A few weeks ago the perfect storm happened.
The week leading up to that Sunday I was on a little family vacation to the beach. I had mentally prepared the set and just needed to throw it into WorshipTeam.com adjust the keys and notify the team. Late afternoon on Thursday I sent it out. Friday I heard from my pastor that there was a last minute addition of communion and kids blessing (for the start of the school year) and my pastor wanted to do an "up" song after the blessing right before his message. So after getting home from my trip on Saturday, the night before the service I was rearranging the set, adding in new songs and changing up a couple of the keys. Apologizing profusely to the team sending out a totally new set at 8:30 PM the night before. (I try to rarely spring things like this on them)
The morning I was leading worship Josh and I followed our usual routine of Felix night nursing up till about 7:00AM. Then I nurse him right before I leave for rehearsal, however this week, I didn't feed Felix before I left for church. I was running late. I needed to print charts and I was already rethinking the new set...4 songs or 5?
Rehearsal was a bit bumpy, and that was to be expected. We landed on a 4 song set (which I flow better with anyway) and completely cutting the "up" song after the blessing. People trickled in around 10 and we started a bit late around 10:05. I really felt the presence strongly. I knew God was stirring something in my heart and in the heart of the congregation as we lingered in sweet moments of faith and praise.
Normally I find a nice cord progression to float through and sing prayers over the congregation in these open moments. Except that morning my fingers kept sticking. Didn't want to move and change cords and even in spite of my limited guitar skills The Spirit continued to move sweetly.
After worship Josh and I decided since Felix was in a good mood we should put him in the Nursery for the first time. The message was good but towards the end I started feeling antsy. it was 11:30 and I knew Felix hadn't nursed since 7:30. I knew he would be hungry. Then I heard it. The shrill panicky cry of my son coming from the nursery. He was hungry and angry.
I darted out the back door of the sanctuary knowing I had a very limited time before I needed to lead worship for communion. Wailing with big tears running down his face I grabbed Felix and headed to the nursing room. There was a dad with his daughter in there and Felix was in such a state that I really needed alone time with my little man. I ran to the bathroom, leaned against the wall and pulled my son to my breast.
Just as he started nursing I heard the music start up in the sanctuary. I needed to be on stage that very moment. In an instant I evaluated my options. Let my son cry or head in to lead songs during communion. I stayed. Knowing the team could handle a few moments with out me. 2-3 more minutes Felix calmed down and pulled off with a big smile on his face. Super stressed I left the restroom and handed my Felix to Josh.
I scrambled up the side of the stage grabbed my guitar and quietly flowed into the song that the team was playing. During the song I couldn't focus. I kept wanting to cry thinking about my son who was cut short on his nursing session. Even though I knew he was happy, I felt like a bad mom. I felt like a bad leader. I felt like half of my heart was in each place. Ultimately I found a good time in between songs to scoot over to Kitty and tell her I needed to go care for Felix. The ministry time was winding down and my family had to come first in the moment.
Lessons learned. The team can indeed function without me, but having a backup plan with the co-leader would be a good idea. 9 times out of 10 people won't notice my mistakes. My missed timing, my botched chords and my need to step out every now and then to care for my son, God is so much bigger than that. And even when it felt like a perfect storm and a failure, that Sunday more people told me they felt encouraged by worship than the last 4 times I led combined. And that's what it's all about. People connecting to the heart of the Father and feeling the Father's love in worship.
Also, ALWAYS feed Felix during the sermon right after worship when I'm the leader, better safe than sorry.