Friday, November 5, 2010

Once Upon A Time... We Made Music Together

Back... back in the day, the Lord did this amazing little thing called,

Women's Fellowship

Wait... let me back-up.

Waaaayyyy back in the day, our family attended a church called Rolling Hills and while leading a bible study, I met a woman who went from student to mentoree (is that a word?) and then, my friend.

This is the story of how I met Andrea.

In the beginning, during the "mentoree" stage, we used to meet every week or two.  
After the group study we were doing was finished, we started doing studies with just the two of us.

Hard studies.  Good studies. Healing studies.
I cannot begin to tell you how much "baggage" the Lord cleaned out in those years.
He healed our hurts.  He mended our broken parts. He gave us hope.

We did this for a long time.

Somewhere early in this, she said, "I've been sharing what I've been learning with my friends.  And they've been excited about it."

To which I replied, "That's nice."  

Okay, I didn't exactly say that, but that's kinda the idea.

I encouraged her to encourage her friends to find a mentor.

And by mentor, I simply mean... two people are walking on the same road with the same destination and someone has to hold the flashlight.

I was a flashlight holder-- holding and pointing to Jesus.

{So all of you reading that have been feeling the "tug" to mentor someone and run away screaming, "I can't!!!"  The question to ask yourself, "Can you hold a flashlight?"  The answer is "Yes."}

Back to story... I got home that night after we had met and I felt the all too familiar tap-tap on my shoulder from the Lord.

"Hmmm... yes?  Talking to me?"

You could do once-a-month.

"I could do what??! once-a-month?"
You could do once-a-month.


Back to Andrea... "Um... I don't have any idea what this would look like or what we would do, but do you think your friends would be interested in getting together once-a-month for something that I have no idea about?"

Yes, it was that clumsy.

She said she would check.  She checked.  They said yes.

I was thinking, "I've got one more possible "out." I'll ask my husband and if he doesn't think it's a good idea, I'll be off the hook and God can't be upset because I'll be listening to my husband.

I can be such a idiot.  Anyway...

"Karl, Andrea and I were thinking about maybe doing something and inviting people she knows... in the evening, once-a-month on a Friday.  What do you think?"

And I quote, "I think that sounds great honey."

Are you serious??!!


Did I mention that at that point, I didn't particularly like being with groups of women?

I've been hurt several times (since dreaded middle school) by female friends.
I didn't know how to have healthy female relationship.
I preferred hanging with the fellas and talking about tools and Home Depot.

But the Lord... He has His own ideas.  His ways are higher than my ways and all that :)

And that my bloggy friends, is how Women's Fellowship was born.

We had no idea what we were doing.

But we met and prayed.  I'd share a devotional.

I'd drive home and agonize over said devotional.

I'd tell myself, "You can't do this."

Yet pray, "Lord, if you want me to do this... um... You do it-- I'll just show up."

Repeat the following month.

For the first few months... we always had eight women attend.

Sometimes it would be a different eight... but always eight.

I learned that eight in the bible is a picture of new beginnings.
It was so appropriate.

Vanessa started coming.  She could play the guitar... and the same time!

We started singing worship first, then a devotional, fellowship, and snacks.
Snacks are good.

One month, one of our "regulars" couldn't make it and asked if we could tape it.

We did-- get this:  On cassette tape!

Wow-- I am so old!

Our eight had become ten, had become twelve, had become fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty...

You get the idea.

We started doing dinners before worship.

Eventually, I would let Andrea know what I was sharing on ahead of time.
She would take it and tweak it for a younger audience.

Moms and their daughters started coming.

After worship, Andrea would take the girls upstairs to share the same devotional as the moms down with me.  That way Moms and daughters could talk about the same thing and what they learned, etc...

It was an amazing, exciting, scary, crazy, busy, wonderful time in my life.

After everyone else had gone home, the small core group of us... Andrea, Stacey, Vanessa, Margeaux, Tanya, and myself, we would stay up (enjoying the "afterglow") and play guitars and sing and laugh and sing some more.

These times... these are ones I cherish in my heart.

One day... the Lord pulled the plug.

Women's Fellowship had served it's purpose and it was time to lay it down.

