Bart Millard, MercyMe, CCM Magazine - image

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As the crescendo of the last chorus cascaded down over us all and the final chord faded, I vividly remember Amy embracing me like a proud big sister, as people stood applauding and cheering. This was truly a divine hour of blessing rising out of my broken world.

Later that evening, alone with my wife, Shannon, when everything had slowed down and was finally sinking in, I could no longer hold back the tears at the realization that God had actually allowed my wildest dreams to come true. But that night was just the beginning of the ride of our lives, one crazy journey, to say the least.

While it has often been a hard road to travel and, honestly, the success sometimes only made it harder, one thing I know for certain is that the Gospel is more alive to me today than it ever has been—thanks to the front row seat I had been given to watch Jesus change my dad.

From a feared monster to a faithful mentor.
From an abusive dad to a loving father.
From a heart of stone to a life of grace.

Bart Millard, MercyMe, I Can Only Imagine, CCM Magazine - image

As Shannon and I reflected on our lives that night, I recalled the first time I had sat down to visit with Amy to talk about “Imagine.” Listening to her was all a bit surreal on one hand and incredible on the other. The fact that she was sharing about a song I had written that had moved her, that touched her so deeply was, well, more than humbling. After all, she’d been singing to me for years through my headphones to help me through my own hard times.

Amy asked me where, from inside my soul, did the song come from? I paused for a moment, searching for a worthy response, and then just told her the practical truth, “It just kind of happened. Lyrics took about 10 minutes, I guess. Music took about the same.” Thoughtfully in a gracious tone, out of a heart of wisdom and life experience, she stated, “Bart, you didn’t write that song in 10 minutes. … It took a lifetime.”

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