Black Church. White Church. A Post I’ve Wanted to Write for Awhile.

Standard

Hi. First of all, in case you haven’t noticed. I’m white.

This is me.

white

So, let me start with the caveats…

I have not been raised in the black church. This is just my story.

I have no degree in race relations or our nation’s history. This is just my story.

I have not achieved a divinity degree nor am I ordained by the church. This is just my story.

I’m learning and journeying. This is just my story.

I’m going to use some “they” and “me” words/phrases in this post. That’s for ease of retelling, not trying to make sweeping generalizations or drawing lines. This is just my story.

I grew up with black friends, black neighbors, black teachers and role models. I’m still white. This is just my story.

Bottom line. It’s my story.

Because it’s my blog/heart/words/experiences.

Finally, I’m referring to these two groups (blacks and whites) because these are the two main (by a hands down landslide majority) segments of the American (USA) church.

Let me add too, if we’re just meeting, that I’m a singer/songwriter and worship leader all over the country and, most regularly, at our home church, Grace Church. I’m the daughter of musicians; they did much of their playing in the church. I’ve been singing and playing in the church my whole life. (You can find out more about my music at www.sarahtunes.com).

About two decades ago (yikes) Recently, I was a freshman at Anderson University. I went there because I stepped onto campus to visit a friend the year prior and fell in love with the community. At that time, I had no aspirations to pursue music. I didn’t know of the wealth of talent that came from that place. In fact, I graduated with a business degree and a music minor. However, I spent countless hours in chorale, wind ensemble, pep band, jazz band, theory (I’m a total band nerd and still love it), composition (it’s my living), aural training (is there anything better than understanding intervals and harmony???), and private piano lessons (where I met McHusband by the way.) I was in the practice rooms a lot. Like a lot, a lot. (Not because of my hubz just to clarify.) I LOVED music but found that I didn’t really want to teach or follow an exclusively classical route, which is what was offered at the time. So I picked a different degree somewhat based on some business professors that I thought were exceptional.

I started my first album of original tunes halfway through college after beginning to write and connecting with amazing musicians in the area. It represented my season. It told stories that I’d written in the middle of the night in the practice rooms. You know, in between “study” sessions at Perkins.

It was during these years that I played for the jazz band and was asked to fill in on piano with the gospel choir. Sure, why not? I was up for filling my schedule and development with every single thing possible. Habitat for Humanity weekends, prison ministry, radio deejay, tennis team, you name it, I signed up. I was enjoying figuring out who I was, what I was into… those were the kind of all-nighters I was pulling; the over-commitment kind.

Rehearsal #1. I sat down and asked if there was any music or chord sheets or something?

No. We’ll sing it for you.

Umm… ok.

Shortly after, a choir director, a beautiful middle-aged black lady, sat down at the piano to show me the tune. All black keys.

Next song, all black keys.

Next, mainly black keys.

The piano has 88 keys. Somehow I’d barely been using a number of them the way that I could’ve. Still plenty of room to grow in this area, I might add.

It took being the minority to learn this.

It was eye-opening. It was a new way of playing, hearing, and interacting with music and people.

Fast forward to my newlywed days. We were invited to play at a Red Cross event. It was a diverse line-up and crowd. The bass player – a black gospel player who was 13 years old said he’d just stand behind me and watch my left hand. (For you non-musical types, that means he’d watch the lower part of the piano and follow my lead to grab the tonic/bass parts… during the show.) I’m no Herbie Hancock, but I don’t typically write 3 chord songs either. I thought this was a recipe for disaster… but, alas, he was related to the event coordinator. What was I to do? I was FLOORED. He was unreal. There was an intuition and a musicianship that was just plain different than what I’d heard and seen. It was beautiful.

After the show, we hung around for hours playing with him, his cousin, his other cousin, his Godparent, God-cousin, his uncle, and other assorted friends and family. We heard riffs and licks that were just not happening in our circles. And most of the band were teenagers who just played together at church everyday. We were the only white people.

