faith heartbreak inspiration

In honor of Joey Martin Feek.

November 11, 2015
November Yellow Leaves

November Yellow Leaves

Some of you may have read/heard/seen the news coverage on Joey Feek and her battle with cancer. You may have read that she will soon leave behind her husband and her baby, to be reunited with Jesus again. And while most know Joey as Joey+Rory the country duo, I know Joey as Joey Martin, the girl who encouraged me to ride the tallest & fastest rides with her at Kings Island, the girl who showed my brother and me how to put a marshmallow in the microwave, watch it grow, and then take it out, pour chocolate syrup on it, and eat it with a spoon. I knew her as the girl who would sing for us each and every time we asked her to – which was every time we’d see her. Joey was my brother’s and my babysitter growing up, she was our friend. She eventually moved to Nashville, finding career success in the music industry. I continued to follow her online and through mutual friends and as life continues to go on, we lost touch – as people often do.

My heart breaks to think that something like this is what has encouraged me to go back to those fun memories together. I could fill up page after page about the ways in which my own heart breaks to know the things Joey is going through, the things her family has gone through and will continue to go through. There are so many people who have known and loved Joey, at some point in her life’s journey, and yes- our hearts break. But my reasons for sharing this with you all today are these: first and foremost- PLEASE pray for Joey, her husband Rory, and their baby Indy. I believe so much in the power of prayer and let’s please pray for strength, comfort, and peace. Will you also join me in celebrating Joey this week? Whether this is by listening to her music, reading more about her life, or simply offering up a “thank you for this person, God” – I can tell you that she is most certainly worthy of all of our celebrations. My final reason for writing this today is to remind you of some really important things that I have been thinking about the last few days…

Be grateful for every moment. As numerous news outlets shared Joey’s story on Monday, I cried and cried while I thanked God for her life, and also for mine. I thanked Him for all of the wonderful moments in my life but also for all of my “problems” in my day-to-day. I thanked Him for all the bills that I had to pay, I thanked Him for our newly broken window at our new house, I thanked Him for all of the things that would make me turn to Him… because it meant that I was living my life. I am here, I am living this life, and I have a mighty King to turn to in every single moment. PRAISE for that and that alone.

Be vocal about your love for others. I’d put off writing a letter to Joey for so long… I think because 1. It had been so long since we’d talked and I was so mad at myself for the fact that this is what it had taken for me to reach out, and 2. This letter would ultimately be my ‘goodbye.’ I said so many things in that letter that truly, I wish I’d said to her face at some point in time. Life is busy, yes. We get busy, we lose touch, we assume those in our life know what they mean to us but listen to me- TELL THEM ANYWAY.

Speak your truths. One of the things I love so much about Joey is that what you see is truly her. And she has always lived that way. She speaks her truths, what she believes in this life, who she loves and who her heart is. I was in Indiana on Sunday and went to church with my parents; the pastor of the church they attend asked the question, “Who do people say that you are?” I really thought about that question and thought, God, I hope that first and foremost people know my love for Jesus. I hope they know my love for other people. Not once did I think, I hope people know me as a writer or that I love the things I do. Not that those things don’t make up who I am, but truly- at the end of my life those are not the things that I want to be remembered for. It made me realize that I could probably do a better job at speaking my truths, and doing it with joy and with all that I am.

Live life. Live it, dear ones. Whatever that means to you, do it. Each of us have our own, unique and different journeys in this life but all of us have one thing in common: we must live it.


Joey, my sweet friend, love you. Until I see you again.


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  • Emily, I so agree with you in regards to how we should approach each day. Life is short and we each delay sharing with others how we feel and have that “I meant to list.” This is a wonderful reminder for all of us. Prayers for everyone!

  • This is so beautiful, Em. As someone who has watched and felt moved my Joey’s story, I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it is for you and everyone who KNOWS her. Life is so short and we get caught up in all the wrong things… we don’t often realize how lucky we are, as you said above, to be paying bills and dealing with a broken window.

