Jen Jeffrey: As Isaac Helped My Winter Blahs

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - by Jen Jeffrey
As Isaac with Jen Jeffrey
As Isaac with Jen Jeffrey

Last week was a little unusual for me. I guess I was experiencing a bit of “cabin fever.” As things come to a halt during winter and people are not as active, it is easy to have that ‘limbo’ feeling as we await warmer days.

Lately, I have enjoyed all seasons and this was the first time in a long while that I got the winter blahs. It wasn’t a clinical thing that required a doctor’s prescription - it was simply a week of losing my focus. I had my focus on what I could not do, rather than what I could.

After seeing Jason so often we finally hit a point where we both had things keeping us from getting together for a while. We understood having a long distance relationship would be hard, but we knew we could work through it.

Each time we got to visit we had plans to meet up again and looked forward to the next time. This last time we said good bye, it was harder because we didn’t have our next date inked on the calendar. We knew it could be March before we got together again. We have said we would try for February but, because it was not definite, it felt as though my heart was floating in the cold wind with nowhere to land.

With only getting out when I had errands to run, any social time I took for myself was on Facebook. I like to catch up with friends and even get information of what is going on with events around town. One event I planned to get out for was the As Isaac concert this past Friday night. I had only met one of the members of the band when I interviewed Rachel Kelly for a story. I didn’t even know about the band when I interviewed her. I picked her randomly and knew that she played the violin.

When Rachel told me that she was in a band, I didn’t realize that the band was more than just a group of kids playing music together in church. She had given me a gift after the interview – their latest CD called “Headed for My Home”. The CD has been played so much, I know almost every word. I liked the contemporary songs as well as the very deep and worshipful songs. I could tell these young people (who write their own music) were very enlightened individuals and their music fed my spirit.

After finding the band’s Facebook page, I started following them and I saw a zaniness that intrigued me. They would do crazy videos that were almost silly-stupid with no rhyme or reason – their ‘play time’ from being so serious. I like to play and the videos made me laugh. I also watched the videos where they gave testimony and spoke from their heart. These were good kids with a positive message and an absolute stand that I respected.

I am a born promoter without even meaning to be. I love to promote the things that I believe in or have a passion for and it is easy for me to support this group in their ministry and even their fun shenanigans.

They have been touring and were able to give a concert back home in Chattanooga and I wanted to go. I also wanted to take Mama. It just so happened that as Mama and I were getting ready, my sister was headed to our house to ‘hang out with us for a few hours’. THIS sister never does that. Her career has kept her so busy over the past few years that we have actually worried about her stress load. It just seemed that God had lined up the perfect opportunity for her to come along.

When we got to Calvary Chapel where the concert was being held on Friday night, we were greeted by Meleah Smith, the band’s manager. Meleah and I met on Facebook and discussed her writing as well as other things about the band. When I saw Rachel I introduced her to Mama and my sister and then Elias Brockway was at the table ready to “stamp” our hands by drawing on them. It was fun to watch Mama ‘get stamped’ for a concert!

As Isaac’s opening artist ( who is living in Istanbul, Turkey) has a catchy name - “Drakeford”. People called him Drake. When you go to a concert expecting to hear a favorite band perform their songs live, the person who opens has their work cut out for them in getting your attention. Drake did something so weird that it was almost too much for my non-techno-mind to grasp.

He held the mike on its stand and pumped his foot on something as he did a ‘spit-rap’ noise with his mouth. He released the mike and the sound was still going. I thought it was a joke and that he was making us believe he did the rap sound and really wasn’t.

But he WAS making the sound and somehow recording it as he made more recordings of rap sounds. The next sound he echoed into the mike was a “boom-chi-boom” sound and he did the same thing - releasing the mike as the two sounds played together. Then he added even another sound, singing a soulful “Oh-oh-ohhhh” and the combined sounds wowed the audience as Drake sang along to his freshly recorded rap sounds. His roommate David was in the audience and he began dancing in the middle of the room as Drake sang. I loved this.

I wondered how my 76-year-old mama was going to take this guy. It was a short introductory song, but it got our attention. Then he began sharing small testimonies of what songs meant to him when he had written them. I could tell Mama really liked him because of his heart and also the words in his music. He sang a poignant song called ‘Five Year Plan’ and a healing song called, ‘You Are Worthy’.

One of the songs he sang reminded me of something Jason would really like. It was called, “Never Leave or Forsake Us”. I can’t wait until I can get that song and let Jason hear it.

Mama really got into that song as Drake sped through the words with carefulness and talent. She clapped her hands during the middle of the song because it thrilled her so. It was good to see Mama shedding her winter blahs, too.

After the first hour of listening to Drakeford (who I am now a fan of), As Isaac appeared on stage. Zach Smith, who sings lead (as does Rachel), began sharing. It is not uncommon for someone to give a short testimonial before a song and so, after the first song, when they began to play the next song Rachel interrupted and spoke into the mike with a soothing, calm voice. I expected her to do the same and share a little when she said, “If we could just hold for a moment…” And respectfully, everyone turned their attention to Rachel as she said, “… I just stepped on my chord.”

That made us laugh as Rachel took a few minutes to get plugged back in and they continued their songs.  I was delighted that they sang every song on the CD that I love so much. I sang along as I knew most of the words by heart. The CD is very uplifting.

I have a few favorites with a good beat and they also have very worshipful songs. Their music is unlike what I have found in other contemporary Christian music where songs have a few lines repeated over and over. I believe the idea behind that style is to allow yourself to ‘feel’ the presence of God as you sing without worrying about reading the words. But As Isaac’s music is very meaningful with words that reach deep into the heart. They are profound, insightful and also very fun with catchy tunes. Rachel’s violin also adds something fun without sounding hokey. It’s quite cool, actually. The music really isn’t what you would expect from a young group and it stands out from other bands.

When Zach was sharing once again before a song, I loved how he did not come off as ‘more enlightened’ or preachy. None of the artists did. They made each and every one of us feel that we were ‘one’ just as they write in one of their songs. When Zach got excited as he shared and a little overwhelmed he became emotional. My heart  was so full of love and respect for these guys that tears sprang from my heart and filled my eyes.

I had not worn water-proof mascara because I didn’t plan on getting weepy, but when I could identify with what Zach was feeling and how moved he was, I had no say in the matter – my heart was in control. I also identified with what his mama must have been feeling watching God work in her children. I have felt that way many times watching my three sons perform or preach.

God didn’t care what mascara I had worn that evening. He cared about the message being given and He cared about our fellowship and the faith we shared in His love. It was a very moving night of music so full of joy, laughter and tears.

Afterward, I met with Drakeford and got a photo of him because I could not get a good shot from the audience. I also met Zach in person, along with Nathan Shirai and Kristian Croxall and got a photo of them all together (as well as jumped in one with them).  On the way out the door, I purchased a few more CDs to give as gifts for people I knew would enjoy their music.

I don’t get out much at night – especially during winter, but I think my night was similar to those who enjoy the ‘night life’ nearly every weekend because we enjoyed great music, laughter and sharing with friends. Only …we didn’t have a headache the next morning.

Please support these groups in making positive music!

Drakeford: http://www.reverbnation.com/drakeford827

As Isaac: http://asisaac.com/

For more photos of the concert visit my Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.621928281190105.1073741837.192856860763918&type=1


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