I MET AMY GRANT. I can die now.

You guys. I met Amy Grant. Here is proof.

Amy Grant is my pretend-friend-famous-person. Do you have one of those? The famous person you find approachable and authentic and who you think you would totally be fast friends with if only the person wasn’t so busy being famous and could instead move to Des Moines?

No? Just me? Wow. You guys need to be more imaginative and needy.

Anyway, I met her. IN THE FLESH. She and Michael W. Smith and Jordan Smith from The Voice were in town last night on their Christmas tour, and I have a friend who knows of my obsession with Amy. This friend procured backstage passes for me. I cannot name this friend publicly, but I will just say here that now I’m going to have to reverse a surgical procedure and birth another child and name the child after this person, so great is my debt.

Marc and I arrived at the arena at the appointed BACKSTAGE PASS MEETING TIME, which means I walked right past all the people waiting in line to get to the BACKSTAGE PASS LINE. I’m sure you’ll understand that I was feeling completely superior to all people everywhere, until I remembered that I was waiting to see Amy Grant, who is known for being humble and kind and NOT full of herself, so I had to rein it in. Marc, for his part, was stopped by security and frisked because he was packing heat, a tablespoon in the pocket of his dress pants. He assured the security officer he had no plans to harm the performers with his tablespoon, but that he had intended to eat some yogurt on the way to the concert.

This is my real life. My husband really loves snacks. Sometimes he pays the price by getting frisked.

So we wound our way down, down, down into the belly of Wells Fargo Arena and we stood in line long enough for me to get hysterical with excitement and nerves.

Here’s the thing: Amy Grant’s music and the texts of her songs and her storytelling have accompanied me through six car stereos, five states, fifteen foreign countries, the awkwardness of adolescence, the cynicism of college, and the exhaustion of motherhood. Her songs have played in all sorts of apartments (hovels), houses, dorm rooms, and spaces where I have made homes for myself.

I even mention her on my website. This is deep, abiding love, people.

I thought about all this when I wrote her a little note, ahem, profession of my undying love and gratitude, on my fancy monogramed stationery made by the ridiculously talented girl who owns this shop. Doesn’t this make me look far more professional and less fan-girl than I really am?!

So I met Amy Grant. She was gracious and kind and so very much a real person. This was a great relief to me. No one wants their pretend-friend-famous-person to be a cad. It’d be such a letdown. Amy (because we are first name now) is the opposite of cad. She was warm and welcoming and greeted every one of her frothing fans with an open smile and a willingness to look past the froth.

I gave her a copy of Sugar. She was absolutely kind and acted genuinely pleased. In fact, she took the book from me and CLUTCHED IT TO HER, and said, “I will totally read this! I love to read! Thank you!” She might have said more words but at that point I was starting to hyperventilate and had to work really hard to no weep.

I’m telling you. Amy (first name) brings out the weep in me.

The concert was fantastic. Really. Just so much fun. Amy hula hooped at one point, and I kept muttering how impressive that was to hula hoop and sing “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” at the same time, to the point that the woman sitting next to me turned to look at me with narrowed eyes, clearly not as appreciative about my play-by-play of Amy’s (first name) treasure trove of talent.

Marc and I took selfies like the middle aged people we are.

Michael W. Smith and Jordan Smith were also fantastic. I did find myself with tears streaming down my cheeks when Jordan Smith sang “All is Well,” a song from Michael W. Smith’s first Christmas album and one that I used to cry to many years ago when I was first figuring out that God loved me with a stubborn, limitless love, and that He really was Emmanuel, God crossing  miles and time to enter into our mess.

As an aside, what the heck is going on with Jordan Smith?! His voice is ridiculous. Do you know about this person? Crazy time. Mostly I felt stunned.

The concert was wonderful. And I met Amy Grant. She’s lovely. She owns my book (thanks to my awesome publicist Bri, who overnighted an advanced reader’s copy to me when I let her know, in breathless tones, that I was going to meet Amy. Thanks, Bri! I wasn’t lying!). Amy Grant has a copy of my book. Or at least she did for one fleeting moment before it made its way to Goodwill. No matter! It was a great moment, one that I’ll tell my kids all about (again) when they come home from school. They LOVED it the first three times. I know they’ll appreciate it even more with time.

Merry early Christmas, friends. May all your dreams, even the pretend-friend-now-first-name-basis ones, come true.

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I MET AMY GRANT. I can die now.