As I write, hundreds of Southern Gospel students and teachers are gathering in Murfreesboro, TN, for the annual Stamps-Baxter School of Music, and for the first time since 2005 -
I'm not with them.
I first attended the school after hearing Ben Speer talk about it during a Gaither concert. I didn't even know that something like a 'Gospel singing school' could exist (which probably proves that I'm not Southern after all.)
It was because of that first school that I started this blog.
It was during that first school that I received my calling into full-time music ministry.
It was because of that first school that I had a job when I moved to Nashville 2 years later.
And it was at that first school that I became part of a community of friends and musicians who are still friends and colleagues now.
And for the first time since 2005, I'm not with them.
I'd be lying if I said my heart wasn't breaking a little this weekend.
But I'm trying to find strength in God's plan and this particular twist.
There's a reason why I'm here and not there for these 2 weeks.
Maybe that will be revealed to me in this time, maybe not - God's funny that way.
But I do know that I'm glad I'm missing my friends and the school, because it just proves that they are all dear to me, and dear friends are a rare find.
If you wish to wander through my July posts from 2005-2009, you can read about my experiences as both a student and a staff member at the school.
My wonderful friend and theory teacher, Shawn Degenhart, will be blogging about his experience this year. You can read about his adventures here.
Please keep the students and staff of Stamps-Baxter in your prayers over the next few weeks. It's a busy time, but I, for one, can tell you:
It can change your life.