Sunday, September 9, 2018

Israel, Here We Come

Hello Dear Readers

Once in a while, something comes up that just has to be shouted out with an exclamation mark! I am so excited! John and I are on our way to Israel. If we actually survive the flight, we will be there in about 16 hours. I have movies and books and podcasts and magazines and audiobooks and a new neckroll to keep me alive, so survival is, Lord willing, a good probability... especially if I don’t think about how long it’s taking to get there and how sore my rear end is getting.

My goals: Look and experience. Will I be drawn closer to Jesus? Yes Yes Yes. I have high expectations in this department.

We are going with a group so most everything is decided in advance. This causes less fighting... a good idea...

It’s going to be hot. Not warm, hot. In Tiberias, it’s been topping out at 100 degrees. Nice and hot and humid. There are absolutely no hot weather clothes in my closet fit for sweltering.

And... I read “The Source” by Michener as research for this trip. All 910 pages.

And there is so much to see and learn and experience that I’m sure my mind will just explode with it all. It’s Israel. It’s where Jesus walked. He was there.

So this will be life-changing. Bring it on. I’m ready... if I survive this plane flight.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Concert

It's been 4 weeks and I'm still quite delightfully surprised, nearly giddy, actually... about my harp concert at the Leonard Grimes Amphitheater. John and I are going to another concert out there tonight and I'm having all these wonderful flashbacks about my event as memories are flying through my thoughts. I must give witness to what happened and how I felt.
The new Leonard Grimes Amphitheater at Grime Farm, just west of Marshalltown.




Here's my statement and I'm sticking to it:  God made the impossible possible.





While being honored with the invitation to play,  I was also worried and scared. To say I was filled with fear is a pathetic understatement. I WAS SCARED. My friend Carrie invited me to play a concert at the Amphitheater built in honor of her father. She said, "I really want to hear your harp here." I was touched and in a moment of weakness, I agreed to play; a date was set for an hour long concert. I was to be the 2nd concert of a 4 concert series at the Leonard Grimes Amphitheater.


The first concert of the series was successfully played by the ever-popular Bob Dorr Blue Band who has a large following here in Iowa  I got that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach as John and I walked into that concert; the place was packed. People came. There was no place to park. People were dancing and truly enjoying the event. How could I, a lonely harpist, follow this?? It seemed like an impossibility.


I knew from the start a lonely harpist was not going to cut it so I invited my harp teacher to join me. She immediately turned me down wanting no part in this outdoor venue an hour and a half from her home in August, her slow month. So I asked Judy, a local flutist, to join me. And... I asked some friends to waltz to one of my songs. They didn't want to do this, but agreed. Boy, do I owe them... At the last minute, I invited the Jubilee Accordion Trio to play. Yay!


Be reminded, dear reader, that all this time, I. Am. Scared. I'm praying and praying and praying... for skill, for wisdom, for ideas, for HELP... even for rain to cancel the whole event... for this would get me out of this impossible.


I'm all about playing the harp as ministry. I can play a funeral or play bedside for someone in pain or play under prayer and communion all day long. These are worship and ministry settings and my heart is all over these situations. I jump in. However, a CONCERT setting is a whole new ballgame. Generally, it is not ministry; it's more a show of skill and talent and a certain amount of entertainment is required. Will people listen? Should I tell jokes??


I kept reading the same passages from Luke 12  in my New Living Translation Bible day after day:

"Jesus said, "Don't worry about everyday life - whether you have enough to eat or clothes to wear. For life consists of far more than food and clothing.... Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not! And if worry can't do little things like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?"

Ok, so I shouldn't worry... yea right... But then He goes on to say this:

"These things dominate the thoughts of most people, but Your Father already knows your needs. He will give you all you need from day to day if you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom."

Ok. I need to bring in the Kingdom; that's who I am: a Kingdom-bringer-inner.  I can do that. I would play "Always Praise" and explain what it means and the process of how I wrote it. Hello Kingdom!  Ok. One song is possible.

2 weeks before my concert, a tornado hit our community. I was composing a song on my blue electric Camac harp as the sirens went off. I thought I'd write some oddly modern composition about a sunrise for the concert. Change of plans. I'd write a tornado song after our electricity comes back on (5 days later.)  More about that in another blog as this one is getting too long...

The concerts that are the most fun, in my opinion, are the ones in which the performer speaks to the audience in witty repartee... There lies another BIG ISSUE! When I speak in front of people, I lack the witty part. I stumble. I say odd things. Sometimes I cackle at odd moments. There is nothing natural in me when it comes to speaking to large groups of people. This is a HUGE ISSUE and I embraced being scared and worried over this impossibility.

But I must bear witness that this passage in Luke 12 is true:

"When you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don't worry about what to say in your defense, for the Holy Spirit will teach you what needs to be said even as you are standing there."

I was not on trial, but I was defending the beauty of the harp and my ability to perform on it. I was defending my heart's intent on bringing the Kingdom and sharing my motives for songwriting. I was sharing my soul right there in front of everyone... so I wasn't on trial, but I was being judged.

So...  The concert happened and all went well! I spoke well! I played well!  My hands did not shake....  The audience listened intently; most all 230 of them were quiet and hanging on my notes and words.  My friend Carrie cried with happiness over how successful the concert was. I must say the fear melted off and I relaxed into it and flowed; or I should say the Spirit flowed... He was witty! He used me to speak and play for this audience. It was everything I hoped...



Why why why did I worry so? Why was I so scared? Why did I lose so much sleep? Why did it feel so impossible?

Forgive me, Lord, I didn't trust as I should. You showed me in plain sight what Your Word says. You were right there; this is Your MO.  You cared. You made a way. You are calling me into a higher level of trust. You are teaching me through this concert to lean back into you and trust for the impossible.

How can I possibly thank you enough! It will take a lifetime of thanks and praise! All glory to You as you made my impossible possible. Oh that the audience would think back about the concert and be reminded of You and how great You are.

"For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom." 

This picture of Father God being happy to give me the Kingdom is beyond my imagination.... seems impossible.  How intimate it feels to have God, THE GOD, care about me like this. It fills me with happiness... it gives me great happiness to give You great happiness! That's exactly what I want to do! I'm going to believe this impossible is possible... that it's true.

It's true for you, too.

I'd love to hear how God made something possible for you that seemed impossible... I'd love to hear your story...