Union Ridge Church

March 15, 2023

by Reverend Dan on March 15, 2023
It’s an incredible feeling when you see one of your children find their place in the world. That moment when you know they have figured out God’s purpose for their life (or at least for that season of their life.) Last weekend my youngest child, Grace (known to her friends as E.G.), came down to North Carolina from way up north in Virginia to spend the weekend with her dad and sing at church. OK, I know there was a concert at a church in Raleigh that she and her friend Kayla were going to that Friday night, but that was just a peripheral reason she came. I know the real reason for the trip was to come see me. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) We had some great meals with lots of conversation; went to a children’s ministry-sponsored event at church (Brunch & Bingo – it was awesome!); and she visited with our new Pastor of Youth & Children, a friend of hers from many summers working together at FUGE camp.

Saturday afternoon we had a run-through for Sunday’s music, and I knew something had changed in Grace and that Sunday was going to be special. On Sunday morning church began, and everyone was moved by the music from the beginning. Grace, Kayla and Lisa (our Director of Music) sang three songs (“Daystar”, “As the Deer”, and “Lord, Send Your Angels”) in tight, 3-part harmony. It was like listening to the angels sing - just incredibly anointed. After that, everyone stayed awake (mostly) through the sermon, and eventually, it was time for the closing song. Grace began her mash-up of “How Great Thou Art” and “How Great is Our God”, and it was then that it happened. I saw a person I had never seen before. The physical appearance was the same, but what I witnessed was coming from an entirely different person. As one person in church described it, “Grace wasn’t singing from her lungs or even her heart. She was singing from her soul. She shut out everything around her and at that moment was praising and singing for God alone. We simply got to see it, hear it, and experience it.” Tears were flowing throughout the congregation, and some were openly weeping as they watched and listened to this little girl from their past who has turned into a woman publicly talk to her God in a very private way. For her, it was as if no one else was there. Then at the end, she opened her eyes and invited the congregation to sing with her. “Just the voices,” she said, and all the music stopped. It was at that moment that I saw and heard a glimpse of heaven. Burdens dropping; chains and shackles falling off; hearts being surrendered; eyes closed; voices lifted. “How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God, and all will see how great, how great, is our God.”

There was a humility in watching Grace. Someone so young but so intense in her relationship with God. Someone who found her way to God on her own; not because her dad is a pastor, probably in spite of it. Someone who didn’t let growing up among the politics of the church affect her faith, but someone who became a woman after God’s own heart when she sought a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. And someone who wants others to feel that very same thing and leads them in music every Sunday.

God gave me a gift that morning along with everyone else in that church who watched Grace grow up. Our baby girl has found her place, and seeing someone in the place God has called them to serve is truly special. Praise be to God for His calling, and for those willing to heed the call. Ya done good, G-baby. Really good. I’m proud of you.​​​​​​​