Love on Location
I woke up with a song this morning. And it wasn’t a Christian song, which is unusual, but a love song.
“I’m already there.
Take a look around.
I’m the sunshine in your hair.
I’m the shadow on the ground.
I’m the whisper in the wind.
I’m your imaginary friend.
And I know I’m in your prayers.
Oh I’m already there.”
It’s the chorus from I’m Already There by Lonestar.
When I first got married I had these dreams of never sleeping apart from my husband.
Not. One. Night.
I had read a testimony of a couple that had never spent a night apart for over 50 years of marriage. Amazing.
I wanted that for my marriage. It wasn’t a bad example to choose to set a goal by. No reason we shouldn’t spend every night of our marriage together, right?
Barely months into our marriage an mission trip opportunity came up through Baptist Student Union on campus. I had never been on a mission trip and I was more than interested. I started talking about it at home and praying about it.
I also had some other personal things going on, and they weren’t going exactly the way I wanted. To be honest, I was an emotional, hormonal, new-bride MESS!
And that dear man loved me through my insanity. Bless his soul!
God kept laying the mission trip on my heart. I wanted something else. Bad.
I decided to make a deal with God. Ever done that in a moment of desperation?
Ok, God. If you’ll do XXXX, then I’ll do XXXX that You’re asking me to do. I’ll give it all back to You.
Well, in my immaturity, that’s what I did.
Much to my surprise, God met my demand. That meant I had to go on a mission trip that I really wanted to go on anyway.
Give Chris the dates, explain how it works, all the information, and all is good. Right? God worked everything out? Right?
Um, nope. Chris had just started this job. He couldn’t take off work to go on a mission trip, BUT he had no problem with me going.
What?!?! You want me to go without you? But that means we’ll spend nights apart? We haven’t even been married a year!
What does a girl do? Give up a goal or go back on her end of a deal with God?
Walking away from my husband for that Spring Break mission trip was one of the hardest things this newly wed and barely pregnant wife has ever had to do.
That trip was also one of the best things that has ever happened in my walk with God. Those unmarried college kids were Southern Baptist and listened to this totally weird music that couldn’t have possibly been Christian. They introduced me to DC Talk’s Jesus Freak. Um, are you sure we should be listening to music like this on a church trip? And they introduced me to Audio Adrenaline’s Big House. Say what?!?!
I got placed in the hardest of three ministry assignments that week. Smallest church. Roughest neighborhood. Oldest (age not in establishment) congregation. We prayed like we’d never prayed before. We worked our tails off. And no kids showed up.
The other two ministry sites had salvations, baptisms, numbers galore. We did our best to encourage what seemed to be a dying congregation while managing to convince ourselves that we weren’t really failing God. While others brought praises to our nightly gatherings, our group brought prayer requests and heavy hearts.
I learned that it was not only ok to love Jesus out loud and with my whole heart, but that some congregations actually ENCOURAGED that type of behavior. This music these kids were listening to, it was actually SANG in some churches. I learned that “good” Christian kids from “perfect” Christian homes weren’t any better or different from me. And when it came right down to it, I actually had wisdom and counseling that some of them needed.
Even though in my heart I wanted to go on that trip, I tried to get out of it with multiple excuses.
My excuses didn’t matter though because like the lyrics of my love song above God was already there. No matter what I threw at Him, He knew and was prepared.
He made me. He knows me. He knows and already is where He’s sending me next.
Guess what? There is a Christian version of the song, and I spent the rest of today singing it. Because with as much as I love my husband, even more important than him being there, is that fact that God is already there!
Casting Crowns sings Already There. Enjoy a vocal reminder that He really IS already there!