As I walked to the microphone, my heart was pounding so hard I was sure everyone could hear it. I'm not afraid of speaking or singing in front of a group of people. But last night was different. I was telling my story, the good, the bad, the ugly, to the group of people I sing with on a weekly basis.
I'd received emails, FB posts and messages, and texts throughout the day from people who knew I'd be sharing. Kind words of I'm praying for you sustained me throughout the day. I hadn't been too nervous until the moment arrived.
Usually, I would've spoken straight from the heart, but God had directed me to write and carefully edit the exact words He'd have me share. So I read straight from the paper I had in front of me. It was like a blur to me, and I was done within 3 or 4 minutes. We sang Mercy Seat just after.
Then what happened amazed me.
I guess I expected condemnation from people. I was prepared to walk out, eyes averted, head down. But before I could even collect my music and stand to leave, people were hugging me. I'm quite sure I've never felt such an outpouring of love. I've never been a part of a group that was so grace-giving. I'd made it to that point without a tear. Sure, my voice had waivered when I spoke, but God kept the tears at bay. But the kindness and grace of these people overwhelmed me, and the tears welled.
I'm pretty sure I experienced the God-given grace of a group of people who know what it is to have experienced grace in their own lives. That community of people amazed me. God used them to show me that His grace is enough to bring unlikely hearts together in a community called church. Hunter Street Baptist Church is a place where the grace of God prevails. I'm thankful for the people I call church family.