months to pray about it. I think I did too. By the morning of the operation I walked in with my head held high. I told the doctors that it was okay to abort the surgery again if any problems arise, I wanted him safe, I expected him to come out of that O.R. safe, and I knew he would. I had asked God to send a special Angel to hold my baby's hand while in there. This time, I had it right, "I believed it, so I would I see it."

3 yrs old-Successful surgery
The confidence I had in the doctors helped that time, but the Faith in God is why my child who anatomically probably shouldn't hear, does hear today. God has the ability to make the blind see and the deaf hear. We don't know what His plan is but He is in control. Not every prayer is answered in the way we expect. But we expect they will be answered, as they always are. I knew that at the final completion of this surgery, we-as a family-would begin a new normal. A whole new way of communication was headed for my home, whether it be a manual mode or verbal mode, our frustrations were about to be lifted and we would move forward. And my little baby of just nine months old was slowly becoming a deaf child too, and we had no idea.

That was just one part of the message today...(to be continued)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Scare it out of them

I can't really apologize for this, because with every passing day, I feel like I'm running out of time. I have unsaved children. But yesterday, on the way to school, we discussed the Rapture. We had discussed some of Revelations in Sunday School this week and I'm tactfully giving as much as I can to my kids. I have to be truthful with them, they are now 8 and 10. We discuss Heaven often but this day we talked about Hell. I was in a way, trying to scare it out of them.

They were silent at first and then full of questions about His return. "But who will take care of us if you go with Jesus? How will we get food? Will Nanny take care of us?" I answered them the best I could. I assured the kids that should Daddy or I die before Christ comes back, we'd be safe and waiting in Heaven, hoping they too would come one day. They always ask me what He feels like. I explained that He would know when they are ready to repent, ready to accept Him, and ready to feel Him. I want my kids to be fully aware of what getting Saved really is, what it means, how you go about it, etc. When it really is their time to accept Him, they know exactly what is going on. They were really taking it all in!

I kissed them on the cheek and left them at the school doors and I had to make a trip over 50 miles away. While on the interstate, in the misting rain, I saw brake lights ahead. In slow motion it seemed I passed through the wreckage. A pick up truck was on its side and all I could see was the undercarriage with a black bag on the hill beside it. Luckily it was just trash that had been in the back of his/her truck and nothing more. No police yet, no ambulance, just several cars pulled off to help but no one was in the wrecked vehicle. Some men were racing back to the other side of the interstate to look for the driver who had not been found yet apparently. I realized how quickly we can be here, and then not be here. In the panic, these people were searching for someone who had been in that truck, but was no longer there. I wondered if that's how it will be when Christ comes back. Will the people left behind search for us or will they just know?

When I picked up the children from school my daughter immediately said, "I was good today, because I want to go to Heaven!" Obviously the conversation had been on her mind while in school. She hugged me when we got home and said, "Do you know of anybody who went to Heaven today?" I assured her that many people went to Heaven today and she asked me why I didn't go. I told her He has some more things for me to do here but one day it'll be my turn, we have no idea when that will be, it could be many years from now. She didn't appear to be scared at all, just comforted instead. She took her dolls and went out to play.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Devil

After the amazing church service we had last week, I should have known the Devil would make an appearance shortly thereafter. I know he can't stand for us to gather each week and praise, worship, sing, love, pray. Other members have stated before that after a service like that, the Devil gets after them. Well, I have a story...

I went to bed Sunday night thinking about how wonderful He'd been to us, how wonderful He felt. My own daughter even noticed that the service was a little different. On the way home she had asked me who the lady was. I wasn't sure who she was referring to so I asked for some detail. She described what she was wearing and then she said, "You know, the one that was at The Altar on her knees, praying, the lady that looked like she'd been Touched." My heart melted knowing that these kids pay attention to us more than we think, and she was watching...

Sometime, during the wee hours of Monday morning, I awoke in an awful sweat. I remember the horror I felt. I was sick with disgust that I literally felt nauseous. I immediately prayed very hard that He would remove the demonic images from me so I could find rest again. He did, almost. I have absolutely no idea what the details were but all I know now is that I was trying to crawl away. I was crawling away from a very evil presence and I was trying to get back to a place where I felt trust and safety and love. I was crawling with all my might but the Devil had me by my ankles. No matter how deep I dug my nails into the ground, pulling with all my might, he still had hold and had no intention of letting me go. I think I was left with that image for a reason.

I tried the next morning to remember exactly what I had been dreaming and no matter how hard I tried to pull the information up, all I could see was the evil presence over my bed hanging on to my ankles. I said more prayers than usual that day and went to bed in peace that night. At midnight (12:08 a.m. to be exact) I awoke with tears running down my eyes. I felt of my pillow and it was soaked and I just lied there on my back wondering what I was crying for. I had a project on my mind for some reason. This is one that I thought of a long time ago, just something I'd like to do in the future and have put off. I wasn't sure why I had it on my mind after all this time, and in the middle of the night. Why had I awaken for this?

