I received a call in October from the March for Life planning team. It was only eight months since my brain surgery, and I had sung no more than three times in public during that recovery period. The first time was in August, when I sang “Broken Vessel” at the funeral of a dear friend, Nancy, who lost her battle with brain cancer, but won her glorious eternal life in Jesus Christ. (That week when Nancy went home was the week Jamie was hospitalized due to chemo wiping out almost all of his white blood cells.) The second time I sang was at my home church, where I shared the timeless hymn, “Holy Holy Holy” at a worship service, just three weeks before our wedding. The third time was at my cousin’s wedding, two weeks after my own (the three of us girl cousins grew up together, close in age and close in heart…we each got married within a four month span this year!). It was an honor to share the gift of music on their beautiful wedding day.
Each one of those events- the funeral, the wedding, and the worship service- was so precious and treasured. Outside of those occasions, singing was not something I was able to do much in my recovery. In fact, for months the headaches were so intense, every time I would try to sing more than one song my head would just pound. I hardly even walked into the living room to touch the piano. The long road of surgery’s recovery, Jamie’s cancer and chemo, and starting out beautiful married life was anything but “normal” and I was not exactly ready to sing again. Of course I wanted to sing, I wanted to jump back in to this gift God had given, but how could I pick up all the pieces and start all over? When would I feel strong enough to get through more than one song? Would people even want to book me for concerts again? Back in 2014, before my diagnosis, things were going so well and my music ministry was growing and everything seemed great, but when a year of hospital visits and recovery hit, I have to admit, some days my heart doubted. What would the future hold? Was it all lost? God had miraculously restored my hearing, but would He allow me to truly offer up this music again on a regular basis in worship? Would it come back to me like riding a bike?
I received that call from the March for Life out of nowhere, and what a surprise it was when they asked me to sing at the rally in Washington D.C. before the 2016 March! Somehow I remained calm on the phone, but when I hung up, I hit my knees and the tears streamed. All I could do was praise God. I called Jamie at work and told him the news. I felt the Lord’s presence and blessing so intensely in that moment, restoring all things, and making all things new. He wouldn’t let all the setbacks over the past year define my future. My future was in His hands, and He would open a door to once again use my voice to worship, to proclaim truth, and to share a message of hope and life.
January 22, 2016 was a March for Life I’ll never forget. I was so humbled and honored to walk on that stage and sing our Nation’s beautiful Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”. I was so moved to hold hands with other pro-life leaders and proclaim blessings over this country through “God Bless America!” I was thankful for life, more than ever before, and ready to begin ministering through music again with all the passion in my soul. After everything I have been through, I see life through a lens I didn’t see through before. The precious gift of life I now thank God for in such a personal way, every single day I wake up and breathe. I will not stop being a voice for life until every life is protected and given rights. Every life! The unborn, the born, the young, the elderly, the impoverished, the wealthy, the educated, those without an education, the abled, the disabled (who, for the first time, I have such respect for, after all the hurdles I went through in recovery, and now as I wait for my vision to heal, I realize how much those with disabilities have to overcome on a daily basis!)