Written by Jill Dayvault

I love music! I love to listen to it, and I love to sing it. It can stir up a lot of different emotions within me, and it can transport me to different times and places. I love a lot of different styles of music, but my favorites are Southern Gospel and the traditional hymns. This music can reach deep into my soul, and looking back over my life, I can see how it has inspired me toward a deeper faith in my Christian journey.

I have been singing since I could form words, and I sang my first solo when I was 3 years old at a Mother’s Day event at my hometown church. My family did not attend church, but my friend’s mother took me to church with her. She always sang and played the beautiful hymns on her piano, and she gave me a wonderful appreciation of music from a very early age. I attended church with her and her family until I was 18 years old, so my life was steeped in the hymns and singing in the choir. As a child/teenager, I don’t remember ever really reading the Bible, but I learned a lot of theology from the hymns because so many are based on Scripture.

At age 19, I wandered away from the church. The definition of prodigal is a person who leaves home and behaves recklessly, but later makes a repentant return. Based on this definition, I was a prodigal for the next 10 years (1970-1980). I believe if I hadn’t had the spiritual foundation my neighbor fostered in me, and if I hadn’t had the words of the hymns embedded in my soul, I may never have made a repentant return. But God had His hand on me while I was wandering.

I married my first husband in 1975 and when he got out of the Army in 1977, we moved to New Albany (his hometown). The marriage didn’t last, and we were divorced a few months after moving here. I was not in a good place emotionally or spiritually. In the fall of 1980, my nephew married a young lady who attended Wesley Chapel on State Street. I went to their wedding, and when I sat in that sanctuary, I felt like I had come home. I started attending Wesley Chapel, joined the choir, and became a member in 1981.

My faith was shallow during this time, and although I never stopped attending church and singing in the choir, I was having a lot of personal struggles. I re-married in 1982, and gave birth to my daughter in 1983. My husband was not a believer, but I was committed to attending church with my daughter. Because of my husband’s battle with alcoholism, we divorced in 1986. Again, my faith was being tested, and I was struggling. It was during that time that a chorus was sung in church, written/composed by Bill Gaither, and the melody and words of that song ministered to me like nothing else had to that point, and it still holds a special place in my heart.

The chorus goes like this:

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion, He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But He made something beautiful of my life.

I knew if I could just surrender my brokenness and strife to God that He would make something beautiful of my life, too. Psalm 51 has always been very personal to me, and verse 17 says “The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God” (New Living Translation). I praise God for accepting my repentant heart and for His transforming power in my life these past 41 years. What a faith journey.

Music has been an integral part of my spiritual growth. After attending a Dayspring Emmaus retreat in 1991, two other ladies and I formed the Dayspring Trio. We sang Southern gospel for 19 years, singing at retreats, revivals, church services, and special programs all over Southern Indiana. God blessed us mightily during our time together, and singing that music was heavenly and never failed to lift me up and draw me closer to the Lord. In 2019, I was a member of the Messenger Quartet, and we sang at a lot of the Assisted Living facilities in this area. It was a wonderful ministry, and I believe it would have continued except for Covid, which put an end to going to these facilities.

My faith has continued to grow more and more with each passing day that I walk with the Lord. God has blessed me these past 17 years with a godly husband. I have a wonderful church family here at Wesley Chapel who has loved me, encouraged me, and mentored me. I have stayed very involved in the music ministry at Wesley Chapel, and it continues to inspire me toward a deeper faith in my Christian journey.

 I’ll leave you with the words of another hymn written in 1910, but it sums things up for me:

            There’s within my heart a melody; Jesus whispers sweet and low,
            “Fear not, I am with you, peace be still,” in all of life’s ebb and flow.

            Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know
            Fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.

May Jesus put a song in your heart, and may the music inspire you toward a deeper faith.

3 Responses to “Music”

  1. Pat Peterson says:

    A wonderful testimony, Jill! I did not know much of this, but I know that God was there with you the entire time! Thank you for sharing ❤️

  2. Bill Schuppert says:

    Jill, what a beautiful testimony. As i was sitting here at my computer reading your life story, tears came to my eyes. Thank you for your honest repentant story. I am so glad to have you and Steve as my neighbor and a member of our beloved church.

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