This has been a week of...feeling...there has been so much going on and I feel like I have felt every possible feeling allowed to humanity this week. My heart has been heavy. That is often the case when a friend is going through a hard time. When you love someone and they are hurting, you hurt, too. At least I know that's how I am. That's how Liz is, as well. I feel her pain and her sadness. Not in that just understand kind of way, but it makes my bones hurt. I cannot pretend to know the depth of what she's feeling, but I am grateful that God has allowed me to feel some of what she feels and to do my best to understand...
...and things at the church have been rough this week. There has been a feeling...and undercurrent of something going on just below the surface for a long time. I have felt it. Others have felt it. And we have all been holding our breath and wondering what would happen. The current overflowed this week, and there are going to be some huge changes at the church. I trust our leadership; I know they are Godly men who make no decision lightly and they are strong men who 'lean not on their own understanding' but I still cannot pretend that I understand what has happened. I don't know. It doesn't make sense, and it makes me heart even heavier. I think of the men on our eldership and know that God raised them up specifically for this time and this place and the decisions they would have to make this year. And, I trust that. I just don't get it.
There are so many little things I have learned through the course of my time here. The most important has been an understanding of passion and what it really means to love and worship God. I have learned that it's more than just music, more than just a song to sing and a good voice; that worship is really a lifestyle choice. Worship means giving God everything and praising Him for the life that he has given you. Worship is passion. Worship is love. Worship is adoration.
And there are several people who taught me bits of that truth during the last 8 years. The LeMaster's taught me the basics. Rachael and Rene helped me with those first few steps. In college, it was people like Paul and Abigail, Liz and Jenny, Tristan and Mike and Eric--they all showed me different pieces of the Worship puzzle. But after college, after the safety of CSF and the bubble of faith I lived in, there was church. There was solid preaching and understanding, to be sure. There was communion and offering and all the 'things' that a good service has...and there was Phil. Phil, who loves God so much, who trusts God so much, who believes God so much...and who is completely unafraid to let that love show through everything he does. He's an amazingly talented and gifted musician and a worship leader that I admire. He wears his heart on his keyboard, and his God is glorified with every note he plays.
Phil taught me about passion for God. He trusted me and told me that my creative heart was a gift given by God and should be used for Him. He let me explore my creative side in worship and trusted me to write, to perform, and to be who God created me to be. I don't know that he ever knew it, but his trust and his reaching out to me to help with the gathering service brought me to a new level spiritually. Suddenly I understood that worship wasn't just about music. Sure, I had heard that before, but it actually sunk in. And when I said we should talk about other ways to worship, he laid aside his music hat for a moment and agreed with me.
Phil loves God and his family so much. He has changed more lives in the five years that he has been here than he probably will ever know. He's dealt with his share of criticism, but has stepped up to the plate and boldy went forward with the call on his heart. The result has been two great worship CD's, amazing outreach events, progression in worship, and people coming to know God more. I hope to be able to tell him the impact he has had on my life, but know it will be hard to do without tears coming. And soon he will be gone, no longer a minister at the church here...and, like I said, I don't understand...and don't know that I ever will.
And that was just Tuesday morning.
Tuesday afternoon, another punch was thrown. The other Phil that is a minister is leaving in July to go to a church in Colorado. I am excited for him and happy for his family, but that just makes my heart a little heavier. He is a great, strong man who just wants more people to come close to God and know Him more. I will talk more about him soon. I have just begun to process this all...
My heart is heavy for my friends and the different but deeply personal losses they are dealing with right now. My heart is heavy because I love them all and want to heal them, but know that I am not the Healer they need. My heart aches because there is pain and sadness that comes with growing and changing.