His Dream Was Tied to Mine
I now want to take you on a journey with me; a voyage I will forever hold dear to my heart. This journey is the requiem of my childhood & my relationship with my biological father. The chronic health issues he faced would reduce me to ashes once again during the final years of his life.
This adventure took me on an excruciating rollercoaster ride of emotions – ranging from overwhelmingly joyful – to feeling that I was close to having a nervous breakdown. This journey not only shaped me as a person but made me stronger in my faith in Jesus Christ. This emotional time also helped me become more influential as a mother, & overall I learned to be more thankful for the many blessings that I have.
I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) and want to pass down what I have learned to my children. I was taught by my parents to honor and serve the Lord. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) This is the most important lesson I can hope to teach my children. As a parent, I want my children to fare better in this life than I have fared. It makes my heart so very joyful whenever I see any of my boys living out their dreams; I still count every moment with them as a blessing from God.
My father, who had remarried years earlier, was now a widower living by himself in Arizona. Due to his numerous health problems, he was starting to have trouble living alone. So, my husband & I decided that it would be best if dad came to live with our family. So, in 2014, we brought dad to his new home; I was then able to help take care of him, while still giving him the dignity, self-respect & honor of doing most things on his own.
Unfortunately, his health was rapidly declining due to stage 4 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and he now required hospice. He appreciated all the help that hospice gave him; he was more joyful, filled with life, & appreciative of not only those around him but of life itself.
During the final years of his life, when he came to live with my family, he became my biggest fan and supporter of my returning to Christian music. He saw me spread my ‘musical wings’ and begin to fly once again. The dream of music he once lived out (that I could only dream about) was birthed anew through my return to Christian music.
I first started as a Contemporary Christian artist at the age of twelve, which lasted through my mid-twenties. I did not sing to the degree that my father had in his band; I mainly sang in church, and that had been enough for me. Occasionally I had the opportunity to perform at state fairs & sang at various local venues, as that was all I knew how to do. I always had this bigger dream or desire, to ‘make it big someday’ but singing for church satisfied me at the time. I later would come to understand that these were the very first steps of my musical career. I have many fond memories of my father during those early performing days; the few times he got to attend, he was right there cheering me on, as I would go on stage to perform.
In 2014, (shortly after dad came to live with us) we moved to a larger home to accommodate all of our extended family who also came to live with me and my husband. Soon after, I became aware of new tools that would help me create music for all the songs I left behind some twenty years earlier. When I was in my mid-twenties, this type of technology was not widely available, especially back in the nineties. This new type of technology was beginning to emerge but had not become widely adapted by musicians at the time.
My dad, who at this time, was in his late sixties, was no longer able to play the guitar due to his arthritis; yet, he still found so much joy out of life. As I began to create music for all my songs, the more alive he became about his own musical adventures. It was starting to become evident that he and I shared the same dream. He loved telling his stories of playing in the band & being on the road! You could see the love he had for music sparkle in his eyes; he would be transported back in time to those beautiful days that he always cherished.
I am also thankful for his best friend & band partner, Terry. When he called to see how my dad was doing, he would also remind me about the joy my father’s music brought to so many lives. Terry had remained my father’s faithful friend & brother in the Lord for over 30 years; it was through Terry that I learned what it meant to honor your parents.
With my dad’s COPD progressing, and his need to be put on hospice, we knew there might also be other complications he would face. There were a few times dad had to go to the hospital to receive breathing treatments that would help get him back on his feet.
It was during this time that God gave me the words & music to Yahweh’s Blessing (A Priestly Blessing). I was hurting so immensely at the thought of losing my father; It had only been in the years since bringing dad home to live with us, that our relationship was able to flourish & grew strong again. Due to my parents’ divorce, we had drifted apart; now, just the thought of losing him was almost more than I could possibly bear.
Like so many other times before, God gave me a song. This song was His song to me; it was His blessing upon me. Based on the Aaronic blessing from Number 6:23-27, I arranged the song to be sung in English & Hebrew. I can not begin to describe the comfort that the song gave me, as I was struggling to come to terms with my father’s illness, & that I might be losing him soon.
God also began to impress upon my heart the commandment to honor your father & mother. So, with this burden upon my heart, growing stronger by the day, I organized what I called A Celebration of Life party; I felt this urgent need to give my dad this party while we still had him with us. I also wanted this party to be a surprise for him. I had already recorded the song Tie Your Dream to Mine, in memory of the time we sang the song together when I was thirteen. Then, taking pictures from my childhood with my father, I made a video tribute with the song. That experience with him was one of the pivotal moments I knew & realized I wanted to become a professional singer.
