All Will Be Well - Pride Month Ramblings #19

When I was in the final months of living in the closet, music became increasingly important to me. I had so many songs I turned to when I needed encouragement. I had playlist after playlist, and they became the soundtrack to my coming out. Some songs are probably obvious: “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves and “Firework” by Katy Perry.

Then there are some more obscure but powerful songs that gave me so much strength: “Weather the Storm” by the amazing Benjamin Scheuer, from his one-man show The Lion Musical; “Ask Yourself” by Foster The People and “Let It Happen” by United Pursuit. (Yes, worship songs can be coming out songs: “You’re full of life now and full of passion. It’s how He made you, so let it happen…”)

Then there were the swoony love songs like “Hold Each Other” and “There Is an Answer” by A Great Big World, “So Beautiful” by Darren Hayes and “Handsome Man” by Matt Alber (perhaps the most swoon-worthy song of all time. I remember playing it in my office in the church and realizing my door was open and people could probably hear these words, sung by a man… “Cause everybody smiles when my handsome man walks by. He’s got the wind in his hair and the stars all in his eyes. The more I try to tell you, oh, the more I get it wrong, so handsome man I’ll tell you with a song”).

But the songs that I came back to again and again, more than any others, were the ones with one simple message: “All Will Be Well.”

I still need these songs.

For all the “courage” and “bravery” I’ve shown on social media, I haven’t told the whole story. Friends, there have been dark nights of the soul, believe me. Crushing doubts and desperate prayers. Wondering whether I’d done the right thing. Fears that I had destroyed the best things that had ever happened to me. I plan to write about this in a few days. Suffice it to say, in those difficult times, when I couldn’t stop crying, when I felt abandoned and alone, I would turn to this message… “All will be well.” It became a mantra of sorts for me.

Julian of Norwich (1342–1416) was an English anchoress and an important Christian mystic and theologian. Her “Revelations of Divine Love,” written around 1395, is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman. Julian was also known as a spiritual authority within her community, where she also served as a counsellor and advisor. (Thank you, Wikipedia!)

Perhaps Julian’s most famous words are “All will be well.” She said that Jesus himself gave her this answer when she asked him why sin had been allowed to enter the world. He said, “It was necessary that there should be sin; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

In 1847 these words became the foundation of a beautiful hymn: “Through the Love of God Our Savior,” with words by Mary Bowley Peters. Look at these profound words:

Through the love of God our Saviour
All will be well
Free and changeless is his favour
All will be well
Precious is the blood that healed us
Perfect is the grace that sealed us
Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us
All will be well

Though we pass through tribulation
All will be well
Ours is such a full salvation
All will be well
Happy, still in God confiding
Fruitful, if in Christ abiding
Holy, through the Spirit’s guiding
All will be well

We expect a bright tomorrow
All will be well
Faith can sing through days of sorrow
All will be well
On our Father’s love relying
Jesus every need supplying
In our living, in our dying
All will be well

Former Covenant worship leader (and FB friend of mine) Bethany Beams wrote and recorded a lovely version of this hymn that I must have listened to a thousand times in the last couple of years.

I found a secular version of “All Will Be Well” too, by the Gabe Dixon Band

All will be well
Even after all the promises
You’ve broken to yourself
All will be well
You can ask me how
But only time will tell

Such hope, such promise.

But my favorite “All Will Be Well,” by far, was written by my son Jacob. All through the summer of 2016, while he was an intern at a large Covenant church in Colorado, we were in touch. He knew I was coming out that summer, and it was hard for him to be so far away. The day after I came out publicly, he posted a photo on Instagram with the following caption: “I love my family. I love my friends. I love my music. I love love. I love hope. I love peace. I love life. Lord I pray for love, hope, peace, and life. #allwillbewell

That phrase became something we would say frequently, holding on to the hope that even though we knew it was going to hard, we trusted that in time everything would be OK.

Later that summer, Jacob wrote and recorded this beautiful song. I’m so grateful and proud to share it with you today. All WILL be well.

❤️❤️❤️

All Will Be Well
Words & Music by Jacob Nightingale

I see your breath,
Like a wave in a field of grass
Breathing life, in the roots of the redwood trees
I see your voice
Like a tide hitting rock on a shore
Speaking life, through the howl of the crying wolf

Giving hope, giving peace, giving love
Giving truth, giving joy, giving life

All will be well

I see your face
Like a cloud painted over the land
Pouring love, on the ground over all our lies
I see your heart
Like a girl holding hands with her wife
Proving love will win against hate and fear