Saturday, July 30, 2016

Chris Tomlin Worship Night In America 2016

It angers and saddens me that our current state of affairs reduced my child to sobs of anguish and fear over going to large public places.  I never once had this fear as a child and now an entire generation will know fear.  We were in Manhattan Saturday, July 23rd for Chris Tomlin’s Worship Night in America.  But let me back up....



Months ago Grace came to love Chris Tomlin’s song Good Good Father when Fusion (youth group) played it.  She bought the lead sheet for the piano and with her piano teacher, Rob, she mastered this challenging song.  It sparked a love of Christian music.  Now it is all we listen to.  I am convinced that when you start to fill yourself up with the love of God and you make the decision to follow him wholeheartedly and trust in Him and Him alone, you begin to turn out the negative pooh that the world is filled with.  I don’t want to listen to songs about drinking, partying, heartbreak and illicit love.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love my old Coldplay, but most of their songs are positive and meaningful.  Now, no matter what kind of day I am having, I can worship God and all is well.  So when Grace came to us and asked if we could go to his “concert” we said yes.  We try to do something big in New York once a year and we had not been in quite some time.  




Little did I know that this was no ordinary concert.  My friend told me that it was a worship night with special guests.  She attended the one in 2015 and said I was in for quite an experience.  When I got the email reminder with information for the show I was blown away.  Matt Maher!  Matt Redman! (Grace is learning his song, 10,000 Reasons now), Tasha Cobbs, Kim Walker Smith, Max Lucado, Phil Wickham, and Louie Giglio.  If you haven’t heard Louie speak about the 20 inch journey we need to take, YouTube it. Please.  

My excitement about this event was marred by the severe anxiety my child had about a large group of Christians gathering at a public place in New York City.  She felt like a target and was fearful for our safety.  I assured her that we would be safe.  For every person trying to do harm there are dozens who are protecting us from that harm.  I felt confident that God would keep us safe as well as the men and women in uniform.   So we went, all of us.  And we worshiped God. 


Being in a venue this large that in an instant became the largest church service we have ever attended was awesome.  Awe-some.  Thousands and thousands of Christ followers of every denomination gathered together with differences set aside and our uniting purpose front and center, Jesus.  We gathered to pray to Jesus.  To ask him to come to us and heal our country.  Prayer > Politics.  Washington will not heal us.  Wall Street will not heal us.  Hollywood will not heal us.  We have strayed so far from what God intended for his people.  We were literally on our knees sandwiched in between rows and in the aisles praying.  Madison Square Garden has 18,200 seats and most of those were sold (excluding the seats unavailable behind the stage).  Since I could not find an accurate number, let’s say there were 15,000 people there.  15,000 voices singing.  15,000 voices praising.  15,000 voices praying The Lord’s Prayer at - the - same - time.  Words cannot convey how powerful this moment was. 


I bought a shirt.  Prayer > Politics.  When we as a nation put aside our differences and turn our eyes toward Heaven and begin to pray, then perhaps we will see the change we so desperately need.  I know it will not be found in the man who proclaims to be “the only one” who can save this country nor will it be found in the woman who helped in 8 short years to bring it to it’s current state.  But perhaps they will be remembered for bringing us to our knees.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Friendship

What if we took the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NAS) and replaced the word Love with Friendship for after all, friendship, true friendship, is a form of love.  



Friendship is patient, friendship is kind and is not jealous; friendship does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; friendship does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; friendship bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.



When I think of friendship in this light, I realize that sometimes what we think is friendship is not, and what we want in a friend, we may already have.  When I think of friendship in Biblical terms, I realize we are blessed with friends and I am so grateful.  

We had the opportunity to spend a day with friends at Prospect Lake in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.   This is a huge family gathering for our friends and to be welcomed in, if only for a few hours, brings us such joy.  To sit and watch the girls swim and kayak, paddle board and roast hotdogs over an open fire brings me peace.  Despite the crazy heat, there was a breeze blowing and a quick downpour to cool everyone off.  When the rain passed and the hazy heat returned, it was time for us to say our goodbyes and take the 2 hour journey home.  





Saturday, July 23, 2016

Rock Climbing

Part of our reason for switching churches was that our family was desperate for community.  We wanted to do more than show up at church for an hour and go home.  We tried and tried over and over to connect but our church (and every other church in town that we tried) did not have the community and fellowship we wanted.  

Now the girls are part of a thriving youth program.  It meets during the school year and takes a break during the summer.  Occasionally events pop up and now that Lilah is in high school, they can go together.  This week they went rock climbing.  




Only a few kids were available, which at first seemed like a bummer, but turned out to be a blessing.  Lilah had the opportunity to get to know one of the leaders in a small group, her favorite setting.  The leaders were belaying the climbers so they each had more climb time and the two hours flew by.  Due to traffic, I hung out in the waiting area, finished up the Book of Hebrews (oh my....so much goodness in this book), and worked on some tasks for an event I am helping to plan, Unshaken 2017 with Moms in Prayer.





Summer is flying by and we are trying to pack it with good things.  Things we will remember.  Things that make us smile.  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A good day

If you flip back through this blog throughout the years one constant is our annual pool party at my Aunt’s house in Massachusetts.  My mother’s extended family is huge and she has dozens of cousins and they have dozens of kids who now have kids and even some of those kids have kids!  Depending on the year and people’s availability, the gatherings have ranged from pretty huge to more intimate, like this year.  

This year was just our family, my first cousins, four of the five.  I am the oldest of the crew at 44.  My sister and I have grown children.  I saw "grown" because while they are not technically grown, they are teenagers, and there is no need for me to prepare meals, change diapers, wipe noses, put on sunscreen, worry about floatation devices, sippy cups or naps.  So I can relax and play with the little people who do need all these things.  We played hard.

Imagine a tranquil setting, families watching children swim around the pool deck sipping coffee, eating burgers and potato salad, when suddenly a large stream of water is shot out of the pool and hits your father square in the chest.  Oh my.  This could have gone two ways.  This is the way it went.



It was a very very good day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Yale University Art Gallery

I am so grateful for the homeschooling parents who spend a great deal of time and emotional energy coordinating classes that are open to the homeschooling community.   

Grace and Lilah participate in art appreciation classes held at Yale University Art Gallery, home to some amazing pieces and collections.  Led by docents who are art students at Yale’s School of Art, they explore a room/gallery a month.  They missed the first tour, but attended the second, which was held in the African Art gallery.  



There were a wide range of ages in this group but enough teens to make the girls feel comfortable and the teaching truly appealed to all age groups, even the adults.  I hung back from this group, not to be anti-social, but because I want my girls to be independent in their studies.  They would both be in high school if they attended traditional school and I most certainly would not be following them around all day!

I believe that parents should not be present in the classes offered to teens, no matter how appealing the class or the subject is to us.  Often parents have a way of hijacking a class or a lesson, asking questions and interjecting with commentary which makes the children question whose class it really is.  When this happens, the students shut down because who really wants to compete for attention with a parent?  Thankfully this did not happen in this group but still, I hung back and let the girls take the lead.



They had time to really inspect art.  The drew a piece that they choose and then they drew a piece that their partner chose for them.  They were not allowed to look at the piece but could only draw according to the directions given to them by their partner.  They did surprisingly well.  




Our next tour will focus on European Art.  I’m eager to see how this may tie into our history studies....

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