It took being the minority to appreciate this.

That night has been permanently etched in my memory and on my heart. McHusband and I talk about it frequently and revisit the experience. Something came alive in me that hadn’t before.

A few years later, I put out a new album of original tunes. The songs had to do largely with varying kinds of reconciliation. I invited these friends from the Red Cross jam night to come be a part of it. They sang on a song called “We are all the Same”. It represented Truth for me. Red or yellow, black or white, we all know laughter and pain. We have much more in common than we have different. That’s my experience.

A few years later, I was invited to be a part of a team that was strategically trying to bring together the white church and black church in a particular denomination. The team had been handpicked to meet certain demographics, really. It was an epic fail the size of Texas. That’s, ironically, where the event was also. Sure, there were white people and black people on the billing and even on the same stage, but there was not community.

It took diversity without unity to feel the pain of this.

So, when I joined Owl Music Group for a concert last year and then again last month, it made my heart come alive again. I showed up for my first rehearsal with the house band. Somehow due to an email glitch, my opening tune we were to rehearse was swapped with something else. There was confusion when I was explaining the feel and changes because they’d heard a solo piano (no vocal) ballad instead of an up-tempo soul tune.

No worries, they said. Just play it once for us.

Hmm… ok.

#HolyCrap. To hear a group of people who have history and music in their blood, in their culture, in their family, in their fingers and toes weaving together a masterpiece on the spot was amazing. What a privilege to be a part of it.

It took diversity to [begin to] understand this.

 

And, go figure, the bass player ended up being that same 13-year old boy. This isn’t a metaphor. It was literally the same boy. It was 10 years later now and in a different city. What are the odds? This was a full circle moment.

Here’s a short instagram clip of our first rehearsal HERE.

What was happening in all of these situations and what was both becoming clearer to me and, I’m certain, changing the trajectory of my career from this point on was the sense that we all need each other to see a glimpse of heaven.

It is time that Sunday morning ceases to be the most segregated hour of the week.

That is a damn shame.

Do I go to a diverse church? Somewhat, yes.

Is our leadership working toward and praying for that more and more so that we can see a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth? Absolutely. Fervently.

Perhaps you’ve been a minority before. Perhaps you’re always (or nearly always) a minority.

Perhaps you (like me) think you’ve experienced diversity because you’ve been on a mission trip to another country. Welp, in my opinion, you weren’t unless you went completely devoid of a group with which to travel or an organization with which to plan. I’ve been on tens/twenties of mission trips. This is my experience.

Perhaps you (like me) think you’ve experienced diversity because you’ve journeyed on a short-term cultural experience/vacation trying new foods and seeing famous spots. You only kinda have because you can have one foot back home any time you need it to be. I’ve been to twenty-some countries(thank God!!!). This is my experience.

Perhaps you (like me) feel you understand diversity because you went to a huge melting pot (in lots of ways) of a high school. It’s possible. Chances are though, people mostly staked out their parts of the lunchroom based on color. This is my experience.

It takes diversity to see heaven. It takes interaction like music – equal playing fields without disproportionate power; the ebb and flow of feeling out music together, yielding to the drums or the bass when the groove is changing, trusting the singer or pianist to lead the group to the “head” or the “B section” ; having dinners around the table because you are friends, you are brothers and sisters as children of a King; it takes acknowledging that we are, in a sense, all the same. Not in that weird “I don’t see color” (impossible unless you’re blind) or “my best friend is black/white/fuschia” (so what?) kinda way. In a rubbing elbows while you’re cooking food in your kitchen together and finding insane resonance because you’re harmonizing kinda way.

 

Where do we go from here? Well, I’m praying for change. I’m praying for reform. I’m praying for restoration. I’m reading books on this. I’m talking to friends about it. I’m collaborating with people that don’t look or play like me.

I’m praying for it for all of us.

soul purpose

Hanging out with my insanely talented, big-hearted friends Soul Purpose.

