The Bus to Birmingham
Hello Dancers, Parents, Friends, and Visitors to our website,
This is the place where you can read about the heart of COTL, and what God is teaching me about His Kingdom, so that I can teach your kids the same. So here we go…
Imagine riding on a chartered bus for 16 hours on a hot summer’s day with no air conditioning - bus packed to the brim with restless teenagers and a bus driver who keeps drifting into slumber. Add to that the danger of riding on that bus with a blown out tire. As you wait, hungry, tired, a little bit grumpy (OK maybe a lot grumpy, but doing a good job of keeping it to yourself) for a repairman to find the bus and change its flat tire, would you start to wonder why you agreed to get on that bus in the first place? Would you start to wish you were back at home sleeping in your own bed instead of traveling to a youth conference in Birmingham, Alabama on the bus from hell? And when you finally arrived at the hotel at 4 AM, knowing you would need to wake up in two hours to get back on that bus so you could be on time for the second day of the youth conference,* would you just want to cry tears of regret?
Well maybe you're a better person than I am, because I did. I stood in the shower of the hotel room, after two hours of sleep** convinced that I had misunderstood God’s leading and made the wrong decision. My misguided enthusiasm for experiencing God and life, and coaching youth, once again won over reason, prudence, and thinking things through.
But as I cried in the depths of my self-pity, I heard a strong but loving voice say, "Jeannine, you've got to get on the bus or you'll miss the ride.”
Like a holy shockwave, it hit me. Those profound words broke through my self-absorption and like a jolt of heavenly caffeine, I got it, everything, the answer to why, why me, and why now. Those life-giving words supercharged my lifeless passion and purpose. I had not made an impractical or uninspired decision to be a chaperone at this conference. I was supposed to be there. After that divine wake up call, I walked out of that shower with ridiculous enthusiasm and from that moment on I was in “intercession mode” and nothing was going to get in my spiritual way.
Needless to say the youth conference was amazing. The young people I shepherded met with God at every turn and I received strong confirmation of my calling and God's direction for COTLD this coming school year. If I had stayed home or sank into my pity party, I would've missed the ride of my life.
So here's the good news, sometimes we wonder when things get hard, that we've missed God's leading. But I hope my little adventure inspired you to stay on the bus, to ride it all the way to its destination, no matter how long or crazy the ride is. Because in route or in the end, God has a fantastic purpose for you and you don't want to miss it.
*You missed the first day of the conference because the bus was late and would only travel 55 miles an hour all the way to Birmingham.
**I kept waking up many times during those two hours with dreams of the movie Space Jam and Big Hero 6, which had played on the broken video player in the bus over and over and over again.