I sat there with my eyes open and it was like I was watching a movie. It contained lots of bits and pieces of things I've seen in the past and made mental notes of, but never did anything with other than make that mental note to remember it. As the "movie" went on and on and the story got deeper and deeper, I never quit crying. I became so stuffy that I had to get up and get water, but no matter what I did, the movie kept going, and I kept crying. I knew He was reminding me of these things so I would start the project I've put off for months. And this is how it should be done.

I was afraid that with all those tears I wouldn't be able to start right then so I told Him that I would get started as soon as I rested. I never did go back to sleep, I kept lying there watching this "movie" in my head and I was amazed at how well put together it seemed. That was my trepidation to begin with, not knowing how to start or what to do once I did start this major project. I finally stopped crying hours later but it felt so good to just lie there listening. I wasn't actually asking Him for anything for a change, He was just giving. He woke me from a deep sleep so He must feel like it's important, and I'm in awe that He chose me to do it.

I had planned to start it very early but when a call came in at 5 a.m. to work that day (Wed) I didn't get to start. I told myself that it was okay because I could do it this summer or whenever I had time, all I had to do was rewatch the "movie" in my head and it would all work out.

I was very excited to attend church Wednesday night, almost giddy for some odd reason. When I got there, I realized the message felt geared directly to me. I wanted to slump down in my seat to confirm my guilt but I sat there in shock instead. The preacher was talking about staggering when God gives you something to do. He went over and over how if you stagger, pass up on what He has to offer, someone else may come by and listen to Him, taking your opportunity. I know I can do it...I just have to commit. I actually sat down and got started with is a major step forward but this will take at least several weeks (possibly months) and I'll need lots and lots of prayers behind this. I'm not saying it's going to be something fantastic and great, it's just something I NEED to do, I want to do, and something I shouldn't have hesitated on in the first place.

Today's message had some of the similar points that the preacher was making before. Have faith, hope, love. I can do this, I want to do this, I need to do this. Some people were attacked in other ways this week, some of my favorite singers were sticken with illness and had been sick all week and I'm sure if I asked others, I'd find out more had the Devil on their tail too. But we made it back to praise, worship, sing, love and pray. Today the preacher basically told me to focus. So I pray (and I hope you will to) that despite the busy week I have here in the flesh...that I will spiritually progress, and work on this wonderful little project I've been blessed to receive.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Just a Ladybug

I couldn't wait to get to church this morning. I was excited to find out that the young couple who had a new baby just a couple of weeks ago was returning. As I ironed skirts and shirts for my own family, my mind was filled with anticipation of seeing this new child God has sent to our church. I was thinking what a gift He has given to us, to them...new life that bares both responsibilities and love...and He chose our church to place her in.

We walked through those doors as we do almost every single Sunday and we found "our home" on the pew. I watched the pianists saunter up and take their places but their strides were both quick and light at the same time, as if there was a cushion of air between their bodies and the ground. The sun got brighter outside and gleamed through the small slender windows as they took their places on the piano benches. Caught completely off guard, one of them was asked to lead us in prayer. I wondered if he could feel the warmth from the sun that lit this small church as his words showered over us in a refreshing gust. This is what began my new year, even though we were now in the 11th hour of 2012.

Our songs were strong and powerful this morning and there was no denying, we were Touched. My hands trembled and the room was full of tears. The energetic hymns were effective as sinner after sinner knelt in prayer. I walked up behind my friend and placed my hand on her back as the carpet became crowded. I felt my hand quake against her back but had no desire to remove it. I was thanking Him for placing me there, among these sinners, among these angels. I listened to everyone else close their own prayers and just like that, my hands were steadied. There was a calmness as if to say, I am here.

I walked back to my seat where my family awaited. Almost everyone in that room had disconnected from the flesh briefly, and was focused on Him. The songs continued and then a little girl went up to sing. Her hair swayed back and forth as she proudly walked up to the mic. I noticed something near the window. It flew a short distance but went right back to that warm pane. It was a ladybug. I listened to the child's voice but could not take my eyes off of this ladybug. Here it is January 1st, and there's a ladybug. It had found refuge inside our church when others of its kind had not survived. It tried to fly around but the attraction of the warm glow of the frosted glass was stronger than the desire to fly.

The sermon was short and sweet, given by a member who has moved hundreds of miles away and only gets to visit around holidays and special times of the year. He thanked me in front of everyone for keeping this blog so he can be a part of the church, even at a 600 mile distance. All I could think about as the gracious words spilled over his lips was "I'm just a ladybug attracted to the light." The people of my church write these stories, these songs of life. I'm just fortunate enough that He invited me there to type out the lyrics of the prettiest song I've ever heard. One that changes and grows with every visit to that church. I'm looking forward to a new year full of song, life, and love with my brothers and sisters at the church of inspiration.