My flight into Phoenix was late. So I was late for my connecting flight. Causing me to power walk with my guitar through a dark, eternally long hallway. As I pretended to be the bionic woman on the moving sidewalks I wondered if I was being pranked and contemplated where they’d hide the cameras. I was acutely aware of my lack of physical fitness, as the increase in breathing and heart rate (from being the bionic woman) left me with a cough reminiscent of my lifelong smoking grandmother (God rest her soul). I then found my gate, and my place in line. Was asked by another passenger if I was a rock star, if I’d trashed any hotel rooms, and what I was going to do in San Jose. I was not going to San Jose. Once I found the correct gate (right next to the wrong gate), it was deserted. Being the last passenger, I began my brisk walk of shame down the jetway. With a relieved and slightly panicked sigh I met the flight attendants at the front of the plane with a “Hi there! You’re probably going to have to check this” pointing at my guitar. I dodged the frustrated glances of the buckled in (and on time) passengers as the friendly flight attendants worked hard to find a spot for my (abundantly larger than regulation size) carry on baggage. I was the one thing standing between this flight sitting at the gate and taking off. While the sweet little flight attendant was hunting down an overhead bin for my guitar, I asked the other flight attendant how his day was and exchanged some meaningless pleasantries.
”Excuse me.” Said a man in the front seat “Are you a worship leader?” With surprise in my voice I said “Yes! How did you know?” With a genuine smile, he tilted his head and said “I could just tell.” I was taken aback. I smiled and said “Oh wow, really? Well that’s way better than the guys who just asked if I was a rock star who trashed hotel rooms.” This induced laughter from the front section of the plane, and made me relieved that I could break this waiting with a little humor. The stranger in the front row and I talked about what church we attended, before I was called to the back of the plane where a spot had been found for my guitar. As I loaded up my guitar, I turned to the passengers on that plane and said “I am so sorry everyone, it’s totally my fault you’re all still here, thanks for your patience”. Most smiled, even chuckled…but not all of them. I’m pretty sure a few of them were thinking “sit down and shut up guitar girl”.
I found a seat between my soon to be friends Laurie and Mark. Laurie was a mom born and raised in Mission Viejo with one teenage daughter, who attended another local church. Mark was a stunt car driver for car commercials and owned land and horses, didn’t like the city, and was glad his kids were grown and gone so he could spend time with his best friend…his wife. (I know right? So sweet!) As we flew home we all talked about our lives, I told them that I had just finished doing music for a women’s retreat, and how I love what I get to do! It seriously amazes me constantly that I am able to travel around wherever people will have me to lead worship, teach or whatever else people will let me do to give glory to God! (Still waiting to be invited to come perform my ribboned tambourine routine, the love for calisthenics seems to be waning.)
I never did officially meet the man in the front row who “could just tell” I was a worship leader. I was so blown away by how God was able to shine through my stressful traveling debacle. It got me to thinking about how God can be revealed in so many ways, without us saying a word. The man knowing I was a worship leader had nothing to do with me really, considering I was a coughing, sweaty, slightly frantic mess upon my arrival. He hadn’t seen me lead worship, or give my testimony, or even say the name of Jesus. He knew nothing about me, or my life. His realization had everything to do with Jesus! He shines through our weakest, most harried moments. Isn’t that how it should always be? People shouldn’t need to see us in our “church” element to know that there is something different about us. It was the ultimate compliment, not one that made me feel good about myself, but one that made me say “Wow God! Thank you! Thank you for being visible through me, when I’m not even trying!” Isn’t it beautiful when God reminds us that He doesn’t really need us, but He loves to use us. I can just imagine Him up in Heaven saying “Hey guys, watch this, she’s going to be so stoked.” Ah what a loving, and fun Father we serve! He loves to surprise us and truly make us sparkle in a way that make people notice. They don’t notice us, they notice Jesus and that’s what matters.
P.S. Completely unrelated note…there was also the moment where the TSA peeps thought my microphone was a flame torch. Kinda felt like 007.