I think most people have a family. Not a flesh-and-blood, blue eyes, midwest drawl family, but a family of people that you surround yourself with when your mom and dad and sisters and brother can't be there. Theater's my thing and I've been so blessed over the years to have had some wonderful families there.
The devotion teams stand out the most. Each year, the directors pick 4-8 people to give devotions and lead the cast. We're selected, but it's more than that. We're a family. During Fiddler on the Roof, we were all trying to figure out exactly how to do this devotions and family thing, but my My Fair Lady team was incredible. We were all super close, we prayed and talked and encouraged and laughed all the time.
And I've been ready for this year. I had plans and dreams, ideas and devotions, all planned and ready to talk to that new team- my new family- about. Honestly, in my head, I was picking them out too.
"Okay, God, can I have Tim and Andy and Chase and Jamie and Abby and Ashlea and Christianna? Thanks."
Before auditions, I spent some time down on my grandparents' dock. And righ there in my journal, I wrote,
"So right here, God, I dedicate HPA this year to you. I'm placing my role, my cast, my committee, my friends, and my life in your hands. I give it all to You. There is no place I'd rather be than YOUR perfect plan. I am Yours. Use me, Lord."
Did you catch that little part there about my committee? The words sound nice, but they really meant, "God, I'll let You decide which devotion committee I'm on this year. I guess I'm okay with either one." It wasn't real submission, probably because I never had any thoughts about not being on the team. I'd been for the past two years, and I was a strong Christian with a desire to do it. I full-out adored it. I thought that was enough.
It wasn't. God had other plans and other lesson for my life. The cast and committee lists came out and the hardest part of that day wasn't the "oh, she and she and he and they aren't in my show." or even the "Okay, God, I guess I'll do the small, girl-group chorus again." It was reading those lists, seeing those committees, and knowing that they were a family. And I wasn't in it.
Call me crazy, but I've grieved the loss of this never-was-mine family. I denied for a bit that this was the truth, thinking, hoping, pulling at any last straw, "It's just a mistake. ____ will email me any time telling me that they mixed up the lists." Then it hit me and I was mad, upset that they could give "my" place to someone else.
God's been teaching me so much, though. It's humbling to have to answer people's "What committ- oh, right, you're on devotions." with "Actually..." and then the truth. I realized how proud I've been, how much I built my place in HPA on that lofty platform of devotions. I glorified in putting together devotions that would sound good and powerful, not necessarily asking God to speak His words through me, just to use my words for Him. There's a difference. Yet through it all, I loved it so much, I made it an idol in my life. It was an idol of pride, self-worth, and popularity. We all know that God can't stand idols.
So He pulled it down. It kinda felt like HPA as I know it came crashing down around me too. It's brought tears to my eyes more than once to watch the team meet in different corners and knowing how encouraging those meetings are. My heart hurt while I sat through devotions last week. Watching the community between the members has been painful. It's all been painful.
But it's good. That's the last word I want to use to describe it, but I must. Chris Brown talked at the Leadership Summit about how much pain and revenge Saul went through because he refused to admit that David was a better leader and warrior than he was. Saul wouldn't move over or get out of the chariot to make room for David.
Chris then asked us, "Do you have room in your chariot for someone else? Someone who might do the job better than you?" I kinda feel pushed out of the chariot, but honestly, I don't know if I would have gotten out any other way. So it's good. I'm where God wants me, and it's the best place to be. I'm crazy blessed to have been on the devotion team for two years, and I'm crazy blessed to get to listen to their devotions now.
Larry Osborne says, "We don't care who teaches the message, as long as the message is taught."
So teach it, devotion teams. Remind the casts who God is and who we are, and how everything we do; the singing, the dancing, the acting, everything, is for Him and because of Him and His love and His grace. Encourage them, rebuke them, teach them, and love them, every one, even the ones who are in no way like you. Stay humble, stay focused on grace and God. I'm praying for each of you.
"Not to us, oh Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory."