Thursday, April 4, 2013

Taking the Time to Listen

A few Sunday's ago, Mark had this crazy idea to drive three hours away and take our three oldest kids to the Winter Jam to see their favorite Christian artist.  The price was right and I wasn't opposed because there were a few groups I wanted to see especially Toby Mac!  We packed up the car, brought our nephew and niece along for the excitement. It was  a road trip we will never forget.  For reasons, we never expected! 

The kids were thrilled and all the anticipation of what the concert was going to be like filled the van.  We played the silly car games you can  until someone was bored lost interest and then created a new one.  We blared the music and sang as we drove west to our destination.  We loved listening to the kids conversation about what songs they couldn't wait to hear.  My oldest was hoping that she would have an opportunity similar to  a few of her friends recently had and would get to go on stage with the one and only Toby Mac!

As we were driving, Mark received a message from one of his roommates from his college days.  Before leaving our house, I posted a comment on facebook that we were taking the family to Grand Rapids for the day.  Since his friend lives in the area, he wanted to connect with Mark.  It had been about 18 years since they last seen each other.  We told him as soon as we get in the area, we will let him know.

As we begin to drive into Grand Rapids it was total chaos.  There had to be at least 15,000 people waiting in line to get tickets.  Except there really wasn't a line! Nobody knew were the line began or ended.  It's freezing outside and we had five little people that need to eat.  We find a pizza joint to hang out for a few minutes.  We shot Mark's friend a message letting him know where he could find us, if he dared to fight the crowd!

When he walked through the doors, I recognized him instantly!  He embraced Mark and I with the biggest hug and huge smile.  We sat down and chatted.  Although it was brief, his friend was really struggling.  He didn't share everything, but just by his few comments and the look in his eyes, he just needed a friend.  He personally thanked me for writing and following the call God placed on my heart and reminded both Mark and I  that God was using us to make a difference.  We hugged and told him we will be praying for him.  As his friend walked out the door, our hearts were heavy for him.   We gathered the troops headed out and tried to find a line so we could  get to the concert we thought we drove to see.

After driving three hours and then waiting in the cold for three hours the reality of the concert was just a few more forzen  steps ahead of us!  We were almost there!!! As we approached the front of the arena, the concert sold out!

Mark was so disappointed. He was looking forward to sharing this special memory with the kids.  Even though the kids were sad, they handled it like champs!  As we walked back to the car, Mark and I looked at each other and knew God used the concert to get Mark to Grand Rapids not to see Toby Mac but to see his friend who needed someone to shine His light on him.

We kept his friend in our prayers.  On Easter we recieved a message from him and it confirmed that yes we were in Grand Rapids not for the concert but for our friend. ( Someone reading this might laugh and think that is ridicuolus.  It was just a coicidence.  Believe what you want.  We know without a doubt God has a divine appoitment for everyone.  It's just up to us if we are going to agree, show up and follow through.). 

Here is what we learned and taught our kids:
  • It's about relationships and taking the time to listen even if it's for a brief moment to let people know how much they are loved. We never know what someone else is dealing with.
  • God's will use certain things in our life to get us or someone else closer to him
  • God's plans are always better than ours.  It's not our agenda but His.
We had a great time on our way home.  Created memories and life lessons that will go much deeper than the concert would have ever gone. We know that if we can be trusted with the little that God gives us then He much more will be given.  Yes, God may have used us to help our friend but our friend was also a huge blessing to us.  There will always be more concerts but there is nothing like  receiving a message from someone who was loosing hope  to having found it once again!  That is music worth listening too! 

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