Tuesday, August 22, 2017

When God Shows Up

That Sounds Fun with Annie Downs, Nashville, TN July 2017
Are you brave enough to pray for a miracle? I was a few weeks ago or if I am being real honest I was desperate.

In April I received the email announcing that Annie F. Downs would be hosting another weekend in Nashville this summer - That Sounds Fun Weekend. As I shared in my previous post the Lord met me in a powerful way last year at the Looking for Lovely Weekend, so I knew I wanted to be there.

I had to be.

Tickets were ordered and my roommate from last year, Sara, was coming too. I was counting the months. The week before the That Sounds Fun Weekend, Sara messaged me and said she couldn't come, I was bummed. She said I could have her Airbnb, which was an amazing gift, especially since I had not booked a place to stay. I knew the Lord was making a way for me to go, just as He as He did last year.

Then, I couldn't go.

I was beyond devastated. I asked people to pray for a miracle because I needed one. I knew I was supposed to go, it just sure looked like it wasn't going to happen. People encouraged me that staying home might be a good thing after all, but I knew in my spirit that I was supposed to go. It was a hard place. Attending a weekend called That Sounds Fun doesn't sound spiritual and seems like something a busy mom of five should pass up and that might be true, unless it is God's intention for you to be there.

Wednesday I became very discouraged and gave away my ticket. You hear me? Gave. Away. My. Ticket. It took all of about three minutes for my VIP ticket to disappear.

Two hours later, I got my miracle. Why didn't I just wait? I asked, but I didn't really think God was gonna come through for "fun."

But, HE DID!

I called Sara to find out if her ticket was available and when she said it was I told her I was going to try to get the money to buy it and she said, "Take it, I don't want it to go to waste."


Thinking it would be better to have my own ticket I messaged the girl I gave mine to and asked if I could give her my roommate's and she said she hadn't done anything with mine, so I could just have it back.

Friday morning I left for Nashville for the That Sounds Fun weekend with two tickets and a place to stay. I was in awe of God's provision.

I got my miracle and then some.

I was in the middle of a battle war and was attacked on every side. The verse that came to mind was:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
He made a way where there seemed to be no way. He provided that miracle I was praying for no matter how insignificant it seemed to me or others. He had something for me in Nashville.

I was not abandoned.

The drive as always was beautiful and five hours of worship in the car will lift any one's spirit.

I got there just in the nick of time for a quick hello to Annie and to get a table with a friend that I met last year. When Annie saw me she said, "I'm glad you're here." I wanted to cry. I told her briefly what happened and she called her lovely, assistant Eliza over and had me repeat the story. She asked Eliza to tell me what they had prayed for, turns out, they prayed for miracles too.

From top to bottom - Kelleigh Bannen, Eddie Kaufholz, Dave Barnes and Christy Nockels

We were blessed to hear several of Annie's friends sing and be interviewed live for the That Sounds Fun Podcast. Laughter abounded. I love seeing the way Annie does friendship, she is a pro.

The night ended with Annie teaching for a short time, but in that short time I knew why I was there. She shared from Psalm 126, which is the same verse my worship pastor shared from just two weeks before. He had asked me to do a painting for him of that verse, so I was already camping there. But in usual Annie fashion, she put a little different spin on it. She emphasized verse 126:6:
So those who went off with heavy hearts
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
My heart was a dead weight when I got there, my life seemed to be falling apart, but I knew even after a few short hours there I would leave with armloads of blessings.

I did.

I went back to my Airbnb full and expectant.

God wants us to have fun and in the midst of that "fun" He shows up and blesses our socks off, because He can. If you think you can't mix God and fun, check out Annie on her various social media accounts or her website.

The next day I ran into Katie, who graciously offered her home to a houseful of strangers last year and she invited me to stay at her house and I sheepishly declined, saying, "I'm staying at an Airbnb." But I hated the Airbnb, it was weird to stay there without my friend because I was in a house with a married couple and sharing a bathroom. Usually, I push myself to work past stuff like that and tough it out, but that day I decided to load my arms with the blessing of a familiar place to stay and great company. I went back to the Airbnb and graciously gave back the key and told them they had a lovely home, which they did, but I found another place to stay.

It was as if a heavy weight was lifted.

Katie and I had a wonderful afternoon and I got to meet her daughter. We were sent out with a Tour de Tastebuds card to complete, which we did at Disalvo's, where Katie's daughter works. Then we toured the Grand Ole Opry and saw a show that night.

Nashville feeds my soul in a way no other city does and I needed a dose of all Nashville had to offer. A weekend with Annie Downs recharges my spirit in a way no one else does and I needed all Annie had to offer. It was a win-win!

I got the double portion. Two tickets and two places to lay my head.

I'm learning when God has something for me nothing can stand in the way and when I seek Him, He always shows up, especially in Nashville. It's the same for all of us, He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future.

If you have a heavy heart, if you are in need of joy, armloads of blessings or just a good belly laugh listen to the "live" podcast click here.

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