Sometimes there’s more to life than quilting.
I know, that may be a shocking statement coming from The Quilt Rambler, grin, for as you know I can talk on and on and on about my love of quilting.
I’ve blogged for 3 years as The Quilt Rambler on this platform and for decades as The Quilt Rambler under my old business Quilts ‘N Kaboodle on Blogger. If you’ve been with me that long you will remember stories as far back as quilters sending quilts for me to share with Hurricane Ike refugees (2008) in my area. You may or may not remember some of my funny Calamity Jane stories or a few of my “deep thought” posts (I remember something about lessons observed from trees).
All that to say, that even though my blog is primarily about quilting, there is indeed more to life. The love of family and especially for me, the love of God.
Today I want to share about a young man and a small part of his story. Actually, this is more than that – it’s about how God is using him as an instrument of peace.
Peace. That word almost seems to have gone AWOL this past year with the global pandemic that has interrupted all our lives. The stress of this alone has caused such anxiety, and for many people it has dumped despair on top of other burdens such as loss of income, confinement, not being able to travel to see loved ones, even the panic of not finding toilet paper! Much less the political unrest and issues we have witnessed during this crazy year. Many people have experienced illness beyond the virus, as I know of several battling cancer or other such things that by themselves are stressful enough without the environment of Covid-19.
My friend Tanner Smith and his young family have been through some difficult times, more than just this crazy year of isolation due to a pandemic. Without telling his story for him (as I may get some of the details wrong), let me tell you his story of being an overcomer. For you see, Tanner is a man of faith.
That term, man of faith, doesn’t mean that his life is perfect, or that he is holier than anyone else. It simply means that he recognizes his need for a loving God to help carry him through all those rough roads and rainbows of life. It’s where he turns when he finds himself not knowing what to say or do, what the next step is. It’s where he turns when there is joy and he has a grateful heart. He wrote a song years ago, called Death & Life, where the opening lyrics say, “we can lift our voices in the midst of tragedy, even in the suffering”. I’ve seen Tanner lead by example, as I have had the privilege of having him as a worship leader for several years in various churches. He has a heart for God, and an enthusiastic influence to urge people to join in and discover pure worship no matter what circumstances are surrounding them.
Yesterday Tanner released a new album, With Us.
I’ve been watching the promo for the much-anticipated release. I’m the first to admit I don’t understand this digital age of music where anyone can just go to their favorite music source and download a song or a whole album. I’m of the generation where you went to the music store and purchased a vinyl, cassette or later a CD of your favorite artist (yes, I’m dating myself). Well, things are certainly different nowadays!
I downloaded the album early yesterday morning, and seriously, I listened to it in its entirety not once, or twice, but three times as I worked in my studio. The first time through, I will admit, with tears streaming down my face. The lyrics of his scripture songs were like a wave of peace flowing over me, gentle and yet fierce like a rushing river. Reminding me that God is with us, has always been with us, and will never leave us. Such promises, such needed stress relief. Such comfort and encouragement.
As if the message couldn’t be more clear, last night Tanner had a “premier” of the visual album. Watching this on my ‘big screen’ (as I can get YouTube on the TV), the message of peace was driven home in a powerful way combining images with the lyrics of the songs. Simple everyday things like walking through the woods, or contemplating life while gazing at a river…every day simple things that were so relatable, some simple things that get lost in the turmoil if we don’t take time to be still.
The experience of the combined storytelling of the videography with the scripture verses set to music has made such an impact of bringing me back to the stillness of recognizing/remembering that God is with me, that He is for me, was so great that I woke up this morning feeling compelled to share this with you. We all need peace, we all need hope for tomorrow, we all need to just be still and quiet our souls.
I know this visual album will accomplish that which God intended. May you be blessed beyond measure as He will give you peace.
Much love goes to my friend Tanner, his producer Parke, and my friend Matt the videographer. May God truly bless your socks off for sharing your talents to bring With Us to fruition!