To follow this journey and more, subscribe to the blog or sign up for the e-newsletter. Oh, and head over to my Facebook Music page (tabs for all of these on the left too) and just press the like button to stay connected!

A little bit of healing.

Standard

It was 1989; I was in the sixth grade. I was in Mr. Boling’s algebra class. Math was kinda my thing. If Rocket Math were a thing back then like it is in elementary schools now, I would be Buzz Aldrin. Not that it gives me any “cool” points to tell you. That being said, my classmates were mainly kids older than me.

I came to school dressed in a sleeveless romper made out of a heavy cotton, sweatshirt-like material. It was basically a big sleeveless, footed onesie and had a drawstring waist. I know, I know. Be jealous that I was so cool. My mom and I had splatter painted it blue ourselves. I paired it with some slouchy blue leg warmers that I’d borrowed from my grandmother because I thought they were rad. (If you are not familiar with that word, please find a dictionary [app] and learn it.)

Last night, I was putting McBabies #1 & #3 to bed. They insisted on sharing a bed, two little girls with their little heads poking out of assorted Hello Kitty paraphernalia.

“Tell me a story about when you were little.”

It’s kinda the same rigmarole every night. It’s amazing that I’ve lived for close to 4 decades and have a hard time coming up with stories of my life some nights. Often though, I’ll start a story and then happen upon a memory that I didn’t even remember was a memory, much less a real-life happening.

I told them about a day that I wore my splattered blue romper to school and how the older boys in the class whispered, pointed, and laughed at me. I told them about how I had to wear it the rest of the day until the bus dropped me off and I had to wonder if everyone else was doing the same thing behind my splatter-painted back the whole day.

McBaby #1 started laughing uncontrollably. She covered her face so that I couldn’t tell. (I could.) McBaby #3 started laughing because she does whatever #1 does.

I guess it was kinda funny.

I wandered in to McBaby #2’s room for the “one-more-kiss” song and dance. I told him the same story. He responded.

“I like that story.”

What?? I asked him why he liked it if the kids weren’t being nice to me.

“Because I like the way you dress and I love you.”

He hugged me. If you know him, you’ve probably received a hug from him. There’s a name for people like him. * Hugger. * He felt my pain about something a teensy bit sad from a long time ago. He saw me and loved me.

I guess it was kinda sad.

Somehow, last night, it was as if this version of me was able to say to a young(er) version of me that it’s all right. That memory was both funny and sad. And it will be all right. Someday, your kids will hear it retold and will enter it with you in their own way. And you won’t feel alone. And a tiny bit of healing in the retelling will remove the sting.

PS – And… you will still care what people think, but not nearly as much and not really when it comes to what you wear. Exhibit #1: see pic of me dressed in my 4-yr old’s banana costume that he refused to wear to Chick Fil A on our Halloween playdate a couple years back. It came from freaking Pottery Barn and was going to get worn by SOMEONE even if I did have to suck in and stuff myself into a 4T.

banana

New Year’s Eve Sucked.

Standard

NYE

“Well I think you did a great job,” he said.

“No offense, but it doesn’t matter what you think. It matters what I think.” I responded.

“It matters what God thinks.” He replied.

“Well, yeah, but it matters what I think God thinks.” I said getting irritated.

We were in bed before 10pm on New Year’s Eve 2014. I’d spent the hour before staring at the flames in the fireplace contemplating the year gone by. Our New Year’s plans had fallen through, and though we had others we could’ve accepted last minute (I know, I know, we’re so popular…), we decided to enjoy a night in. After trying to decide if we should watch adocumentary or play Scrabble (beware, party animals live here), we, instead, got lost talking about our goals for 2015.

Goals are good; helpful; motivating.

I’ve always been a goal-setter, largely due to my Dad’s wise and helpful teaching.

For me, goals for the future are also a bit of a Pandora’s box. As soon as I lift the lid a little, thoughts of the how-I-did-it-befores and what-if-I-need-to-changes come pouring over the sides.

With the goal-setting comes a looking-back-upon that tends to get me a bit choked up. New Year’s Eve the litmus test for the past 365 days.

