Last weekend, I was leading worship in Iowa. I always look forward to being able to travel and sing, especially knowing I get to use that talent for God. I get to spend time with my favorite people, meet new people, and worship. What's not to love?
Like most trips, we stood on stage to model worship for people old and young alike. Sometimes, we challenge everyone in the room to get 'uncomfortable' with God and take a position of worship on our knees. It's always powerful to see how just stepping outside our comfort zone just a bit can change our hearts and the meaning of what we sing.
This trip, we did something we've never done before. Chris asked everyone to close their eyes and picture the face of God. The first thing that came to my mind was the stereotype of Jesus we see every day, in paintings and children's bible stories, deep eyes and brunette hair and beard. Quickly erasing that image from my mind, I realized that I had never actually attempted to think about the face of God. I don't know why.
I closed my eyes once more. The next thing I know, I felt the warmth of the sun on my face, smelled green grass beneath me, heard the beautiful sounds of my children laughing and playing, had this overwhelming sense of peace, and out of nowhere tears began to fall...
....and I felt Jeremy.
I quickly turned around, unnerved by my emotions getting the best of me on stage, and grabbed a drink of water. As I composed myself and got down on my knees in worship, I tried to push the image out of my head until we finished. Once I was off stage and sitting, the tears came again as I went back to that image of the face of God. I didn't "see" God per say, but I felt Him. My image of God was the closest thing to Heaven I've ever experienced on earth. As soon as I felt Jeremy, emotions took me over.
I realize that I might hold onto a very skewed vision of what Heaven will be. I'm okay with that. I figure if I'm wrong, I won't be disappointed. To me, Heaven is a place where all is made right. A place where children are fed and warm, there are no tears, and there is no death. Jeremy will be there waiting for me, and Jim will be there waiting for Amy. I can't picture it any other way at this point, and I don't want to. Suddenly I knew that I could no longer separate what God is to me from who I am because of Jeremy. In so many ways, Jeremy molded my image of God and my relationship with Him.
Jeremy is the strongest indicator of this love because I've lost him and that love is held and carried on in memory and in my heart at an elevated place. But the truth is, if I closed my eyes hard enough, the face of God would reveal all of those I love, because of course, God IS love. And being in the presence of completely unselfish, unconditional love is my Heaven.
I may not be able to do it without tears yet, but I'm glad I was able to experience that moment, however brief it was.