Monday, May 25, 2009

Going out in Style...

Well, I certainly went out in style. But, I remind you, not all style is good style!!
Sunday, May 17, was my final Sunday night Youth Group at Grace. We'll be around the whole summer but we don't have Youth Group during the summer, so it was a big night for me. Sass surprised me by making it an even bigger deal when he invited parents, former students, and former leaders to the night.

There I was with 300-350 people in the audience preparing for my final message. We had been in a series called "The Road Ends Here" and this final message was "The Road Beyond". I was encouraging the students to live with eternity in mind. To break free from only considering life here on earth. That when we live with eternity in mind our actions, decisions, and lives look different. I used the story in Mark 14 of the woman that breaks the alabaster jar filled with perfume and poured it on Jesus' head. This woman held something of value in that jar, but she didn't allow that to stop her from lavishing it on Jesus. She seemed to live with eternity in mind, so she didn't care how much the perfume was worth, and she was criticized for it.
So, then I broke out my own "alabaster jar", just a simple little potpourri jar. I filled it with the notes that listed the things that I valued as a student and that I value now. After I referenced the woman's attitude again towards the thing of value, I encouraged us to break free of living small, earth-focused lives and instead breaking free to bigger, heavenly-focused lives. When I did this, for dramatic effect, I slammed down my jar on the little table holding my notes. Well, that's when things got a bit hairy. I looked down at my hand and noticed that a shard of the jar had decided to enter my hand. I pulled it out and at once I started bleeding pretty severely. I had about a two-inch long gash where my thumb and palm come together. I commented "that was not my best move" and tried to continue my talk. Somebody handed me a tissue. I was almost done and was convinced I could soldier through. However, the mix of embarrassment, not having eaten much, and the blood loss put me on a road towards passing out. I started sweating profusely and getting a bit light headed. I felt like the world was coming in on me as the room got darker and my words seemed to get stuck in my own head. Probably about 30-60 seconds before I truly would have passed out Sass and some other leaders came on stage and got me to sit down (and eventually lay down). Sass suggested that people could come back another time to hear me finish, but I knew that would never happen. So, I told Sarah that she had to finish my talk. I struggled off of the stage, they wrapped my hand up, and Sarah did an awesome job finishing my talk.
I got to stay for the rest of the night and hear a few leaders share and then watch a slide show of old pictures and videos that Sass put together of my time there at Grace. 

Afterwards, Woo and Sass took me to the emergency room and after quite a wait I got 6 stitches to close my wound. Adam Herod and Nick Murad came to hang in the waiting room with us.

So, I definitely went out in style. I don't think anybody will forget that night. I'm just hoping that people actually remember what I was trying to communicate! The whole night was humbling in all sorts of ways. It was so humbling to have all those people come to share that night with me. It was just so amazing to feel like a lot of people had really appreciated that ministry that I tried to do there at Grace. And, of course it was really humbling to make a fool out of myself. I’m thankful for the time that God has given me at Grace. For the people that I’ve been able to serve and serve with. And for the ways that He’s used me, even when I’ve felt ill-equipped or not good enough. Grace has been an amazing community to serve withing. They have trusted me, given me freedom, and allowed me to push students towards Jesus in the ways that I saw fit. It’s been a real blessing!
If you would like to see the the song/video that Jeff Cash wrote for me click here:
If you would like to read my notes from the talk:


billy said...

not stopping the talk was eternal perspective real-time baby!!! great story, yet another reason many of us will never forget you :)

Jenny Sherouse Photography said...

A memorable night I'm sure. I know you all have a lot of mixed emotions right now. I hope you find time in these next few months to take it all in. We are thinking of you a lot!