Well, we had a beautiful, but very cold week of hanging out. My poor kiddos came down here thinking they were going to escape our Ohio cold and be swimming, but we were in our winter coats some of the time. Still beats the 8 degrees we were having at home!
Last Sunday I sang on 3 services at Sanibel Community Church in Sanibel, Florida. Sanibel is a beautiful little island in the gulf, and I had to be there pretty early to sound check. I drove most of the way in the dark, and then, just as I was crossing over the water on the causeway, the sun broke out over the horizon – amazing. It silhouetted palm trees against the sky, and threw red and orange streaks across the dark blue of the water. I keep saying the same thing on this tour, but whenever I travel and see all the different ways God has shown His creativity, I can’t even fathom what an artist He is. I want to capture it in some small part in a song, and it reminds me how small I am.
The church was wonderful, great people, and I really enjoyed meeting the staff – I’m looking forward to working with them again! And between services, the bell choir came out into the courtyard and played, and it was just gorgeous.
On Monday morning, I had a wonderful time with the ladies at First Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, FL. I keep meeting such wonderful people – it really makes me realize how fortunate we are to be the family of God! Somehow I didn’t get a picture inside, but here’s the front of their lovely church.
Monday night we were with the CBS class in Lakeland. I was there last year and it was fun to see them again!
Tuesday we had the fun of singing to my grandmother’s 101 year old cousin, Nick. He wanted to hear an old hymn, “In the Garden”, that his mother used to sing. My mom sang the harmony with me, and when we got to the chorus, he jumped right in! It was great to see how the music hides God’s word in hearts.
That night we had a private event with some friends. We had an extra night on the calendar, and they decided to invite a few people over to hear me. They don’t know how to do anything small! We had about 60 people crammed in the party room at their building – it was a lot of fun.
Wednesday morning I was on the morning show on WJYO, Kingdom FM, in Fort Myers, Florida. I had an awesome time with Joe Scoggins – thanks for being so much fun! I look forward to being back down there, and visiting again!
Yesterday was a hard day for me. I visited the girls at the Juvenile Detention Center in Fort Myers. They gave me about an hour to talk to them, and I sang a few songs too. My heart really goes out to these girls – I made some really bad decisions when I was a teenager, and when I finally did turn to God, I was sure that I was so messed up, He could never use me. God has been so faithful to me, teaching me about His grace, and about His ability to use everything for good. I really wanted to give these girls the gift of knowing that they are valuable to God, and that His grace is real. I know that I don’t have much to give, but God certainly does, and I prayed like crazy before going, and have been ever since. If you have a minute – say a prayer for these girls. They are going through some very tough stuff.
I think it was Bob Pierce (the founder of World Vision) who prayed that God would let his heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God. I want that too – I don’t ever want to get stuck in my insular little world, not looking outside myself, not seeing the pain and the places where we can be God’s hands.
I feel like God keeps putting me in places that break my heart, just as I know He will in Africa, and I keep praying that He will show me what He wants to do with that, and how we can help. Let yourself see something today you might want to pretend isn’t there, and then ask God, “How can You use me in it?”