In 7 days, I'll be on my way to Europe for 5 weeks. I'll be touring my new album in 15 cities. That's 3 cities per week, if you want to imagine my train schedule.
When I travel, my packing timeline indicates my level of excitement. Last year when I went to Israel for 10 days in April, I started packing in February. For this trip, I've been working out my plans over the past month. I'm flying a lot of budget airlines, so I've got a luggage requirement of one carry-on suitcase weighing 22 pounds or less. No second carry-on (!!!). Fortunately, I was able to ship my tour merch (CDs, books, posters, etc.) ahead of me.
Why am I touring in Europe? Three reasons:
- I'm playing on a lot of military bases. I have always had a heart for US Military. My dad was an Army man, and he formed a deep respect in us from a young age. The most recent stats show that 22 veterans commit suicide each day. There's a lot of darkness that needs the hope of the Gospel spoken into it. So I'm going to speak and sing some hope toward the hearts of military, their spouses, and their children. Please pray for the hope of the Gospel to reach their hearts.
- I'll also be playing in a few churches. Churches in Europe tend to be much smaller than in the states. At most churches, even the pastor is bi-vocational. He has to work another job to pay the bills, and he pastors as his passion. I want to speak an encouraging word to these churches. I want to remind them that they are not alone in this, that the Kingdom of God is being advanced through their efforts.
- And let's be honest: it's Europe. C'mon.
Yesterday, I experienced a deep conviction about this trip. A heartbreaking moment where my soul was laid open before me.
My friend Lindsay asked if she could pray over me about the tour. As we stood in the church sanctuary, my fingers gripping the fabric back of the seats on the last row, she began to talk to God about the needs I shared with her.
I mentioned the ministry opportunities, of course. I told her of the hectic travel schedule -- how I'd be sleeping on trains and in airports and stranger's homes. She knew I contracted meningitis during my last tour of Europe, and that there are some natural fears about life-threatening illnesses. But I also mentioned that I spent more than $3,000 to make this tour happen, and that most of the churches and bases have no means to pay me or no idea what they could pay me if they are able to come up with something.
This is my job, mind you. Which means I'm not supposed to come back with just the expenses covered, but also with money to pay my bills and live and tithe and give.
“Whatever needs to happen for Tara-Leigh to have peace about the finances on this trip,” she prayed, “please make it happen.”
Immediately, my shoulders fell, my eyes filled with tears as I dug my fingers into the back of the chair. It was a good prayer. But it slayed me.
Because the thing that needed to happen to give me peace about the finances? It already happened 2,000 years ago. What “needed to happen” for me to have peace was Christ's resurrection, God's adoption of me. Surely He will provide for me. He always has.
My budget will never be my Savior.
Fortunately, I have One of those already. He is my Provider, and He is my Peace, and He owns everything, and He is going with me on the trip, and He is already there, and He is already back, because He lives outside of time.
The only comfort I need, I already have. How beautiful. How peace-inducing.
I'm free from the burden of praying for provision. I can focus my prayers on asking Him to advance His Kingdom through me, and to encourage those I meet, and also to help me navigate my way through Greece without knowing their alphabet.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled..." - John 10:27
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” - Matthew 6:25-26