Before we were married, Joe and I attended a course at our church about marriage. The speaker focussed on the letters SSPT - Skin to Skin Prime Time. He wasn't talking about sex, but just about intimacy. There is a need for husbands and wives to be naked before each other, not necessarily in the literal sense, but the symbolic! We need to stand before each other without the need for defences. It is a time when you show how vulnerable you are, confident that you are not going to be stamped upon!
For us, I would have to confess that Joe finds it easier to do, late a night and after a few drinks - his defences are well down and he opens up! When I was young I shared a bedroom with four sisters and we used to talk until the early hours, often punctuated by mum yelling at us from downstairs to go to sleep! Now that I am much older, I am less inclined to speak and my involvement in late night chats tends to be limited to grunts, in the hope that Joe will get the message that I am tired.
I guess I am learning to try to wake myself up and be alert. There is a quality of vulnerability that Joe displays at these times that I don't want to miss. Well, last night, it wasn't Joe that was for talking, but me. Something had happened at music practice. I had taken a particularly bad reaction to something that happened, and although I knew I was being totally unreasonable, I just could not stop myself. I was reacting way out of proportion and had build a mole hill into a mountain, and it made me think that the march of the menopause with its erratic hormones is partly to blame, but other stuff too.
Talking things over with Joe helps to bring things into perspective. I sing, but I am not a singer and very much aware of my limitations. I lead worship and as long as I am selective with the songs I sing - the key of C, for example doesn't flatter my voice at all - I get by. I can't do complicated stuff and lots of the more recent worship stuff coming out flits from one octave to another which is beyond me. Inside me there is this wish that we were a bigger church so someone else could do it instead. When you are a small church, any activity that you opt out of leaves a hole that someone else has to fill. God told me a few weeks ago that I was a hole filler. It was not meant to be derogatory, but based on a line in Ezekiel - confronting the leaders of Israel for failing to fill the holes in the walls around the city in the days of battle. I guess my trouble is I want to choose which holes to fill, and I want to fill them my way! As Mark, out pastor reminded us - we are servants, we serve.
I think that because I am in a small church that I am lacking something. I have shared that with friends, and then when I talk about the church and our close friendships and intimacy, they tell me that I am the lucky one. To be known as well as I am known is a blessing. I am not able to loose myself in the crowd.
God knows that if I was in a big church I wouldn't be given the chances that I have now, because there would be other, more talented people, who were well able to sing in the key of C and flit from one octave to another! I wouldn't be invited to join the worship team, or preach, or lead a housegroup - all the things that I do that stretch me and make me depend on Jesus. Being me, I would try to get involved, and be rejected, and get hurt - just like I had been in the past, and I wouldn't flourish like I do now.
With the heart attitude in our church I cannot imagine that we will always be small!