As we celebrate the launch of my new radio single, “When You Were Jesus to Me”, I wanted to share the story behind the song. There’s always a story…
It was another Sunday in church several Easters ago. I was walking in some very difficult and painful places in my marriage. Usually on Easter weekend I am traveling, singing at someone else’s church. But, that year I was in town and able to attend my home church. Easter is such a glorious day. It is the day we remember the resurrection of our Risen Lord. He may have been placed in the tomb after they crucified Him, but He didn’t stay there. As we sing in the classic hymn, “Crown Him With Many Crowns”, He rose victorious in the strife for those he came to save. That’s you and me.
Often the music on Resurrection Day is joyfully triumphant. They may even call in a special horn section for the occasion. With banners raised high we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. It is a celebration to behold. But, that particular morning, I didn’t feel much like celebrating.
I knew I needed to be in church in hopes that God would give me something to hang onto, but it took everything in me just show up. I found a seat next to my best friend. When the music started and everyone rose to sing, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. I couldn’t even stand to my feet. Instead, I looked up at my friend, tears streaming down my face and said in a rare moment of utter defeat, just three very raw but truthful words.
“I can’t worship.”
I’ll never forget her response. Proverbs 25:11 states that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Her words were like precious metals that day. She leaned over and whispered, “It’s O.K. just to receive.” In that instant, my dear and wise friend had given me permission to be exactly where I was, tears and all. As I sat shoulders shaking with heavy sobs, she uttered the words I most needed to hear. As the service progressed I gradually was able to take comfort from the sound of other believers’ lifting up their voices around me. They were strong so I could be weak and borrow faith from a friend when mine had dwindled down to nearly nothing.
Fast forward a few years later to a regular Sunday at that same church. I’m sitting next to that same friend and ready to worship. When the music started up, this time it was her with tear-filled eyes. She didn’t have to say a word. I already knew the painful place she was walking with a wayward son and the toll it had taken on her family. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, I leaned over and offered some aptly chosen words of my own, “A wise woman once said to me, it’s O.K. just to receive.” She smiled through tears and gave a knowing nod, the kind that can only be exchanged between friends who have walked together through life’s deepest hurts.
In their book, The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge and Brent Curtis had this to say on the importance of authentic friendship. “A friend helps you remember your story so you don’t have to carry the burden of remembering alone.” How grateful I am for those lifelong friends who can relieve my burden every once in a while. I know a greater measure of Jesus’ love for me by the way they love.
When I was writing the second verse of “When You Were Jesus to Me” I was thinking of yet another friend and mentor. Of all the women God has blessed me to know, JoanDel, is perhaps one of the most wise. Having sat under her lectures at Community Bible Study for many years, her knowledge and handling of the Scriptures was truly admirable. Her words of wisdom and prayer support to me personally were a lifeline, especially as I sought to navigate a difficult relationship without losing myself. Her counsel always held weight with me because of her love for God and His Word.
Two friends. One Jesus. And the song that followed.
Praying it ministers to someone over the airwaves…
Thanks for listening,