Last Sunday, I was feeling REALLY tired. Yup! It was Sunday, and it should have been a restful day, but we had special guests coming. And these were some folks who really do know how to make a Joyful Noise unto the Lord! The guests coming to our home, all but one, are about 49 years younger than TLOML and this old man. One of them is just a few months older than our #1 grandson. They are not boomers nor are they millennials. They just maybe Xers or generation Z. My point is that there is a BIG age difference!
The Bless-ed Jesse Affect
Add to this mix that our Co-Pastor, and TLOML, agreed she would become the bacon meister for the entire incoming college crowd. Jesse is a fabulous caller forth of gifts, and he is a very good man. Anyway, there is clear empirical evidence that TFC Choral crowd, and Doc, popped that old pork right on “them taters” and consumed every bit. Yes, Jesse, the house did smell rather interesting. But TLOML worked her miracles, and if the house smelled of bacon I couldn’t tell. Anyone who knows my wife knows she is indeed a miracle worker when given little things that need to be made big.
At The Church
Anyway, in spite of all the preparatory activity, we did “git er done.” So, we headed out to First Alliance Church. That night we watched, and we participated, in one really enjoyable act of worship led by “Doc,” and made possible by the Toccoa Falls College Choir. They really made a “Joyful Noise” unto the Lord! I watched, sang, and wondered to myself, “Who will our guests be?” (Indeed, my mind sometimes wanders, even during a fabulous experience of worship.) I spotted the seasoned citizen, Gloria, and I knew right away she would be one of our guests. Don’t ask me how I knew, but I was right. While G. get’s more than an honorable mention in this old web log, I’m mainly writing about generation next. Gloria, the wise one and “non-traditional student” went to bed earlier than the others.
Yes, this blog is mostly about Abby, Kate and Rachel … or Kate, Abby & Rachel … Or Rachel, Kate and Abby. Y’all pick which order of names need to be used. Whichever you decide, these young ladies brought real JOY and inspiration to our home. It certainly is special that people so much younger than are we could make such a difference in our lives. (Gloria is about TLOML and my age. Perhaps a little younger.) Nevertheless, none of us had even met prior to seeing Docs Angels in church. Yet, as John Wesley would say, our “hearts were strangely warmed” by these young ladies who had been strangers to us just a short while before we connected. So, what happened that kept us up later than intended?
I thought it had to do with the stories we shared. I shared. Vicki (TLOML) shared, Abby shared, Kate shared and Rachel shared. One stayed up latest of all, and we thought that was great. One surprising thing to me is how transparent Rachel, Kate and Abby were to Vicki and me. While they faced challenges, they were positively positive. What we saw was what we got. This was and is refreshing. Back and forth we went for a long while. We got to know each other fairly well in a very short time. I was deeply encouraged to hear what these young women are thinking and dreaming regarding their future. Some of it was becoming clear, some of it was To Be Determined, and some dreams were, perhaps, not clear at all. Some of it reminded me of our Journey with Jesus through the years, and though our hair is getting white with the frost of many winters, their stories intersected many of the experiences of our stories. We were blessed.
GOOD MORNING Y’ALL
Monday morning arrived. Gloria was up first, then the others came in one at at time. We talked, looked at a “live” fb post of the choir that I had set up during the choral performance. Yup! We actually found more to talk about and share, and we prayed. Now, Vicki and I were not the only ones who prayed. Gloria, Rachel, Abby and Kate prayed. I could tell these precious daughters of God knew the Lord, and praying was and is clearly a part of their lives.
It’s No Wonder …
It’s no wonder they exuded so much JOY when they sang in the choir, and when they shared themselves with perfect strangers. I had no question in my mind that they were occupied by Jesus. If I had them sitting here right now, I would say, “Hey y’all bring me joy because, Jesus Occupies You!” Yes, J.O.Y. represents all the adjectives in the picture above; however, I would still say that real J.O.Y comes because He, Jesus, has taken you over, and what is on the inside is going to come out. Or you will just bust. I am not saying each of these daughters of the living God are hyper-happy twenty-four seven; however, it is clear there is something on the inside of these precious ones that clearly has to come out because they are daily occupied… even if the Lord provides a change in course … right Rachel?
We Hated To See Them Leave
Yes, on Monday morning, we were very tired. We were tired just as we were on Sunday, but life is better because we met them. Our lives are blessed because we worshiped together as we were led by choir from Toccoa Falls College. But we were doubly and triply blessed because we, for a very short time, intersected the hearts and lives of perfect strangers who strangely warmed our hearts and souls. Hey Abby, Kate, Rachel and G. We are going to miss you. We hated to see you go. Enjoy the journey this week, as you voluntarily share the JOY with others throughout your college’s spring break.
A Road Trip
I have never been to Toccoa Falls College, but I suspect that if you are looking for a school to be loved, and where you can really grow, you might want to check this Christian and Missionary Alliance school out which is located in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. If you take a little road trip to the school next to the big ole water falls, I suspect your hearts will be strangely warmed by people you have never met before.
Love In Christ To You All.
PS. Abby, Kate, Rachel and G. Y’all can still call me Al, and I don’t think Vicki will mind if y’all can call her Vicki. I know G. is graduating, but next time the choir comes back this way, if the good Lord allows us to remain this side of heaven, or Jesus is holding off splitting the eastern sky, come be our guest A. K & R.