It was an amazing weekend.
Some things have been moving and happening in our lives, making complications and frustrations around us. We do not like that, but that is growth and change. Blech. The point is, LifeLight could not have come at a better time.
On Friday, we had all 4 kidlets at the festival. Hayley’s mind was completely blown by a) at the number of people, and b) her first concert experience. HOLLAH for Jesus, yo! Also helps that your parents are on a sponsorship committee and have some kick-ass passes for sidestage. [We LOVED Hawk Nelson!]
On Saturday, I went with Mindy’s sister and Andy into the crowd of more than 100,000 people. We made our way to the front and squeezed in beside the railing, a mere 10 feet from the stage.
First, Sanctus Real:
Then we listened as Tenth Avenue North sang the gospel and invited grace over and over and over again. It was AWESOME. Let me tell you, when you look out and see 100,000 people covered in grace, it is awe-striking.
One of the things I love most about Tenth Avenue North is that the lead singer, Mike, openly shares testimony and leads worship during his performance; it’s not just a band gig to them. It was cold and breezy Saturday night, and Mike was out in the crowd – scores of teenagers sobbing around him while he shouted at them, “You are worth it! You are more than the choices that you have made!” Chills, People. Chills. Mike was talking about grace.
There is this thing about God’s grace – He gives it abundantly, first off. But the best part is that He will weave the whole mess of your life INTO beauty by way of it. All of us have mess and crap in our lives – could be work, school, relationship, money, lust, temptations or addictions – MESS. God will lead us through all of that when we ask Him and He will weave it into the most beautiful bit of glory possible. I can certainly testify to this. Years ago, when my marriage and life exploded and the divorce and mess raged on all around me, I felt swallowed up by it. All I could do was pray. Literally, I could do nothing but give God my mess and ask Him to fix it. I was done trying; it wasn’t for me to do anymore. I had to surrender my mess to Him completely, thankful that His shoulders were made strong enough to carry it (after all, they carried the cross for me, too). I had faith that He would weave it into wonderful... and that He did. He grabbed me by the navel and yanked me and my 3 out to Da Plains for a “job,” when in reality, he was yanking me out here for much, much more. The love of my life was here. Friends thicker than ever are here (Lulu started here). Church, more invigorating than ever is here. HERE is where grace lived. God’s music and grace, just playing for me in Da Plains. I’m babbling. Anyway… Here I stand years later in the happiest place I have ever been in my life. On Saturday night I realized I’d reached the other side of my mess from years ago. HE WOVE THIS FOR ME. I am LIVING God’s grace and glory. He rewarded me for my faith.
And He will again. And again. And again.
Bryon kept Trevor and Mabel in the tent to allow me some private worship time, but he, too was soaking in the words that Mike was saying. He, too, has had a mess woven into grace by God.
Sunday night we had our last fire of the summer. After some friends went home, we two sat holding hands, remarking about how far we’ve come in the year and ½ that we’ve been together. Which is especially fantastic considering how freaking awesome we were in the beginning. But the first year of marriage is hard, People. Especially when there are 4 little people to blend together into one family. When there is very demanding work and schedules. When there becomes MESS. But God is good. We trust Him. He know He is leading us and weaving all of our mess into his glory once again.
One of our favorites from the evening:
And Dear B: You make me everything I want to be, too. I am so thankful for you.