When my former youth pastor called and asked me to sing at Capstone Church's first birthday bash, I happily agreed and couldn't wait to get to know the band. TJ and I had been spotty attenders that first year due to being away at school, and I was honored that he thought of me. I was pretty nervous to sing that morning, to be honest, because they didn't even know who I was, much less if I could really sing or not (still up for debate). I'd also been asked to sing The Climb, so having to channel my inner Miley Cyrus was also slightly intimidating.
Thankfully for Chris' sake I didn't forget the lyrics or do anything crazy. The newly hired worship leader and I got along really well (despite him being slightly overwhelmed by my high energy so early in the morning), and the rest is history. This guy named John Dukes and I have been leading together ever since. Over the next couple of years, I slowly worked my way to leading most Sundays alongside of him, and that's something that hasn't changed since 2011.
Seven years ago we were strangers, but now we are family.
And today, my heart is achy and uncomfortable as we prepare to send John Dukes out to wherever the Lord is leading him next. Last Sunday was my final week leading with him as our fearless leader, and today will be his last Sunday leading from his position within Capstone. As much as I would love to be up on stage with him as he rocks out one final time, you will probably find me in the back of the sanctuary smiling through my best ugly cry. I will sing and dance and worship the Lord with him and the NGU Campus Band, and I probably won't even realize in the moment what's really happening.
But then the music will stop.
And that's when the reality will hit me like a thousand bricks.
I guess that's what ought to happen when you love someone so very, very much.
One by one, many members of our Dream Team have recently begun to go their separate ways, and now we are sending another one out. But I can assure you that even through crocodile tears, I am thankful for new beginnings, friendships that I know will last through every season, and countless reasons to bless the Lord.
I don't think John Dukes will ever know exactly how thankful I am to him for encouraging me to be more than just a girl with a pretty voice, and I think that's exactly how it should be.
Stay salty, my friend.