Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday’s Mourning Ministry — It Is Well with My Soul

Monday’s Mourning Ministry

It Is Well with My Soul

It Is Well with My Soul: 29 years ago, 1980, this beautiful, soul-felt song was played at my brother Buddy's funeral. The congregation sang; my sisters and I cried all the way through it... My brother was only 38 years old when he died from cancer, leaving behind his loving wife of 16 years and his precious 14-year-old son Curt who needed his daddy, his football coach, his discipler in Christ. Buddy was my oldest brother, my parents' oldest child.

24 years later, 2004, this song was played once again, this time at my father's funeral, our congregation singing of our daddy's beautiful soul that faithfully touched our church family, our community, his beloved wife of 65 years, and each of us, his children, so faithfully and so deeply.

2 years later, 2006…My only daughter, Merry Katherine, who deeply loved her Lord, often belting out songs of praise to Him in the privacy of her room was killed in a crash along with two of her friends as they were on their way to the beach. We played this sweet song at her funeral knowing that after such a sudden death, she was actually in the presence of her Lord, now singing her soul-felt praises to Him, but now, face-to-face. Merry Katherine is our youngest child and my parents' youngest grandchild.


Singer Wintley Phipps shared these words God put on his heart on another occasion before singing this song:

It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through…

And so, Horatio Gates Spafford (1873) was given this blessed song that has ministered to my entire family’s heart as well as millions of others through the years.

And now, I want to share this song with you. Take note of the song's poignant history as Sonya Isaacs shares the circumstances in which it had been written.

How timely for us grieving parents to hear a fellow sufferer, a fellow struggler, share the words of his heart with us. Despite his greatest heart-ache amidst a parent’s worst nightmare, even so Horatio Spafford could write and sing these words from his heart,

“Even so, it is well with my soul…”

It is Well With My Soul

The Isaacs


I learned this weekend that another singer, one of our own contemporary Christian artists, Steven Curtis Chapman has written and sung the songs of a father’s own heart-felt agony over the loss of his baby girl on a new album called "Beauty Will Rise":

Singer Copes With His Daughter's Death

Posted Friday 13 November 04:30 PM By: PopEater Staff

Christian music singer Steven Curtis Chapman is still coping with the death of his adopted daughter, 5-year-old Maria, who was accidentally struck in the family's driveway by one of her brothers who was returning home in his truck in May 2008.

Chapman, who has been singing Christian music for more than 20 years, told CNN that he felt like he was in a black hole and faced with a God he had not known before. Everything he thought about God was different, he said, and he began to wrestle with his beliefs.

An investigation called the tragedy an accident and no charges were filed. Maria was rushed to the hospital in Nashville, but died of her injuries there. The accident occurred on May 21, 2008 at Chapman's home in Franklin, Tennessee. Maria had been playing behind the family's home when she ran towards her brother's truck and was struck.

Chapman's wife, Mary Beth, told him they had to accept her destiny. "It was after a few minutes that my wife, with her hand on my shoulder, said, 'I really think we are supposed to let her go for now,'" Chapman said to CNN.

In the days after Maria's death, the whole family -- Chapman, his wife, their two sons, their daughter and two other adopted daughters -- grieved together. Chapman couldn't imagine his life without his daughter.

He recalls the instant connection he had when he met her in her native China while she was an infant. He and his wife had already adopted two children from there, and weren't looking for another. But Maria "touched a special place in my heart," and he called his wife just to tell her about the baby girl. "I can't put it into words, but I've picked up a lot of little orphan boys and girls over the years," he said. "I've never had anything happen to my heart like what happened when I held this little girl in my arms for a few minutes."

Although Chapman doubted he would want to write and sing again, he slowly put his fears and hopes into music. Even though he didn't plan on doing an album, songwriting was helping him heal. "Songs are really cathartic for me," he said, "because they force me to put my feelings and thoughts into a capsule and say, 'There it is.' "

The raw, emotional journey he recorded will now be his 19th album, entitled 'Beauty Will Rise.' The album is his personal testament to Maria's life and the overwhelming belief that they will be together again one day, he said.

With his raw emotions splattered across the album, Chapman said, "It just felt like that's honest. This is life going on. It's the day-to-day pain, just walking the journey."

When asked by CNN what song he thought would be Maria's favorite, Chapman paused for a while. Then he thought of the title track, "Beauty Will Rise." "She likes loud, she liked it fast," he said, the smile returning to his voice. "She likes the one with all the energy and the one she could bounce in the car to."


I am looking forward to hearing Steven Curtis Chapman’s upcoming album, written from the depths of the pain of yet another fellow strugger in the agony of grief over the loss of his child. You may want to follow him on Twitter as I do: @StevenCurtis

Steven Curtis Chapman story:

It Is Well:

Clouds Picture - Let there be light by Christolakis


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