I've listened to your music since I was in my momma's belly. I don't say that to make you feel old; only to let you know that you have been a part of my story since my story was written.
Yes, I loved everything you did in the 90's. What sixth grade girl didn't sing and dance their heart out to the tracks on Heart in Motion? But I am talking about before then. Songs like Old Man's Rubble, on your first album, songs penned and performed before I was even born. These were the words sung over me as a little tiny baby.
Some babies don't get songs sung over them. How lucky I was to have parents who whispered "she's got her father's eyes" over me as they rocked me to sleep.
How lucky I was that a young girl named Amy Grant was singing songs of beauty and truth to the world.
On my hardest days, when I wage the most intense battles for my soul, my marriage, my daughter, my career, my ministry... your voice and your lyrics guide me gently and fearlessly to Jesus. These are the lines that come without fail, to my heart each time
I will not forget, your love for me and yet, my heart forever is wandering. Jesus be my guide, and hold me to Your side, and I will love you to the end.
Carry on through the night, when the road is hard to find.
I'm raining on the inside; my heart wells up with tears that start to pour. I'm raining on the inside, but then Your cries of love break through, And I fall in love with You once more.
Voices like thunder in a mighty roar. Cry to the Lord.
Lead me on, lead me on. To a place where the river runs into your keeping. Lead me on, lead me on. The awaited deliverance comforts the seeking.
In a little while we'll be with the Father, can't you see Him smile?
Songs like Giggle and Fat Baby still make me smile.
And my favorite songs ever- of all time- are still Arms of Love and Doubly Good to You.
How many countless times have I played Doubly Good to You in the midst of absolute hell and cried and sang out to Jesus who has reminded me of the things He's yet to do...
And we're still in the 1980's. I haven't even worked my way up to the profound impact the music you wrote and performed in the 1990's had on me. Or your newest albums over the past decade.
'Love has made me unafraid' are the words I now whisper and sing over my own little girl. Ok, and sometimes I cave and tell her she has her Father's eyes. And when she's afraid? El Shaddai.
Should I tell you that I was heartbroken when, in the 5th grade, I saw a girl on the Mickey Mouse Club go to your farm and studio on career day? She had written about wanting to be a singer and her dream day was working with you. I sat on my living room floor and cried, "Why wasn't I smart enough to think of this???" I spent the next three years trying to get on the Mickey Mouse Club Career Day so I could come to your farm.
Or should I tell you that my publisher- and dear friend- knows how much my writing partner (Ali Rogers) and I love your music and how he sent us to the Amy-Smitty Reunion tour at the Ryman and we sat on the second row and sang at the top of our lungs all night, while simultaneously tearing up every time you would play our really-really-really favorite song. Two mom's singing our hearts out like giddy little girls.
It's not that we are star-struck. But let's be honest, we are star-struck. It's that music has the profound ability to speak life or death into someone's soul. And for as long as I can remember, literally my entire journey on this earth, your voice has been tucked away in the corners of my soul speaking life; your voice etched in my memory like a binkie, a worn-blanket that feels so familiar and so dear and so permanent.
I recently finished recording my first solo project after five albums with my band Addison Road. As I drove away from Nashville, headed back home to Dallas- back home to my little girl and my husband and all things familiar- I was struck by an overwhelming voice that seemed to whisper "Everything is changing."
I don't like change. And in the dark stretch of lonely highway, I felt so lost and so scared.
I pulled over and opened up my computer, searched through my music, knowing exactly what I needed to hear. And for the next two hours you and I sang-cried-laughed-smiled and drove through lonely stretches of highway, completely un-alone.
So when I was standing in the line for Thunder Mountain at Disney World this weekend and I turned my head and saw you one tiny foot behind me- imagine the whirlwind of thoughts. Giddy? Yes. But there was my friend. My confidant. There were the lyrics that walked me through hell and back. And the words whispered over me since I was a baby. And the songs that helped me dance, sing and love my way through the terribly awkward years of junior high. And the person that goes down lonely- terrifying highway roads with me when everything is changing.
You were right there.
And I wanted to smile and scream and hug you and thank you and a million other things and I blabbed my way through,
"I- I- oh my gosh- I'm like a kid in a candy store- I have loved your music my whole life- I'm like a huge fan- all the way back to Fat Baby!"
Really- who the heck says that Jenny? Fat Baby? It's like the cheesiest song you ever did. And not only did I reference your cheesiest song, I picked one that made you feel old! Blah.
I wish I could have told you everything I said in this letter. But sometimes our words just don't come out. And that's tragic, because you should know-
When you walked through your own seasons of hell- you did so with dignity. You didn't quit and that taught me how to do this thing called the Christian Music Industry. It taught me how to do ministry. It taught me how to do this thing called life.
When you penned songs with Kathy Troccoli, Michael, Brown, Rich, Wayne- they changed my life. They became my anthems. My prayers. My friends.
When you grew as an artist- always changing- always re-inventing and following the voice inside of you that led you this way and that, you set the road-map for longevity and commitment to your craft. You showed us what was possible.
If there is a soundtrack to my life- and there is- it can be pieced together from the dozen or so albums that have your name- your voice- your honesty- your simplicity and authenticity attached to them.
I should have said thank-you.
I wish I could have conveyed gratitude instead of crazed fan. I wish you could fully know what your music has meant to me. I look forward to the day when God allows you to fully see the profound impact you have left on this world, Amy.
Until then just know there are girls like me- full of questions, doubts, fears, anticipations, joys-
who pull over on dark highways when life doesn't make sense and pull out the one voice we have always known-
and we sing out alongside of you-
Somewhere down the road There'll be answers to the questions Somewhere down the road Though we cannot see it now Somewhere down the road You will find mighty arms reaching for you And they will hold the answers at the end of the road
thank you amy-