The Night I Puked My Guts Out at Passion City Church
I hinted that I would share this story on Instagram, so I wanted to follow through and let you into what was a crazy night with Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA this Summer. I had the wonderful opportunity of leading worship and sharing some of my songs and story with Passion City’s college group. The plan was to drive to Atlanta in the morning, rehearse with their band, sing and share at their event, and then drive home the same night. Sounds crazy, but I love a late night drive. : ) It was a blast rehearsing with their worship team in the afternoon as we anticipated how God would meet each college student who walked through the doors that night…until… I suddenly started feeling VERY nauseous.
Y’all. Throwing up is my least favorite thing…ever. I immediately started praying, began breathing deeply between lines of the songs we were rehearsing, and in between songs I warned the band that they may need to go wash their hands after rehearsal because we had all just met and shaken hands, and I didn’t want any of them to get sick. I also felt really worried that I might not be able to do my job that night.
I wish I could tell you that God answered my prayers immediately, but the night didn’t go down like that. I started feeling worse and worse. My stomach was churning by the time the leadership team circled up to pray for the evening. About 30 leaders welcomed me into the prayer circle. I waved and smiled at them while simultaneously breaking into the sweats. One of the leaders began to share about the vision for the night, and had to break from the circle to pace back and forth. Do you know that kind of panic you feel before you just KNOW you’re going to get VERY sick? Your heart is pounding, you’re sweating profusely, and you kind of want to burst into tears because you feel so bad? Well, that was me as they announced that it was time to pray and begin the evening. They asked the group to especially pray for me because “Ellie is feeling a little under the weather.” And at THAT moment. It hit me. I knew I was going to hurl. So I yell, “Y’all pray for me!!! I’ll be in the bathroom praying too!” and I RAN full speed ahead into the green room bathroom to collapse over the toilet.
It was the craziest thing. I think it must have been food poisoning because I could not stop throwing up. In juxtaposition to me puking my guts out, I could hear a group of committed and faith-filled leaders crying out to God on behalf of these college students and on behalf of me. This sounds so crazy to say, but it was beautiful, and sure enough, between bouts of vomiting, I started praying too! It went something like this:
“God, if there is anything that needs to be broken off or to come out of these students lives tonight, break it off, and release them from any stronghold that is hindering them from walking in the fullness of your love.”
Vomit. I remember I am supposed to rejoice.
“God, thank you that I am being covered in prayer right now and that even though I’m sick, I know You’re with me. When I’m weak I’m strong….although I do NOT feel strong right now…”
Vomit. I remember that that last time I got food poisoning and threw up this violently, I ended up peeing all over myself. #momprobs #toomuchinformation
“Dear God, I didn’t bring a change of clothes, so can you please, please help me to not pee all over myself!?! Oh please. Please.” I manage to laugh out loud after this prayer, knowing that whatever happens, this is going to be a good story.
“Thank you that I have not already peed all over myself, and thank you that you are getting me completely out of the way. Would you always do that whenever I’m on a stage? Get me out of the way and put words in my mouth ‘that I may fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel’ just like Paul says?
Vomit. I think about the 2000+ college students coming to Summer in the City that night and throughout the summer.
“Thank You that You know each one of these college students by name and that Your heart is to draw each one of them close to You. Fill this place with your Spirit tonight. Brake chains. Set people held in captivity free, and help each one of these young people walk around this earth knowing that they are loved deeply by You and loving others deeply because they have personal proof of Your love being real and powerful in their lives.”
And then it was still and quiet. I did not throw up again. I sat up, amazed at how much better I felt, and used my fingers like little windshield wipers to get the throw up and toilet water off of my glasses. (I know…so gross). I wiped the sweat off my face with a rag, used some scope that was in the green room, washed my hands, grabbed my guitar, and walked directly onto the stage JUST as the evening was beginning. It was bizarre.
I cannot explain exactly what happened next, but suffice it to say that it felt like a little taste of heaven. Hearing 2000 college students roaring the praises of a good Father, and literally knowing His provision and faithfulness in that very moment, feeling SO carried even though I felt SO weak. I was in awe of Him and reminded once again that He doesn’t need me to be the most prepared and put together person. He loves for me to be a surrendered person who is quick to admit weakness and lean into the substance of who HE is. I’m so grateful I got so sick because I got to see God meet me in a very weak place and carry me with His strong arms through the night. I’m grateful for any moment or experience that helps me know “This is not about You. It’s about Him being more than enough for you and for everyone else in the room.”
I got to sing Red Sea Road over the students that night and proclaim the faithfulness of God to each student, even when everything seems to be crashing down around them. And as I was singing, I got to see God make yet another Red Sea Road for me as I stepped out in faith to do the job He called me to on a night I felt so sick and so weak. The evening ended, and God moved and provided in such sweet ways, and even though as soon as I walked off the stage, I felt pretty terrible again, I am still thanking God for the privilege of seeing once again that He is always more than enough for us.
And Passion City Church? I am thanking God for you and your beautiful staff that welcomed me warmly and prayed for me so fervently. I’m also grateful to get to link arms with the powerful work God is doing in and through you. Lastly, thank you for sending me home with mints and ginger ale. I love you guys.
"You need only be still, the Lord your God will fight for you." - Exodus 14:14
"He lifted me out of the pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." - Psalm 40:2