Monday, January 4, 2010

You've Been Quite Fine, 2009

Hey, friends. I hope everyone has had a good Christmas. It went by so quickly, didn't it? And the thing that always gets me is how once it's over, it's OVER. I'm talking, the very next day after Christmas, it feels to me like Christmas is a hundred miles away. So weird. We had one of our Christmas celebration times on the 27th this year, and I gotta say it was tough to keep it feeling like Christmas. What is it about that day on the calendar passing?

Anyway, ALL of Christmas break is good. We have enjoyed lots of family time and down time.

I have to confess that I have had pretty much a "woe-is-me" attitude about 2009. I have celebrated in my head and with my words that fact that we are going to rip that 2009 calendar off the wall and, with joy, replace it with a new beginning. I have cursed it with my words, wishing it away as fast as I could. And I have counted my battle scars and licked my wounds for the better part of this year. It really was a tough year for me personally. Working on the Jesus Saves Live project at the beginning of the year ushered in a host of warfare and personal trials that really shook me...and shook me more than I have ever been shaken before. I won't go into details for now. But talk about soul-searching. I wore myself out on a daily basis for months, looking for God in the midst of carrying around a heart full of sadness. But praise be to that same God, who encouraged me, loved me, taught me and more than anything wouldn't let me get away with thinking that life is only good when it's easy. He brought me through every minute of that dark time. And now I stand on the other side of it with a deeper love for Him. And with a greater resolve to live as a strong, disciplined, and merciful child, husband, dad, and servant.

So let me say right now that I am THANKFUL for 2009. For every high moment and every low place. For every laugh and every tear. For every victory and every tough lesson. God is good. And if we will look for Him in EVERYTHING, even in the sadness, we will find His goodness is shining everywhere. He gives our souls light, even in the shadow.

I just went through my 2009 photos, and marveled at the joy I've experienced this calendar year. My own Eeyore syndrome was trying to blind me from what really was some of the most fun times ever. So I thought I would make a list. How's that for a unique, inventive and original idea?

Ten Of My Favorite Days of 2009 (Mind you, this list is NOT in order. Nor is it exhaustive. Nor is it very spiritual. Nor have the photos been approved by their occupants. So if you come back and find that a photo originally posted is missing, you will know EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.).

1. It Was a Good Friday Indeed - I sang at Crystal Cathedral on Easter Sunday (7 services, thankyouverymuch). And the fine folks there offered to fly my whole family so we could be together for Easter. We went a few days early and had a fun week with some great west coast friends. We spent Good Friday with those friends at Disneyland. We had A BLAST. Adults and kids alike (I'm not sure which category I fall in, but I had a blast, too).


I will forever cherish this picture of us on the Tower of Terror that day. That is such a perfect snapshot of my sweet girl's fearless spirit. I pray she will always fling those arms up in the air and enjoy the adventure.



2. National Day of Prayer - Beth was the National Spokesperson for National Day of Prayer this year. And she asked Angela and I to accompany her and Keith for the festivities. I didn't really know what to expect. But I surely didn't expect what I received. We were blessed from the time our feet hit the turf in Washington, DC. The Dobsons were amazing and gracious hosts. There was a sense of reverence over the whole event...and sense of soberness (is that a word?) in their efforts to plead for God to continue to shed His grace on us as a nation. I don't think I've ever been a part of anything where I felt that kind of urgency in prayer. It was moving. And perspective-changing.


We also got to do a lot of fun things while we were there. This is at Mt. Vernon with the Moores and Beth's assistant, Michelle.



3. Date Night - Angela and I and our friends Seth and Nirva had an awesome date night together back in the fall. After a delicious meal at Stony River, we went to see Wicked. It was a great night with my beautiful bride and great friends. Great food. Great entertainment. Great conversation. Nirva and I will never forget listening to Seth and Angela break down all of the spiritual parallels and world view yada yada in Wicked, talking a thousand miles a minute. They were gettin' it. Meanwhile, I was like, "Yeah, but did you hear her hit that high 'F'?" It was a top ten date night.



4. November 17, 2009 - Levi came bounding down the stairs after dinner, exclaiming "Mom! Dad! I'm a Christian!" He had this happiness and urgency in his voice. After he came down, he gave us more details. Turns out that his big brother led him to the Lord up in his bedroom, and then promptly knelt down on his knees with him and prayed with him. Sweetest story I've ever heard. We walked him through it again...letting Jack lead the way...and saw the gospel unfold in real life in our third born. We had been praying for his salvation all year. To see it unfold like it did was more than our hearts could handle. A forever moment.

5. Living Proof Live 2009 - In case you are wondering if serving as worship leader for these women's conferences ever gets routine, let me just say as quickly as I can type it - HECK NO. Every time I walk into an arena or worship center for a Living Proof sound check, I pinch myself. I can't believe God, by His mercy, has allowed me the great privilege of serving at Living Proof Live for 11 years...with the greatest bible teacher I have ever known. Watching God transform thousands of women (and a few brave men) into new places of freedom through His Word is the great joy of my life in ministry. I count every single minute of it an honor. Beth is the real stinkin' deal. Living EVERYTHING she teaches. I'm thankful to be on this great ride with the Moores, LifeWay, and everyone who serves with Living Proof Live.

