“How many of you need to believe today that God makes all things beautiful in His time?” Cheri Keaggy asked the women gathered at a recent St. James breakfast. “While our circumstances may not always be good, God will use them for good, if we only have eyes to see.”
Cheri Keaggy, gospel singer and songwriter, shared some of her life story by performing songs and by recalling the challenging road she has been journeying since her life went so differently than she expected.
“In 2010, what I refer to as my epic year, I went through more upheaval, grief and loss than I ever thought possible in my life,” Cheri said. “In just a six month period of time, my daughter graduated from high school, my son got married, my grandmother died and two months later my grandfather died. In the midst of all that we had to do a short-sale on the house that had been our family home for a number of years, and my 22 year marriage to my high-school sweetheart ended in divorce.”
“I never thought that would be my story,” she continued. “But God has been so present with me through all that, and He has brought beauty from ashes. In the midst of all that upheaval, I went to church. I didn’t know where I’d live, or if I’d still be married. The pastor spoke about three things we need to survive, and said we need air, sustenance-such as food and water, and God’s presence. I knew I had those three things, and it was a turning point for me, to go from fear back to faith.”
Cheri wrote a song called “Air, Food, and Water” in response to that experience, and it was one of the many songs that she sang as part of her message of encouragement.
Cheri was born and raised in Southern California and started taking classical piano lessons at the age of seven. At 18, she married her high school boyfriend, Eddie Keaggy, whose uncle, Phil Keaggy, was one of the founders of Christian rock in the 1970’s.
Her first album was released in 1994 and earned her a Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year. She has eight albums, nine Number One songs, three Dove Award nominations and a Dove award, and is recognized as a mainstay in the adult contemporary Christian music. She now lives in Tennessee.
“We don’t really learn how to trust God until we have no other choice,” Cheri said. “He has met me at my moments of despair. Whatever we struggle with in our life, we can all be encouraged that God is bigger that whatever it is, because He has conquered death, and what is bigger than death?”
“One Easter I went to church because I knew it was good to show up, even if I didn’t feel like it,” she continued. “I was acting on the advice of a friend who said, ‘If you supply the motion, God will supply the emotion.’My friend gave me permission to be in a heap.”
Years later, Cheri revisited the same church and saw the same friend, who was then going through difficult challenges of her own. Cheri was able to echo back her friend’s comforting words that had helped her so much, and she wrote a song called, “When You Were Jesus to Me.”
“God is working in ways we can’t imagine,” Cheri said. “Trust Him in times of unchartered territory. I have lived a lot of my life in a winter season, but God has been redeeming that and He is doing new things. Maybe you are in a winter season, but I want to encourage you, that spring is coming.”
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Cindy can be reached at [email protected]