Changed for the Better

A few years ago, Neil Thrasher, Gary’s friend and fellow songwriter came out to the LeVox ranch to write and catch up. Neil’s daughter had asked to be baptized on their recent beach vacation. Through the sunset-lit waves and wind, Neil told Gary he heard nothing but these words in his head as his daughter came up from the water.

I came up out of the water
Raised my hands up to the Father
Gave it all to him that day
Felt a new wind kiss my face

In a Billboard interview, Gary described what happened next as, “One of those moments that we felt like we just held the pen, God did all the work.” They began writing Changed together about Neil’s daughter. As they wrote, it became Neil’s story, Gary’s story, Jay’s story, Joe’s story, Tara’s story, your story. It’s all of our stories because it’s a soundtrack for the ultimate story we all share. The Gospel. They went on.

I got off track, I made mistakes
Back slid my way into that place where souls get lost
Lines get crossed
and the pain won’t go away
I hit my knees, now here I stand
There I was, now here I am
Here I am
I’ve changed for the better

Life is a highway. Your heavenly Father has a wish for you. He wants to bless your broken road. He stands ready to change you for the better. Just stop wherever you are, and raise your hands up to the Father.

Pray: God, You’re my Father. I’ve made mistakes, but I trust You. I believe Your Son, Jesus, died and was raised so I could forever be changed for the better. Here is my life. Please bless this broken road. Amen.

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Bless the Broken Road

Before GPS and smartphones, it used to be a lot easier to start a road trip only to find out you’d been driving for a while—a long while—in the wrong direction. If life is a highway, then all of us have taken a wrong turn and lost our way at some point. Most of us have experienced life without GPS. Just sort of taking one turn after the next without much direction from God or anyone.

Stop for a moment. Look at your surroundings. Ask yourself, “Is this where I wanted to go?” Am I loving this person the way I said I would? Am I raising this family the way I dreamed? Is this the wish God has for me? Am I on the right path? As you prayerfully look at your life, read these lyrics from Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts.

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
And others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

You know what makes country music work? It’s about real life. We all lose our way. We hit potholes and take pit stops. Yet, God’s plan prevails, and He works all things for the good of those who love Him. Nothing is too broken for Him. Somehow He can take a rusty junker and rebuild a bullet-proof marriage if we’ll let Him. He can take our pain and turn it into purpose. When we lean on Him, He makes our broken roads straight. In our weakness, He is strong. What’s your broken road? God can bless it.

Pray: God, I want to trust You with all my brokenness. I trust You with my relationships. Show me how to go the right way. Amen.

My Wish

If you’re a human, you have a father. Some of you just thought, “Duh!” Others thought fondly of Dad, and some of you went, “Ugh.” We all have fathers, but we don’t all have good dads.

When the Chicago Tribune asked Gary LeVox about fathering two daughters he said, “It’s just awesome to live for somebody else. It made me a man—a better person. It’s my full responsibility to provide for them.” So when Rascal Flatts sings My Wish, and when people play it around the world at graduations and daddy-daughter dances, it’s not just words; it’s a soundtrack for a real life.

My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you and wants the same things too
Yeah, this, is my wish.

Good fathers everywhere have a similar wish for their kids. Sadly, too many kids didn’t feel this from them. But here’s the thing: all of us actually do have a good Dad. We were adopted as sons and daughters when we chose to follow Christ. We have a heavenly Father who makes a way out when we’re carrying more than we can handle, who guides our steps, and who won’t give us a stone when we ask for bread. His wish for you is abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine. He hopes you know somebody loves you.

Ask Yourself: How has my view of my dad affected my view of God? Do I trust God as a loving Father who always comes through?

Life Is a Highway

If there were a dusty intersection of ordinary life, country music, and faith, Gary LeVox would be sitting there on the back of a pickup singing about it. Gary is an award-winning songwriter and lead singer of Rascal Flatts, the best-selling country vocal group of the past decade. But he’d rather just be the guy who sings the soundtrack to your life’s most memorable scenes.

Thanks to Pixar and computer-animated cars, you’ve almost definitely hummed his hit song, Life Is a Highway.

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long

Canadian rock star and humanitarian, Tom Cochrane, first penned Life Is a Highway after a trip to Africa which he called mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. The experience resulted in an early-morning songwriting session that churned out one of the most upbeat and encouraging songs of the last 25 years.

God does that. He turns our mourning into dancing. That line came from another singer-songwriter, King David, whose life was also full of mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausting scenes. Yet, he wrote the Psalms, arguably the Bible’s soundtrack for life. In Psalm 16, David wrote in the midst of crisis. Yet, in verse 11, you can almost hear him cheer up and belt out something like, “Life is a highway …”

Ask God: If life is a highway, where am I headed?