My genre of music was not country-western, as what my father had played for so many years. So coming up with an excellent western-themed tune that matched the original song was a conundrum. Still, in the end, I made my daddy proud, & he loved it! I also created two more music videos of the time he went to Nashville, & recorded: Kern River & Just Call Me Lonesome. I was trying to plan these three videos to be a part of this celebration party while also trying to keep it as a surprise.
I never had the chance to give him his party; his breathing worsened, & he had to go to the hospital yet again. The thought that he might die, & I would never be able to give him his party overwhelmed me with grief. The realization of all this utterly crushed me, both mentally & physically. My family tried to comfort me, but I could not be consoled.
I had a hard decision to make; dad needed to go to the hospital. The options were: I could wait & hope that my dad would return home in a few days, & then I could give him the party… Yet, if something happened, & the Lord suddenly took him home, he would never know of the party or the special video tributes I had made for him. Or, I could go ahead and play him the videos, to not risk that he might not return home from the hospital. So I made the best decision I knew to make at the time.
Heartbroken, but not willing to take the chance that I might lose him, I played the videos for him. I had to tell him about the surprise party, & the reason for the unique videos I had created. It was like a ‘pre-party’ I had for him – just dad & I. He was stunned that I was trying to plan a party for him, & he asked if he could still have his party at some later point. That melted my heart in a way I could never describe with words alone. He was like a little kid, waiting for Christmas or his birthday. I told him that soon he would have his party.
After playing him the videos, I took him to the hospital, where he was admitted. With everything out of my control and out of my hands, I humbled myself before the Lord & prayed. I prayed that God would allow him to stay just a little while longer so that I could give him his Celebration of Life party; my prayers were answered, as he got to come home a few days later!
I certainly wasn’t going to take any chances! And so just a few short hours after dad came home from the hospital, with his whole family present, we were finally able to give him his party on April 5th, 2016.
No more than five months later, he got dreadfully ill in the middle of September; he could not stop vomiting and was admitted to the hospital. Despite mine & my family’s best efforts, I could no longer care for him at home. That single realization alone broke my heart, as I had to break that news to him. So, again I handed it over to God, & God opened the doors; he was assigned to a nursing care facility not more than five minutes away from where we lived. The doctors at the facility did not expect him to live until the end of the year. That news left a horrible, sickening feeling deep inside me; no matter how hard I fought it, I had no control what so ever over my father’s life. Yet God, in His infinite wisdom, used it to teach me a valuable lesson; the best place you can leave anyone you love so dearly IS in God’s hands.
He did indeed live to ring in the new year of 2017; even when all the doctors were telling me not to expect him to live. By February, my dad’s health had improved drastically; all he wanted to do was to come home. He remained very frail as he had been bedridden for five months. But like the stubborn man that he was, he determined within himself that he was coming home!
During that whole month, he worked so very hard with the staff to get back on his feet, & to be able to take care of himself. I never saw someone work so hard for anything as my father did that whole month. On February 28th, 2017, he returned home to his family.
I want to share the video of the song I re-created in memory of my father & the time I was blessed to perform with him. Below is the video I played for him at his celebration of life party in 2016.
His dream for his little girl was that I make it big & do something with my music and the gifts God has given me. I know that God has a plan for my life; I continue to allow Him to lead me so that these gifts will bring people to salvation in Jesus Christ, and to also bring honor, glory, and praise to His Name.
When my father & I sung Tie Your Dream to Mine, all those years ago, I had no idea just how ‘prophetic’ the title & words would become. His dream did indeed become mine.
Our story doesn’t entirely end there. Stay tuned for the conclusion in a future blog. I hope that this blog has touched you in some meaningful way. That perhaps, you will plan your own celebration of life party for your parents, grandparents – anyone who was vital in raising you into who you are today. Never put off what you should do today, as you may not have tomorrow.
Tie Your Dream to Mine is on The Good Shepherd album, as well as the song Yahweh’s Blessing (A Priestly Blessing) sung in Hebrew & English.
My latest album The Return of the King features the Christian heavy metal bands: DAN, Sovereign Cross, as well as the young & very talented jazz artist Jordan Rogers.