Wow, you guys- what a wonderful weekend we have had! Our church hosted a bunch of teenagers for a Disciple Now weekend and our youth pastor and friend, Brandon, booked Shawn's old band, A Road Less Traveled (I guess they still have a FB page!), to play worship, as well as another great friend, Jason Bishop to speak. It was especially neat for me because it had been a few years since all of us had been able to get together like that.
It's hitting me now that sometimes you don't realize how sweet a season is until it is over. For over 10 years, Shawn pursued music with a few friends, and none of us would have guessed what God would do that little pocket of time. I'm not sure I'm the right one to write about this, really- because I was never actually in the band, but since Shawn and I started dating in high school, I sort of just stuck around, getting to watch from the sidelines- and I'm thankful for that unique vantage point.
It's not often that you get to live life with the same few people (who you aren't already related to) for almost a decade. And when I say "live life", I mean waking up next to your husband on a rumbling RV at 2 am to the sound of metal music blaring...because it's Kuhrt's turn to drive. I'll also never forget washing my hair at midnight in a Wal-Mart bathroom somewhere in Tennessee with one of my best friends and another "band wife", Shanna. :) I'll admit, there were times when it didn't feel like a "get to", but more like a "had to". Collectively, we went through college, silly part-time jobs, the rise and fall of MySpace, breakups, late-night practices where nothing really gets accomplished, music videos, band managers, tours, many, many miles and even each other's weddings. It didn't ever hit me that "big" life things were happening in the midst of the gigs, weekends away, and frivolous arguments about how the merch table looked. There were many years where the guys wondered if they were ever going to "make it". Now I think we all realize that they were already there.
Looking at everyone today- the guys, their wives and kids, other special friends who have influenced our faith in the past decade- I almost couldn't handle it. It was too overwhelming. I cried, because seeing their faces made me realize just what God has done for me- someone on the sidelines- through them all...it's still too amazing for me to grasp. I could never fully express what these people mean to me- because it has almost taken 5 or 6 years for me to really understand the role that each of them have played in my life. Because of them, my worship is deeper, my thankfulness is greater, and my gumption is stronger. I've seen prayer at work, forgiveness happen, and God show up when you least expect Him.
I am so proud of my friends. I hate that we aren't all huddled together in one physical location anymore. But as much as I would love that comfort, I am glad we are not. Because amazingly- and this is just simply Jesus and how He works- we are all doing new things. Things that God has planned for us. Life has definitely become more complicated. A large part of me just misses those simpler times- and I know I've got on my rose-colored glasses today- but our problems seem so much bigger now. We are no longer 19 and 20 year olds who enjoy going out for dinner at 11:30 (because now that hour of night is reserved for sleep or Netflix binges).
But in my heart, I know and can trust that where we are (albeit not together) is good. Why? Because God has proven Himself in every season of my life. Jason Bishop, the speaker for the weekend, and his wife, Caryn, started our first small group about 10 years ago when he realized we were a bunch of 20-somethings without much focus. The message that Jason spoke today was on facing our giants and preparing a way for those who will come after us. I know he had probably tailored it for the teenagers who had been at Disciple Now- but how fitting for someone like me to hear it today. (You can watch the whole message here, including worship by the band.)
This weekend I have felt a sense of displacement. It has been wonderful to spend time with people who have known me so well for so long- but constantly realizing we are all in a new place with different circumstances was heartbreaking. Truthfully, I didn't like all the life change we brought with us- the weight of careers, family, doing actual "adulting"- ugh. Can't we just go to IHOP after the show?
When I spoke to God about this- He reminded me to look for the good. Just as I am now able to see all the good He gave us in the ARLT years- there is a wealth of good NOW. There are wonderful careers blossoming, new relationships formed, several beautiful baby faces and more to come. By God's grace, we are all happily married, still pursing the Kingdom- and THAT is what matters- beyond our physical distance and new circumstances. God has clearly given us a new opportunity to have a sweet season of life- one where He does so much more than we realize.
I think that's what really hit me today- that I wasn't, in fact, ever on the sidelines. God was much more creative than I made Him out to be- orchestrating something completely amazing in each of us- through the music and the miles- at the same exact time. We were getting to live life together, and as God was using each of us for one focused purpose for that season, He was also preparing us individually for the next. I got all of the benefit- the life lessons, the deepening of my faith- without ever having any of the musical ability. :)
Thank you, friends, old and new- for being willing to go through it all with us. The stories that God weaves are truly the most beautiful. I see and appreciate all the good God is doing in you and how it blesses my life. Let's press on!
And if you're feeling really sentimental, or have no idea what I have been talking about, go watch their old videos. There is a lot more hair in that footage than there is now :).