It Doesn’t Get Better Than This (music-wise) in Dallas

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NEEDTOBREATHE – 2013 Drive All Night Tour at the Palladium / Photo by Rachel Duke

Last night’s NEEDTOBREATHE concert at the Palladium was even more awesome than I anticipated in my earlier blog post — due mostly to the sort of random, unplanned series of events, and the fact Chris came with me, which made it THAT much more awesome.

The doors opened at 8, so we wanted to get there right around that time. By the time we left the house we realized we didn’t have enough time to sit down and have a nice, chill dinner beforehand. Pulling up to park, Chris made a crack at the fact there would have been 14-year-old fan girls in line all day. I scoffed laughingly thinking he was seriously joking. WRONG. I so ate my doubts. There they were, skinny jeans and all, in masses lined up outside the venue door. I couldn’t believe it. I had seen them last year at the House of Blues, and there wasn’t anything like this.

Chris and I laughed so hard, and as we found the back of the line (a few blocks later) I teasingly pointed out that there were 40-year-olds at the back of the line, so Chris didn’t have to feel like he was the oldest guy there. We decided we weren’t going to get near the stage anyway, and didn’t want to spend the next half hour standing in line.

As luck would have it, I had done a photo shoot with TWG (magazine) earlier that week at the NYLO Hotel, which is a few blocks down from the Palladium. Afterwards the photographer treated my team to some drinks at this charming industrial-looking restaurant called Full Circle Tavern (check them out). Chris and I decided to have a drink and eat dinner. The weather was perfect and we sat right next to one of the big doorways (which are really those garage doors with all the windows, rolled up) for the next hour. The line grew to where people were lined up outside the restaurant. When we finished we hopped right in line and it began moving. Such an awesome and convenient turn of events!

We ended up standing in the middle of the wide, yet deep room. I expected to bump into people I knew that were going, but didn’t. NEEDTOBREATHE had never played to a crowd this big at one time in Dallas. There had to be at least 2,000 people in one space. It was so fun to sing along, jump up and down and let the inner 14-year-old out a little bit, which cracked up my boyfriend.

Here’s a short clip I managed to get of one of the songs they performed last night (Drive All Night — duh)


TIME: so that everything doesn’t happen at once…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up with is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a times to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

My beloved readers, it has been quite some time since I last posted a blog. Much more than you care to hear and I care to reveal has happened between then and now.

I love my new job as assistant editor at WE and MBN Magazines. So many great experiences lie ahead and are at my fingertips! I felt legit for the first time last Tuesday when I received not only my first paycheck but also my own set of business cards complete with a stainless steel cardholder with the MBN red logo on it. Very sassy.

As I sit at my desk in my cubicle listening to the New Moon musical score, which calms my mind and helps drown out the clatter around me, I open up a glass bottle of diet Snapple tea. I don’t know about you, but I think the random Snapple “Real Facts” on the inside of the lid are pretty awesome. It reads: Every hour more than one billion cells in the body must be replaced.

WOW! Talk about hard work and our body just does it because God is. I marvel when I start thinking about how intricate the human body is. How my brain sends these signals to my nerves in my fingers to make them fly across the keyboard as I’m typing now.

Time affects memories

Everyday events and places trigger memories in the brain; some so strongly one feels they are reliving the memory afresh. Memories can be triggered and relived in dreams and daydreams.

Memories: they can be beautiful or horrific. They can be beautifully frozen in memory but painful to recall in the present; or horrific and terrorizing in the past and present. Some are to be cherished for all times and seasons; perfectly preserved in a state of delight.

Nowadays, the memories triggered are some of the best moments in my life. These moments are now no longer a part of my life and are full with this great sense of loss and pain.

Time allows memories to be made and contained. “Time is the wisest counselor of all,” said the great Greek orator, Pericles. In a way he is right. I would add, however, that God created time and is outside of it, ergo He in fact is the wisest Counselor of all. He bestows on us the passage of time to allow things to come to light and in order to gain a better understanding of why things happened a certain way. Time is His way of showing us His awesome power and glory. Some mysteries are never solved by time.

The Big Picture

I am reminded of Joseph in the book of Genesis who was thrown in a pit, left for dead, sold into slavery, given charge of Potiphar’s household, only to be thrown to rot in jail, only to be forgotten about in jail by the cupbearer. Joseph went through all those years of torment and betrayal yet he never ceased to live by his faith. God was with Joseph through it all and because of his great faith in God, when Joseph has a chance for revenge against his brothers and every reason to hate them, sees the bigger picture of how God works in the bad for our good and His glory. If none of those things happened, Joseph wouldn’t have been in a position to save his family and all of Egypt. “But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” – Genesis 50:19-20

Count it all joy

Make no mistake, God doesn’t punish us or do bad things to us. The cross covered, forgave and took care of all our sins. He is incapable of evil, being bad or unfair with us in His dealings. We live in an imperfect and fallen world and should be so humbled and stripped bare by His unmerited love. I would refer you, reader, to my blog post, Doubting Castle and Giant Despair, on giving thanksgiving and prayer.

Ask yourself  this: Why do we think we deserve and have a right to anything?

Take heart, the more you seek to know more of God, the more pain you will bear. Think of the apostle Paul and the other disciples. We endure nothing compared to them. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4

God is outside of time and scope

He is the Alpha and Omega. He exists in, beyond and outside of time and scope. Everything you and I have or are going through, He has already foreseen and felt. Who better or more keenly felt the pain of rejection, of neglect and lack of heart than Christ Himself? Yet He still pursues hard after us in spite of us. Let that thought really sink in…He never gives up on what’s His. Remember the seeming unbearable pain of rejection and neglect in your own life and how tempted you’ve been to despair and to hate. The pain in our lives can cause us to know more of Christ or to turn from Him – only two roads to take. Christ makes intercession for us with the Father and empathizes with us. He knows. It is ok to grieve and mourn. We can take courage and rejoice at Christ’s promise to never leave or forsake us. He is the Rock, the shelter in the storm, and the constant in the messiness of life. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8.

Final thoughts

One more thing to leave you with and then I shall leave you be until I blog on my adventures in sunny Cali.

I know I have had to check myself a lot lately about praying with pure intentions. I never realized how much I struggled with it and how common and easy a thing it is. Convicting realization. Oftentimes (and see if you can relate) I find myself praying (unintentionally) in this manner: “God, I have and am doing a,b, and c for Your glory and have done all this right. Now, give me x,y, and z.” I obviously don’t pray exactly like that and the second half of that prayer is more in the deep recesses of my mind.


I find myself viewing and lining up God’s will and mine along this point A to point B line and saying, “Ok, God. I totally want your will to be accomplished and done. Bring it on. Do anything you’d like. Go all crazy and haywire and have all kinds of outliers on that line. As long as we both get the same end result then I’ll be good.” Uh-uh. Big no-no. I was so busy thinking that I was not asking His will to be perfectly aligned with mine, as long as we got the same end result, that I was, at times, never surrendering control entirely to Him.

I will simply make a wrap of it with this plea that is my prayer almost constantly these days:

In Mark 9, Jesus asks the father of the demon-possessed child how long he has been in this condition. The father explains and then adds this plea: “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “’If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Deep down I do believe in and hold fast to God’s truth and promises but oh, the doubts that constantly wish to intrude, nag and wear that belief down. Help my unbelief! Only God can grant this sort of faith – not our own willpower. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1

Peace out,

Rachel B. Duke