This is the part where I ask you to excuse any typos - Today started at 6am, and I'm feeling it right about now.
Today, Gerald and I lead music for the Redeemer Women's Retreat. About a month ago, Jenna called and offered us the opportunity, and we immediately said "yes". I've been wanting to do some work with women's ministries, and I was just thrilled for this door to open.
The event took place at the Scarritt-Bennett Center which is part of Vanderbilt campus. It looks a lot like the beautiful old parts of U. of T, but much, much smaller. It was one of the those moments where I thought, "Wow, I'd like to go back to school and get my masters". Then Gerald said, "I used to hate exams," and the fantasy was over.
We had a great crowd of about 40 women - all ages, all backgrounds. The day started with some craziness, the biggest one being that we were without a speaker! A few days ago, our guest speaker was at a conference when she experienced medical difficulties. She's been in the hospital ever since. So last night, three women from the church gathered together, studied the notes our speaker sent them, and planned today's retreat. I know they were probably very nervous this morning, but everyone was very understanding and supportive, and entered it with a we're-all-in-this-together attitude.
Gerald and I did three sets of worship music. In the morning set, we really tried to set the tone for the day with songs like "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and "Here I am to Worship". After lunch, we started the afternoon with "Wedding at Cana" with dueling guitars. We knew we had to do a uptempo set to prevent a post-lunch nap, so we did a few great songs, leading into "How Great is Our God". On the final chorus, I lead the group acapella and Gerald took off his guitar. He picked up the djembe and accompanied us on "Awesome God". It was great to move from guitar to acapella to djembe, and it had a strong reaction from the group. They were a great singing group (harmony too!), but they really responded to the drum. Lots of smiles and grooving and praising. The afternoon was running a little late, so we cut one song from the final set and just ended with "In Christ Alone", which was fantastic (how do you go wrong with a song like that?).
All in all, this was a great day. The women loved Gerald, and admired his bravery for being our 'token male'. The weather and campus were beautiful, with glimpses of a fall day shining through the leaded pane windows. I made new friends and shared some wonderful moments with people. Gerald and I performed well and, more importantly, people responded well. I even had one woman tell me how much she loved my interpretation of the story of the wedding at Cana. I loved being a part of this ministry today and, if God sees fit, I'd love for more doors like this to open for me.
I'm going to bed now to continue reading "If You Want to Walk on Water You've Got to Get Out of the Boat" by John Ortberg. Awesome! My friend, Deanna, recommended this book, and I'm just loving it.