For a moment, I debated remaining flat on my face, but carpet fibers were tickling my nose. Behind me, over a thousand teens were worshiping the Lord. Perhaps nobody noticed? I mean, I had heard of people being slain in the Spirit at the altar . . . Tilting my head to one side, I looked at the crowd behind me and realized that my social life as I knew it was over.
Minutes before I had been enthralled with the guest speaker’s message. My body was tense with anticipation and the kind of conviction that makes your heart beat so loudly, you’re sure everyone around you can hear.
I sat at the end of a pew on the center aisle, near the back, wrapping my legs tighter and tighter in an impressive double cross. It was something I had done for years when nervous. (Later in life, with the compromised bladder that comes from two natural childbirths, this technique would prove invaluable.)
The sanctuary was uncharacteristically quiet for a room full of teenagers, so entrancing were his words.
As he concluded his message and gave the call for people to come to the altar, my hands grabbed the cold wooden bench on either side of me. It was as though I had to hold myself down for fear I would float away. An internal dialogue began to swirl in my head as I reasoned and negotiated with God.
“I’m not going up there. This place is packed and I know a lot of people.”
Rocking back and forth, the pew creaked like a metronome keeping time.
“What if I just find my youth pastor and speak with him afterwards, real discrete and quiet like?”
Tired of my whining, the Lord’s nudge was anything but subtle, “Go!”
Ping, ping, ping . . . slowly each finger released their deathly grip. I uncrossed my legs, took a deep breath and began--what I deemed to be--the walk of shame to the front of the church.
My legs moved in obedience for the first few steps. Eyes glued to the front, I was keenly aware that I was the first and only one walking. It was a massive church with an impossibly long aisle. Is this what a bride feels like? Horror! Mental note . . . when the time comes, elope.
Suddenly, my legs began to wobble; I couldn’t feel my lower body. I was no longer ‘walking’ but rather stumbling, my ankles giving out on every other step. This was not happening. I appeared to be either drunk or physically challenged, but either way, I could hear gasps of compassion mixed with giggles of glee all around me.
The only way to make progress was to swing one leg out in front of the other in a hobble-like fashion. Left swish, right swish, left swish. Stabbing pins and needles began to compromise my limbs even more. A decision had to be made. I had to either stop and stand still in humiliation until the feeling returned to my legs, or make a run for it . . . running it would be.
Just a foot shy of the altar steps, my swinging leg run failed me, leaving me laid out prostrate before the Lord . . . and a huge group of peers and strangers.
Well-meaning people rushed to my side praying fervently for supernatural healing over my gimpy legs. Oh how I wished they would intercede for the carpet burn on my face instead.
“Well, Lord, you called me to come, to give up my pride and to offer myself as a living sacrifice. Here I am!”
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