I remember getting neon fliers from Sheila about the next great concert we were going to go see. We'd listen to CDs of the artist leading up to the event so we could learn all their songs. Then we'd cram into Sheila's maroon van that we affectionately called Laverne to drive off to Muncie or Indy or South Bend for the big event. My youth group years were filled with the sounds of the Newsboys, Toby Mac, Superchick, Relient K, Christ Tomlin, Barlow Girl and Stellar Kart. Their lyrics and the stories they shared between songs were so formative to the person I've become and so much of the foundation of my faith.
Tonight I got the chance to take some of my Young Life girls to a concert here in Indy. Kate, Malena, Katy P, Mikaela and I piled into my maroon CR-V and drove a town over to the Blue Mountain tour.
There were booths set up by different Christian radio stations, musician vendors and global charities. We got to go in the Shine photo tent and take these beauties they printed for us.
Matt Maher came onstage first and sang some songs we recognized like Turn Around and Your Grace Is Enough. I love that everyone in this giant church stands to their feet and claps along, belting out the words that they know. Then overall man with the fro came out with this slam poetry about imagination and creation. One of my girls leaned over to me and whispered, "I'm major friend crushing on this guy right now."
Then we heard from Brandon Heath, the main man of the night. His songs have been in devotions, club talks, car rides and my life for years--it was so cool to get to sing right along with him to I'm Not Who I Was.
Warren Barfield, another special guest, came out to play and share his story with the audience. I loved his story that lead up to his song Love Is Not A Fight that he wrote for his wife-- look it up. He talked about how their marriage was difficult at first but they decided to fight for love.
"There are victories for you on the other side of your battles. Fight for them. Fight for the things that matter." I love that message of hope. There are so many people need to hear that there will be victories on the other side of the battles they're deep in the trenches of right now. We must fight for the things that matter. "Love is not a fight, but it's something worth fighting for."
During intermission we got to talk to overalls for a split second. It sounded something like, "Hi, we really love overalls and think you're really cool too." He's actually a poet and writer that got connected with Brandon for this tour. I love his energy on stage and how he's jumping around and singing and dancing like he can't hold it in. I want to have energy that explosive.
When we came back we came back to Blue Mountain. Brandon's new album is filled with stories of the people that live on Blue Mountain. He said, "Some people are like blue mountains. Always blue and majestic in the distance. But if you get up close to them you'll see that they're all just brown and green like the rest of us. These are their stories." He told us the story of the coal miner in Diamond and of the young couple in Love Will Be Enough For us.
Getting to hear the background of these songs is the best part so we know where they came from and what they're all about. But isn't that true of people too? It's when we really get to know someone and hear their story that the relationship goes to a deeper value, we've bought into their life and get them in a new way.
The night was full of even more special guests--the Church sisters and their older brother. They told us that this bluegrass trio opened for Brandon while he was in North Carolina and he begged their momma to let them come on tour with him to sing songs like Heroes and Homecoming Day. These girls can sing. I would sign up to go to their concert tomorrow.
I got chills when everyone--Brandon, Matt, Warren, Overalls, the Church sisters-- all came out on stage together, a singing, dancing, rocking, guitar playing family, to sing Love Will Hold Us Together as the grand finale. "This is the first day of the rest of your life. Cause even in the dark you can still see the light, it's gonna be alright. Love will hold us together." Amen. I wish we could have just kept singing it over and over.
I'm thankful for a night of worship and music and truth like this that I got to experience with some of my favorite girls. God is so good.