A couple months ago I began looking towards October...3 bdays, the beginnings of the holiday season and lots of changes around the Ramsdell home that would require planning, planning, planning on my part. Tuesday is Billy's 41st bday (holy cow) and I had heard Toby Mac was coming to Colorado Springs.
THE PLAN: First, I contacted all our friends to see who wanted to go with us. Sadly, no luck there. We have busy friends. Next, convince Billy that Toby tickets would make a really great bday gift. Always up for a concert, it was strange when Billy said he'd skip it (code for no way should we pay $50 a ticket). Sigh. After trying to get Victoria (turning 10) to have a "joint party with daddy at the concert" -- MY excuse for paying $50 per ticket -- no such chance -- I let it go. I happen to believe that much of life is learning to let things go, but that's another blog.
Life as usual happens. Leading our large family is like navigating the Titanic at times...big ships don't change course on a moments notice easily. However, God works "suddenly" at times -- and we are definately open to His blessings. And when He does, He often blesses our family beyond what I would have "planned" out.
Last night about 5 (concert doors open at 6), my 15 year old calls and says to her dad, "I have FREE Toby Mac tickets!" She had been offered a FREE ticket herself and went back to ask if she could have (2) more for her parents. "Happy Birthday Daddy!" God didn't give me FREE Toby tickets. Even better, He gave them to my daughter to bless her dad on his bday.
SIDE NOTE: Only some of you will understand the significance of Shanna Touchton's child giving Toby Mac tickets to Billy Ramsdell. Of course, she's his child too, but after 16+ years of marriage I still OCCASSIONALLY have the thought, "Oh my gosh, I married Billy Ramsdell!" I use to think he was Toby Mac (again, only some will appreciate).
On the way into the concert I say to one of Elizabeth's friends, "Elizabeth's daddy used to be a rapper." Elizabeth points at me and says in an exaggerated voice to her friends, "SEE! I don't make this stuff up!" :)
BACK ON TOPIC: After much re-arranging (Ben will skip football, Shanna will get her hair colored on another night, Kids will eat dinner with MawMaw, Hosanna will bum a ride home, etc), I pile 5 teenagers in my car and head out.
Lizzie's friend Issac demonstrates his execptional directional skills by finding us a FREE place to park. Free tickets, free parking -- check! And in we go.
We've brought with us a young friend whose only recently accepted the Lord. Watching the concert through her eyes is fun...and I was able to do this because my teen daughter invited her parents to sit with her and her friends in GREAT seats that we weren't assigned too. Great seats, check! Nice.
During the show, my own daughter has a renewed passion to use her own musical gifts and talents for the Lord. She says, "I think dad's really been praying for me in this area." I smile. She has no idea. I simply say, "Yes, he has."
I realize as the concert progresses (Toby Mac, Max Lucado, Michael W Smith, Rachael Lampa, Third Day)that this has all been orchestrated far better than I'd hoped or imagined. The price was right. We carried others with us who were blessed and encouraged in their young walks with Christ. My own daughter was stirred in regards to her calling and ministry, and her parents were deeply encouraged. Apparently, it HADN'T been about me hanging out with friends or lovin me some Toby Mac. It didn't really appear to be all about Billy's 41st bday. I speculated that MAYBE it was just about that moment where we simply allow God to love on us. For Him to be a generous father, to get a chance to whisper, "I'm proud of you."
We sang, danced, banged our heads, worshiped, cried, received encouragment, skipped the Tshirt to get pics with the drummer and piled back into the van. On the ride home, I listened to teenagers open a Bible and discuss what they felt God was saying. Life has come full circle in some regards and it's a good life. It's seldom been an "easy" life for me and Billy, but certianly blessed. It was an amazing night.