Our Decision to Walk by Faith (Part 2)

I remember the moment I told David the Lord might call us to go through all of our money to live out whatever it was He was calling us to. I remember his exasperation. I remember his wife’s encouraging smirk. I remember hearing Sydney upstairs reading a book to his oldest daughter. I remember this uncomfortable silence filling the room. I remember wanting to fill it, but there was nothing else to say. We knew the Lord was calling us to Texas and we were going. And because of what David did next, we were financially able to go.

Maybe it was because he felt sorry for us. Maybe it was because he wanted to encourage us to keep moving forward, even though he knew Sydney’s reluctance to pursue music. Maybe the Lord, in that moment, prompted him to an act of generosity few have ever extended to us. Maybe it was a combination of all three. Regardless, in that moment, he said, “I’m not taking your money. This one’s on me.” And in that moment, we had money to cover our expenses for the next week in Texas. Just like that… the Lord shut the door on any idea that we were making this happen. (And after the following week, and all the “coincidences” the Lord orchestrated, He locked that door with a dozen dead-bolts.)

Long story short, we were scheduled to leave the following morning, arriving in Dallas, and heading straight over to meet with some of the staff at New Horizons. Sydney was speaking to two different groups of children on two different campuses. But, besides that, no other events were planned. Nothing. We were in the state of Texas for a week… ready for whatever the Lord had for us. It sounds crazy, right? And maybe it was financially. But, in our minds, we were giving ourselves the needed space to hear God. Not audibly. He doesn’t speak to us that way. But, one thing we are incredibly confident of… He does speak. And we were ready to listen. (And one of our problems: We have always filled out schedule with our plans… to the point that we really had no room for His plans.)

The first stop was checking out The Village Church in Flower Mound. If you know anything about us, you know our kids have been raised on the teachings of a select few modern-day theologians (Matt Chandler, David Platt, and Francis Chan are on that list…. love them or hate them.) We couldn’t actually come to Dallas and not go to The Village Church. Unfortunately, Mr. Chandler wasn’t there that week, but another young man was: Grant McCurdy. Grant is one of the worship leaders at The Village and has a voice that will stop you in your tracks. When Sydney and I heard him sing for the first time, our heads whipped around to look at one another, each of us with eyes as wide as saucers.

I jokingly suggested to Sydney that she tell him about Be The Change and ask if he had any interest in writing a song. Her response, “Yeah, right. Why would he want to do that?” It was a response we had heard many times before. We were on what would become a long journey of healing old wounds, dealing with past hurts, mostly from adults (who should have known better), who belittled Sydney because of her age, her gender, and her soft-spoken demeanor. But, after walking to the car and engaging in a little internal wrestling, she went back inside to ask him he was interested in working with her on a project and, much to her surprise, he said, “Yes.”

Sydney with Eric Wilkes and Will Hickl, members of the Catholic worship group Novum.

Just like that, the dominoes began to fall. A second co-write in Sugar Land, with the Catholic group Novum, got on the calendar. (The song they wrote will be released under Be The Change Collective next month.) David also connected Sydney with Ryan DeLange, a worship leader out of Houston. On the way to that writing session, we ended up driving past a Make-A-Wish office. We decided to stop by and introduce ourselves and about an hour later, we left signing up to help them raise money to grant a wish for a child in Texas! (We’re currently working to raise money for that wish at this moment.)

Sydney with the staff at Make-A-Wish Texas Gulf Coast and Louisiana.

We told Ryan about how the Lord just seemed to align everything so perfectly. He and Sydney decided to write a song that honors the parents of wish kids. (That song, The Journey, was released on April 26th and all proceeds go toward our wish granting process.) And then, with approximately 5 hours before our plane was set to take off, we made it back to The Village Church just in time for Grant and Sydney to write Empty Hands (released Jan. 2019). What started out as a week-long trip with almost nothing on the calendar, ended with Sydney writing three songs that would become the foundation for Be The Change Collective… a platform for teens to create music with professional worship artists for the purpose of advocating for others around the world and drawing attention to important issues facing the church.

The Lord was setting everything in motion but there was one remaining domino left to fall.

Sydney at The Creak Studio in Franklin, Tennessee with Seth Talley (far left), Grant McCurdy, Brad King, David Leonard, and Ryan DeLange.

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