That was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I wanted to hold on to it.

I didn't want to disappoint anyone.

I didn't want things to change.

But, more than that, I wanted to obey the One who could see deeper and farther than I ever could.

Did I mention that at this point, I not only liked groups of women, but I loved being with groups of women?  And I especially loved all these women.

And in the, very literal, last two months of WF, realized I loved teaching/sharing with women.
I stopped completely freaking out each month (both before and after) and during those last two months, I actually had fun.

I thought it was fun.

And I thought I would do that for the rest of my earthly life.

That last Friday night, April 1, 2005 (seems funny that it was April Fools' Day, huh?), I wrapped up our teaching portion faster than usual and, very teary, made the announcement that this was to be our last meeting.

We all cried... the little girls cried... the mommies cried.

A season had ended... a new season was beginning.

For me that new season involved much illness, much pain, surgeries, and heartache.

These same women that laughed with me and sang with me would be the same women that cleaned my house, brought me meals, stayed by my bedside, give me sponge baths! (another story for another time), and love on my children when I couldn't.

What helped me through that season was the "fruit" of the season that just ended.

In all of our playing and singing, Andrea and I wrote a lot of music together. 

Usually, I'm the lyrics, she is the music, and she does the singing because she sings like an angel.

Me?  Not so much.  I did sing one song called, "Fear Not."

When I recently had the honor of sharing at our church mini-retreat, I asked the Lord if I could please, pretty please have Andrea for worship.

He said yes... and so did she :)

Andrea has been in her own difficult season this last year.

We are no longer at the same church, we aren't in a bible study together, and except for the retreat, I have probably seen her three times in the last six months.

But the Lord, in His great kindness, let me "have" her for an entire day.

We sang, we laughed, we prayed, and we sang some more.

It wasn't the same though.

She is different.  I am different.
Thankfully, the One that binds us together is the same-- yesterday, today, and forever.

And He gave us such wonderful gifts, evidence, of what He has done in our lives and in our hearts, by the music we wrote and sang all those months and years ago.

I realized I have never shared any of this here and I felt like it was just time.

Now keep in mind, most of these tracks are not professionally recorded.
We made these recordings so that we would have them.

I hadn't listened to them in years... until two weeks ago.

And now... I want to share a few favorites with you...

(1) Good Morning Lord

(2) Into The Holies

(3) Ancient of Days

(4) Woman at the Well

(5) Withered Hand

(6) Issue of Blood

(7) Prayer

(8) Fear Not

(9) Psalm 91-- Makes me cry every time I listen.  This one was all Andrea...

(10) We Worship You

(11) Day and Night (This is the song we did at the retreat)

Love you Annie...


margaret elaine said...

Love you so much. All of you. What a wonderful bright spot in my life. Miss you hugely. <3

kreativekoosa said...

Oh Lain! This post made me cry. What a wonderful time that was in my life as well. I was blessed by your teachings, by the fellowship, and by the Word that God was planing in each of our hearts. Thank you for the memories. I was just listening to Ann's music yesterday during work and it was so peaceful to me. Love you - Bug

Ann said...

OH! Such a sweet reminder of such sweet sweet times! You are the bestest flashlight holder ever and I can't even begin to imagine my life without you! I have absolutely LOVED seeing all the amazing things the Lord has done in and through you. So many women are blessed just by getting to know you. You love people so beautifully, it is inspirational. And you have MAD SKILLZ and a heart to share all that you learn by teaching others, whether it is in the Word, homeschooling, yarn or just life. I love you with all my heart and even when we aren't together as often I think of you and pray for you just as much as ever!!!! You are my sister in every way a sister can be!

ibodlb said...

I remember you ladies sharing your beautiful voices, lyrics and guitar strummin': different ensembles at different times, but always lovely and uplifting. I do miss that--seems we don't have female groups sharing anymore at Athey--sigh. (Except maybe at Christmas.)

Thanks for posting this, Lainie. Even though I wasn't a part of your Women's Fellowship, it was still a walk down memory lane for me.


Jennifer said...

This is simply beautiful, Lainie. The story, the music, the heart behind it all. Beautiful.

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