Monday, April 07, 2014

Gladness and Joy Overtook Them

The last time we left Jeremy, he had recently lost his wife, Melissa, and met a young woman named Adrienne while he was touring. She had her own story however, (don’t we all?) and she had become quite disenchanted with the whole Christian music scene.

She was curious about Jeremy though, she had heard he had been though something painful, and yet here he was standing strong; she knew he was standing strong because of his demeanor. It was the way he carried himself. He was different, and she wanted to know why.

See, when you think no one is watching you when you are struggling through a trial, you are wrong. Your life is a reflection of Christ and your faith in Him. I realize there are times you are going to be angry with God and I encourage you to be real and express those emotions, to express your faith and all of its nuances to those you encounter, but I also encourage you to be mindful of how you behave. Be mindful that in your own stumbling you do not cause another to stumble. Look, I believe that we will go though some pretty rough stuff, but when we come out of it, the other side of that trial will be a testimony that will strengthen our brothers and sisters. Jeremy’s did. There are going to be times too, where you will stumble and you will feel like you can.not.get.up. ASK for help. It’s there for the asking.

We are not perfect creatures and presenting ourselves as such, or that WE have it “all together” is exactly the kind of thing that causes people to shake their heads and walk away from the church. Who can attain to that? Who wants any part of that? It’s when we admit our failures, cry out in defeat and lean on the Holy One in our shame that others see that there is HOPE for them too.

That’s what Jeremy was doing and that’s what Adie was drawn to.

What started out as a friendship blossomed into a love that drew them to the altar, where they pledged their love before the King of Kings. I love that Adie’s verse was Isaiah 35:10, which says, “and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, they will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads, gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

She handmade each invitation that was sent out for their wedding and in each one she included a tiny wire crown. She wanted the focus of her wedding to be that not only is Jesus Savior, He is also our King. When she came down the aisle to meet her groom they sang “Here I am to Worship.”

Truly God was restoring to Jeremy what the locust had eaten…

He began work on his third album and about a year later they found out the joyous news that they were going to be parents. Soon another child was added to their growing family, and suddenly, FEAR.

Jeremy realized he was thinking about how he would feel if he lost one of his children, the fear welled up inside of him and became a tangible thing and almost as suddenly as it gripped him it was gone as he realized he had faced this with the death of Melissa. He knew that the thoughts were scary, and the pain he had been through was THE worst pain he had ever imagined but he also knew that in the end, it was fine. The thought of going through something like that scared him, but if it was required he knew he would survive it, BECAUSE God would be with him.

You see, Jeremy learned (and I am learning) that what he has gone through has REFINED him, not DEFINED him. Lemme say that one more time: The trials you suffer are refining you, they do not define you.

One of Jeremy’s friends DID lose a child, that is EVERY parent’s worst imagination, and here’s what he had to say, “Before this happened, I thought I had a strong relationship with God, but I was only in a meadow near the cross. After this happened, I went to the cross and stayed there.”

My question to you is, are you hanging out in the meadow? Or you at the only place you hope can be found…the Cross…