I have been wanting to write a letter and send it out to Matthew West for quite some time now and haven’t done so. Why you may ask- perhaps God felt that I still had a lesson to learn, growing to do, only He knows.
First, I would like to say Thank you to Matthew West. Though I have seen you in concert many times and I have heard some of your story through WinterJam when Children’s Ministry leaders were able to come backstage and hear from you, I feel as though God placed you in my life to witness to me.
You are forever hearing stories of those who have been broken and hurt and haven’t felt like they were strong enough to get back up again, but I want to tell you a story of grace, mercy, and unconditional love.
I first heard you at WinterJam a few years back. Lauren Daigle was there with you at the time, then a few months later you both performed at The Ohio State Fair. During this time I was broken! I couldn’t listen to broken things without balling my eyes out. Then when you performed Mended for the first time- I cried even harder.
You see, I was at the bottom and didn’t know which way was up. I felt like the church had given up on me and everyone turned their backs on me. As I prayed- though I felt God was answering my prayers, it wasn’t God. The answers that came didn’t align with the Bible.
During this time, I was just going through the motions. What I thought was from Christ wasn’t. I was serving at church- only to have realized that I wasn’t doing it for Jesus. I was going through the motions for my own selfish purposes. I was at rock bottom and I heard Strong Enough come on the radio and God showed me what I was missing in the song. Sure, I knew the song by heart but part of it didn’t click until God put me in my place.
Maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
‘Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out”
God showed me through these lyrics that I was struggling because I wasn’t depending on Him the way I should have been. He showed me that He allowed me to hit rock bottom so I would depend on Him and call out to Him to help me.
I began praying more, reaching out to God more, praising Him for opening my eyes to those specific lyrics in the song. I know that I can do ALL things through Christ- I know the Bible says because he strengthens me- but I like to look at it a little differently. I like to look at it as HE IS MY STRENGTH! I can’t do this alone, no one can and until we are at rock bottom we don’t realize how full of goodness, grace, and mercy God is.
Please bear with me as I feel like I am babbling a bit. My thoughts are all over the place and I am trying to get them out in the most logical way.
I knew that I wasn’t strong enough to face what lied ahead of me and I knew I couldn’t get through it on my own. I was broken as I mentioned above. Broken Things came on the radio- and I questioned how God could use me- so broken. I had extremely low self esteem and I struggled to fathom how God could give me grace. I felt like what I had done in my life, the roads I had travelled were unforgivable. There was God, with His arms open wide waiting to embrace me. It was during this time that I realized that God had not turned his back on me, it was me who turned my back on Him.
This leads me to Mended. In the song you say:
When you see broken beyond repair
When you see too far gone
When you see nothing but damaged goods
You see your worst mistake
You see worthless
You see unworthy, undeserving
That was me! That was how I saw myself. So for me to hear that I had a purpose, that I was worthy and deserving and that I was priceless I didn’t know how to react to it. When you were singing it- first time I heard it and it was at the Ohio State Fair- I cried… it wasn’t you singing it- it was God and He was singing it to me. He told me that I am His, that He knew me before I was even born, that He had a plan for me that I only needed to trust Him.
Go used you to witness to me, to deliver His message to me. When you felt like you were going through the motions when you had your surgery and couldn’t talk for a while- God was preparing you- He was getting you ready to be His voice! He will look at you and say “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I have no doubt about that.
Music is one of the ways that I feel God talking to me and He has moved me more through your music than any. He has used some of Lauren Daigle and We Are Messengers to smack me in the face as well. I can connect with so many more of your songs. I know you have said that you write your songs from stories people have told you or from experiences you have gone through. I want you to know that God is using you in big ways. I am sure I am not the only one that God is using you to witness you.
So, Matthew- Keep moving forward and doing God’s work! Keep following the Holy Spirit’s guidance because He is using you in great ways and you are moving mountains in the name of the Lord.
If you have been able to see this and read this- I hope that you have tears running down your face and that God tells you, well done! I hope you are able to see the fruits of doing God’s work. If you ever want to hear my story, I will gladly share it. I know God gave it to me to help others and I will help anyone that God places before me. I may be slow to recognize at first- but that is because I have learned to give it to God and seek discernment for what He wants.
Father God, I pray that you continue using Matthew to deliver your word, I pray that to continue speaking through Him and changing lives. Father I pray that you give him guidance and discernment for his family and his music that you not only have him setting the examples for us but for his family too. I pray for his kids- that you just put your shield of protection around them and that you cloud their ears from hearing the promptings of the devil. Father I pray that his family continues to grow even closer to you. You say that the least of us will be first and the greatest will be last, Father, I pray that Matthew will be among the first. I pray for his discernment when writing songs, for the people he comes in contact with- Father not only that their stories will inspire him to write about them, but that through his music you will continue to help other people who are lost, broken, afraid, those that feel like they have nothing left. I pray that they leave these people with hope and being able to feel your unconditional love. I pray that they will know that they indeed are “A Child of the One True King”. That their identity isn’t in themselves but in you!
It is in your precious son’s name we pray,