Last spring I was invited to attend a small meet & greet with Chris Tomlin, followed by tickets to his Worship Night in America tour. I was able to bring one of my daughters as a guest. What a night it was! We got to experience backstage, have dinner, snap pictures with Chris, and then worship with the packed stadium.
Yesterday I was selected to attend a small listening party with Lauren Daigle prior to the launch of her new album, Look Up Child. I was able to bring one of my daughters as a guest. What a day it was! We had front row seats, learned about the inspiration behind several of her news songs, snapped pictures with Lauren, and left with a cool swag bag.
Amazing, right? Wow, Dawn and her girls really got lucky this year and had the chance to meet two amazing artists in 2018! Well, that’s certainly the social media, one-sided perspective of the story. But, the real backstory to both events makes them even more special than the photo ops could possibly communicate.
As many of you know, in early April our son Michael was admitted to a residential treatment program across the state to deal with some mental health and addiction issues. It was voluntary admission, but one that we supported as his best next step. Nonetheless, my heart was bleeding. Admitting you are not enough for your child is as tough as it gets for a parent. After I left him that first day the tears were flowing so hard I could barely see the road. I pulled over to get control of my emotions only to look up and see that the road I was driving on was literally called The Purple Heart Highway. God did not miss my bleeding heart.
I received the invitation to the Chris Tomlin event a few days after saying goodbye to Michael in April. I honestly did not want to go and almost turned the opportunity down. The last thing I wanted was to be around people I didn’t know or to be dragged into worship – even though I knew that was exactly where I needed to be. However, my husband encouraged me to go and take Isabelle along. As Michael’s twin, Izzy really needed a night of worship too. So, we went heavy-hearted but ended up having a wonderful time. As cool as it was to meet Chris, the highlight of the night was being soaked in worship. It was a turning point in my heart during that season with Michael away and one I knew the Lord had orchestrated for me.
What almost none of you know, is that in late July our son Michael was readmitted to the same program across the state. Nowhere where he was before, but still recognizing his need for more professional help, he voluntarily admitted himself again for help with both anxiety and addiction. Again we supported his decision to get therapeutic help that was outside of our ability. My heart was once again bleeding; my dreams were out of control; the emptiness left my heart weeping. On this trip home, Lauren Daigle’s new release, You Say, was on repeat for 3 ½ hours straight. It was simply oxygen to me. I honestly felt she wrote that song just for me.
“I keep fighting voices in my mind that tell me I’m not enough.
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up.
Am I more than the just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know.”
This week I heard an announcement on the JoyFM about a small listening party they were pulling together for Friday afternoon with Lauren Daigle. Anyone who could make it to Manatee County during that time was instructed to send an email to the station and they would identify 12 people to attend the event. Could it be that Jesus would once again be inviting me into worship the same way as the last time Michael left? Sure enough, a few hours later I was selected to attend the event. I later learned the 90-second invite was only shared one time on the radio, which just happened to be while I was in my car.
As a lifelong Christian, this season of life finds me struggling under the heavy burden of suffering. How can we give up our most precious gifts to God, without knowing the outcome, and yet be so carefully and closely loved by the Father? I can’t wrap my mind around the juxtaposition of these realities. Throughout every battle I’ve faced with my Lord, I’ve learned to “worship my way through it.” During our 23-year infertility journey, I battled to get my children in my arms. Now, I’m learning to lay them freely in the arms of Jesus. Here’s the beauty in the broken surrender: in laying down my treasures I’m being escorted – literally onto a front row – to worship under some of the most gifted psalmists of our generation. My response can only be one of surrendered worship.
“The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity”
~Lauren Daigle, You Say