How can another year have gone by already?

This is the last time that I will kiss the McBabies goodnight in 2014.

This is the last time that I will kiss the McBabies goodnight in 2014 when they are 7, 5, and 2.

This is the last time that I will kiss the McBabies goodnight in 2014 when they are 7, 5, and 2 and the first time that I am thinking about it.

This goes on for quite some time and borders on needing a calculator to keep the number of first and last times straight.

Did I do all that I could have with 2014? All that I should have?

Are we even close to flying cars and hover boards? Squirrel… 

DID I SUCCEED?

This is what it all comes down to, really. I fear that perhaps I did not and the reality that I can’t go back, can’t get this year back, feels too heavy for me.

I’m not exactly sure where all this comes from, but while the rest of the nation seems to be toasting to a clean slate, watching an apple drop and blowing on a paper kazoo streamer thingy, I’m, once again, too melancholy to embrace moving forward.

Am I the only one? Surely SOMEONE else gets slumpy and down on NYE.

I have so much to be grateful for. I have my health, my family, my friends. I have a village. On paper, this was my “best” year when it comes to my career. I seek love and accept grace. What more could I possibly want?

Freedom. To. Move. Forward.

As nice as a clean slate and a new year sound, I want the stamp of approval for the one gone by. I don’t feel as if I can have one without the other.

When I go to my shelf of journals, almost all of them start the same. They all have a chunk of pages starting out in early January. It’s my “low” time. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure the weather doesn’t help. Or the carb-loading I did the month of December making my daggone pants so tight. It’s something else though that keeps me journaling from Jan 2nd-ish to the end of the month.

Fear.

This post doesn’t wrap up in a tidy way. I have shared plenty of redemptive stories. Naturally, there is some pride in sharing the looking back. I don’t have that. Right now, I’m addressing you right where I am – in 2014 and a half. One proverbial foot in each year. I’m praying to replace fear with freedom… for me and anyone like me.

Empty Bed. Broken Heart. For Tage.

Standard

My dear friends returned a very empty baby bouncer today. They walked up my driveway and a lump caught in my throat. I was dreading this day.

A little over 7 years ago, Jeff and I found out that we were expecting. It was the best surprise (TMI? Welcome to my blog) of our lives. We were showered with gifts and prayers for our new arrival. We received lots of foreign items. (Cue Sting: “I’m an Englishman in New York”…) We were in new territory. We received a Rainforest Baby Bouncer (that’s probably trademarked???) to assemble. We didn’t know just how handy it would be. Each of the McBabies would fall asleep peacefully in its comforting sling and vibration.

At that point, it was just an empty bed.

It represented new things to come. Things we knew nothing about, really.

Of course, each of the babies outgrew it and it was passed around to friends and cousins to use. At some points in between, it sat in our garage or shed with the rest of the Goodwill-store-just-waiting-to-be-opened-at-our-address.

It was just an empty bed.

It represented used stuff; stuff that was forgotten about and impertinent and in the way of our new crap routine.

Our sweet friends Josh and Molly delivered news that they were expecting. They took us up on an offer to use some of our baby things. They took the bouncer and then had a precious baby boy, Tage Thomas Monroe. He was beautiful. He had sweet eyes and (as his parents say and I concur) pouty, kissable lips; and in the nooks and crannies too small to see, he had a disease in his mitochondria. Lovely little Tage, at almost 8 months old, went home to be with Jesus just a couple of weeks ago. I’m writing this much more matter-of-factly than I’m both feeling it and than it is. I’m writing this much shorter than the tale that it is. I’m writing this while treading lightly because it’s not my story to tell. (Caveat: I’ve asked permission to even respond to this at all.) I’m writing this to point to Tage’s story and Josh’s heart and Molly’s hope and the Monroes’ written stories and the Church’s loving arms and Jesus’ blood and the Hope of a Savior.

