Nathan drove down to Nashville to enjoy a concert with our oldest three children. They are going to see Neal Morse’s Christmas Concert. Neal is Jonesy’s favorite artist. I love they are enjoying this time together for obvious reasons like my children love spending time with their dad. The story goes deeper than just that joy,
We moved to Bowling Green in 2003. It was a very difficult time for us. Nathan and I had three children three and under. He moved to Bowling Green a week after Molly was born to begin a job and I stayed behind in Louisville, recovering from a c-section, caring for three little ones and getting our house ready to sell. I was 28 years old.
For the next five months, Nathan was leaving Sunday nights to work Monday through Friday. He would return Friday night. In the midst of this I suffered severely with postpartum depression. When I look back on this time, I just tear up. It was hard.
As all of this was going on, Jonesy was dealing with a crisis of faith. He is very open that faith is a difficult journey for him. He knows it is a gift and there are many times he really has to seek it out. We hoped that with the move and beginning at a new church, we would find the stability our spirits were craving. We threw ourselves into serving in a church and realized we were not dealing with the very real crisis Jonesy was facing.
So we took a minute. I, fully convicted in my faith, was trying to come to a very real empathy for something I could not understand but witnessed daily within him. I married him with the idea we would partner fully in our faith and in the sharing of our faith with our children. His crisis was my crisis. We left the church. We tried to figure out what we needed to do to move forward.
It is important to know Jonesy is not an emotional person. He loves deeper than anyone I have ever known, but he is very even keeled emotionally. In our 24 years, I have seen him cry only a few times. At this point of our marriage I had seen him cry twice.
I came home from the grocery store one evening in July 2004 and found him sitting in the middle of the sofa, in the middle of the den weeping. Not tearing up: Weeping.
Alarm filled me at the sight. The stereo was at Volume 8 with Neal Morse’s Testimony album playing and Jonesy sat and wept at the stories Neal sang. He had been a fan of Neal and Spock’s Beard for years and had purchased Neal’s first album released after his conversion to Christianity. Neal Morse’s testimony impacted Jonesy’s heart in a profound way. I had been praying for the Spirit to intercede in Jonesy’s troubled heart and on that couch, that night, his heart was being moved and changed.
Our anniversary is August 1.
Another thing about Jonesy is he is not interested in things. At all. Ever. You might think this would make gift giving a breeze for me, but because I am as extra as they come, I consider this a challenge to find the one gift that will make him not only be excited about that thing, but make him emotionally express his excitement. I know. I am ridiculous. Yet, to this day, I am just sure this will be the year I get him. It will never happen, but I am no quitter.
But I digress.
Neal toured Germany and a DVD of his concert was compiled. I knew what I would get Jonesy for our Anniversary. I snuck out to Life Way at the mall to find this DVD. I searched and searched, unsuccessfully. I went to the help desk and asked if this was something they had or could get. As the clerk input his name into the computer, the man next to me at the counter said, “You are misspelling his name.” I looked up and saw a man, I would later learn was Richard, looking at me with a smile on his face.
“It is N*E*A*L, but you won’t find that DVD here. I can get you one. He is a friend of mine.”
I looked at Richard. I was taking all this in. Richard, friend of N*E*A*L, who is my husband’s favorite singer, who made him cry, so I went to LIFEWAY, which doesn’t carry the DVD just happened to be standing at this counter as I asked a clerk after spending entirely too long searching for it myself because I don’t need your help thank you very much, was offering to get me this DVD?
Get out of the city.
“I could probably get him to sign it for you too.”
Shut the door.
I then became the over-sharer you all have grown to know and shared all the story you just read. In the LIFEWAY that does not carry Neal Morse merchandise. Richard graciously listened to me and said, “Here is my card. I will call Neal. Call me tomorrow and I will let you know when I can get you the DVD.” I offered my phone number to him and I left the store thinking about the intercession of the Spirit.
That evening Richard called me. “I just talked to Neal and he wants to meet your husband.”
“Can ya’ll come to my house next Sunday? We will have dessert and coffee. My wife, Malinda, can meet you with the DVD tomorrow, but I hope you will come.”
We, of course, did. We spent several evenings in study and at dinners with Neal, his wife Cherie, and a handful of their friends. They came to our VBS. We went to worship with them. In a time Jonesy needed to talk, think and be encouraged. The Morse family was there. The years have passed and we see them at shows. I am unsure if they know the impact of that time on our family. But we do. I do. In this time, Jonesy began the fight again for his faith.
Neal is a prolific writer and a masterful musician. He has written and produced an unbelievable amount of music over the past 17 years. It plays in our home daily. It plays in our home for hours at a time when Jonesy returns to his faith struggles, as he digs deep into scripture and prayer.
Tonight, Jonesy and our three oldest children are sitting in a great venue listening to Neal share his own story of faith and the faith of Christendom as we dwell in Advent. In doing so, Jonesy’s spirit is fed to feasting. I don’t take that gift for granted. I marvel in it. I give praise for it. Even if I am just the least bit jealous he is getting to enjoy this with our Tennessee kids without me. I sit in the middle of my couch, in a different den and I weep, which is expected because, you know the Ying and Yang thing. But my tears flow because my faith is renewed in the ways I see God. We continue to sit in very hard seasons from time to time. Yet I am no longer alarmed. Instead, I sit and watch. I know intercession is coming.