**(This is more of a personal experience of what God showed me rather than a total recap.)**
The next part of our summer came Choir Tour. A trip that we take with our students who participate in Youth Choir as they spread the Gospel by singing a specific performance at various locations across the country. My role was mostly support and spiritual director for the week. Our primary destination was Destin, FL but we made a couple of stops along the way that were particularly important for me. (I won't cover every detail by a long shot. I just plan to share highlights of what hit me).
One of our stops was near Gulfport, Mississippi. A place that is very hot, very muggy, but incidentally, now home to one of the most spontaneous nights of worship I've experienced.
The night was winding down and we were all getting ready for bed. A few students were hanging out in the hallway,(not exactly a gathering place), while one of them just playing guitar by themselves. She then started to sing. A few friends who were also ready for bed, sat down in the hall and decided to close their eyes, listen and sing as well.
Within minutes, I was pleasantly surprised to find our entire group, adults and students alike gathering together in that hall, and singing their hearts out. Our praises growing as they echoed off the walls.
It stirred something in me. For the first time in years, (seven to be exact), I had an uncontrollable urge to join in and lead worship. (Now to be clear, I've played and sang a few times in the past for our students on certain nights. But it was mostly due to us not having a band or guitarist to play that night.) So I grabbed an extra guitar, and jumped in with our student who led. I sang and played along as I was more moved in than I'd been in a while with a guitar in my hand.
It was a beautiful reawakening within me. And it only seemed to continue.
We reached our destination of Destin, FL, taking in every moment of beach time that we could. Which essentially meant half of our students didn't understand the term SUNSCREEN. For me, though, it was more than reaching Destin. We were staying in my home state.
As joyous as this made me, reminiscing over Publix, Sonny's and the gorgeous beach, at the same time it saddened me. It made me miss home even more than I already do. The cliche "so close yet so far" was more than true.
My family. My friends. Everything. It hurt.
But as much as the hurt hung on my heart, so did something else. The urge to play guitar and sing.
So that night, as the ocean and sky darkened, we went to the beach. I brought my guitar. And we worshiped. Singing songs together as the waves created their own soundtrack crashing to the shore. So much passion. So much authenticity. So much of our God in that moment. And the feeling of longing for home, seemed to weaken for the time being.
We continued on to various sites as the students sang and performed. At times, it seemed like the bus was a moving campground we settled in.
It was here, looking out the window, as most people napped, in the silence of the road flashing by, that the feeling of longing for home seemed to nestle its way back in. So I did the only things I knew would calm my senses.
I prayed and then pulled out the guitar.
This continued the whole week. As we shared the gospel in other retirement homes and churches through song. As we bonded through activities and life on the road. As we said a tearful goodbye to one of our Pastors and his family who were leaving for their new church the following week. All the way to the end of the trip. The only thing that I wanted to do was pull out the guitar and play some songs.
And it hasn't left me yet.
I still can't stop playing. I still can't stop singing. And now, as it turns out, I can't stop writing songs.
Seriously. Me. Writing songs. Someone who isn't hardly that musically talented, writing songs. (Not necessarily good songs, but songs nonetheless). Songs that soothe outer pressures of my inner dialogues.
And I find it only fitting that it started on a week long trek where we spread the Gospel of Jesus through one of life's most precious gifts-songs.
I think at this point in my life, my eyes have been opened to see that it helps me to make songs. It eases my mind to strum. It settles my senses to write lyrics. It calms the crashing waves in my veins to sing. (Even if I'm the only one listening).
And they make me feel like I'm truly home.
I don't know if it could impact our ministry (or even if it should) but I know God will always stir something up, regardless what it is, for the sake of His incredible Love and Glory.
Thank You Lord for bringing me across the country to show me this. Especially with everything You already did the week prior. (Which I'll get into tomorrow).
***Part 3 of Summer of 2016-Dauntless will be out tomorrow.***
AND BELOW ARE A COUPLE MORE PICTURES OF OUR TRIP