In June of 94, I flew to Atlanta GA. One of the senior agents at Vanguard Entertainment Agency had encouraged me to come and check out the possibility of becoming an agent. They were booking Carman back when he was still cool, The Newsboys before and while they were cool along with other Al Denson kind of CCM acts.
I had never booked a show for a band in my entire life so I was a perfectly long shot candidate for this gig. I was 23 and too stupid to know that, so I went with an enormous amount of optimism. I was going to get this job. Ignorance truly is bliss.
I was dating someone at the time, and we were dramatically mismatched. She was into Oscar Parties and French Cuisine. I was into Country Music and burgers. Besides, she was taller than me. We had broken up once before but it didn’t take. This felt like a perfectly good way to break it off. I would get the gig, play the “I don’t do long distance card” and presto.
Right before leaving for Atlanta and a day after breaking off the other relationship I had, quite by surprise, run into Shannon Anderson at the Mall where she was assistant managing a shoe store. I hadn’t seen her in a long time. She’s really fun to look at so I was very pleased to see her again. We had dated for a few months a while back but hadn’t seen or talked to each other in almost 2 years. She had played the “it’s not you it’s me card.” It worked the first try.
It was a perfectly innocent encounter. As I recall her washing machine was broken, so I offered her to do laundry at my place while I was out of town. I had no ulterior motives. I wasn’t doing the ol’ “you can do laundry at my house” move.
I came home from Atlanta a week later completely down trodden. The gig didn’t materialize like I naively thought it would. It looked like I would continue down the road of professional waiter/ rock star wannabe. I still had my white Washburn guitar, my crappy peavey sound system, and a dream. I felt like I would be stuck doing that forever. Khaki pants, green apron and bow tie on the weekdays, matching denim jeans/ jacket on the weekends.
And then it happened. Something hit me quite by surprise that summer that was completely not in my plans. I had completely unexpectedly borderline accidentally fallen in love with Shannon. We had a relationship forming that was not scripted, it was out of the blue, it was God.
I was smitten with Shannon Anderson the first time I laid eyes on her. She had just moved to Tulsa, OK in a Chevy Impala that was the envy of senior citizens everywhere and probably would’ve qualified her for the seniors discount on coffee at McDonald’s. I was impressed with her spunk in that at 19 she drove the 1,000 miles from Park River, ND to Tulsa, OK all alone. As I got to know her, I found out she was so much more than a pretty face. She loved (still does) God so much. She is one of the most caring and compassionate people I’ve ever known. She loves to give, to serve, to love.
In the summer of 94 We were both on the same page. If we were going to be in another relationship this one was for keeps. I proposed to her on one knee in a fountain in a restaurant in Tulsa that has long since gone out of business. Looking back on it, I was the exact kind of guy that if one of my daughters brings home someone like that I’m going to have a heart attack. I had based my entire life strategy on the premise that something neat would happen.
We had started dating in July, were engaged by August and married by December. It was a whirlwind of young love and God’s sovereignty wrapped into one six month period. I didn’t find God’s will that summer; God’s will found me. If I had gotten that gig in Atlanta there would be no Shannon Tyler. There would be no Madilyn, Ashleigh, Lauryn and Ethan.
In November, right before the wedding I got another call from Vanguard Entertainment. The job was materializing after all. Chuck Tilley, who I am grateful for to this day for giving me my start in the music industry, hired me to be an agent in his company.
Shannon and I got married as planned in December and very soon after were loaded up in a Uhaul for Atlanta, Georgia. The first bands he gave me to work with were Ian Eskelin and a little no rent acoustic guitar rock band in a mini van called Jars of Clay. Next up was Third Day (they had an excellent conversion van) and we were off to the races. This was the start of my 15 years of working in Christian Music, but more importantly the start of my 15 years and counting with Shannon. We have lived a lot of life together. I can honestly say that I know what Paul was talking about when he wrote of a God that was able to do more than I could ask or think. (Eph 3:20)
I’m remembering that tonight as God is leading my family on a new journey. We certainly haven’t sought this. God pulled it out of His hat. I remember those months in the summer of 94. I was restless, wondering what I was supposed to do with my life, wondering if I was going to be doing the same thing until I died, wondering if God really did have a plan for my life. This time the feeling wasn’t dire, I mean, seriously, I have a great gig. If this is what God called me to grow old doing then no problem. There was a definite unsettling. There was a realization that there was something coming. There were lots of unanswered questions.
Moses’ brother Aaron is being groomed to be the High Priest in Exodus 28 and 29. This was a guy who was sitting around minding his own business in the desert, and God picked Him. Aaron didn’t have to find God’s will for His life. God’s will found him. There wasn’t even any such thing as High Priest before. There is no way Aaron could’ve dreamed that would be his gig some day. I wonder if Aaron felt the same kind of restlessness, the same kind of tension, wondering if he was going to be forever in the same fields, working the same sheep, if this was all that God had for him.
And then out of nowhere, in just a few months, He was the guy that Hebrews would tell us is the picture of Jesus Christ, the High Priest.
We’re going to talk a little about that tomorrow night. If you’re in an unsettled place, a place of wondering what’s next, a place of wondering if God has something more for you, tomorrow would be a great time to join us.
We’ll meet at 730pm at Journey Church. Building 8 in the Factory in Franklin, TN.
http://www.conduitmission.org if you have $15, you can feed a kid for a month in Haiti. If you’ve got a $32 a month, you can sponsor one of our little ones there.
IMPORTANT: WE HAVE A DONOR WHO HAS AGREED TO MATCH DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR UP TO $5,000 ANY MONEY THAT WE RAISE TOWARDS FINISHING OUR HOUSE IN HAITI. IF THE LORD LEADS YOU, EVERY THING YOU GIVE DOUBLES TOWARDS THE HOUSE. WE’RE SO CLOSE ON GETTING THIS FINISHED.