This picture is from El Paso, our first event in 2009. Counting the days until our first one in 2010 - Living Proof Toronto.


6. Whiffle Ball World Series - June 26, 2009 - We were in Stockton, CA for Living Proof in June. Our sound check went extremely fast, so we had most of the day free on Friday. When we got to the hotel, we realized that there was an awesome courtyard, and the hotel offered their guests things to do outside - horse shoe, croquet, whiffle ball. WAIT. WHiffle ball? BRING IT ON. And we did. For hours. And had a blast. Can't remember last time I saw middle aged people run so fast and laugh so hard. And to top it off, after the Friday night session, we came back and played some more. Praise team vs. the crew. And the praise team won. Oh yes we did. How embarrassing must it be for the crew to have lost to a bunch of musicians??? Fightin' words right there. Top ten day.



7. Any Given Saturday - I am not home very often on Saturdays. It's not easy to be away from my family on the weekends. Granted, I am home for lots of other things during the weekdays that most dads have to miss. So all is not bad. But I do miss being home a couple of Saturdays a month. So when I am home, it feels like such a treat. I relish every moment I get to see this...



...or this...



...or this...



So know that on any given Saturday, my heart might is probably leaping for joy.

8. Jesus Saves Live Tour - 4 weekends. 12 great churches. 1 ministry family. And a lifetime of heart-thrilling God stories. We had a great year of ministry together. Looking forward to more. Sheesh. I love these people so much.

And of course, we are always highly serious and spiritual.



9. Going To The Chapel - There is a family in Knoxville, TN that we adopted as our own when we met them on a trip to Israel back in 1996. We fell in love with them, and decided that they had no choice but to make us part of their family. So they did. They became very much our parenting mentors, as well as an amazing source of much intercession and encouragement. We were always looking out for their kids (they have 6). And their oldest daughter became quick buddies with Angela from the beginning.

Fast forward to now...I had been telling my drummer (and one of my closest buddies) Kevin about this beautiful and godly girl that Angela and I thought he needed to meet. Well...meet her he did. On Palm Sunday. Propose to her he did. In June at LPL Pittsburgh. Marry her he did. On Labor Day weekend! It was a fun day of friends, family, and God showing off His goodness.

This is the praise team crew with the bride and groom:



And there was a bridesmaid and a flower girl that sent me over the moon.



10. Haiti - My life was forever changed this year when I had the honor of traveling to Haiti with Compassion International. In addition to learning more about their ministry and seeing firsthand how God is using them to change kids' lives, I got to meet one of our Compassion kids. Meet Joseph Wilbens. He's the kid who stole my heart in Haiti and didn't give it back.




Side note: The trip was made more special by the fact that one of my best buddies, Denver, was on the trip too. We had a great time being together for this adventure. This is a picture of us in a potato sack race. He is BARELY in the frame on the right. I am only using this picture so I could gloat that I beat him in this race. I will hear about this later.



11. Disneyworld - We had a Deeper Still event in Orlando in September. So we took the opportunity to go a day early and have some fun at Disneyworld. Praise team, spouses, and Beth. It was such a killer day. We had a blast.




We hit 4 parks in one day. We even hit one of them twice. It was not a day for the faint of heart.

12. At the Beach with Family and Friends - Our trip to the beach this summer I think might have been one of the best weeks of my life. Our kids were at such fun ages. We had friends join us for part of the trip. We had family with us for part of the week, too. We stared at this a lot...



...and watched these jumping around in the water...



...and watched these jumping around in the water...



...and had a great time. Our last day, my little princess pulled 51 jellyfish out of the water in an hour's time. Seriously.



(I couldn't get any more beach pictures to be approved by ANYONE on the trip. :-) )

So...that was ten, right? Let's just say that was ten.

It was a great year. And as I look back, it was all of the people that filled my days that brought me so much joy, laughter, challenge, encouragement and love. Not just the places, and not just the events. The people. The peeps. The folks. The loved ones. The family.

Here's to loving the Lord Jesus more in 2010. And here's to loving each other more, too. My heart is beating faster right now just thinking about it...it's going to be a great year.

The Lord bless you as you put yourself in a posture to surrender to His goodness now more than ever before.

17 comments:

Terrie and Carley said...

Travis, that water looked so familiar to me. Where you on the Gulf Coast? What a great re-cap of your year. I always loved to read your interesting post. You and your family seem to be very down to earth people.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

Thank you Travis here is to loving Jesus more this year in 2010
Thanks for doing and serving Our Lord and doing what the Lord has called you to do.
Thanks Meista look forward to seeing you in Jan 2010 in Houston along with seista mama and all my seista's
Carol

Deirdre said...

isn't it funny how we tend to easily recall the bad stuff, but when you sit down with the calendar and look back on all the things that really happened, the good stuff returns to your heart.
I'm sorry you struggled this year, but as long as you struggled TOWARDS God, count it all as blessing.

much love and looking forward to seeing you in Houston in a few more weeks.
Deirdre

Deidre said...

