No…I’m not getting married! I know that’s what some of you thought when you read that (sorry to disappoint you). My friend just got married, and I had the privilege of taking some of her photos. It’s kind of fun because I actually lived with her and her grandparents last summer when I was training with my Mexico team. So I was elated when Serena asked if I would take pictures for her (she saw some of my wedding promos on my flicker site). Anyway, here’s a sneak peak for anyone who is interested. If you would like to see more please visit my flicker site by clicking here: gretchpix
Monthly Archives: August 2008
I have had this package sitting in my room for a couple days now. I haven’t opened it because I knew it was medical supplies and I didn’t want to deal with it. But when I finally got around to checking it out….I was in for a very pleasant surprise (at least I thought it was).
Turns out it was my new portable machine for my breathing treatments. Yay for CF toys! Now my full-time team can join in on my fun while I take my treatments in the van during tour. Yippi!
Guess what else! It came with a little kids-mask….that actually FITS AND ME! Now I can breathe in style.
Fun Stuff. Fun Stuff.
As I mentioned before, my team (and fellow FT team members) arrived last Friday. So it’s officially been a week since we all came together for the first time. And I have to say….it’s been a pretty amazing week. Busy, but amazing.
First we had a great picnic and then we had a nice Saturday at the Lake.
and we spent the rest of the week practicing music
And that’s what’s new in the life of the Gretch.
“Hi, is this Gretchen?”
“Yes it is”
“Hi, I don’t know if you remember me but this is Stephanie from Town School…we went to grade school together”.
“Oh…yeah, yeah, I remember you! How’s it goin’?” *Meanwhile, I’m thinking, what in the world? why is this girl calling me, and how did she get my number?
“Well, I was just calling because I was thinking about how you were supposed to die when you were 12 or something….so I just wanted to see if you were still alive”.
“Uhh (sigh)…yep, I’m still alive!” *I didn’t even know people knew that in 6th grade
“Okay, well, that’s all I wanted to know. Glad you’re alive. Talk to you later I guess”.
I didn’t know whether to be flattered that she had thought of me after all this time…or to feel really stupid because kids thought I was a freak of nature walking around living and such when I should be dead. I’ve decided to go with flattered.
As I was thinking about this phone call, I received another phone call. It was from my sister Marissa. Now, I haven’t talked to my sister for quite some time. To be honest the sisters were having a rough patch there for a while and we weren’t really talking to each other. Not happy about that but; it’s how it goes sometimes. Anyway, I see her calling on my cell phone and I seriously debate whether or not to answer. My thinking pattern was, Why is she calling? Last time she called me randomly she wanted to ask for money. I don’t have any money to give her. She’s gonna tell me some big long sob story about how she needs help and then I’ll end up giving her the money I don’t have…Fine, I’ll pick up.
What she called for completely caught me off guard. She said, “I just wanted to call and ask you some questions” *Here it comes. I thought.
But apparently, it was nothing that I would have expected in a million years. She had just picked up the Bible and started reading the book of Revelation, and she had some pretty loaded questions, that unfortunately I was unequipped to answer (although I was surprised she asked me). Now, one of the things I had been worrying about over Marissa was the fact that she had seemingly turned her back toward God (at least Jesus being God and Him being the ONLY way). She was into all this new age-pick and choose your own truth-religion.
Anyway, she’s talking to me about how she just read the whole book of Revelation and all this stuff it made her realize. In all honesty, it was hard to understand some of what she was talking about because she was so excited she wasn’t making a lot of sense. BUT, what I did hear her say was that she knows that the God of the Bible is really God. And He is the only God. I was shocked. I was glad she was on the phone and not across the table from me, less she see my tears.
And the other thing she said was, “Gretchen, I just want you to know that…I have ALWAYS looked up to you…if there’s one thing you have shown me through your life it’s that…God is real“.
In that moment, I was broken. The thought that immediately entered my head was, “If she only knew the conversation that went on in my head before I answered your call”. But the other thing that occurred to me in that moment…and the reason for which I’m writing about it now…is that God Hears me when I cry out to Him!
Despite our differences, I can’t tell you how often I have gone to the Lord on behalf of my sister. And it’s not that I think I’m better than her and I want her to be like me…NO! It’s because I see the choices that she’s made…and I see how they hurt her, and I see how unhappy she was…and I don’t want that for her.
To know that perhaps she has finally come to the end of herself and can see nothing but God in all His glory…is incredible, and so humbling all at once.
Praise the Lord for noticeably answered prayers.
Have you ever had one of those really disappointing moments where you meet someone who you have always thought to be really cool….and they totally dash all your fantasies about them and disappoint every expectation?
I’m sorry if you have ever dealt with that…this is NOT one of those stories.
Let me back up all the way to February of this year, when I tried to buy tickets to see Joshua Radin on the Hotel Cafe Tour. One day there were plenty of tickets, and the next day (literally) they were all gone by the time I figured out I could get time off and go to Chicago. Then I found tickets online which were being resold…for an absurd amount of money…but I decided they were worth it so I bought one. And I had all these big plans that somehow fell through. I ended up giving my ticket away and someone else got to enjoy all the fun I should have been having.
So this time, I was smarter and bought the tickets at a very reasonable price LONG before they were ever sold out. Needless to say, I needed this concert to be spectacular so that it could redeem the experience I never had.
