So Heather (sister) and Emma (sister) and I packed up first thing Sunday morning, November 8, and hit the road for Nashville.
Still, I think I have just about the best job in the world and prefer to keep the ratio to about 95% “living it” and 5% “talking about it”, but cool all the same.
It was like the United Nations in children or something, passing in a continual parade in front of the back section where we sat. The most stylish accessory of the day was an adopted child, seriously!
All of the speakers were passionate, on topic, had or are adopting – names such as Jim Daly (Focus on the Family President & CEO) and Jedd Medefind (Christian Alliance for Orphans President and former White House staffer) – but the leader in the field I most identified with was Dr. Sharon Ford, of the Colorado Division of Child Welfare Services. She obviously does battle for these kids at every level, is passionate about seeing every one in the best home possible, gets fed up with the bureaucracy that traps innocent kids, and is used to having her heart broken as she pursues the vision. But she has kept at it and not given up, and many children (and families) have been blessed by her dedication!
Then of course, Steven Curtis Chapman was amazing. We had never seen him live before and it was quite an honor. He seems like an incredibly humble, down-to-earth, Godly man. Some of his family was there but I couldn't glimpse them around all the video cameras and cranes.
Just as an aside, what stuck out to me the most and impacted me the most from the entire event was not “save the orphan” (something I’ve already given 10 years of my life to) but how the Chapmans are finding hope in the midst of deep sorrow. I could have broken down and sobbed at just about any point when he was talking or singing because he came back constantly to losing their Maria a year and a half ago. Since I’ve lost two babies this year I could jump onto the same page with him all too quickly. (I know “lost” isn’t the correct word, but when you are not where they are and miss out on watching them grow, it sure feels like a loss...for us down here, anyway.)
Actually the past few months it seems to me like everywhere I turn, someone is working through terrible grief and sorrow. For example, in every sermon of my family’s new pastor here, what I read into it is how to deal with losing someone you love (he lost his mother right before I got here, plus multiple sudden deaths in their church body). As I was thinking on that the other day, I realized that more than “all of a sudden” everyone is losing someone near to them, those are just the high notes that stick out to me at this point in life as I process what has happened this year and the brevity of life.
Even so, I wasn’t the only one getting emotional as he shared the story behind his song “Cinderella” and then played it for us. He also did several songs from his newest album “Beauty Will Rise”. I decided then and there I would get that CD before leaving the US! It’s obvious that SCC is a wise man and has walked through this faithfully for 18 months now. It might be really painful to listen to, but as SCC challenged us at the concert, “We have to anchor our hope to that day that is coming!” And that we must be willing to say, "If my heart must be broken, then that's the sacrifice I am willing to make. I am Yours, God."
On a completely lighter note, at the beginning of the concert while the Children of the World Choir sang, I had glanced down and when I looked up, I swear (except that I don’t) Steven Curtis Chapman was in the aisle not ten feet from me, looking right at me AND WINKING. Now I think, and I hope, that he was communicating something to the sound guys right behind my head and not ME, but I was so shocked to realize who it was, the first time in my life to see him live in front of me, I think my jaw dropped open before nudging Heather. So mature. ANYWAY….
I’ll end what’s become a very long post with a video of SCC and the Children’s World Choir singing a final song together, one of my very favorites, Mighty to Save. As I’ve blogged about before, the line “He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus conquered the grave” has never meant so much to me since January 23 and May 28.
You can see it all with professional filming right HERE in this link to what appears to be the entire broadcast (2 hours and 10 minutes)! http://www.gospelmusicchannel.com/orphansunday
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus." Hebrews 6:19-20a
P.S. - Read about our special evening post-concert here!