I was fine driving there, fine being there, even got through watching someone push their teenage friend in a wheelchair down on the lower level.
I cracked when the 'Letters to God' trailer played on the jumbo-tron. In case you're not familiar with the upcoming movie, it's about a 9 year old boy who dies from brain cancer. The actor playing the boy reminds me tremendously of a 9 year-old JD. It was almost more than I could take.
Immediately following the preview, Tenth Avenue North took the stage. I did fine, did well, was enjoying it. They played 'Hold My Heart' and I was taken back to last concert, remembering how I sat wondering what JD was thinking during the song, wondering if he took the lyrics literally, right now I can barely stand, wondering if his heart was breaking like mine, wondering if he saw me trying to hide my tears. I cried at the memory and my heart echoed the lyrics as it has so many times the last six months,
"But if there's no other way, I'm done asking 'why'
I'm on my knees, begging You to notice me
I'm on my knees, Father- will You run to me?
One tear in the driving rain
One voice in the sea of pain
Could the Maker of the stars hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say are- would You come close, hold my heart?
So many questions without answers;
So many questions without answers;
Your promises remain.."
The tears came easy at the memory, but I know the sweet promises I have to hold onto. I know where JD is and that he no longer has a breaking heart or a hurting body- He's standing, dancing even, in the presence of our God. I know there was no other way for things to happen- that God has a plan, and this was part of it. I know that God was faithful to me then, and He is faithful to me now. It was enough for me just to be there. I would've been satisfied with that- it was all I went to do, just be there, worship the Lord along with friends I love and thousands I don't know.
I had no idea that God wanted to meet me there, wanted to hold my heart, just as I had been asking Him to do- but come close, He did. I was blessed, blown away at the goodness, tenderness, the things that happened just for me... for me... for my heart, for my heart that needed touched so desperately.
The lead singer, Mike Donehey, asked the audience if they were up for hearing a new song tonight. He received an enormous applause and continued talking. "We're going to play our new release from our upcoming album. Tonight, this song goes out to Kristen, who recently lost her brother. It's called 'Healing Begins'".
I turned and looked at Hope and Maddie. "That's me..." I said, half questioning if I had even heard correctly. I stood shaking and sobbing, trying to figure out how this happened, how my name, my brother were just mentioned amongst a crowd of thousands of people- and by the lead singer of my favorite band. I figured it had something to do with the blog I had written yesterday, and had a good guess as to how they could've found out about it- but for them to read it, to dedicate the song to me... I was blown away.
You could imagine my shock, then, when a person I had never even met- she goes to school with Hope- came up and asked if I was Kristen, and if I'd want to go meet the band. So we went. The wife of the drummer took us out to the tour bus, where no one was, and then back inside to the dressing room where the band was located. I stood and talked to the lead singer and met a few other band members. I got to share some of JD's story, about the last concert we'd been to, his testimony, him wanting to be baptized, all the lives he touched. My mouth felt like it was full of cotton and I probably talked too much, but I was so excited to be able to talk about JD, to hear Mike Donehey's heart, to be encouraged. Talking with him, just like hearing him speak at the last concert we went to, makes me like their music even more- just in love with Jesus and wanting to be used by Him for His glory.Something else that was really bazaar- Mike was telling me that on the weeknight shows, they usually just have 15 minutes for their slot, so they play the songs from the old album. On Friday and Saturday, they have 20 minutes and so they play their new song. It just so happened that the lead singer from Newsboys was sick and they weren't there last night. The only band out of all of them that performed yesterday to get extra time because of the absence was Tenth Avenue North... Ordinarily, they wouldn't have even been playing 'Healing Begins'.
So many awesome things.
It was sweet to leave backstage and re-enter the concert while Third Day was playing 'God of Wonders', and then 'Agnus Dei', which sings 'Holy are You, Lord God, Almighty. Worthy is the Lamb..." - The same words that Revelation chapter 4 says are being sung in heaven around the throne of God ...
just maybe the same words JD was singing last night.
God has been so good to me. I needed that- and I'm so thankful, encouraged, and blessed.