Consider this fair warning. I have a LOT to say. A LOOOOOOTTTTT. If I had to guess, this will probably be the LONGEST blogpost I've ever written. I actually may put it in parts/separate blog posts - THAT is how much I have to say. Because what I'm about to write about doesn't even seem like it could have possibly happened. Even now, 2 months removed from it, I STILL look back and absolutely CAN. NOT. BELIEVE. IT.
It all began on the day I found out that the Bethel Church worship team was coming to the Northeast. I had actually put a trip to Bethel on my bucket list (it's still there!), but this was a way that I could satiate my appetite to worship with them in the meantime. When I purchased the tickets, I just KNEW that something big was going to happen. Didn't know to whom, but I KNEW KNEW that it would be something that none of us would forget. Before I forget though - I went to this concert with two of my dear friends - and thank GOD because they can vouch that every single word I am typing here is the truth!
My dear, sweet friends dubbed me #fangirl for the day (well, honestly for the weeks before) because of the way I would spill over excitement and expectation when anyone even started saying ANYTHING about this worship night. If we only knew...
On the way up there, or perhaps just a little bit before, I had mentioned that there was one worship leader that I was REALLY praying that I could meet one on one - or at least have the opportunity to tell her - that she was such a MAJOR catalyst in my life. I 'grew up' these past couple of years watching her worship and being able to connect with it - and by proxy, being able to connect with the Father. I had this VERY strong NEED to tell her this, but the main message that burned in my heart was that I needed to tell her that SHE was the one who gave me permission to worship in Spirit and Truth in the way it felt right to me. I can't really explain it much more than that - it was her ability to worship with absolute abandon that permitted me to do the same. Do I still hold back when I'm leading, of course (working on it...) ... but I will say her example has helped me open up a little wider each time.
Despite the fact that I could have crawled out of my skin from the excitement of what was to come, the drive up to Portland was uneventful - just a few friends, talking and encouraging and speaking truth in love. When we got there, we didn't really know where to park. We stumbled on this parking lot - it was one of those pay to park deals. We pulled in, I was getting VERY anxious because it was creeping close to the time we had to be there for the early breakout session and I did not want to miss one second. One TEEEENY parking space (for my friends NOT SO TEEEEENY SUV), two attempts at the parking ticket machine, and three or more questions to the lot attendant, we FINALLY were able to head over to the venue. A solid 30 minutes later. Those 30 ridiculous minutes? Divine intervention.
As we were waiting for the parking debacle to be taken care of, I said for the 1,637th time that I really REALLY hoped to be able to tell this worship leader the profound impact she has had on me.
Now - Portland is a hustling, bustling city. People everywhere. Prius' and food trucks abounding... There were many people walking up and down every street. Each going in their own direction, here and there... <- an="" fact.="" font="" important="" is="" nbsp="" this="">->
As we are walking and we turn the corner on to the street that the venue is on, there are suddenly NO other people around. It was bizarre considering the amount of people we had just been with. I have a bad habit of looking at the ground when I'm walking. And so as we turned the corner, I happened to look up. In the distance, I see these two ladies walking towards us. One with red hair, the other with black. From far away, I couldn't REALLY tell... BUT ... my Spirit leaped - sort of like I imagine the baby in Elizabeth's womb leaped when her sister Mary greeted her. I KNEW God was about to give me the most amazing gift.
Everything was simultaneously speeding up and slowing down. I panicked. I turned to my friends in disbelief and I said - that is HER. (#fangirl, remember?). I said to them that I couldn't say what I had to say to her because then I would TRULY be a #fangirl - but they encouraged me and said I HAD to... In hindsight I really did HAVE to... I think I needed to tell her just as much as she needed to hear that. Why else would God orchestrate this whole thing? Why else would God delay our parking, clear the street, then put them STRAIGHT in my path so that when I lifted my gaze, I saw them?
And so.. I pulled them aside - MIND YOU - there are STILL NO OTHER PEOPLE on this street or near us. It was like we were in a bubble. Speaking of, I bubbled over with all of the words and feelings in my heart. And she stood there, smiling and twirling the hair of her sleeping baby that she wore...and at the end of it all, I could have gone home and been satisfied - worship concert or no worship concert ...
Little did I know that was JUUUUUST the beginning of something spectacular...
** Clearly, I decided to split this up .. come back SOON for part 2 **