I had a real treat last night. I entered a competition to win free tickets to see Amy Grant – I didn’t expect to win, nor had I, in all honesty, listened to her music in recent years. But I grew up with it being blasted from my sister’s room and thought it would be great to hear where she is at now. So, accompanied by a good friend from church, off I travelled to Union Chapel in Islington. The venue was cosy and really atmospheric – a beautiful old church. I didn’t know anything about the gig really, so didn’t realise it was a stripped back acoustic set. Some musicians casually appeared and I thought perhaps they were the support act – but then Amy gracefully walked on stage. I was blown away by how little she’s changed – after 5 kids and at the age of 51 she looks absolutely amazing – and beautiful. And her new songs were really chilled and a mixture of bluesy/country/folky.
What I really loved, though, was her honesty and openness. After a while she asked people to shout out songs they wanted her to play. Some she hadn’t sung for over 20 years and she struggled a little with some chord arrangements/remembering a few lyrics but it was okay – she was honest about that and it just made it even more like we were party to an intimate gathering of friends jamming at that point.
The main thing that struck me was how raw, and how honest the whole evening was. Her songwriting has always told stories but hearing the true stories behind a lot of the songs was amazing – and gut wrenching at times. And even though she looks great, it is obvious that, like all of us, she’s lived through the good and bad – but refreshingly isn’t scared of letting that show. And of saying how much she needs the good friends and family who will be honest with her around her at all times.
After a particularly difficult time in my own life God really pushed me to be honest about where I was at, to help pull down the masks that we all seem to wear in Christian circles. I fought it for a while, as it was draining to be the only one doing it, but now my husband might say I’m sometimes too honest with the amount I share! 😉 The point is, I can always sense when I am in the presence of someone else who isn’t scared to let their mask down and be who they really are, and comment on life as it really is. Aside from the trips down memory lane, as I realised I knew a lot of the lyrics to her songs off by heart, I felt privileged to share an evening with an honest soul who bares so much in her songs. She may have started out as a teenager, but she still has a deep joy about singing from her heart and she definitely had a profound affect on me last night. And it gave me fresh hope as I dwelt on the fact that most of the Christian musicians I’ve interviewed recently have also been really honest and had great depth to them. That is what it should be like – Christians pursuing honesty and integrity and supporting one another in love. That’s what the early Church was like – do you have those kinds of relationships in which you can bare all and expect total honesty, laced with grace, in return?