Jeremy’s music is such that I forget to match his voice with his name.
Let me explain, for this is not a negative statement:
The depth of his voice is so captivating, that a name is not the identifier – the voice becomes the instant recognizable distinction. And now, after reading I Still Believe, I understand a bit more how God displayed that depth and tone in a vocal: God bestowed magnitude in Jeremy’s life that would more than mirror the vividness of his voice.
His memoir is one of honesty, detail, frankness and the altitude changes that come from a tumultuous testing of faith over the course of passing years.
The first portion of the book, if I’m honest, felt more sterile and mechanical. I liken it to when the same story is told countless times, a sense of a rehearsed memory-driven telling takes over rather than a conversational tone.
I only discovered this however, because of the last chapters of the book – where warmth, intensity in the moment, freshness and passion seemed more forthcoming. I cannot explain why, but it wasn’t until I was finishing the book that I even realized there was a difference within the pages.
I do not intend to insult his writing or pretend to understand the reasons behind why it seemed that way to one reader (my opinion is just that – opinion) who could easily be wrong. If I told a story for twelve years, it might sound rehearsed as well! I only say this in pure objectivity of review a piece of writing.
And now that I’ve done that, I can move onto that which matters more: the honesty of the pages.
I Still Believe, in its entirety is a portrait worth exploring wholeheartedly. Jeremy’s voice is true. No tone change or repetition can take that away. He leads bare-boned. He tells in utter candor. He does not pretend nor placate. His answers of faith are real. He does not say the things he does to impress anyone. They are simply fact, and the genuine nature of the man himself (as evidenced by his songwriting and his free account of intimate details of his life up to this point) is one of authenticity. Fervent love. Unbridled emotion for His Savior, for his family, for those he loves in this world and who are already home in Heaven. This is inarguable. Anyone who reads the 212+ pages will see this for themselves. So I will not flinch if my words are not taken merely on faith.
This was the first time I read this book (It was previously released in 2011). I just closed the binding of the book less than 30 minutes ago. For me, it truly was the last “moments”(the last few chapters) where I noticed a slight change in pace, in tempo if you will, to Jeremy’s writing. I don’t mean that to sound as if I’m saying it was hurried or haphazard. Absolutely not! If anything, it seemed as if so much excitement and certainty and faith expressing itself through obedience was pressurized in these last recounts and it was a wonderful stride to witness.
I had no true knowledge of Jeremy’s testimony. I had heard his music throughout my life on the radio, at church, in stores. Yet I never really dug deep into the journey behind the songs. I always remember each time I heard his voice how I marveled at its breadth and fruitfulness. I personally gravitate to deeper, more baritone-bass voices. And the more unique, the more I am drawn. As I compared before, I now have a renewed appreciation for Jeremy’s music and his vocal talent which God has blessed him with, for now I do know a little of his backstory. I can see pairings in grief and the urgency of his lyrics-meeting-vocals. I can draw from what I know with what I hear and it creates a sense of gratitude for how God is not only using Jeremy to further His kingdom, but for how God works and causes each seemingly small portion of a person to coincide with another part in order to create a grand picture of beauty and sovereign grace.
This 2013 release of his memoir includes pictures of his lovely Melissa, of Jeremy’s family and childhood, and of his beautiful Adrienne and their 3 wonderful children. If you’re visual like I am, these pictures are a welcome generosity to have something so intimate shared with us in order to have a fuller understanding of where the Lord has brought Jeremy and his family and how He has used each and every phase, trial, valley, mountaintop, joy, sorrow to further His name, His character, His goodness and love.
I want to include quotes but I’m unaware if I have permission to do so, thus I will ere on the side of caution. I long for you to go and read this. So that you may hopefully do as I and be swept up in a realness of everyday life and how we as His children can navigate the treacherous waters with a perfect Guide who will never send us out to be lost.
Now, all I want to do is listen again to Jeremy’s songs, which he describes in details some – where his heart was, where his hope was, where his emotion was. It’s a stunning thing to witness – the journey of a brother in Christ. Sharing with one another our testimony is not only a tool for bringing new seekers into the fold (though it is a vital practice). It is also for emboldening one another to continue the fight. To finish the race with the grace marked for us. To endure so that we might grasp one another in the knowledge that no matter the struggle, no matter the echo of the dark times, there is One who remains in who there is no darkness at all. He came to obliterate the grief with the Light. We are every day being transformed into His likeness. We will not be finished until we are home but the struggle is finished for we are His. That is something worth believing. That is what Jeremy reminds us of by sharing his very self.
May you and I take the charge and speak of what He has done in our lives.
*Tyndale provided a complimentary copy of I Still Believe for the purpose of review. To find out more information, visit http://www.tyndaleblognetwork.com