Unfortunately I feel as if this blog post is going to be really long. But it's only been two days! It's felt like so much longer than that because they were long days, and writing this blog is only going to make this day longer... but I need to write this down in order to remember it later, because the next two days I'm sure will be just as full as the first two. What am I going to do when summer comes?!?
HeartSong Green Team left Cedarville at about 6:47am Thursday morning, on our way to Covington, KY to play at a Christian school. After a bit of unexpected trailer stress, we were unloaded, set up, and finished with sound check in time for the middle school and high school kids to begin coming in. They were all really excited about filling out the recruitment cards to see if they could win a free prize, and it was fun to interact with them as they did. We were all so nervous, especially the 6 of us who still felt like newbies, but the performance went really well, and the kids really loved it! We played and sang "Rise and Sing" twice because we used it as our encore song when the principal asked us to play just one more. LOVE that song!! But the crazier thing came after the performance when multiple kids came up to me asking for my autograph. WHAT?!?!? When I was a kid I had lofty dreams of someday being a famous singer and used to practice my autograph on scrap paper; never in a million years did I seriously think I would actually need to sign one!
After a great lunch with Jim at T.G.I. Friday's, we went to be with our host families for the night. Rachel, Joellyn and I stayed with a family that lived 30 minutes from the school, and as we drove through the hills of Kentucky, we got to see all the leaves on the trees in all their fall colors. I think when Heaven comes down to Earth at the end of time, I will want to live in Kentucky, at least in the fall. When we got there, the three of us spent some time by ourselves, got to know each other a bit more and rested before dinner. We ate dinner with the two girls and their parents and then decided to all play Apples to Apples together. When I was in high school, my sister's friends ruined that game for me because they played it for hours every time they were over at our house! But I actually had a lot of fun getting to know our host family more through it. The oldest girl, a senior in high school, never took the green card literally, and the youngest girl, a 7th grader, I would always ended up almost picking her card and then choosing someone else's! We had a lot of fun, and ended the evening with dessert: a delicious cheese braid that the girls' grandma had made.
We had to be back at the school at 7:45, which was when school started and we officially checked out. We left as the sun was rising, and seeing all the autumn leaves with the sun streaming through was so beautiful! I'm so glad that God decided to create the world for us to enjoy. If He can use dying leaves and a sunrise to bring glory to His name, how much more can He use us, if we will let him! Anyway, we didn't have to be at our next destination, Cincinnati, until 3. We showed up at the church about 6 hours early! Wouldn't it be great if that happened every time? When we got there, we had some time to kill, so we all took naps in the van. After about an hour and a half or so, we all woke up to the van rocking. Joellyn and I were the first ones up, and she noticed that the rocking was coming from Tommy unloading the trailer. Turns out that about 20 minutes earlier, he woke up and decided to start unloading while the rest of us slept. As we got out of the van, Will said to me something like, "What a selfless leader Tommy is! I'm so glad he's my team leader." I agree 100%.
After meeting the pastor, unloading, setting up, and running sound check, we ate lunch and were able to start rehearsing two hours early. All together our rehearsal time lasted about 6 hours (with a couple breaks in between). I had a flashback to our first rehearsal that felt like less time than it actually was; this 6 hours felt like 2 or 3. In the later part of the rehearsal, we learned a new song as a band called "You Hold Me Now," which is all about Heaven (too bad there's not a verse in it about autumns in Kentucky). As we learned it, we couldn't help but notice that something was missing from it; it seemed kind of dry. So we said to each other, "If Orange Team can redo 'There Is A Redeemer,' surely we can redo 'You Hold Me Now' and make it our own!" After several changes and changes of changes and miscommunications and clarifications, we had created a unique version of the song that was based on the recording but distinctly different. And at the end, Tommy said, "Let's just do the whole thing again from the top!" and we all got SO excited! As we played, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that God was just as excited as we were. I'm sure God was looking down on us smiling a big silly grin like we all were, saying, "Yes! This is music; this is what My music should sound like! I created music, and I created all of you to play it together to bring Me glory! Don't you love it?!?" There was no one in the room but the 8 of us, but I think that was the best way to give away our performance to God, to dedicate our first performance of it to Him, and only to Him. Ahh! Amazing! I LOVE this!
After our amazing moment and prayer time, we left for our host homes. This time the 3 girls are staying with a family of 6, with two 7th graders and two 2nd graders. Immediately I made friends with the young twins, talking and playing with them, and then listening to them proudly play for me their favorite piano pieces. Okay, back up a bit: when we arrived and settled in, it was dinner time, and we ate and conversed with the family for a while before going downstairs. The twins and 7th grade girl followed us down and talked and talked and talked! I could tell Rachel and Joellyn were getting tired, so I immediately went into camp counselor mode and talked and played with all of them, but mostly the little 2nd grade girl. After a dessert sometime later of microwave s'mores, the mom wanted to hear me play the piano, so we all went into the piano room and the 3 of us sang/played a couple of our songs for them, along with some worship songs that they knew. That's when the kids all wanted to show off their playing.
As the twins played for me, they would stumble over mistakes and get frustrated. As they went, I switched into piano teacher mode. And I don't even have a piano teacher mode yet! As much as I would love to teach piano, every time I've thought about teaching I've gotten terrified at the idea! I was so afraid I would do something wrong and my students would get to college and have horrible playing technique and no significant musical background! So I was shocked as I saw myself helping the kids out at their trouble spots with things like: "Look at these two notes. Does it go up or down?" and "Do these notes move up by step or skip?" and finishing with "That was perfect! Good job!" And, oh my goodness, now I know I can be a piano teacher! Joellyn said afterward that she could definitely see me teaching and that I would be so good at it. What an incredible God moment!
Wow, two incredible God moments in one day! I'm really starting to see this God moment thing happening a lot more often now that I'm in HeartSong; God is not only using me in HeartSong, but using HeartSong in me to show me His glory more and more every day... no, every hour! During both of my God moments today, one thought was going through my head: This is what I was made for. I was made to glorify God through musical discoveries that no one else hears. I was made to show little ones this wonderful creation of God called music. I was made to do music, to play music, to teach music, to live music, to be music. I was made to glorify God, to praise Him and worship Him in every single moment. Of course, I've known that for a long time. But I love the way God reminds me of my purpose, not just through divine moments of discovery during personal meditation, but also through moments during the day when I'm not thinking about it. That is the place where I'm living my purpose, and that is where God chose to remind me, and I think that's awesome!
Please continue to pray for our ministries this weekend to this church, Saturday night to the youth group and Sunday morning to the church, as well as Sunday night as we travel back to Dayton for a youth group event.
Soli Deo Gloria!!! To God alone be the glory in my life, every day, every hour, every moment.