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.