A Story of a Song 8 Years in the Making
This story is for Steven Curtis Chapman who I saw in concert for the very first time March 10th.
The miracle is I wasn’t even supposed to be there.
When Wycliffe Bonnie join Cousin Crystal & I for the weekend in Orlando she tripled the fun. We became three girlfriends in Disneyland with some serious connections: her friends bestowed on us free tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert only an hour away in Lakeland, FL!!!
They’d bought them for some other folks whose plans had changed and we got the offer Friday night. After checking the map, we said yes! Friday we completed our very serious game of mini golf and headed off to Lakeland!
Backtrack 8 years. I’m 16, almost 17 years old.
It’s my last day at home; my last ride with mom delivering newspapers. Tomorrow I leave for the amazing “Summer Tour of 2004” where I’ll hit up not one, not two … but THREE summer camps in a two month time-frame, after which I’ll spend a single week at home before moving to Carlisle for two years and permanently leaving home forever. I’ll see my family about four times a year for the next four years, even less the years following.
In short, my life is never going to be the same.
My mom knows this.
We’ve spent the past three years ramping up my class schedule and switching teachers & ballet schools searching for a better place I can train. All for the purpose of pursuing God’s calling on my life to dance which He placed in my heart 9 years prior.
What does mom decide to do to launch me into the world? It’s already been a hard road. And I had no idea that what I was in for would leave the pages of the Psalms crinkled from many nights crying and many more days too tired to cry.
She plays Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Great Adventure,” better known to me as “Saddle Up Your Horses.”
Now I have to say at this point … blaring “Saddle Up Your Horses” at 7 in the morning in your quiet, white-collar neighborhood while coming back from the paper route with hands blackened from fresh newsprint, bundled up in long johns, cheap boots and polartec is not the coolest thing in the world.
But I sang along.
Mom wanted to send me off well and it’d be a while before we sang together again like we always did at the piano bench, lifting her worship songs up to God (I’m her first lyric stenographer), so I pretended to enjoy it.
I didn’t understand. I really just didn’t understand.
Yes, the first four years would be filled with so much anguish I’d lay on the floor of my smelly apartment in Pittsburgh and struggle to breath from just remembering it all … but the next four years would be filled with the awkward joy of self-discovery and thankfulness for sunbeams and after that … well, let’s just say I see the world at my fingertips.
Jump back with me to 2012 in Lakeland Florida. I’ve come back to my seat from intermission. Andrew Peterson has played his sweet, story folk songs, Josh Wilson has wowed us with his whippersnapper, back-up looping single guitar “protege in the house, don’t kill yourself now” rendition of “Amazing Grace,” and Steven Curtis Chapman is beginning the second half of the evening.
Oh and by the way, I’m in the third row. Our blessed ticket-givers (their names escape me, if you’re reading this know I will never forget your faces or hearts and I’ll see you when I see you on the other side ;-) have taken the initiative to get there an HOUR early and save themselves - and their beneficiaries - “VIP” seating. Life doesn’t get much better than this.
And the song began.
"Started out this morning, in the usual way … " By the time the chorus hit, I was jumping. The only one jumping nonetheless, but I really didn’t care. You see Steven Curtis Chapman was playing my Momma’s theme song for me and I was jumping.
Also, he was staring right at me. The entire time.
Steven Curtis Chapman was playing that song for me. And at no better time in my life.
See … if any body told me while I was crawling through the pit-hell of depression in Carlisle that the thick storm clouds were truly lined with silver … and filled with raindrops of gold, I would not have believed you.
The Bible says when you patiently endure a trial that is added on extra, not to discipline you but to grow you, the reward you earn is credit to your faith as was Job’s. When we are able to honestly look at our situation, understand the unfairness, sigh and say “The Lord give and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the LORD” there’s something that grows in our soul that doesn’t grow any other way but through suffering.
Which is why it is a privilege to “share in the sufferings of Christ.” Many people forget that sharing in His undeserved sufferings is a Promise made to us a believers. Some people don’t know, others seem to like to forget. Those people concern me.
The Bible is an all or nothing book. Leave anything out and you’ve got all the drama of “Revelation” to reckon with. I have too much holy fear of our Powerful, Righteous Creator to want to mess with that … but I digress.
My life now is better that I could have ever dreamed.
I always thought “Wonder what I’m going to do at 25 … I hope it’s exciting!” but I could have never imagined this.
And none of it would be possible with out those heart-grinding days and soul-wrenching nights doing tendus and fighting mold allergies in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
After all these years I’m finally ready for the adventure. It’s going to be more beautiful and excruciating than I could have ever imagined but I’m ready.
It’s time to saddle up the horses.
I’ve got a shift in the morning.