It's weird the things that stick with you. Total non-events that impress themselves into your memory and make a home there indefinitely. I'm not sure why I remember that frigid late afternoon in Oklahoma City so vividly, but I do. All of us climbing over empty McDonald bags, squeezed in between the backpacks, beneath sock-stuff holes that did little to block wintery drafts from gusting into Bellarive's white tour van.
In typical off-day fashion we were caravanning to scout out the local hipster coffee shop. We had nearly all under-estimated how cold Oklahoma could be in the winter, and shivered cheerfully.
And yet, it's those moments that make road life feel human, bearable, and like family. Only one month into road life at the time, I couldn't help but feel like it was that adventure that sealed affection in my heart for this amazing group of people. For this band from Florida, for Bellarive.
Today they've released their second album. I remember listening to it with C around the kitchen table in Northern Ireland, tears welling in my eyes as the first song played. Listening to it again today I'm convinced it's one of the most beautiful calls to worship I've heard all year.
I don't write album reviews. And this isn't one. But I do know that this album sparks creativity in me. It sparks love for my God. It sparks life in my soul. These are the songs my heart sings underneath the chaos of life.
Listening to Before There Was is like meeting a kindred spirit-- like finding a friend who gets it.
Which makes sense, because that's what it's like to be friends with our Bellarive family. I've shared more "ah-hah" moments with them this year than almost anyone else. We've shared a lot of firsts-- moving to Atlanta, finding apartments, finding God and community in a new place. I know from conversations over coffee, backstage at churches, in our living rooms, sometimes through tears-- the struggle of being faithful to the calling of this life of ministry. This album reflects this past year to me. Prayers and anthems of grace. Faith in a God who comes through in the most impossible circumstances.
I love this creative offering. I love the people who are behind it. And I love God they worship. So worship with us.