In March 2018, the song Carry On was recorded at The Creak Studio. It was a crazy day, in a packed studio. In addition to the producers (David, Seth, and Brad) Sydney, and Krissy, the founders of GiveLife.co joined us in the studio, as well as our friend Brit Edwards, who documented the special day with the video below. But, in the excitement of it all, one important thing was forgotten: payment.
When we originally proposed the idea of giving the song away for free, we never thought through the payment for production… specifically WHO would pay for it. After spending the day at the studio, Sydney went to speak to the youth group at David’s church. I began texting back and forth with a few people and it soon became clear that no one had paid for the project. So, I texted David and asked if we could swing by his house after Sydney was done at the church. Thankfully we were prepared to pay for the song… sort of.
While all of this was going on, our family was also in the middle of making a big decision about Be The Change Youth Initiative. By March 2018, we were about 9 months into the creation of the ministry, but really… it was little more than an outlet for Sydney. Granted, she organized a group of kids to grant a wish for a child and helped build a daycare in Haiti. But, we lived in Maine… not exactly known for its bustling Christian community. And getting churches to even CONSIDER having Sydney in to speak to their youth was a huge accomplishment. (Everyone thinks it’s a great idea to talk about the need to encourage kids in their gifts and talents UNTIL it’s a kid who’s offering to do it. The irony isn’t lost on us. We still laugh about it.)
We had a few connections in the Pacific Northwest, Texas, and the Carolinas. So, we thought it might be a good idea to spend some time in those areas, talking to churches and the small support systems we had in place, to see if Be The Change Youth Initiative was meant to be bigger than a hobby. But, there was one problem: We were hemorrhaging money. So, back in January (2018), we made a decision. We would pray and ask the Lord to make it clear if we were to go to any of these areas. We were very specific with the prayer and asked God to give us an answer within 48 hours. We figured traveling straight from Nashville, after recording Carry On, would be the best financial option and prices were starting to go up. (I’m pretty sure the Lord laughs at our time tables!)
About 24 hours after praying for clarity, I received an email from a classmate at Dallas Theological Seminary. After reading my introduction biography and learning about Be The Change Youth Initiative, he wanted to know if we “by any chance ever come to Texas.” He volunteered for a ministry in Dallas, called New Horizons, and was interested in Sydney speaking with the kids in the program. I was on the phone with my husband before finishing the email. After getting through the explanation of everything, my husband’s prolonged silence eventually broke with his simple retort: Well, I guess you guys are going to Texas.
So, why is all of that important?
Because we didn’t have any money to cover the trip. We didn’t even have enough money to cover the recording of Carry On. When Sydney and I went to David’s house, I had to give him two checks: one he could cash right then and there, but the other one would have to wait until the following week. I STILL remember the look on David’s face as I explained the situation to him. He knew we were leaving for Texas for an entire week, but only had one event on our schedule. Somewhat exasperated, he asked, “What are you guys doing?” And then went on to explain that we were going to go through all of our money if we kept going. (Yeah… we knew that.)
I explained the back story, our prayer, our trust in the Lord, and how we knew this was the next step… even if we had no idea what the subsequent steps would be. David went on to tell me that Sydney needed to start doing shows to help offset some of the costs. He told me that All Sons & Daughters did that. (And, I reminded him that Sydney was a 16-year-old kid from Maine that no one has ever heard of. And here’s a confession: Despite many accusations that Jamie and I are really the ones pushing Be The Change and Sydney’s “career” in the music world… it’s not true. Not even close. This is the LAST thing we’ve EVER wanted for her. Last summer, Sydney interned at the recording studio, which ended with Jamie and I having a meeting with David asking what the “next step” would be. He said she needed to move to Nashville. And I told him that I hated him… twice. (I apologized a few weeks later.)
None of us… Jamie, Sydney nor I… wanted to journey down this road. But, when the Lord keeps opening doors and answering prayers, what do you do? Sydney wanted to live in the lie that she wasn’t good enough… a lie she believed because confessed Christians told her so. Jamie and I wanted to protect her heart because the life she was walking into is FILLED with rejection. We could make excuses for her to stay safe and convincingly argue that God will use her where she is. Or, we could teach her to FOLLOW Jesus. We chose the later and the following week CHANGED OUR LIVES FOREVER.