My husband Dave and I have been on tour with contemporary Christian artist Josh Wilson and his cousin and drummer, Chris Wilson. Chris used to work at Nashville Rescue Mission, and Josh has performed and volunteered there on many occasions. In interacting with them, it became obvious how passionate they are about the Mission.
Through their stories, I learned the Mission doesn’t just give people a hand out or a hand up. They seek to rehabilitate those in need through life–changing programs that are based on faith and trust in God. Dave and I were very intrigued.
We moved our family to Franklin, TN, two and half years ago. We have always been passionate about finding ways to share our music with people who might not have the means to buy it or pay for a concert ticket. So when we got a call inviting us to sing at one of the Mission’s monthly graduation ceremonies, we were thrilled.
During the graduation, we sang “What Love Really Means,” a song we wrote ten years ago. It was my prayer that the words would remind each person no matter what … God loves them. He delights in them. We are all imperfect people in need of God’s love and His love is unconditional.
Throughout the ceremony we heard story after story from men and women who had spent the last six or seven months acknowledging their issues and finding hope and healing. Some had struggled with drugs, others alcohol. Regardless of what brought them to the Mission, on this day they were bravely standing before family and friends— giving God the glory.
I was inspired by their bravery. When it felt like the world had kicked them to the curb, they were brave enough to go to the Mission, work through their issues, and gain the skills to help them move forward in life.
I was deeply touched by the stories from moms who were separated from their children during their journey. I’m a mom. I have two little girls, ages eight and five. It’s hard for me to comprehend what these moms are going through. To not be able to provide for your children must be painful. But instead of throwing in the towel and checking out emotionally, these moms took bold, courageous steps to get help. I have so much respect for them.
Nashville Rescue Mission is a special place. It’s one thing to feed someone when they’re hungry. It’s another when you’re willing to dig deeper, help someone work through their issues, then teach them skills that lead to a better future.
The Mission treats people like people and not like problems. They are restoring dignity and hope to so many that have been cast aside. I know for all they do, it brings joy to the heart of God.
Nashville, Tennessee-based singer/songwriter JJ Heller is an American Christian folk singer, known for her song, “What Love Really Means,” which peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Singles chart. She performs with longtime collaborator, guitarist, producer, and husband David Heller. Unto Us, her first Christmas LP arrived in 2016.