In 2011, the folks behind the CGDC were gracious enough to allow us to put that year’s conference together. Of many great things to come from that experience, one of my favorite was the BarlowGirl concert.
For one thing, I’ve been a shameless fan for years. Second, it was such fun to put on a concert so it was a win in my book from jump street. But then there was so much more. We told them at a pre-set meeting that that our hope was something at least as worshipful as entertaining that seemed to change their expectation a little. When we told them that we really didn’t have any guidelines or boundaries but rather that we just trusted them to do what they were really good at – well let’s just say they took that invitation and ran with it.
Those women played their hearts out, they prayed their hearts out and the Spirit was there to sing with them! It was powerful, it was holy and on top of all that it rocked. Wearing my fanboy hat I was ecstatic. Wearing my ‘event organizer’ hat my ‘expectations were exceeded’ – it was great to see them live and to see such talent up close.
But there was still more and in my mind the best part of the whole thing. As you might expect we had the chance to meet them and get to know them as people, not just the three ladies, but also their team. Specifically I had the pleasure of meeting their father, Vince, who was also their manager. Not to say that I expected the worst but I know from experience that not all Christian business folks walk the walk quite as well as they talk the talk…on stage. But this whole group struck me as so genuine and honest and human that by the time they went away I couldn’t help feeling like we’d made some new friends, especially with Vince.
OK – why am I going over all of this?
Because they’re retiring – and I’m glad.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s a part of me that’s not glad at all – I’m pretty bummed out really to see a band I’ve enjoyed for most of a decade wrap it up. And after the rare grace of seeing them live, getting to know them (a little) and knowing what they’re like as people – well of course I’m bummed. But when I heard the news a few weeks ago I remembered a passing thought from that concert two years ago – living on the road must be hard – and in my spirit I felt like this was the right move for them at this time. I found the “good for them” voice to be stronger and more confident than the “what a drag” voice. As the Word says, everything has a season.
This bit of news has me thinking about seasons and timing and how hard it can be to live in the present. How hard it can be to move on from the familiar to the unknown and how critical it is to do both. If the Holy Spirit is compared to the wind then I have to realize that motion is essential to His nature. There’s no such thing as a still wind, a still day is when there is no wind.
And it also me thinking about how most all things have endings…and that’s good. Jobs end, projects end, lives end and in most cases, that’s completely appropriate. Often a good thing must die that a better thing might grow in its place. It’s the clinging that gets us wrapped up and stagnated, and clinging to even the best of things could be poisonous to what God has planned next. Just ask Peter about that whole “get behind me Satan” thing. As an example, last year, Lauren Barlow put a book together called ‘Inspired by Tozer‘ which is pretty fantastic and I can’t help but wonder what other things might grow from that family as they step out into new territory. More music? Speaking? Writing? Maybe nothing in the public eye at all. I’m just glad to hear something in their voices that sounds like courage and a willingness to put a thing down when the King say it’s time.
That’s a necessary trait for all of us who dare to chase the Wild Goose.
So to Vince, Beka, Lauren, Rebecca, and Alyssa – may the Lord bless you and keep you. May your hearts be reborn even as (I imagine) they feel like they are suffering. And may we all learn to count our days…but not at the cost of living them.
And now – a fitting poem from ol’ Bill.