Today, Molly texted me and, minutes later, brought back the baby things. That’s why the sight of them in the driveway with the bouncer brought the lump in my throat.

It was just an empty bed.

It represented loss and heartache. It represented what wasn’t to be. It represented a gift taken much too soon.

The McBabies immediately squished their long arms and legs and big heads (thank you McLaughlin genes) in the bouncer. I’m sure if I would’ve been monitoring the situation (wait… did I just admit negligence???), I would’ve heard the seams ripping and seen the metal frame bending. Sure enough, a fight ensued and I was yelling from the kitchen for the kids to get out of the baby bed and break it up!! The baby toys were now off limits.

Once again, it was just an empty bed.

It represented frustration at my kids. I was angry that they could go from best friends to bullies in moments. It represented guilt that I even have kids at whom to be maddened. Who am I to have a gift so fragile? Who am I to be the one in my shoes while my friends must walk in theirs?

“She hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it… and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile. ” (Exodus 2:1-3, The Message)

Long ago, Jochebed, mother of Moses, had a rich love for her son and a deep trust in the Lord. She received a vision from God and responded obediently by placing her baby in a basket to see his life spared.

It was just an empty bed.

It represented surrender. It represented open-handedness. It represented safety.

“Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath… there were women watching from a distance… among them, Mary the mother.” (Mark 15:37-40, The Message)

Long after, another mother watched helplessly as her son was crucified. She would, inevitably return home. Home – the place where little Jesus had run and played; where she had tended to his skinned knees and scraped elbows; where she had soothed him when he had a fever or a bad dream. It is probable that she would see his childhood room – at the very least, in her mind.

It was just an empty bed.

It represented loss and gut-wrenching grief. It represented injustice.

Of course, being on this side of the story, we know that only days later, Jesus would live again. The stone would be rolled away, curious onlookers would peek in and they would see it…

It was JUST an empty bed.

Hallelujah. For the first time, it represented victory. It represented hope. It represented eternity. It, miraculously, changed every empty bed that had gone before it.

As Josh and Molly portrayed through their faith and transparency, Jesus changes everything. We will all leave behind this world. We will all leave behind, in essence, an empty bed. We all will meet a Maker who desires that we know that death is not the end of the story.

There is no way to write this without potential cliché. Far be it for me to say anything that doesn’t represent how shitty a tragedy like this is on this side of heaven.

Nonetheless, I’ve seen a steadfast family serve a steadfast God.

There is nothing more heart breaking than reading the parents’ letter to their late young son. In the case of Tage, who was so used by God and so gifted with incredible parents, there is also nothing more hopeful.

Because their story is powerful and God is still loving, I turn you over to my friend Molly. May her words wash over you and bring hope in the midst of the tension: Visit Molly’s page HERE

The life I want to “pin”.

Standard

pinterest 

 

We fell into bed with our normal end-of-the-day sigh of relief.

“I’ve been thinking that it would be cool to build a loft in our kitchen.” I said.

“A loft? What kind of loft?” McHusband replied with his eyes already closing.

“You know, like one of those ‘tiny house’ kind of lofts so we could sleep up there? And the kids could read up there.”

“Sleep up there? In the kitchen? Like instead of sleeping in our bedroom?”

“Well, that would free up a bedroom for one of the kids or an office or something.”

“Well, I love that you are full of ideas, sweetie. That seems kinda… involved though.”

When my life feels busy, feels crammed, my default idea is to either build/change something or to move. I’ve named this idea for what it is: escapism.

  • es·cap·ism/əˈskāpˌizəm/
  • noun
    • the tendency to seek distraction and relief… especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.

There’s nothing wrong with having lots of ideas. Life might be, well, boring without the influx. At the same time, I’ve had the ideas in 2014 alone to buy an airstream camper, move to France, build a loft, get some chickens, intern in Nairobi, and buy and convert a school bus among other, you know, more far fetched goals.