What a great post, Travis. I have had one of the hardest years of my life concerning spiritual warfare and then losing my best friend suddenly in November has made it even darker. But, when I really sense Jesus showing me all the JOY I have experienced, I know I am blessed and am going to make it. Only with Him.

Thanks for the all you said in the beginning of your post. Honesty. Really spoke to my situation right now.

JayCee said...

Love all the pix....I can see why the one of your wife and daughter sent you "over the moon!" Beautiful family! Happy New Year!!

purefire said...

Seems appropriate that I just so happen to listen to "Jesus Saves" while reading your post! I so enjoyed reading the recap. I've followed your posts through the year and remember most of the days you selected. And I'm so encouraged to know that even when it "looks" like you've got everything just right, things can still be off and you can still see God working it all out. I praise God for your perseverence and your gift. I cannot tell you how many times your music has ministered to me.

I too am excited about 2010 and want to love my King more and more. Looking forward to seeing you in Houston real soon. I can hardly wait!

Kelly S. said...

This was a great post. Thank you for sharing! 2009 was very tough for my family in many ways too. However, my lesson for 2009..... God is Faithful! Believe it!!

Jesus Saves Live is an awesome cd and the concert was one of the best, I can believe you had to fight for it....Thanks.

#4 is too much. Congratulations Levi, way to go Jack :)

See you in Houston!

Laura said...

I can tell you that every day of warfare fighting you did for Jesus Saves was just for me! 2009 has been the most difficult year of my life for my Pastor-husband and me as well as our 4 young children. I cannot make it through the CD without crying at random points.

Thank you so much for all you do to usher believers straight to the throne room of grace.

Alisa said...

The warfare was for me too. Yes, me too. The night you opened up in Greensboro, NC at the Deeper Still Conference - when you spoke "you are in a safe place" - God was speaking right through you. Reading your post was almost like looking into a mirror of my own life. (My blogpost a few days ago isn't as eloquent as yours, but it is incredibly similar). There are so many things I am grateful for 2009 = but I RIPPED the calendar of 2009 off the wall with more zeal than ever!

Cannot tell you how much your music ministers to me. It is just what I need EVERY TIME I listen to it. Thank you and your family for ministering to people like me. Just love you all so.

Happy 2010 - may you really see with HIS eyes what He has for you!

all4boys said...

Beautifully spoken, my friend, beautifully spoken. Two of my top tens included your God given talent~one at Deeper Still in Memphis and Jesus Saves Live in Jackson, TN. My heart is so full of Jesus. Here's to lovin' Him even more.

In Him,
Jennifer

Anonymous said...

2009 was a tough year! Some of the tough things still carry over into a new year. We are NAMB missionaries in Rhode Island at a church. No prayer would ever be wasted on us. We too
experience(d)spiritual warfare last year and it is carrying over. My husband played the video of you last year for the missions emphasis for our church. Thanks for this post. It was well said. God Bless you and your family.

Traci West said...

For me, certainly one of my Top 10 days of 2009 was singing with you and your team at Myrtle Beach! Thanks again for the privilege! Love you, Trav!

Toknowhim said...

Travis,

What a great post... I can't believe all the wonderful things you got to experience in 2009...it seems like years worth of joy wrapped up in one year.

May the Lord grow you through the hard times and may you experience his presence even more in 2010..

Blessings, Kim

The Brouwers said...

I love hearing that you cherish the Living Proof Live events so much. I was in Springfield, IL and on the second day I was lucky enough to be in the second row right in front of you and I have to tell you that your music REALLY touched me and just filled me with love and praise for our Savior. It was AMAZING! My new favorite song is "Victory in Jesus" and I have requested that your live version of it be played at my funeral (I'm only 32 and not planning on dying any time soon but I like to be prepared :)) and that everyone must get up and sing and dance and praise God! That's the rule!! I downloaded it on iTunes and my kids love it too - my youngest (almost 4) loves to do the "Yeeeeaaaaaaah!" part at the very beginning and gets kinda mad if anyone else tries to do it too. She also love the verse about the mansion and tries to sing it but she gets some of the words kinda wrong. It's pretty cute.

I'm planning on going to the Rosemont, IL date and I can't wait to hear your music and Beth's message - you two are such an amazing team and I'm just sure that God brought you two together!!!

Thank you for all that you do and it sounds like you had a pretty amazing year! Hope 2010 is full of more ups than downs for you!!

Alisa Brouwer

Margie said...

To be able to look back on what was a difficult year and count God's many blessings, poured out on you and your family, is great witness to us all.
Thank you for the music, for your indomitable spirit and for blessing our lives by sharing it all with us.
Glad to see that Disney World made the top 10!
Can't wait to see you in Houston, together with Beth and all the siestas.
Margie

Scott Hodgin said...

Cool. Brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.

prashant said...

You and your family seem to be very down to earth people.

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