Reflections on California

Blog – 10-11-17

First of all, let me say sorry for missing my blog last week. I arrived home last Monday very road weary after being on tour for 12 days in California, and it was Saturday before I even realized I hadn’t sent one out. Thank you for your grace!

As I reflect on my time in California, I can’t help but smile at all the memories we made while we were there. I toured with my co-writer from Nashville, Rachel Barrentine, doing women’s retreats and concerts. It was grueling at times but incredibly fulfilling.

As I settled into my seat on the plane to come home, I couldn’t help but smile at all the God moments we had along the way, the “chance” meetings we knew had the Holy Spirit all over them, and the people we encountered who desperately needed to hear the hope that our songs and our stories seek to convey.

Those “chance” encounters started the minute we got off the plane…literally. We both flew into the San Jose airport within a half hour of each other, so we called for an Uber driver to take us to our host home which was about 45 minutes away. The driver’s name was Michael, and he was a very friendly guy.

Michael asked us lots of questions at first, why we were there, where we were from, how long we would be in the area, etc., and then he got quiet. Rachel and I started talking to each other about the tour ahead and how excited and thankful we were for the opportunity to do ministry together.

It was obvious that Michael was paying close attention to what we were saying because in the middle of our discussion, Michael entered back into the conversation and asked us about Jesus and faith and forgiveness. He shared with us that he had gone to prison for something he hadn’t done and how it has haunted him ever since. He disclosed struggles he has gone through in past relationships, his inability to find steady employment, his sadness that he never finished high school. He was excited to let us know that he is getting married in a couple of months, but he shared his concern over the fact that his future wife is a strong Christian and he wants to get close to God but doesn’t know how.

Man, was that an open door! And Rachel and I ran right on through it!

We went to town sharing the love and grace of Jesus! We were literally talking on top of each other as we told him that God was a God of healing and forgiveness and grace and second chances. We assured him that the best thing he could do for his wife and his new marriage was to fall in love with Jesus. We also encouraged him to go back and get his GED. We were doing some preaching right there in that Uber car, and it was fabulous!

Michael asked deep, heartfelt questions, and the Holy Spirit gave us the wisdom and confidence to answer every one of them. It was like we couldn’t talk fast enough and he couldn’t ask questions fast enough.

When we arrived at our location, I gave him a copy of our new CD Twelve, which he was thrilled to receive, and then Rachel and I prayed over him and gave him big hugs. I know one thing, Michael left us with a huge smile on his face.

I’m not exactly sure what God will do with that “chance” moment we got to share with Michael, but I know seeds were planted and his heart seemed ready to hear the Good News of God’s grace and mercy.

And the crazy thing is, that was only the first of countless beautiful moments like it where we were able to pour into others with all our hearts. It was exhausting. It was a little overwhelming at times. But most of all, it was absolutely exhilarating.

I went there, truthfully, not knowing exactly what to expect, but I came home grateful that I was able to be used in such a glorious way.

Hugs and love,

Jill

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