Anticipation, sadness and gratitude are some of the many feelings I’m having as I prepare to receive yet another worship team in my home (Casa Azul) and at Grace and Peace Community. I have spent the day waiting – not passively since there were beds to make, food to buy, songs to chart, and rehearsal resources to print. I’ve been actively waiting and anticipating. Gathering worship leaders in community to learn from one another bring me life. These communities have been for me not merely a place where musicians gather, they have been familia.
After many years of trying to conceive, we had finally become pregnant! We had told our immediate family, but were waiting for week 12 to let the whole world know. The problem was that week 12 was Urbana Missions Conference and we wanted our larger familia (the worship team we had been gathering with for over year) to know. We had planned to reveal the news to them at our final rehearsal (week 11) which was being held in Chicago. It was a day like today – a cold day full of anticipation and hopes. A day of excitement to reunite with friends from all over the country (and Canada) to share life, create music, and continue in being formed spiritually by one another.
I felt like Mary, full of joy and a secret to tell. It was going to be like just Mary’s song. The minute I said it out loud the flood of joy was going to come and my latest composition of worship would come! It was going to be a moment to remember…
My soul, My soul magnifies my Savior,
My heart praises and rejoices for the mighty one is holy
He has heard his lowly servant
He has lifted up the humble.
He has brought down prideful rulers
He has done great things, His mercy sings to generations,
The mighty one, my lord my king I give you all the praise
(Mary’s Song adapted by Stephen Kelly, not recorded yet)
And then it happened:
On a day just like today full of anticipation and gratitude—-entered sadness. Four years ago today, we miscarried our baby. We had named him Jose Pedro (after Karl’s brothers Joseph and Peter) I felt the pain, I knew something happened so I called my mother. Then I called Karl, and we rushed to the hospital. Waiting for the ultrasound felt like years, and when Karl arrived I must have looked so worried because his face turned pale. The ultrasound technician called us in and began the exam. With Karl by my side we waited, and waited, and waited, for what felt like another set of years, while she looked around. Finally she said, “I hear a heartbeat, I’m not sure if it’s yours or the baby’s but let’s see.” Karl and I looked at each other and smiled full of hope. “Please God, save this baby! Please God, give us our baby!” Then she went on to say “The fetus looks to be 6-8 weeks in size.” Karl looked at me and his face was white (not his regular pale self, but white as a ghost). He said, “I think I need to sit…” And then fell on the floor and hit his head and the wall. He had passed out! Nurse came in to take care of Karl while the doctor and nurse finished with me. Karl was being rushed out by paramedics while the doctor told me the hardest news I think I’ll ever hear. It all felt like a blur, but he said something like, “It’s likely the fetus did not survive and you will deliver it in the next days.” The whole room seemed to stop. I yelled at God in my heart,
Why God? Why?
Don’t you want us to be happy?
Haven’t we been faithful?
We spent the rest of the day in the Emergency Room getting Karl checked out while our team (remember I had a very important worship rehearsal) led the rehearsal themselves. Our Associate Director and a best friend Melissa shared with the team what was happening and they prayed for us. They did not return from rehearsal to my house (where five of them were staying), they went out to dinner and stayed out late to give us room to grieve privately.
That evening we delivered Jose Pedro at home, we wept, we prayed, we sang, and we lamented before God together.
The next morning, we woke up and our spiritual directors, who were scheduled to lead prayer for the team, came an hour early to meet with us. We wept, we prayed, we sang, and we lamented before God together
We came into the living room and our spiritual directors shared for us as we sat and listened. The team stood with us. We wept, we prayed, we sang, and we lamented before God together.
My journey as a worship leader and gathering worship teams has not been about making music together, it’s about growing deeply with God together. As we lead others in worship, we lead them into the same anticipation and waiting so that we can say we wept, we prayed, we sang, and we lamented before God together.