On the road again...
It’s 7:30am on a Sunday morning and I have already left Massachusetts, driven into Connecticut, flown into Washington DC, and am now on a flight to Houston. You know you’re on the road with the band when you have already been in 3 states before 8am.
Last night was the first of many concerts Jimmy will be doing with Acquire the Fire, a conference whose purpose is to ignite a movement of students who are passionate about Jesus. With multiple bands, speakers, drama teams, hundreds of staff and volunteers and thousands of students, it was quite an event! I am grateful that I was able to join the guys for this concert in Amherst, MA.
A lot of you know that I used to travel with Jimmy all the time. Our first 2 1/2 years of marriage I was Jimmy’s road manager, merchandise manager, violinist, and for a time, his general manager. I loved this time we had to travel together and will never forget the great memories we have from those early years. But when the opportunity arose for me to take a full time position in our church’s high school ministry, I couldn’t pass it up. Now, joining my husband on his worldwide travels is a much more infrequent occurrence.
One of my favorite things about being on the road is seeing Jimmy’s ministry and calling in action. I love being able to pray for him during his set and hear the excellence of his music in action. He is passionate about the Gospel and it is evident in every song and every word. Another joy of traveling is just being around the guys again. Through years of traveling together in vans, buses, and planes, Jimmy’s band have become like brothers to me. All of them are such godly men of character and integrity and are an absolute joy to be around. Though you probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you how ridiculously goofy they are when they get together. It always keeps me laughing!
As I was preparing to leave for this weekend, I began thinking about what it means to be a help to my husband on the road. In the past, running merchandise and road managing was the way that I helped. Now that I don’t have any of those same responsibilities, I tend to feel helpless and out of place when I’m on the road with him. In past shows, I have been a distracting and attention-demanding wife due to my lack of purpose. Not wanting to carry on that inappropriate habit, I began thinking through my role as Jimmy’s wife a few days before leaving with the purpose to be a bit more proactive in my approach to this weekend.
When I think about what it means to be a wife, the word ezer comes to my mind. This is the Hebrew word used of Eve in Genesis 2 when she is described as Adam’s helper, or help-meet. A very dynamic and telling word, ezer is used only twice of woman and is most commonly used of describe God. “I life my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord the Maker of Heaven and earth.”(Psalm 121:1-2) “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Both of these verses use ezer in the Hebrew. As I have studied every other place in the Old Testament where this word is used, amazing new meaning arises for what it means to be a helper to your husband. The use of this word in the scriptures brings to life the sense of protection, strengthening, and life-giving encouragement it was meant to convey. To be a help to your husband is so much more than simply housework. It is the vital role of strengthening and enabling him to do what God has called him to do while becoming a place of encouragement and protection for him when that calling gets rough. It is a great honor and privilege to play such a critical and indispensible role. As I contemplated these things in preparation for this trip, I began to ask myself: how can I be this kind of help to my husband when I have no actual role to play on the road? I started by eliminating what I should not do. I am not helping when I am demanding his attention throughout the course of the day. (Yes, I tend to think Jimmy should always be paying attention to me when I’m with him. I mean, I am his wife right?) Though they might not look like anyone else’s, Jimmy’s workdays consist of sound-checks, twitter postings, band meetings, prayer time, concerts, autograph signings, and meet-and-greets. And when I become a distraction to these things, I cease being helpful. So this trip, I brought a few things to work on to alleviate my tendency to need to be the center of attention. A second way I can practically be an ezer is by simply being a servant to Jimmy and his band. It may be getting extra waters, helping sell merchandise, filming the show, or simply holding open doors. Lastly, being a help to my husband is sometimes simply being available to him. Whether he needs encouragement, good company to eat dinner with, someone to pray with or bounce ideas off of, or just a listening ear, I long to be for him a place of refuge and comfort. All in all, I felt like this trip was a successful one in those respects. I effectively stayed out of the way to let the guys do their thing, while serving and providing help to them as needed. I love the privilege I have in being an ezer to my husband! I believe this is my highest calling and most important ministry, second only to growing my relationship with God. I was created to play a vital role in my husband’s ministry and calling and there is such joy in doing just that.
More thoughts on this weekend coming soon…