Last Friday evening, on the way home from Holiday for Her, I called my dear sister Lauren to tell her all about the night, as I was still bubbling over our speaker that was there. As we were talking, she brought up the upcoming Amy Grant Lead me On concert that John, her husband, had gotten her tickets for for their anniversary. Unfortunately, John was not going to be able to get the time off work and so, Lauren had decided to make the trip by herself. It was on this call that I half joking half wishing had mentioned the possibility of me making the drive and meeting her there to join her for this most special of nights. After I said it, I instantly started thinking about how amazing it would be, but quickly tried to not get my hopes up as it was only 4 days away and I wasn't sure about child care or even if David would be ok with it. The next evening, I mentioned it to David. He certainly had his reservations with it, mostly due to the fact that it was 4 hours away and I would be making that drive alone. I just love that he is so protective over me in that way! I told him to think about it and to let me know the next day. Late Sunday night, he gave me the go ahead and my mind started racing with excitement. Early the next morning, I called Lauren to tell her the good news.
Now, let me give some history on the relationship with Amy and our family. My dad, who was in the Christian music Industry for the majority of his life, knew Amy as a very young girl trying to get her feet wet in the Industry. He befriended her and wrote reviews for her that I'm sure were very helpful. As time went on, they kept up with each other and 20 years ago, on her original tour of the "Lead Me On" tour, we were all at one of her concerts. I was only 7 or 8 but I can still remember her hugging on us and us on her, and her referring to herself as our "big sister." What a sweet memory!
Now, back to the story...
It wasn't until Monday evening that I had pinned down child care for the girls (Thank you so much Janet and Kristie!) and it started to feel real. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about making that drive alone, but excited at the same time. I knew I would be driving through the mountains and I also knew with all that time alone, that I could have sweet worship with God the whole way there! What a gift in of itself! I packed my little bag, grabbed my pillow, kissed my precious family goodbye and off I went! My expectations for the drive were far succeeded. It was amazing! The clouds were singing, the mountains seemed to be on fire from all the reds, oranges and yellows on the trees. I made it to Greeneville, TN in exactly 4 hours from the time I left which means I DIDN'T GET LOST! Praise God for that! After a quick reunion, freshen up and dinner, we were off to the concert!
It was amazing! Lauren and I knew most all the words to the songs, having grown up listening to them, but they took on a whole new meaning now that we were hearing them with our "new" God given ears. Amy's voice was soothing as usual and her heart for the Lord shone through strong as ever! At one point she shared this story with us and Lauren captured it:
After the concert ended, Lauren and I just knew we had to find a way to see her, though we didn't hold any backstage passes or "know" anyone that could get us in. The audience trickled out and the only people left behind all seemed to have a shiny backstage sticker pass on the front of their clothes. Still, we were hopeful to wait around to see if it was HIS will that we get back there. Good thing we're mommies and have pretty good patience! After they called back people with passes, we noticed a group of about 6 ladies left in the performance hall with us. We quickly made friends and learned that they too were "hopefuls." We shared our story with them about our connection with Amy and they were all very motivated to find us a way back there. We decided to step around the corner for a quick second to meet and greet Chris Eaton, a member of her band and singer/songwriter. After a brief chat and a quick picture, we hurried back to our group of new friends only to find they were GONE! After a quick exchange of "oh my goodness, I can't believe their GONE!" faces, Lauren and I quickly moved to plan B. The door leading to backstage had about a half inch crack in the middle, so Lauren pressed her face against it only to see our new friends standing in line and....AMY! They were so close....so what else could we do but open the doors, quickly scoot next to them (who obviously were allowed to be back there) and act like we had the authority to do so! We waited with great anticipation, emotions and old memories stirring through our minds and hearts. After making her way to us and taking a few moments to process and remember who we were, she grabbed us and pulled us both close for a big hug. Though we knew she MUST be exhausted after putting on a 3 hour show and meeting, taking pictures and signing autographs for a half hour, she not only chatted with us, but was asking us questions about our lives now and what we were doing. We both shared with her about our new transformations in Christ and how her songs took on new depth in our hearts. She once again pulled us close and said "I know it's been a tough road, but your Mom is smiling down on your girls right now. She was a wonderful woman." I can't tell you what these words meant to me. Not having any real memories of my mom means that anyone who did know her and who she was is so special to me. I had no idea that Amy knew my mom, and the fact that my mom made such an impact on her that she would remember her 23 years later meant so much. With tears in all of our eyes, we snapped a quick picture and the night came to an end, though it's imprint will be forever in my heart! What a special God we serve that would orchestrate such a night for Lauren and I to have!