UPDATE: The album "Beauty From Ash" is complete and can be purchased on Apple music here, and Amazon music here.
I would imagine that most of you have wondered what your purpose is in life at one time or another, and you may still be searching for that revelation. If you are a follower of Jesus, you understand that above all your purpose is to make Jesus known among the nations, to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28:19-20). But when it comes to the details of that command, the hows and wheres, the callings and passions, I would guess that many of us don't know (or we may be unwilling to acknowledge and submit to) the details of our calling and the direction the Lord is leading us in this life.
Four weeks after Noah passed away, I wrote down some of my thoughts which had been consistently focused on my purpose without my only child. As Noah's full-time caregiver, nurse, teacher, etc., I made him my purpose; everything else took a back seat to his needs. He was the center of my world. We spent the majority of our time together, whether in the hospital, doctor's office, at home, or traveling. We played together, laughed together, were shopping buddies...you get the idea. The days after he was taken from me were in a word, torturous. I not only lost the most pure love I'd ever known, but I lost my little companion, my round-the-clock "job," my fulfillment...and my purpose. I felt so empty and devoid of spirit at times. I knew the Spirit of God would never leave me, but I honestly could not feel Him in my darkest days. Praying to find my purpose again felt so wrong, as if I was forgetting my sweet little boy. So when I was inspired to write the words of that June 2012 blog, it was a breath of fresh air, like my eyes were being opened to the fact that God wasn't finished with me yet, and Noah could still be part of my purpose in life, even though he wasn't physically with me. Read below to see what I mean:
"I know that I obviously still have purpose, or I wouldn’t still be breathing. God has given me a desire to serve Him, and now that will just be through a different avenue. I would give anything to still be able to take care of Noah, but because he isn’t in need of me anymore, I have to move on, no matter how wrong it feels. The beautiful part of this story is that Noah’s memory can be a part of my new purpose, and though he is not with me physically, his spirit will always live in my heart and my life will always be changed by his journey. Each day that I am able, I will share with someone new his story and the motto I have coined for his life - “Never Forget - Live 100%.” I do find joy in passing his memory on to a person who never had the privilege of knowing him, by giving them a “Pray for Noah” bracelet/directing them to his website/showing them a picture of his precious face. Noah remembered so much; he never forgot a face or an act of kindness. If you played chase with him once, you were sure to be reminded of that and asked to play it again and again. If you weren’t doing something to his standards, you were sure to be scolded to try harder, i.e. singing - “Sing louder, Dad!!!” In these days of raw grief and heartache, it’s hard to do anything at 100% except miss him, and love him. But with that motto always in the back of my mind, and his memory in my heart, I will realize exactly the purpose God has planned for me, with John David, and I will run after that with all I that I have."
It's been around two years since the Lord placed that realization in my heart. With each day that passes John and I try to grow closer to Jesus and have more clarity about our purpose in Him. We cannot see the final result, but we have a generalized vision of what God is calling us to, and as we daily surrender to God's will and seek His direction, we hear a still, small voice speaking, "This is the way; walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21). Sometimes those whispers of direction insight fear and doubt in my heart. Having left behind jobs with consistent paychecks, being seven weeks from delivering a precious new life to provide for, facing potential rejection as we plead for financial backers for the new ministry...all of these events can foster fear and anxiety. But this is our detailed calling, and I believe that with all of my being. If you follow us on any type of social media or have visited this website in July, you are probably aware that John David and I have a desire to compile all of the songs that were written surrounding Noah's illness and death (with all the grief and questions resulting from those experiences). We have rough "poor man studio" recordings of the songs, but desire to produce a professionally recorded, quality product to distribute to anyone who would benefit from these songs and we are trusting the Holy Spirit to minister through the lyrics and the message. Producing an album comes with a price tag, so we have created a Kickstarter campaign to help generate the money to see this vision to completion. We have 10 days left in the campaign to raise 60% of our financial goal! (Kickstarter allots 30 days to raise 100% of a project's funding; it's an all or nothing situation. If we don't raise the full amount needed to fund our ministry project, then no money will be taken from anyone who has pledged.) There have been 62 amazingly generous individuals/families that have already committed to invest in this ministry, and we are so humbled and grateful for their gifts. I know over the years hundreds of people have donated to our family for medical expenses, vacations for Noah, gifts of bereavement to organizations we have supported, among other causes. There have been fundraisers organized by dear friends, and pleas from the churches in which we have served for community support as we walked the road of childhood cancer and suffered the aftermath or Noah's loss. John and I would not be standing up today if it wasn't for the family of God that surrounds us, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who offered prayers and gave financially to our needs. Noah had as much of an amazing, blessed existence on earth as he could because of that generosity. There are really no words that can express the gratitude in my heart for those that have provided such gifts for my beloved son.
John and I don't enjoy asking for financial help. All of the past gifts, fundraisers, etc. for Noah and our family were not organized/solicited by us. We were blessed to be in a church family and community (both Athens and Birmingham areas) that loved us and did not want to see us fail or suffer. (Granted, we have asked for donations for Noah Crowe Foundation and other organizations that benefit families dealing with childhood cancer.) Today I make a personal plea for financial backing of this ministry that I have seen first hand bring encouragement and comfort to broken people. As a broken person on the mend and having traveled to several different congregations already with this ministry, I have seen the Lord use my family's testimony and the songs written through our journey as a catalyst to healing for the people of God who have turned from Him in their time of need and loss. The honesty of grief and emotion through tragedy, the struggle of faith and belief, the words of encouragement given by the Holy Spirit...all of these can and do minister to hurting and brokenhearted people. Life is a struggle, and everyone has their "something" that has proved to be a disappointment in their experience with God. We all have been broken in some way, and this life journey is about allowing the Lord to glue us back together, one piece at a time. If I could sum up why we feel called to this in one scripture it would be this: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ" (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
Please follow this link to our Kickstarter page, Beauty from Ash, watch the video description of the project (along with a recording of the first song, Beauty from Ash) and prayerfully consider giving to our ministry project. We are answering the call to leave what we've known and have been comfortable with and begin this new adventure with the Lord, and although it is exciting to anticipate how Jesus will work through our obedience, it is still a painful and emotional experience to share our story and pain over and over with congregations and individuals. Through the pain, Noah's memory remains and his life is introduced to those who will never meet him this side of heaven. This brings me so much joy and comfort, knowing that through this ministry the Lord is being served and Noah is being honored as John and I do our best to "Live 100%."
If you would like to hear more of our songs or discover more details about the ministry visit www.johndavidcrowe.com; for the detailed stories behind some of the songs click here and read the first update.
If you would like to contact me personally for more information about our ministry or dates we are available to share with your congregation, click the mail link at the top right of this page or visit the contact page and fill out the email form.
Thank you in advance for supporting this ministry with your prayers and gifts as we see His Kingdom come and will be done!
These posts are written by Noah's parents Jessica & John David Crowe. The default author is Jess, and those written by John David will be noted.