|Photo Credit: Kandis Spurling Photography|
“Standby lights. Standby curtain. Standby camera. Standby stage performers.” The director’s voice buzzed my headphones. Excitement escalated behind the curtain, as the well-rehearsed production was ready to take stage. We were finally at the opening act, anticipating the reward of our labors. Not able to be in the “bake off” scene as originally planned, I settled in nicely to my new role as mic coordinator.
Calvary’s Spring Tea brings more talent than I can ever begin to boast about. An artist who can take a blank canvas and turn it into a masterpiece in 20 minutes, to signing for the hearing impaired and so much more, this church blooms with flair. Many of the youth with singing, dancing and rapping abilities, not to mention a lady who dropped the beat box better than I could ever dream of! What fun! What excitement!
Performing in front of an audience can be nerve racking, exhilarating and exhausting. Behind the scenes I saw delight as preschoolers, kindergartners and elementary age girls played out their role to their best of their ability. I saw teenagers and adults come to life as they had the opportunity to act, dance and sing. One woman came with the determination to overcome a loss, since the last time she sang was at her child’s funeral.
We carry a lot of life’s difficulties with us when we simulate for others. We put on stage makeup to cover up our flaws, all the while choking back tears, pushing down fears and struggling with daily stress. On the other side of the drapes we try to laugh or cry our worries away, only to find they are still there on platform with us. I saw the pain of loss in a mother’s eyes as she brushed the tear-stains from her cheeks, waiting to sing a song that resonated to the core of her being – her daughter laid to rest last November. Her courage to sing despite the sorrow, gave me a new perspective on grief – it may cause sadness, but the story continues. I passed my assistant a Kleenex, while I waited for the singer to exit stage and take hold of her mic. The exchange came and I moved toward the center of the platform equipping the next scene already in motion. Yes, the show must go on, but the healing and hugging continued stage left. (Assistants are a great support system!) I later learned that was only part of the story. Her determination to sing was based on the reconciliation with her God. A former prodigal daughter, she welcomed an outlet in which she could voice her story of what Jesus had done in her life, in the deepest and most passionate way possible.
ealing is challenging and uncomfortable and I cannot pretend to understand the loss of a child, but I sympathize with tears. I’m blessed to be a part of this church body, because they have prayed and shown me compassion in my time of need. A former prodigal myself, I shied away from church for a while, trying to cope with my own issues. God is the unsurpassed at re-casting castaways.
As we write our daily scenes at the store, work, home, or with family and friends, it eventually overflows into our show business. Weeks, months and years of hiding our careworn lifecycle will overtake us. We can step into the spotlight and embrace life’s challenges, or we can hide behind the scenes and rehearse our pain and hardships. We need community like a director needs stagehands. Finding the right crew to accomplish the work of God is crucial to the outcome of the script. The church was created by God to achieve this. We need each other to fulfill Christ’s playbill. He chooses who will act out our life’s story by becoming our spiritual stagehands, directors and co-actors. We need to be open to this part in our lives. God has already performed The Greatest Story Ever Told, and it continues with us.
What’s your backstory? All actors have one. Hurt? Addiction? Complacency? Stress? Do you have wounds that need to be healed? Have you been traumatized by someone or an ill-starred event?
“The heart of God seems to beat especially close to the victim of trauma:
‘He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted’ (Isaiah 61:1).
God desires the wounds of the traumatized to be bound up by loving people.”
(from the book Boundaries, by Henry Cloud & John Townsend)
Will you be a part of God’s casting call on your life? Will you step out in faith so that God can bring healing, hope and joy to your life? Even if you can’t see yourself on stage (opening up to others), God can. His plans will never harm you (Jeremiah 29:11). You may have stage fright at first, but as Pastor Ray communicated one Sunday, “Do it scared.”
Yvonne has been involved at Calvary since 2015 and co-leads Celebrate Recovery’s The Landing, a place for teens to heal from hurts, habits and hang-ups.
Ways to get connected at Calvary Community Church:
Celebrate Recovery – This faith based support group is all about helping to get through hurts, habits and hang-ups. Much more than the stigma of helping with just chemical dependency and drug addiction, Celebrate Recovery helps people with co-dependency, food addictions, sexual addictions, love & relationship addiction, and anything that hinders our walk with Christ.
C.R. meets Monday nights at 7 p.m. for adults, teens with child care available. For more information about Celebrate Recovery, please go to www.wearecalvary.com