Kristal and I decided to get to the cities early so that we could check out parking and all that. The good thing about that idea was that we got a parking spot on the curb right outside the club. AWESOME! The bad part was that we had to stand there in the scorching sun for 2.5 hours, listening to girls around us saying stupid things like, “Oh my gosh, one time, I totally met Joshua’s manager and he said that I should come find him after this show so that I could meet Josh!” or “Yeah, we totally got to meet Joshua last concert we were at…and, well…he put us on the VIP list..he’s SO cool!” And while we were close to the first people in line, we had to stand by and watch a dozen people proceed past us for a special “Meet ‘n Greet” time before the show. I couldn’t figure out how we did not get on this list! I mean, seriously….who else could Joshua possibly want to Greet other than Kristal (with a ‘K’) and Gretchen? But I kept my composure as I tried to comfort Kristal, “It’s ok….the Lord surely has something better for us than a meet and greet right!?” I don’t think she bought it but she humored me anyway.
As it turned out…my lame attempt at optimism was wisdom in all it’s glory!
We found a spot on a couple of bar stools and waited for the show to start….both secretly hoping we would catch a glimpse of Joshua roaming around the club. Being her bubbly self, Kirstal turned to the couple sitting next to us and started chatting away. Boy am I glad she did! As luck would have it, the couple had known Joshua from somewhere, through someone…and were quite certain that if we waited around after the show they could talk to him and we would be able to meet him.
To be honest I thought, “yeah right! Who does this guy think he is? Joshua Radin isn’t going to want to meet 2 random ladies when he just had to meet a bunch of them and will probably have to shoo them away after the show. No way!”
About halfway through the 2nd act, my wildest dreams came true….Randy (the husband-half of our new friends) came up to me, “Do you guys want to meet Joshua?” “UH YEAH!” I responded. “Ok, let me go talk to him really quick and make sure that’s ok”. As Randy walked away to supposedly talk to my future husband (Just kidding about that future husband part 😉 ) Kristal and I looked at each other like, Is this for real?!” Oh but it was real indeed!
Randy came back and repeated his original question, “Did you guys want to meet Josh?” “Now?!” I said, hopping off my bar-stool and trying to focus. We followed Randy back to the corner of the club where Joshua was just chillin’ out against the pool table, watching the show just like anybody else.
If I can be completely honest here…I would have to admit that I did not expect him to be very good looking. I mean, I LOVE his music…I love it…it makes me happy and dream of the day when someone will write songs like that for me, (don’t crush my dreams here people…just go with it ok) but I never really paid much attention to whether or not he was an “attractive guy”. Let me just say right now….Holy Heck! Joshua Radin is VERY good looking! Ok, but aside from that, he was very laid back and didn’t seem to mind that we were totally interrupting his enjoyment of his own concert. He joked around with us a little bit, told Trista (sorry, I mean Kristal) that he liked her hat, and told me that I had a very creative idea for taking pictures.
I have met other musicians before, and sometimes they act like they are doing you the biggest favor known to man by signing something for you, or that you are the most painful thorn in their flesh by talking to them because all they want to do is get on stage, play their music, and go home. And really, they have all rights to feel that way. Still, even if Joshua Radin had felt that way, he did not give off that impression. He acted as though he genuinely appreciated the fact that we enjoy his music, and that we would spend our time and money to see him perform.
And by that I was very impressed.
Don’t ask me why, but I have had this post in my drafts since February, and just haven’t posted it. I think I was going to find a good picture to post with it. Now that I’ve done that, I figured I should publish it:
One of the guitarists that I’m working with here at CTI sent me an email today. He is applying for a team and he wanted to know a few things. He asked me what my experience has been with CTI Music Ministries; what I have learned or seen the Lord do. Many of you have heard my tales of adventure, none-the-less; I’m posting my reply because it’s a good recap for those who have not heard such tales.
Beware…it’s quite long.
It’s taking me a really long time to reply to your email because I’m having trouble figuring out what I want to say w/o writing a novel.
Whenever I used to think of missionaries I would think of hundreds of people coming to the Lord; people being healed by the dozens, and witnessing miracles left and right. Then I started going on “missions” myself, and I saw the Lord work in ways that were far, far removed from my expectations. I saw all of those things but they were on much simpler, more meaningful levels than I had pictured in my head.
When I went to Australia with CTI I had the honor of being an encourager to a mother of 3 young children, while I watched the Lord restore her broken marriage. It was there that the Lord also spoke to me about my health; how His stripes have healed my Spirit, His power is made perfect in my weakness; and that He defines me and not my disease.
In Singapore, with another CTI team, I saw the Lord use our spoken testimonies to draw people into a renewed relationship with Him. I believe He also used our team to spur an entire culture toward loving each other and knowing that we will never walk in perfection; only grace.
In Guadalajara, Mexico, I was taught the importance of the “little moments”; those moments where you don’t know you’re doing anything spectacular. You’re simply playing cards with kids, doing dishes for a family; making bracelets for cancer patients; or eating a pepper that is way, WAY too hot just so someone can laugh. Those are the moments when people can really see your heart. And if your heart is in pursuit of the Lord, they will recognize that and want it for themselves.
In all of my experiences with CTI I have been challenged to trust the Lord for finances, good health, safe travel, team unity. I have been stretched in patience, physical endurance, selflessness. Again and again, the Lord confirms that He is faithful, rich in mercy, everything I need, and He’s proven that His thoughts are way higher than mine; His love is deeper than mine; and everything that He does is for my greatest good and His highest glory.
So yeah, that’s my short answer to your question. Trust me; it seems long now but it really would be a novel if I were to go into all that I have experienced through CTI.
I hope that was encouraging and not boring.