Hmm, what do you do when you serve God with all you have and yet seem to have so many unmet needs and a life that appears to be ridden with pain? How do you see blessings amidst your hurt? I’d like to introduce you to Laura Story, a woman whose songs have blessed me greatly but more than that, whose journey has challenged me to a ‘Redefinition of Blessings’.
Laura Story is a prolific gospel song writer and minister, and she wrote the No 1 worship hit “Indescribable” recorded in 2004 by Chris Tomlin and then by Kierra Sheard in 2011. She also wrote several other songs such as ‘Mighty to Save’, married a handsome athlete named Martin Elvington in 2005 and recorded several other career successes. Such a blessed life we must already think, God is surely faithful.
But amidst those successes, a brain tumour hospitalised her husband in 2006. Imagine how much her faith was tested by the uncertainty of her husbands’ health and the unexpected fires of fear and loneliness. Here is a newly wed young Christian woman who was in music ministry, writing songs that blessed thousands, infact, just the mere thought of her being newly wed breaks me, She was newlywed and I reckon most young newlyweds don’t imagine being kept alive at one point by breathing machines or having to find their way through significant post-operative vision and memory loss. In Laura’s words, “When you’re standing at the altar promising ‘for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,’ you think that part is for when you are old.”
She shares that many times she was angry at God. “I wondered why, if He had the power to heal Martin, why He didn’t. But God, in His gentleness, would peel my fingers out of the fist I was shaking at Him and say to me, ‘I love you, and I am walking through this with you.’ I reached the place where I realized that if He could heal Martin and He hadn’t, then He must have a very good reason. He does not owe me an explanation this side of Heaven.”
How did she deal this hurt in the face of her understanding God as an indescribable, uncontainable, truly amazing God? Could there be blessing in such pain? Could grace speak from the midst of such a life-altering struggle? Laura’s most recent album, Blessings, suggests they do. She also talks about how we have to have a different definition for blessing than just “health, wealth and prosperity.” It has to be something different, because there’s too many people that don’t fear God that are living seemingly prosperous lives, and there’s too many people that walk with the Lord that suffer.
Listen to the Song ‘Blessings’ here.
In an interview, Laura explains “Blessings is just a bunch of songs about worshipping when life is hard”. According to her, life is filled with things you don’t expect, but the Bible tells us to respond by trusting God and continuing to worship him. Martin hasn’t received complete healing – and that can be hard at times when we view God as all-powerful and all-loving. But here we are now saying, ‘Yes, this is how faith works.’ God has proven to be faithful. We have been truly blessed out of a circumstance that at first didn’t seem like much of a blessing at all.”
“Don’t get the wrong idea. It hasn’t been easy,” Laura admits. “Everyone wants to be a mature and equipped follower, but would I have signed up had I known what it would take? God has grown us up, deepened our faith, our awareness of our great need for him as a saviour, daily. We knew it before, but we didn’t see it. This is a good place to be.”
And trust God, the master script writer who wasn’t done with the blessings pouring out of her pain. In 2012, Laura Story won a Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Christian Song” for her No.1 hit “Blessings and also, alongside her husband Martin, welcomed their first child Josephine Grace Elvington, on Friday, September 14 2012. She also recently penned a Bible daily devotional ‘What If Your Blessings Come Through Raindrops?’
Like many of us who still struggle, Laura Story knows first-hand that the journey to surrender gets complicated—that it sometimes involves having to redefine what God’s “blessings” could mean, and she aptly encapsulates it on Blessings’ breath taking title track and first single:
‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise’
Her story has encouraged me and I thought to share. You may be going through a storm now, in spite of your faith in God and your walk with Him and you may just be feeling weary. Guess what? You aren’t alone. It’s not easy but we need to consciously ‘redefine blessings’ to enable us appreciate God’s presence with us amidst the storm.
Keep believing, keep trusting! God is able to birth a lot more than you imagine from whatever pain He allows. Trials of this life could very well be your mercies in disguise.
Have a ‘blessed’ weekend.