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Sad News and The Path Forward

January 14, 2016

Dear friends,

From the very beginning of the work I believe God has entrusted to me, the songs I’ve written and the stories I’ve told have circled around a couple of recurring themes. One of them is the belief that it’s through our weakness and brokenness that the light of God’s power and love best shines through. Another is the hope that if our Father is able to work all things together for the good of those who love him, then His love—not our losses, not our failures, not the worst that has been done to us nor the worst we have done to others—no, not these things, but rather the unfailing love of God, whose mercies are new every morning, will have the final word over our lives.

“Nothing Is Wasted,” “Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue,” “Even This Will Be Made Beautiful,” “Remind Me Who I Am,” “The Wound Is Where The Light Gets In,” – these and many other songs were born out of this belief and hope.  It’s the medicine I’ve been grateful to share with anyone who would listen and the medicine that I myself have needed most for many years and now more than ever.

It is with deep sadness that I write to let you know that something I loved very much has died. After many years of painful struggle, my marriage legally ended in January of 2015. I’ve taken the past year to work through my own grief before attempting to talk about it publicly.

It’s still difficult for me to find the language for all of it, but maybe it’s enough to say that two people enter marriage believing that it will last and hoping that it will be a place of healing and wholeness in the world. When it breaks down, it is both devastating and disorienting. Anyone who has gone through divorce will tell you that it’s one of the most painful things a person can experience in life—an ongoing series of deaths that break a person’s heart and often their spirit. The best anyone can do is try to not lose themselves in the storm of it and in time work toward wholeness again. The best way I know how to do this is to bring the broken pieces of my life to the God who redeems, restores, and puts broken things back together.

I believe there is something about pain that is holy, and over the years I’ve been privileged to stand on the holy ground of other people’s pain, humbled and honored to learn of the hurting places where my songs have found a home and, amazingly to me, brought hope to people in desperate places. Ironically, many times people have told me how one of my songs helped heal their marriage. I suppose now it’s me who is inviting you to step on to this broken little piece of holy ground that is mine.

One of my favorite quotes is from Elizabeth Kubler Ross who wrote:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

Though this is not the story anyone hopes for, it is the story I am in, and by God’s grace and with the help of my friends and family I will do the best I know to bring my brokenness before the Lord again and again and pray that I may become wiser, gentler, more compassionate, kinder, a better minister, listener, friend, and human, and to do this with the hope that nothing is wasted and that even this can be made beautiful. These were prayers in my heart long before they were song lyrics.

This is the path forward. I would be grateful for your prayers for myself and my family.

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