I am big on days. My memory is weird to begin with but there are certain memories that no matter how much time has passed, it sticks. I remember things from my childhood that make my cousins shake their head wondering how on earth THAT is the thing I remember. It is almost always in my favor. I am grateful for this little tidbit about me.
I also write things down. I haven’t been as good about keeping a journal as of lately but I’ll get back to where I was. It was a really good habit for a really long time. This helps with the memory part. It also helps to be able to look back and see and remember where we came from. I can look back on many years worth of journals and have moments where I totally roll my eyes at myself and then there are the moments where I remember what was going on and how faithful God was to me in those moments. Those are the moments I really want to remember. The eye-rolling stuff just comes with the territory. Thank God for growth. Annie Downs often talks about being kind to who you were then…whenever and whatever “then” was. I need that reminder as well…it makes the eye-rolling stuff a little more tolerable.
I have gone back to one particular day for 16 years now. When I type out that timeline, it doesn’t make me feel super young. I was 19 years old. 19! It makes me dizzy even thinking about.
So last week…January 19th came up. Ray remembered it. I remembered it. And 16 crazy years later, I still thank God for it.
A guy who was barely even a friend asked me if I would help out with leading worship for a worship night he was leading, at a church he had never been to for pastors he didn’t know. He had never heard me sing. All the signs pointed to desperation…I didn’t think that then, but I know that guy pretty well now. He plans. He had no time for that. I was 19, loved Jesus and wanted to lead worship, thought it would be a good time, had a couple of other friends who were jumping on the band wagon and said yes. I don’t even think I thought about it. I just said yes.
And as the story goes; Jesus changes everything.
That night, January 19, 2002 a day that the world changed for me.
This was not about a boy. This was not about a band. This was about God wrecking me. This was about being pulled out, called out and I had to depend on Jesus to move and He did. I had never led like that before in my life and I knew there was no going back. I didn’t know that was even in there till it came flooding out. God is so good like that.
That boy became a friend and worship leading partner, who became a best friend and for a while, that was it and I was grateful for a trusted friend who pushed me to lead and was someone I could lead alongside. Within a year and a half he became my husband. I love that I can look back and see where it started. I love that this was a beginning that I never saw coming. God surprises are the best.
The friendships that formed during those days were incredible then and remain treasures to us today. The prayers prayed over us that night were by people who became our pastors and dear friends. We are slowly but surely seeing those words come to pass. I thought those words were for that summer (remember, I was 19) and I thought it was about a camp we would lead worship at. Story of our life: God has something different in store. What I thought would be in a few months has lead us into 16 years with the best still yet to come.
I’m grateful for the boldness and obedience of others that pushed us towards Jesus and reminded us that He would do things in His time and to keep moving forward. I am grateful for those who took the time to see beyond and would often remind us of why they were for us. Our leadership today is shaped by those who loved us then. We are forever grateful.
16 years is a long time but I know it’s just a beginning all at the same time.