We pulled in from our trip around 9pm this past Sunday night.

We cautiously unloaded the bus and checked out the house (Josh had stayed behind and been warned about the Neatness Factor).

Between the home on wheels and home “sweet” Homewood, there were no floods, giant spills, puke-related incidents, fires, needs for towing service, or, ahem, forgotten clothes. We cautiously asked ourselves and each other, “Did that just happen?”

I don’t know if that means we are getting the hang of things or if it was just our turn to have an incident-free road trip. I wouldn’t mind the latter, but I hope (and trust) it’s a bit of the former.

So instead of insight into a mishap, or collection of them on the road, I bring you this weekend’s poignant, though slightly less dramatic, Lessons Learned.

I told it first to Rod last night. One of my favorite – and simultaneously least favorite – aspects of our trips is Bringing Back The Bus. See, we have to park it in a lot about 25 minutes away. So after a Sunday of set-up, ministry, take-down, driving, and unloading, we get Miranda to bed (provided Josh or Paige are home), either load up Kaity or leave her with the older kids (last night, she stayed home), and we make the drive. During this time, we talk about the weekend’s events and try to decompress and plan for the coming week.

This weekend was easier than usual. It was a short trip, it was in familiar surroundings, and again, Murphy’s law seemed not to be in effect. There were, however, some new things happening.

One: we picked Paige up from ISYM Junior Choir camp on Saturday morning. We were able to witness the concert, in which she was the only female soloist. Yes… she rocked it. (Check it out). Her voice has really been developing the last year, and now it seems her confidence is starting to follow. Wonder if we’ll have another singer in the family?

Two: Well, one way or another, the answer to that question is yes. On Sunday, Rod sang at the homecoming for his mom’s church. We decided it was time to give the “Burton trio” a shot (for a once in awhile thing, not for a “Rod’s no longer a soloist thing. I have personally already evidenced that I am not a recording artist, and we cannot afford a full time road nanny!). We sang one of my favorite, favorite songs of recent memory: the Isaacs’ “The One I’m Dying For.” What a powerful song it is. I sing the verse and though I have sang it dozens of times in practice, I still couldn’t get through the words that say, “He (Jesus) looked at me, and He said ‘Go free, you’re the one I’m dying for.’” I love the message of this song: Jesus truly died not only for all of us, but for each of us, as beloved individuals. The small caveat to this story: when it was time for Paige and me to join Rod on the platform, guess who followed? Miranda tagged along right behind, as if this happens every day. And she waited for someone to give her a microphone. This time, Daddy shared his. In the future, we’ll be sure she has her own, even if the volume is a bit, shall we say, low. And when Rod ended one of his new songs (which sounded great live), she held out the last note as big and strong and loudly as she could. Well, I mean, she held out some note. I think the music is already pumping through her veins.

Three: It’s time for my ministry to begin. I’m still a little confused, or at least uncertain, about the terms of that. All I know is that I am currently and finally comfortable enough with being a music-minister’s wife, with getting the babies settled and cared for during concerts and services, with bus life, with setting up the product table, with making sure I have appropriate things to wear, with learning all the words to Rod’s new songs in case he forgets, to be able to be part of the ministry, to let the anointing reach me and to share it with others during the services in which we are part. We encounter so many new people in different places… how can I ever know how my life might affect another’s? So I must work to pray harder, pay more attention, and give all I have, even when I am tired, feeling fat, or stained with baby stuff. None of that is the important thing.

Because, really, the message is what it is all about. And with that in mind, I bring my blog back to a story that is not mine: This past weekend, Steven Curtis Chapman returned to the stage. I again found myself captivated and emotionally invested in the recovery of this family from a horrible accident that took their youngest daughter. SCC’s manager, Jim, is doing a wonderful job of giving intimate, yet tasteful, glimpses into how the Chapman family is healing and how Steven’s career and ministry are changing in light of their recent tragedy. I am very involved in this story, for various reasons that I can put a finger on and some that I can’t. It’s almost impossible for me to speak about it without tears. I feel like it’s a call to me, to keep my perspective and to keep my motivation. Having pretty children, a blog people like to read, or, God willing by the end of the year, “my body back,”… none of it is as important as keeping my integrity before the Lord and sharing, taking, spreading His love to everyone around me, no matter how I feel. I am indebted to Jim for delivering the Chapman story so vividly into my life. Please say a prayer for them as you read this.

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