When I was little, my Mom used to take me grocery shopping with her – a trait that I’ve yet to catch onto as an adult. Kroger, apparently at the top of their toy game in the early nineties, had a line of Muppet Babies stuffed animals and naturally, I wanted all of them. Mom would get one or two a week for me, and I slowly built my collection. The musician and the comedian were my two favorites. Seems like a no-brainer typing that now at 34 but I was seven then. Kind of puts into perspective the whole, “For I know the plans I have for you…” Scripture, eh?
Anyway, I had this super cool, tall, wooden toy box perfect for putting toys into, right? Wrong. It was perfect for being a stage to stand on, and the cast of Muppet Babies made for the perfect audience. Other girls my age were playing with Barbie or taking gymnastics, but not me… I was too busy singing along to the pile of my Mom’s cassette tapes. At that point in time, we used to travel a lot so she could share her testimony with others via story and song. I remember spending hours with her in the Christian bookstore listening through accompaniment cassettes. Now, in my career, I hear others mention song titles from that era, but I usually have no idea who the artist was because, to me, the artist was my Mom. I’m sorry, you think Sandi Patty sang that? No. That was Mary Delp. I wanted to be just like her and here’s a little secret, I still do.
My Mom has a pretty awesome story, to say the least. She grew up poor but wasn’t aware of it at the time. She used to brush her teeth with her finger and baking soda, if it was available. If not, water would have to do the trick. When she was 14 years old, she got very sick from a ruptured appendix and had gangrene set in. She wasn’t supposed to be able to have children because of it. She married my dad when she was 18 and had my sister a couple of years later. Eight years after that, she gave birth to my brother. Several years later, in 1976, they were all in the car when a massive snowstorm hit Indiana. There was a wreck so Mom and Dad got out to go make sure everyone was alright. A few steps later, my Mom got hit by a car and was thrown 40 feet. No way that someone survives that, right? Except, she did.
While she was unconscious she remembers seeing a bright light and feeling the presence of God around her. She remembers telling Him that she couldn’t go yet because she had children to raise and she had more work to do for Him. Then she came to. She sustained several injuries but, miraculously, no broken bones. Her back, however, was severely injured and she had to walk with a stoop. Months later, she and dad attended a revival and she was miraculously healed. A few years after that, when my Mom was 38, my parents got the surprise of a lifetime when they found out that they were pregnant with yours truly. Now, my Mom will never actually let anyone say that I was a surprise. She will always correct them and say, “No, she was a miracle.” I kind of wish she would follow that up every time by belting out her own rendition of Whitney and Mariah’s “When You Believe,” but I guess that’s probably never going to happen.
So, there she was with an 18-year-old, a ten-year-old and one on the way at 38. The doctors, clearly loving to be the bearers of great news with my parents, told Mom and Dad they should strongly consider aborting me because of my Mom’s age. They said, I either wouldn’t make it full term or I would have severe cognitive and physical disabilities. Clearly, the doctors were not aware of what my Mom had been through in her life. She was no stranger to miracles. So, she told the doctors there was not going to be a single thing wrong with me and not to mention it again. She and Dad then proceeded to pray over me every day during her pregnancy. Nine months later, on May 7th, the doctor looked at my Mom in disbelief as he said, “Oh, she’s a beautiful pink baby girl.” She replied, “I told you there wasn’t going to be anything wrong with her!”
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Psalm 139:13-16 (MSG)
Fast-forward a few years, and you’ll find my parents starting a church where my Dad was the head pastor and my Mom was the Worship Leader. She would lead the songs from memory until we got one of those fancy projectors. Once that happened, she would write the lyrics of the songs every week on those clear pieces of projector paper and switch them out between songs.
My Mom is the reason I love music so much and the reason I always knew it would be a huge part of my life.
I now work in the Christian music business and this month marks a milestone in my career. About a year ago, we were brainstorming ideas, and I suggested we record a worship album for moms and daughters. When people hear that, their first response is usually, “But you’re not a mom.” I always respond with, “Not yet, but I do have a Mom and most of my friends are moms. I also have nieces and nephews.” Those same friends tell me that they get so tired of hearing kids songs all of the time. That, along with the special bond that music had created for my Mom and I, was enough to spark this idea. Once our stores division got on board, we had the green-light to move the concept forward. I was graciously given the entire project to steer.
The title of the project is Mommy and Me Worship. The idea was to choose current popular worship songs and record moms singing a verse and a chorus. Then, record a child singing a verse and a chorus. Then have both of them join together on a chorus or bridge or both. We were hoping that this could translate to moms and their kids singing together in the car on the way to school or church or just hanging out in general. My hope is that it brings moms and their children closer to each other and closer to Jesus as they sing and worship Him together.
One of the highlights of those vocal days in the studio was the day one of my best friends, Hope Darst, came in to record two of the songs. Her version of “Good Good Father” and “Ever Be” on this album might be my favorite versions of those songs ever recorded. Another highlight included one of our youngest singers – a five-year-old little girl. She sang on “Holy Spirit” and let me just tell you, it’ll wreck you when you hear it. Once we wrapped those days in the studio, I knew we had captured something truly special.
This one’s for you, Mom.
Be kind, laugh often, and go tell your Mom that you love her today.
*Mommy and Me Worship is now available exclusively at your local LifeWay Christian Store and online at LifeWay.com.