As you all know, last month was a tough one for my family. Jesus called my Step-Dad home what feels like way too early.
How does this connect to my music?
There were multiple moments in this hard journey that I saw God moving through music… and it reminded me of why I continue to write, continue to sing, and continue to share the gifts God gave me to use for His work.
Ordinary Hero – Of course first I was honored to be called upon by my Mother to write a special song for her beloved husband, John. It meant a lot to me to reflect on his life and what he meant to all of us. It meant even more to get to tell him and my Mom this when I played the song for him before he passed. God continued to use this song to help us honor John, and learn from his life of loving service, as his Memorial service. I’m not sure how I made it through singing it without bawling (I barely did in front of John too), if not for the grace of God.
At first I was hesitant to share this song online. I didn’t want it to come across as self-promotion or attention-seeking in any way. But then God gave me peace to share it… to continue to honor John and help his loved ones long after the services were complete. As friends and family watched, I saw God use it to help people mourn, to reflect on the example of John’s life, to reach out to others, and to remember him with love. That’s all I could’ve asked for and more.
Angels Among Us – Mom was brainstorming a song to have Chris, Amanda, and me sing at John’s memorial service, as we sang together at their wedding. She came upon Angels Among Us as a suggestion, and remembered that John always liked that song. (It just so happened that this was the first song that Amanda and I sang together in church when we were little.) So we began looking up versions, and found one with sisters singing together… it was a perfect fit!
Then Mom and Amanda had the idea of having kids sing with us. The next day Amanda and I were a bit nervous about how we could pull off gathering a bunch of kids to sing. But we ran it by the Pastor, and he said, “You know, I was thinking it would be nice to have kids participate in the service, since he loved kids so much!” It was a done deal. Pastor Ball recruited a dozen of the sweetest kids we could ask for, and took care of everything that entailed to make it happen. Those kids worked so hard to learn it, and it was such a sweet tribute to John… I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the place.
After the services were over, Mom was downstairs trying to find some papers. That’s when I noticed this poster above John’s old desk… I’m not sure Mom even realized it!
Later still, we were going through Facebook posts with Mom, and someone they knew had posted that song in honor of John… on the day Mom chose it! So many sweet confirmations that God had led us to this song for a purpose.
Just be Held – It was clear that God was speaking to Mom and John through music in the previous months. One Sunday they heard this song in church. She was so moved by it that she wrote it down to remember for later. Well she ended up remembering about the song one Sunday after the funeral. She said she couldn’t remember what it was called, but it would’ve been a good one to sing (but as we saw, God had other plans!). She planned to look up that service bulletin later to show me.
Well, on that night of going through Facebook, we started listening to a song my cousin had posted to her wall… that was the song! (Ironically, the music video even has Charleston’s famous “Angel Oak”tree featured.) It was a healing moment of resting in God’s Love.
There was another song posted by a friend, “Jealous of the Angels” that said so much of what we were feeling, and even some of what I’d said to John before he passed. One of many moments that allowed us grace to mourn.
Then yet another friend dedicated a song to John in church, that just meant so much to us!
I could go on…
My friends, this is why I write, this is why I sing, this is why I continue to share the gifts God gave me for his work of grace, restoration, healing, and love.