For as long as I can remember, music has been apart of my life. My dad used to have this big stereo set up in our living room and he was always playing all types of music. Mostly oldies, of course, but country and rap were certainly apart of the rotation. I have so many memories of my dad and I singing with and to each other. When driving in the car, music was always playing and being sung.

Music always brings back memories for me. When I hear Peaches and Herb’s “Close Your Eyes” I’m instantly taken back to being 8 years old and singing the echo part with my dad. Same thing for Leann Rimes’ “Blue”.

It was no surprise that when we started going to church, I was introduced to a new sound of music.

Christian Music.

Yesterday, I woke up wanting to listen to Kirk Franklin. He was one of the first artists I started listening to. That, of course, lead to Avalon and then Point of Grace, which of course lead to Crystal Lewis and Out of Eden. So all day, while I was listening to my christian childhood through these artists, I started to wonder how much of these songs helped shape my belief system. When I heard Kirk sing, “You don’t have to worry
And don’t you be afraid, Joy comes in the morning, Troubles they don’t last always, For there’s a friend in Jesus, Who will wipe your tears away, And if your heart is broken, Just lift your hands and say” was that preparation for losing my brother? Did those words resonate within me as I fought to understand the tragedy that I walked through? When Avalon sang, “The dreams I dream for you, Are deeper than the ones you’re clinging to, More precious than the finest thing you knew, And truer than the treasures you pursue” are those words still speaking to me today, as I figure out what my life dreams and pursuits are?

There are so many times that I wish I could go back and tell little Jessica to pay attention more, to listen for God’s voice with more persistence. I wouldn’t change anything that I did, but maybe if I would have at least recognized the working that God was doing, even then, then I would know how to function better today.

I hope this love of music never fades. I hope, that for the rest of my life, I constantly enjoy seeking out new music and allowing it to help shape my life.

And I hope that I can teach my kids that music can do so much for your life.


Dancing with Daddy.

I have this image of a young girl. She’s at a Father-Daughter dance. She’s dressed in the prettiest dress she could imagine. She’s got a flower on her wrist. Her hair is full of curls and pinned with delicately placed pearl pins. Her date. Her daddy is dressed in a suit and tie. He made sure to wear his best clothes. She’s so excited to go on a date with her daddy. She gets a whole night of attention all to herself. She’ll get to dance with him and eat with him.

When they get to the dance her daddy reaches out his hand to hers and asks her if she would like to dance. She hadn’t realized how afraid she would be. She’d never really danced with anyone before. Would her feet know what to do? What if she looks silly? What if people laugh? What if, oh lord, she trips and falls? She’s re-thinking this whole night. She doesn’t want her daddy to be disappointed or ashamed.
He’s still got his hand held out towards her… She shakes her head, no. Her realizes that she’s scared and sits next to her. It’s ok. He’s willing to wait for her. While they wait and watch all the other’s dance he leans over and whispers in her ear.

“It’s ok. Daddy will wait till you’re ready. I’ll wait all night.” She whispers back, “I’m afraid.” “What are you afraid of silly?

“I’m afraid that I will fall, and that you will be ashamed of me”
“That will never happen daughter. I love you! If you want, you can stand on my feet and I’ll lead you.”

She thinks for a second. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad. Her feet won’t have to think about what they are doing, since they will be on daddy’s. Although, she might looks silly needing daddy’s help like that. But it’s less silly than tripping over daddy’s feet.

She looks at him, hesitantly. “I won’t force you daughter. I’ll wait for when you are ready.”

A few songs begin and end, and the young girl is still sitting. The thing is, she wants to dance so badly. She’s been waiting for this night for so long. What if the whole night passes by and she never gets to dance with daddy? She has to stop thinking so much! Here’s what she knows. Her daddy loves her. He won’t be mad if they don’t ever dance. He’s just happy to be here with her. But she also knows that if she takes the step onto his feet, while they dance, her daddy won’t let anything happen to her. He’ll catch her if she trips and show her how to dance when she’s not sure what to do. He loves her so much! She can trust him.

“Ok dad. I think I’m ready. But you won’t let me fall right? You won’t let me look silly?
“Ok course not, love. This is your night. I want you to have fun and dance as much as you want.”

He takes her hand and walks her to the center of the floor. She steps on to his feet and just as a song begins her sways her back and forth. She starts to wobble a bit, but he steadies her and holds her tight. They sway back and forth and her heart feels like it’s going to burst of her chest. She can’t believe how afraid she was!!

They dance every dance until it’s time to go home. As they last dance ends, daddy leans over and whispers in her ear, “Thank you daughter, for spending this night with me. Please spend more nights like this with me. You can’t imagine how much I love your company. Even when we just sat and watched, I was happy. But do you know when I was the happiest? When you let me lead you in that first dance. I’m so happy that you trusted me with that. Thank you daughter for trusting me. I promise to never leave you. I promise to always lead you. I promise to always steady you when you get a little wobbly. I love you…”

And as they left the dance, the young girl new that Daddy meant every single word. And that the promises He made that night would remain until the day that she died. And every time that music was playing, they danced. And every time she climbed on his feet and lead Him steady her and sway her back forth.