  • Liz

    Oh, sweet friend, this is beautiful <3 As more posts have filtered through my newsfeed, I have found myself praying harder, listening to her music and just seeing what a truly beautiful person she is. I know your letter will find its way into her hands, and she will be flooded with amazing emotions and hopefully some much-needed smiles. You are an incredible friend/support/encourager to so many!! <3 Love your perspective!! xoxo

  • My heart is so heavy for Joey’s family and those who know her. I can’t imagine the pain that accompanies a disease like cancer. God blesses us with some much while we’re here, but this place is only temporary and sometimes that reminder is harsh and untimely (for us). To see Joey’s story in the news is heartbreaking but to read the words of her family and husband and friends is just devastating. I will definitely keep Joey and her loved ones in my prayers. xo

  • What a beautiful legacy she is leaving behind. May we all be encouraged to live better lives because of it. xo

  • So beautiful.

  • Oh my heart. This post is a beautiful tribute <3

  • Amen sister. You have me bawling over here and I have been since Monday when I started reading all about Joey. So thankful she knows Jesus and just keep praying people come to a saving knowledge of Him because of her bold life.Thank you for sharing this. I love your heart.

  • Tears, big. fat. tears! Going to love on the my sweet little grandbabies until they push me away. Your heart….. amazing!

  • chall1018

    The news of Joey has wrecked me. Completely and hard. Their sweet little family is constantly on my mind. I am keeping them in my prayers. And what an honor that you knew her personally. She seems like such a gem. A beautiful, beautiful soul. Great reminders and great post, as always sweet lady.

  • I saw your post on FB yesterday. I am praying.

  • I hope you’ve been able to reach out to her and let her know how special she is to you. Or someday maybe reach out to her husband and her daughter so you can share your memories with them.

  • I have loved Joey + Rory’s music for years. It broke my heart when I read that she would be going home to spend her last days with family. I prayed for her and her family as I prayed for my own. On Monday when the news broke that she had been moved to hospice, I cried. We had spent the day waiting for a phone call to tell us that my FIL would be more then likely stopping his own chemo treatments. But instead of a sad call, we got good news that the chemo is working. I cried out of joy for my family and sorrow for knowing what they are going through. But as I have been telling my daughter, no matter what – God heals, whether it is hear on Earth or in Heaven. He will always heals us.

  • I was so sad to hear this story and sadder now to know that you know her. As I read about her this week and saw photo after photo showing the love between her, her husband and their daughter Indy (as well as his older daughters) my heart was heavy. But what amazes me is their response to this situation and the love that prevails. Bless all of them!

  • Aww I’m so sorry to hear of this. I’ve seen people posting about Joey on Facebook but I’m not familiar with her or her music. I’m sorry you are losing someone you have so many wonderful memories of in your life 🙁

  • This is absolutely beautiful. I am praying for you and her and her family. xo

  • My heart is broken over this news. Praying for peace as they endure this pain. Praying for strength for her family in the coming weeks, months, and years.

  • I love Joey+Rory this whole thing was so sad but they really used it to the best of their ability to spread the word of Jesus and I thought that was amazing!!

  • Oh Em…I haven’t come across their music before but I’m taken with it now. I spent some time reading the latest blog posts and watching the “When I’m Gone” video over and over – tearful and heartbroken for her and her family, and everyone who is touched by her sweet life. I loved Rory’s statement that God answered their prayer – just not in the way they expected. Keeping the faith in the face of such heartache is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I’m praying for her and her family, friend. XO

  • Aw this is just so sad and heartbreaking. Life is short and we should all appreciate it and live life to it’s fullest.

  • I love them as a group. So heartbreaking for their family. Prayers since I found out, and now for you too. Such a small world we are in that she was your babysitter

  • Emily, I’m so sorry to hear this. My prayers are with all xx Such a beautiful post, full of love and life xx