Big Daddy’s song “Redeemed” was an anthem for the first whole half of my walk with Jesus.
This was going to be our boys’ first concert!
My friend Jen … you may remember her from the Mandisa concert … she was game for another.
Graciously, she agreed to drive.
Friday night at 5pm crawls with get-out-of-work traffic. It didn’t help Jen and I were confused about directions.
Long story, but we finally made it after millions of turns and thousands of driver deep breaths. With Jen’s physical challenges, she understandably prefers extra time to get herself situated in new places.
Mildly rushed, we filed into a full room. I adopted Jen’s worry for a finding a seat.
A woman saw my furrowed brow and asked if she needed to move. Just beyond her, though, was exactly four seats with one on the end for Jen.
My mouth lifted its corners.
“No thank you, we are good down here.”
Sitting but not settled.
My youngest Jackson sought greener pastures on the adjacent empty bench.
A frustration surge. An impatience bubbled. Protective of Jen who finally got to sit down and selfishly wanting to switch to worship mode.
“You may sit over there while we stay here.”
Joyful expectant conversation flooded my ears. My volume compensated, though that’s nothing new. My natural level is loud, some call it bold.
Thank you, Jesus. I have learned the power of whisper.
Here’s where it gets ugly.
Jackson begins to cover his head with his hood and pull it way down over his face. A strong-willed statement I refuse to participate here this evening.
I wasn’t having it.
These concert tickets were a gift to my boys. Not to mention the roundabout journey.
Jen described it as “our travel in PA, by way of Kentucky”.
The old Julie, the one who sought control, grabbed Jackson’s hood.
He grabbed it back.
After two lifetime minutes, Jackson surrendered to the “almighty” mom and sat with his head uncovered.
My flesh was so … so … so offensive to God.
Finally (a big eight minutes later), a young man and his acoustic guitar opened for Big Daddy Weave.
He sang of Jesus with a heart full of love. His confident voice rang throughout the rather small gym.
His crafted words:
“Highway of holiness”
I sensed a touch of His grace.
“Jen, that’s the highway we are taking home.” We who had misjudged the distance of the concert began to relax. A chuckle lifts every time, well almost.
Thank you, Jesus.
The old Julie would have avoided Jackson after such a fuss.
The new Julie lifted her creaky hips off the bench and offered to take the boys for a snack while this energetic Jesus lover finished his songs.
His grace, given for me to share.
We found a common ground. As a #boymom, I know food had something to do with it.
Yet, it was not by my power I was at peace and could leave the difficult moments behind and start new. It was not by my power I was forgiven, released from my sin, now free to find joy in worship and fellowship.
When we returned, the lights were down, Big Daddy spoke of his ministry with World Vision. As he teared up, the cultural veil restricting men lifted. He used words like dude and big daddy to describe himself as he sang about being in love with Jesus.
You could hear a pin drop.
“God who said, ‘Let there be light’ is in this room right now.”
An ahhh … a wonder-full surprise came out of my mouth. The information was not new.
Still it arrived as the most precious gift.
God knew I had been wandering in dim territory.
My ears heard this fresh amazing truth, fresh like the snow falling in the wee hours of the morning when not a soul moves.
“His love doesn’t have limitations.”
Again, as if I it was meant just for me.
The lifting of depression. A supernatural breaking out of the dim into the light, His light beaming around me. In Big Daddy’s words, the music, the testimony. The friendship. My boys. The family of God.
Jen and the people behind laid hands on Jackson and me.
When Big Daddy asked those to stand who have heard the devil’s voice, Jackson and I stood.
Jesus infused our son with courage to lift his legs to stand before God.
Oh my, I was overcome. My spirit was soaring with and for Jesus.
The Lion and the Lamb resounded against our souls.
Jackson was emotional. I assumed Spirit working.
I huddled our boys, my arm reaching around Jackson and Braedon.
“Who can stop the Lord Almighty?
… Fighting our battles … His blood breaks the chains … every knee will bow.”
Big Daddy moved to “What a Beautiful Name”.
That song breaks me … open.
Turns out I am not the only one.
Our Braedon, shy and introverted struggling to find his balance in this life … confidently closed our circle of three. Sweetly, Braedon and I protected Jackson.
“Heavens are roaring
You are raised to life again
You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever You reign”
Holy Spirit came upon our Braedon, he lifted an arm in praise while singing.
Can I tell you, he doesn’t even sing in church????
Where does this leave me?
Where does it leave us when thank you just does not seem like enough? When Jesus has worked so powerfully in and around you, words are unnecessary?
Jackson opted out of the photo.
My Braedon snugged in close to his mama. Tucked this moment right into my heart, also the one where Jackson and I stood together before God in effect “the enemy is a rat and needs to go”.
My Jen. I couldn’t have asked for a better companion last night. She joined me in humor, shared my “what just happened” face when we spied Braedon’s arm raised in praise, practiced patience when I had her stopped on an exit ramp and who dutifully turned us around when we encountered closed road after closed road (more direction problems).
Behold the unmistakable presence of God keeping us alert and staving off the threatening heavy rains until we made it home.
Wherever you are headed this week, stay on the Highway to Holiness. Just one road but available everywhere.
Wow! Thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of the journey with me.
How has Jesus worked in your life? Have you been surprised by His grace? By His lifting?
Feel free to start a conversation in the comments.
Keep watch for a guest post from my friend Jen and for an upcoming blog anniversary post.
Let’s stay connected:
Have a rest-full night.