Essentially, I believe at some level that these would finally bring the simplistic overhaul that we need. #irony

A couple of weeks ago, we went on a home school field trip with some other sweet families from church. We visited another home school family with a horse farm. Upon first glance, it looked like the life I’ve always wanted. A cute little white farmhouse on acreage with turquoise vintage chairs and red boot flower pots lining the front porch; a barn out back with rows of corn on the horizon; the land where the deer and the buffalo roam… or something like that.

We enjoyed tried to sit through a great science lesson on mammals and heard about caring for horses, bunnies, and chickens. We learned about 4H and life on a farm. It was idyllic. The house was Pinterest-worthy with all sorts of upcycled/recycled/unicycled décor. The teenage children spent their mornings gathering fresh eggs and grooming horses. Ahh, the life…

Fast forward to just under one hour later. ONE. FREAKING. HOUR. I had lost my youngest child. #parentfail #momoftheyear

Cars were pulling in and out of the driveway while I went screaming and waving for everyone to stop their cars. Long story short, we found McBaby #3 wandering around the front porch; the part of the property close-ish to the road. This was after the “science lesson” which consisted of me chasing McBaby #2 around while he was joyfully and obliviously hopping over straw bales, trying to stick his fingers in the bunnies’ cages and juggle farm-fresh eggs.

And it hit me: this isn’t the life I want to live. This is the life I want to put on my Pinterest board. I don’t even want a dog yet, what in the world makes me think I could/would/should be cleaning out coops or scraping sh poo out of hooves?!?

The week before that, I read Dad is Fat, the new book by Jim Gaffigan. Not a deep read, but a funny one fo’ sure. My favorite chapter was when he described (with diagrams) what it is like to do the bedtime routine with 5 children in a tiny two bedroom apartment in Manhattan. He also described how he gets the three oldest to three different schools all around the city using… wait for it… public transportation. Suddenly, this sounded idyllic. Ahh, the life…

We could sell everything and move into a teensy-tiny studio apartment in off-off-off-off-off-off-Broadway. The energy, the diversity, the – wait, sometimes I nearly come unraveled shushing the kids when another is asleep and almost come undone when rolling the stroller and holding the other McBabies’ hands from the Chick-fil-A parking lot. What would happen if living on top of each other and the subway were part of our daily routine?!?

Once again, a life I want to pin.

These are idyllic – for someone, perhaps. What is our ideal though? What works for us? What makes our home a peaceful refuge? I’m not quite sure yet.

I know this much, it isn’t as easy as pinning a DIY plank wall, stenciling a room, or building a rustic beam floating shelf. It is an issue of the heart to pray for direction, for rest, for guidance. It’s a matter of keeping the territory we already have. Tending to the ones with which God has already entrusted us.

It takes great intentionality to stop the board-dom.

I’ll pray for you and you pray for me.

PS – While I did take the afore-mentioned ideas off the table today, I also bought a daybed with a trundle this evening from someone on Craigslist in hopes for the next project… #confession

The Day the Church People Came Undone: On Loving and Leaving My Church

Standard

A friend of mine recently told me about a pastor friend of his. This pastor led a small town church of about 100 people. They weren’t a wealthy community, just your average small town country church. One of their members was confined to a wheelchair. So, the pastor and his congregation decided to raise a bunch of money and convert a section of the church into an elevator. My friend commented – “Wow, you did all of that work and spent all of that money for one person? That’s amazing!” The pastor replied “Well no, we did it for the other 99 of us.”

We need each other. We really do. This community understood that.

If there’s one thing that my parents taught me about church, it’s that loyalty is everything. I’m a writer, so I suppose I speak in hyperbole… so, almost everything. They’ve seen their fair share of up and down seasons being on “church staff”. Anyone who has ever worked with the church has. This has nothing to do with the church they attend. That place, my childhood home church, is amazingly generous, sincerely loving, and warmly welcoming. Truth is spoken, talent is abundant, and hearts are genuine. The changing of seasons has to do with the fact that the church is made up of humans.

I think their loyalty to that community tells their friends and family a lot about who they are, who they have been, and who they will be. It speaks of Jesus… of His commitment… of His faithfulness.

