Last week was our latest album recording, Hillsong Church’s 87th recording project. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and awe that I can be part of a church that influences so many lives with songs of heaven.
Serving for the album recording caused me to reflect upon the first Hillsong album I ever heard, “You Are My World”, when I was 16 years old. Emma and Richard, the young couple who gave me the album, had recently moved to the area and had four young children. I’d met them a few months earlier, through what I see now as a complete God appointment.
My parents were on holiday, and it was half term break. I’d left my design technology course work at school, and, already behind, I needed to collect it. I walked in the rain through fields to the closest bus stop, a couple of miles away. The buses were infrequent and always late, and I smoked several cigarettes as I waited. Eventually I saw the bus approaching in the distance and signalled the driver, who ignored me and drove on. Frustrated, tired, cold and wet, I decided to hitch for a ride. After some time, a car drove by, reversed back, and asked me where I was going. I got in.
Emma and Richard took me to school, a 20 minute drive away, and waited for me to collect the folder so they could give me a ride home. They told me how they felt God had asked them to stop for me. I shrugged, and told them “I believe in God”. I did; I just didn’t like who I thought God was. I was in a turbulent stage of my life, a young girl who saw no future. I was self harming regularly at this point in my life as a way to punish myself for the deep hurt and shame I felt. God , to me, was an almighty Smiter who did not care about the painful reality I found myself in.
A letter arrived a week or so later from the young couple, letting me know they were praying for me, and if I ever needed anything, or wanted to come to church with them, to get in touch. I put the letter and the encounter to the back of my mind.
A few months on, and my life had spiralled down into a furthered darkness. Helpless and afraid, not knowing who to call, I stumbled across the letter, and contacted Emma. That weekend, I walked into King’s Church, and felt a sense of freedom and hope I had never before experience. Richard bought me the Hillsong album, and when I went home that night, rather than listen to songs with lyrics such as “cut my life into pieces, this is my last resort”, I instead was uplifted through words of hope “bearing all my sin and shame, in love you came, and gave amazing grace”.
Fastforward to last weekend, tired, serving at yet another service. Sometimes, I need to remind myself of the miraculous journey that God has brought me on, the turmoil that Christ saved me from, and the hope I have. I wonder about whose hands this album might fall into, and how it could help save their life. I am so grateful.