After what felt like sleeping forever, i awoke to a crisp and clear, bright sunny Sunday morning. day 2 in Nashville and this couch that i was borrowing for a few days had begun to feel a lot like home. today was exciting. today was a concert with my best friend, seeing one of our favorite bands. today was going to church with my best friend and getting to worship our amazing God together. today was another day of life together. as i blinked away the sleepiness from the long night before, i started to grin. it’s amazing what happens when you let simple things be truly beautiful. something i realized was that these things always are beautiful, we just forget the beauty in them.
as we pulled into what seemed like a fairly small parking lot for the foretold size of the church, my heart began to flutter with nerves. how i worship Jesus is different than 90% of the American church, and i was honestly nervous. my anxieties utterly disappeared as the worship team started up (with a big-screen countdown to boot!) and it was a song that i knew well and loved. play anything by Bethel and you instantly have my heart in a place of worship, this morning was no exception. grinning from ear to ear i sang with my whole heart, the words that were familiar yet rang especially true to me that morning.
“this is amazing grace, this is unfailing love, that You would take my place, that You would bear my cross, You would lay down Your life, that i would be set free, Jesus i sing for all that You’ve done for me”
during the next song, as He often does, God came to me with a vision, a picture that struck me to the core. i may end up writing about that someday, but let’s just say it was beautiful and not at all what i expected. He sees me so differently than i see myself and He never fails to remind me. on this morning He chose to capture me with those thoughts and every fear was so fully wiped away.
fast forward through a really good teaching from a very energetic ex-football star and we were home, chowing down on a quick lunch and changing to prep for the show before we were meeting friends at a local coffee shop.
this is the part where i segment into how amazing it is to meet someone you’ve been long-distance friends with for years that you met online. i won’t pretend that most people understand what it’s like but for someone who especially challenged in the area of friendships as a teenager, it’s a very beautiful thing to find someone who doesn’t care what you’ve accomplished, what you look like or what you do at all– who still wants to be your friend. today i was getting to meet 3 friends i had known online for over 3 years and that was also exciting. it’s times like these that makes me so deeply grateful for the Disciple Rocks community i have come to consider family these past 5+ years.
the first friend on the list to meet was an old gentleman by the name of Tom, or as we all fondly refer to him “the Polish one”. Mary, Jordan, my sister and i made our way into this fairly small coffee shop called the Frothy Monkey and as we waited to decide what drinks to order, i found myself exclaiming, “wow! i’m pretty sure there are more mac computers in here than in an Apple store!” to which Mary and Jordan chuckled and my sister just rolled her eyes. we ordered super lovely drinks (mine was some sort of turtle something or other, latte perhaps i don’t specifically recall) and sat down to enjoy them. as i lost myself in conversation with Mary and Jordan (who was trying to do math homework) i was suddenly blinded from behind and being suffocated. naturally i relaxed and as i looked around, who else but Polish Tom himself was standing behind me. i quickly rose to hug him, laughing the entire time.
before it seemed possible, we were unthawing from the cold air vent, in the car, which was a bit warmer (but not much) and heading to the venue.
arriving on the scene of Rockettown, we almost instantly ran into Stac and Stac…for real. They had gotten the Disciple guys an aluminum baseball bat and we all agreed we would “autograph” it because humor runs strong in the hearts of the Alliance crew 🙂
by an odd stroke of luck, my sister and i were able to purchase tickets to get into the show and before we knew what was happened, a whole slew of hardcore Disciple fans were being ushered up into a meet and greet for Audio Adrenaline. my 90’s childhood was freaking out inside of me and then we snapped a super awkward picture (all clad in our Disciple gear) and got ready for the show.
naturally, both Mary and myself were front row center for Disciple and naturally we absolutely lost ourselves in the music and the moment. i was overflowing with laughter in the moments i will never erase from my memory: Mary and i turning around to take a selfie with the band in the background and having Kevin photobomb us (best part was that we didn’t even realize it til we turned back around), meeting some amazing kids who love Disciple more than anything (raise ’em right while they’re young!) and one of my very favorite moments was when Kevin realized that i was there, hi five-ing me from stage. all in all, the music part was incredible. Audio Adrenaline did one of my very old favorites, “Ocean Floor” and though i was mostly blinded by how bright their lights were, when they decided to do a couple hymns, my heart was absolutely ready for worship, laying my hand on a very dear friend to pray as God led me to is something else i can’t forget, not ever.
and then it was over just like that and chatter was everywhere. it was people all around and hey look Disciple was signing and meeting the fans. stopping by the merch table, i managed to snag a hoodie in the perfect size for a gift and after forcing that person to try it on, i made my way to the table to catch up with GJ and wait for the autograph line to go down. times like these make me more convinced than ever that family is such a relative term and that the body of Christ is more family than even we realize.
probably about an hour later, the guys were about done signing for the night and we managed to snag one giant group photo with way too many awesome people in it. hugging my favorite band member tight, i was completely shocked to hear the question, “my daughter is here, do you want to meet her?” i could tell that instantly my eyes lit up and i gasped (well probably shrieked more like), “YES!!!” and i bounced on my toes, more excited than anything. a quick run to the restroom and i was back, Kevin asking me to lead the way to where the bus was (i don’t know how this always happens to me). but we made it and he disappeared, coming back seconds later cradling the most beautiful baby i have ever seen in his arms. even in the dim light of the night, i could tell she had so many of his features and i could barely even think. she was too beautiful and it was something i had dreamed about for so long– meeting such a good friend’s family. as i held the tears back in my eyes, my breath hitched in my chest, i heard the words as if from a distance, not quite able to comprehend them immediately, “would you like to hold her?”
i looked up, fearful, into very trusting eyes as i whispered, “are you sure?” to which i heard a resounding, “absolutely.” and as he handed her off to me i began to grin again, i couldn’t make it stop even if i tried. she was so very warm and smelled like baby and my heart was so heavy and so very full. it utterly amazed me how at peace she was, even though she was in the arms of a complete stranger, she didn’t even move a muscle, she was completely asleep and at peace. the moment seemed like an eternity, but i knew she needed to get back where it was warm and so i reluctantly handed her back to Kevin, cracking a joke about how if she disappears she’s probably at my house because she’s that adorable. i opened the familiar door of a familiar home-away-from home and watched him carefully carry her back into the warmth of the bus.
in sadness and slowly, our group of awesome began to say our goodnights and goodbyes, and we each went our own ways. my mind was still reeling from everything that had been handed to me as a gift that very night and i climbed into the back seat of the mini-van, racing thoughts, trying to not cry. i’m convinced beauty is like that when we see it for the first time after ignoring it for so long, it makes us so full and so overwhelmed that there is nothing that can quite help it except to let the emotion run rampant and free.
this was most definitely one of those times.
after a quick stop at Sonic, we got back to the apartment and basically crashed we were very tired to say the least. i remember trying to journal that evening but it was nearly impossible. it’s only just now as i type that the words are making their way out of my heart. it’s a funny thing, writing. sometimes i forget that i even know the English language and other times it’s as though the page quite literally pulls the words from within me, makes me bleed imagery into a web of story-telling.
“The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”
-Renee Yohe, TWLOHA story