Deeper returns with another guest post! My dear friend and concert buddy Kaitlyn Luce is reinstating Deeper with her story about Jason Gray, a mutual favorite of ours (who is at least partially responsible for our friendship). If you want to share your own story, check out the guidelines and let me know!
Where to start? Well, I suppose the beginning is the perfect place to start. It was December 2006 the first time I ever heard the first words of Jason Gray’s “Blessed Be,” but it wasn’t until December 2007 that I became a true fan. I have a couple of friends who were Jason Gray fans and they always told me about the adventures they had together whenever they saw him in concert. I lived vicariously through them and their fun stories.
I kept my eyes on Jason’s tour schedule on a pretty regular basis, and it wasn’t until October of 2007 that a Florida date finally popped up on his MySpace page for a couple of church services in Clermont in December. It was within reasonable driving distance for my Step-Dad to take me (I only had my driver’s permit), and got up the courage to ask. My Mom and Step-Dad agreed that it would be a Christmas gift for my step-sister and I. I was elated to say the least. The closer and closer we got to the date of the concert, the more excited I became. I studied up on my Jason Gray music, making sure that I knew the songs well enough to sing along a little bit. Just as I was getting really excited the unthinkable happened…
Remember my friends? They went and saw him play a few weeks before I did, and my good friend Monika delivered a message to Jason that I didn’t know she would be delivering. She told Jason “My friend Kaitlyn is supposed to see you in Florida in a few weeks, so keep an eye out for her.” What does Jason say? “Oh, Kaitlyn! I can’t wait to meet her!” How did he know who I was? Well, we were Facebook friends and I had commented on quite a few of the photos he was tagged in by my friends, so that’s how he knew. That was the day I became a true fan of this Jason Gray guy.
The 29th of December had finally arrived, and we set out on an adventure of our own. After a two and a half hour drive northwest, we made it to the church that Jason was playing at. We got there super early, but we decided to go into the sanctuary anyway. When we walked in I could hear Jason sound checking, and I could barely get two feet into the sanctuary before he looked over in our direction and said over the microphone, “Hey…you’re Kaitlyn!” We walked up to the stage and took a seat, and he did his thing while he made conversation with us. That was the way the weekend continued to go, and he always greeted me before I had the opportunity to greet him.
Four years and ten shows later, I’m still just as big a fan as I was the day I met him. Jason’s music has provided me with hope in my darkest and saddest days, and has really become my anthem. I’ve heard people say over and over that his music touches them at their deepest point of need, and I believe that to be true. His music is God-breathed, and only something that is God-breathed can meet someone in that way.
This past summer I was working at a summer camp in Minnesota and I was in the middle of an extremely difficult week of counseling when I opened up my e-mail and saw one from Jason. It was just a simple note saying hello, with his new single “Remind Me Who I Am” attached. I downloaded the song right away, and carried it with me through what turned out to be the most challenging thing I’ve had to endure in my 21 years of life. My counseling duties ended the day after I received the e-mail and song. I was dealing with some really challenging things with a couple of campers and was relinquished my title as ‘counselor’. I was put on maintenance, dish, host, night watch, and lifeguard duty for the rest of the summer. It wasn’t what I had pictured for the summer at all, and I was pretty miserable for the majority of my time in Minnesota. Plus, most of the jobs I was assigned were all one person jobs, so that left me with my thoughts all the time. I thought a lot about what could have been, what would have been, what I could have done differently. It was an experience that made me question who I was down to my deepest core. I kept asking myself “Who am I?” I was desperate for an answer.
As I was mopping the floor of the dining hall at midnight for the second straight week cursing everything under my breath, I got my answer. The words of “Remind Me Who I Am” rang through my mind. “Tell me once again who I am to You/Tell me lest I forget who I am to You…” Those words were exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I started to see my time in Minnesota differently. My dish duty was no longer a death sentence, but rather an opportunity for God to teach me more about myself. I was taught things that I wouldn’t have learned had I been surrounded by children twenty three hours a day. I saw things through a new pair of eyes, and was filled with gratefulness and happiness. All thanks to the chorus of one little song running through my head consistently.
Jason’s music has, by God’s grace and wisdom, grown me in innumerable ways. Jason is one of the kindest people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. He’s not just my favorite artist, but has become a good friend too. He genuinely cares about what is going on in people’s lives, and he listens. He’s one of a kind, and that is what brings me back over and over again.
(Editor Note: As of this posting, “Remind Me Who I Am” is a free download at Air1’s website! Click here to go get it.)
Kaitlyn Luce is a Music Business student in college. Her dream is to travel as a road manager for a band in the Christian music industry, and later work for a record label. Kaitlyn blogs about her journey and passions at Joy in Simplicity.
How did we meet? It’s kind of a funny story…”Jen is a dear friend of mine who has unexpectedly turned into an amazing concert buddy. We’ve had many an adventure together, but the greatest adventure of all was when we ventured off with Jason Gray after we had just met each other to find a Starbucks in downtown Orlando. We got lost due to wonky downtown construction projects, and a very confused GPS. We did make it back to the I-4 overpass (where the show was taking place) in one piece, with Starbucks in hand, and maybe a few frazzled nerves. We go big or go home.”