A little gray Toyota Camry, the car I drove since I was 16, was my little time machine. It was the place I piled all my friends in to go ice skating in the winter and to the pool in the summer. It escorted me to prom, softball practice, youth group, and high school ever day. It’s mirrors watched me sing along to music played at max volume. It’s six disc CD stereo rotated music until the music began to spin ideas and life change inside me. My thoughts about love, God, dreams, friends, growing, and family were formed here.
A few weeks ago my husband and I replaced the little Cam, with a new car. As I was cleaning it out, all the bobby pins, gum wrappers, and phone chargers from underneath the seats, finally my hands moved to the four albums in the middle console. No matter where I went, they had never left my car. An occasional mix tape downloaded from iTunes or Justin Bieber album would float in from time to time, but these core four were never cast aside; Greatest Hits by Sara Evans, The Lost Get Found by Britt Nicole, Majestic by Kari Jobe, and 1989 by Taylor Swift. I can sing every word to all the songs, because it was more than just a tune to zoom to, every track performed by these amazing artists wrote parts of the story of my life.
I will never forget buying Sara Evan’s Greatest Hits at the Walmart in Boonville, before it had even earned the last name Super Center. I spent hours singing trying to match Sara’s tone and believing like every other girl in the mid-Missouri area that “Born to Fly” could be my life’s story too. Every time I miss home, the places that made me, the people who love me, I turn up some Queen Sara songs and it takes me back to my true roots.
The same LifeWay Christian Book Store, where I got my True Love Waits Ring, and all my karaoke music for church specials, supplied me with The Lost Get Found album. Britt Nicole’s message of hope found me during my freshman year of high school when I decided to truly follow Jesus, not because it was what I knew or what my parents had prayed for me to do. This album walked me through processing what it meant to love Jesus uniquely and above all else. I made a choice to be a girl who was unafraid and willing for God to use me for His purpose. I fell in love with the idea of reaching out to my friends who were in pain and did not know Jesus with the song, “Walk On Water”. He made me feel alive with this calling. I was made to glow!
Majestic invested in me. Over to-go coffee, teary car rides, dates, and important conversations about my future and grieving Kari Jobe lead me into the presence of the Lord though the work of this album. It taught me about the the power of the Holy Spirit and how their are no restraints in worship. More than any other collection of songs, this album left the most significant impression upon my life and taught me how to love God more than life itself and be lead by the Spirit.
My parents bought me 1989 for Christmas of my freshman year in college. This was during same season I realized that love and friendships are a game you want in on. It is not fair to yourself to sit on the sidelines, just give yourself shot. You are always worth more than you believe and there are people who will love you for being YOU. This album was a sweet soundtrack to the lessons I learned about social etiquette, vulnerability, and how everyone has a story to share.
Picking up the four albums that sang me into adulthood is a moment I do not want to want to lose from my memory. I have not arrived in anyway in mastering this new season of my life versus my years of being a teenager, but this action felt like flickering neon sign reminding me of the bittersweet taste of change. Change is good. Change is exciting. Change is also very hard and it hurts. Even though I am 23 and now I have a Spotify account like a mature adult, I still miss the sound of the transaction of moving from disc 2 to disc 3. I loved skipping to track 11 “Lord Over All”, on Majestic when my heart felt so heavy. I think about this a lot, about my former self, and how God does not give up on us. I think about why I am so consumed with writing this all out, talking about these albums as if they are little trophies. In some way they are, because each one gave me a new victory in teaching me something about life, love, loss, and Lord Jesus.
If there is even a small sequin of encouragement to be found here may it be you have every right to reflect and to feel every twinge of and corner of your heart as you cycle through a season of change. You do not have to be hopeful or strong, in every moment. You do not have to pull out old photos or call up friends from past, unless you want to. Honoring the past comes in waves and can sometimes last only a few seconds. Its found in nostalgic scents, Scripture, blue skies, and homemade ice cream. Its in old Instagram posts when we used only the Nashville filter, t-shirt quilts as graduation gifts, and iCarly Episodes. God is so good in that way, to give us memories as reminders of His faithfulness, and that we are all a work in progress.
I do not like to box in what God will use for His good, therefore, I am convinced that God cares about things like the Camry albums. Even more than this, He adores me and all of His sons and daughters. He loves for us to glow, dream, pray, work hard, get in His Word, and to never forget to reflect.
God is doing more in your life than you can even imagine, you have to trust this. Give Him all the credit and thank Him for using things like CDs that make us into stronger beings. It was not the Camry albums that changed me, it was Him from day one all along.
Thank you Jesus, how majestic is Your name.