I think it’s a valuable lesson as we live in a very “church-hoppy” society. It’s a condition of the greater mentality. If it doesn’t “work” for me, if it doesn’t make me happy, if someone upset me, hey, there’s a church on every corner. (At least there is in the Midwest.) Or, as Miranda Lambert says it in her new hit, “Automatic”, “staying married [is] the only way to work your problems out.”

Time for the caveat for those that are helplessly broken or just peeved at me now: Yes, there are times to leave the church. Yes, abuse happens. God forbid. Yes, sometimes people stop preaching that Jesus is the Son of God. God forbid. Beyond that, perhaps we should question some of our other reasoning.

“I was fighting with so and so. I’m DONE here.”

“I don’t like the music. I’m DONE here.”

“I don’t agree with the pastor on this issue. I’m DONE here.”

With as many opinions/convictions/panties-in-a-wad-type-stuff that we have, we might as well all have our own church.

Perhaps this is especially why the last month at church has absolutely blown my mind. It’s been on the heels of many people leaving. (This is no secret by the way.) And revival has come.

People have come UNDONE.

About a month ago, I wept at what I witnessed. Not just during the service, I wept for 2 weeks and still do when I write about it. Our church, in my opinion, does the hard work it should when it comes to justice issues, serving in broken places, encouraging discipleship, and creating all things artistic. That particular week, our senior pastor put it all on the line and reminded our congregation of who calls us to this, Jesus himself. He drew the line in the sand regarding salvation. It felt less non-denominational, and more old-school-Baptist. I come from a long line of Orthodox-Catholic-Baptist-Methodist-Church of God lineage. I’m a church mutt and am familiar with this type of round up… Where will we spend eternity?

After a message of asking this and other very pointed questions, he sat on a chair placed on the stage and took his shoes and socks off. Lots of the other minions church staff came out from the woodwork and opened up the floor where the baptismal was ready to go.

The water was warm. There were clothes waiting backstage for anyone who would come forward. There were pastors ready to get in the tank. Everything was set for anyone wanting to make a decision. The staff had no idea if anyone would come.

They came. One after the other. A steady stream for four. straight. services in a row. Older couples being baptized together. Teenagers. Children. Mothers and fathers with their on looking kids.

At one point, our sweet little 7-yr old family friend ran to the tank. Her daddy was leading worship. He saw her and started taking off his gear. And his shoes. And he got in the tank. UNDONE.

Over 325 people were spontaneously baptized. And I witnessed it with my own eyes. I came UNDONE.

What struck me more than anything though was one particular “type” of baptizee. Living in what is known (at least within the last few years) as the seventh wealthiest county in all of the US, there are many churchgoing women who look and seem like, well, they live in the seventh wealthiest county in the US. Nails – DONE. Hair – DONE. Makeup – DONE.

So when the church ran out of clothes in which people could change and these women walked the aisle to the tank anyways, going unabashedly into the water and coming up with flat hair and streaming mascara, I found it to be the most powerful vision in all of the experience. They came completely UNDONE for Jesus. Expensive clothes hung wilted as they rose out of the water – completely saturated in the loving new robe of a rebirth. UNDONE.

I’m thankful that any little tiff or rift that I’ve experience with a fellow human that happened to be in my church community did not cause a gap that caused me to leave before getting a glimpse of this beautiful promised land. Praise God from whom all blessing flow. Praise Him for this revival.

“I see a near revival stirring as we pray and seek. We’re on our knees. We’re on our knees. Hosanna!” ~ Brooke Fraser Ligertwood (Hillsong)

Competition & A guest post

Standard

I’m so honored to have been invited to post on my friend and great writer’s blog today! This post has to do with the competitive spirit… another post about letting some of my demons out. :)

Visit Charity’s blog here for the post:

http://charitysingletoncraig.com/2014/09/11/in-your-own-words-sarah-scharbrough-mclaughlin-competition/

Peace,

Sarah xoxo