No doubt any artist’s manager would advise against making the following post public…and I myself have hesitated. But, as one who has processed a lot of life with you, the readers, I am compelled to share this part of the journey…
I confess I am in a peculiar place. I’ll try my best to articulate without being dramatic.
In the moment, I don’t have real clarity about what my next steps are in ministry. It’s “March” already and I still don’t have my marching orders! Have you ever been there? Have you ever felt like you’re in limbo? My Dictionary app defines it as a state of uncertainty. Not to be confused with another kind of limbo…a dance or contest that involves bending over backwards and passing under a horizontal pole lowered slightly for each successive pass. I know, silly girl. Give me a Dictionary and I go a little nuts.
Back to processing though. I’ve got a good batch of new songs, but I’m not feeling ready for another album just yet. And, strangely, I don’t have much of a Spring calendar. I think, in part, because my focus has been elsewhere, getting married and establishing a new normal. Nor do I have a hit single which can generate demand for bookings, keeping me busy and focused. Still, I am grateful to the near 800 radio stations and outlets playing “Be My Sabbath” from No Longer My Own. That’s no small thing in today’s ever changing Christian music industry.
But, can I just say I’ve been delighting in my husband? That’s the bearded fellow to the left. He super loves me, has mad skills, works hard every day, and wants to be a good provider. That’s not to say I don’t want to continue in the work God has called me to…sharing God’s message of Hope and Healing through song, speech, and the written word. I just wonder if maybe God is allowing me to take my man pants off, so to speak, to enjoy being cared for and enjoy feeling like a woman for a minute, ya know?
I’ve said many times what a Good Husband Jesus has been. That hasn’t changed. But, being single does have its challenges. Sometimes you feel like everything depends on you. As a believer, you know it doesn’t, but it can feel that way. And it’s been awfully nice to be a team together with Steven whom I have affectionately named Carpenter Husband. Not only have I resurrected my old overalls to help him on a kitchen job, but I’ve learned what a crescent wrench is and the importance of having magnetized drill bits handy. All of that while remaining delicate and lovely, of course. As lovely as one can be in pigtails and overalls. Notice there’s no photo!
Nonetheless, sorting through books the other day I found an old bio from my teen years. Perhaps a first attempt at a mission statement. Back in high school, before I had recorded my first album, I had written several piano instrumentals. Little known fact, I even unofficially “opened” for Uncle Phil a time or two. You can hear a hint of one of those early musical offerings called “Overture to Freedom”, which became the prelude to “Freedom Calling” from 1997’s release, What Matters Most. Though the photo is difficult to decipher, basically, I state my purpose as a young pianist…to share inspiring music with others, to let my light so shine before men, that they’ll praise my Father in heaven, etc. It blessed me to find this. Especially during this time of introspection.
I’ve heard it said, if you’re not sure of God’s marching orders…
Makes sense. And I’ve encouraged others with this very sentiment.
So, while I’m in this not-sure-what-I’m-supposed-to-be-doing space, maybe I’ll finish that song I was working on about pruning. Or reach out to a few churches who have hosted me in the past and see if they’re ready to have me back. Maybe I’ll read and journal and read some more. And maybe I’ll pray. Or, rather, keep praying and waiting on the Lord. How I do so want to be a good steward of my gifts while marching forward for Him. With all the certainty He can spare.
In the meantime, in this limbo place, I will trust He’s still holding me. Though He now shares holding duties with Carpenter Husband. And maybe I’ll just enjoy that for a minute and try not to be anxious about tomorrow. And be thankful. Ever so thankful for today.
What’s next for Cheri Keaggy? What comes after album No. 9? I have no earthly idea. And in my most faith-filled days I’m O.K. with that.
As long as Heaven knows.
Thanks again for letting me share so honestly. I truly appreciate your faithful friendship through the years. And welcome any insight or encouragement you may have.
Here’s to processing out loud (for better or for worse!)…
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:24-26)
It’s the new year and the biggest change in my life has come in the form of a new marriage. What a most beautiful and humbling thing.
I shared a bit of our story in a recent e-newsletter…The couple who owns the house I’m renting would send Steven over from time to time to fix things. Each time we would have good conversations and I noticed he would always look me in the eyes as if what I had to say was important. We talked about our lives, our children, and the Lord. One day, Steven was busy replacing my back patio doors. I had plans for dinner and a movie with a girlfriend later that night. When she backed out last minute, I said out loud to my dog, “Well, Daisy, it looks like it’s just me and you tonight!” Without skipping a beat, Steven interjected, “I’d love to take you to a movie.” Somehow I felt God’s permission to go. And the rest is history. Early on, I had him listed as ‘Steven – repair guy’ in my phone. As our friendship grew, and he was so kind, attentive, and sensitive to my needs, I realized God was using him to do another kind of repair work in my heart, opening me up to love again. Aside from a six month stint or so, when God required me to let him go, we’ve been inseparable sharing a love of reading, writing, long talks, dog walks, and growing together in Christ. God has been a good Heavenly Husband to me. And now He is blessing me with an earth husband, my husband with a little “h”…I’m so thankful He’s letting me have this good man. I’ve loved a Carpenter for a long time, and now I get to love a carpenter, too!
Last month, we exchanged traditional vows as well as words we wrote ourselves, one to another. All I can say is I definitely should have worn the water-proof mascara. It was such a sweet, redemptive ceremony. A picture of God’s crazy, boundless grace. Undeserved, but ever on display one unseasonably warm Saturday in December. The day we became Mr. and Mrs.
Of course, there’s room for more healing in each of us, and each of our families, and for that we hope and pray, as we move into this next chapter of our story.
Perhaps it’s the Lord’s timing, I don’t know. But, while writing today I paused to check messages on Facebook. One came from a woman who’s sixteen year old daughter, Abigail, recently sang “Hello, God” at a competition (lovely job, lovely girl, they sent the video). She shared how the song became an anthem to her and her family. You see her daughter was born with multiple heart defects and the week after the competition she would be going in for open heart surgery to have them repaired. You can see her courageously fighting back the tears as she sings. This song became her prayer and her comfort. The line about there not being a broken heart He can’t repair really spoke to her. God used the song to remind her that He could fix her heart physically and emotionally. The song became the whole family’s prayer. Her surgery went beautifully and she now has an amazing testimony of God’s healing and provision during that time.
We go through hard stuff. We go through heart stuff. The Creator of our hearts is the Holder of our hearts and the Healer of the same. The miracle is, when His transforming love takes hold…
And a song rises from the ashes…
We will love Him, the One who first loved us
This is our Restoration Song. Literally. As I listen for my marching orders for 2017, it could very well end up on the next album.
I’ll close with a Scripture we had a friend and mentor read at the wedding. It comes from First Thessalonians, chapter five, verses twenty-three and twenty four…May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it.
Yay for honeymoon selfies.
Your friend, now completely spoken for…