Songwriter and performer Laura Story has led a charmed life, right? She composed the mega-hit "Indescribable" and 2013 Grammy award winning song "Blessings," is worship leader at a mega-church, and tours the country as a performer. But today we'll hear the rest of the story, including her husband's battle with disability caused by a brain tumor.
About the Guest
Laura Story is worship leader at a mega-church, and tours the country as a performer. But today we’ll hear the rest of the story, including her husband’s battle with disability caused by a brain tumor.
Bob: Singer/songwriter Laura Story’s husband, Martin, was diagnosed more than a decade ago with a brain tumor. Laura says there have been challenges in their marriage as a result. There have also been a lot of blessings that have come through those challenges.
Laura: Martin’s disability isn’t the problem in our marriage. Our sin is the problem in our marriage. It’s not that: “It’s a husband’s job that’s the problem,” or it’s not that: “It’s the wife’s past.” The problem in our marriage is always our sin. With his disability, there are times that he’ll have to ask me things over and over again. For me, I can either get frustrated with that and act out because of my sin, and selfishness, and not wanting to be inconvenienced—or if I truly am living the way that God wants me to—I can see that as an opportunity to serve, and honor, and love my husband five more times.
[Laura singing four lines of Blessings]
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, July 3rd. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’re going to go back in time today for a conversation we had a number of years ago with singer/songwriter Laura Story. Stay with us.
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. We’re doing a little time travel today. We are going back in time to the Love Like You Mean It®marriage cruise, which is where we are as we’re recording this program. We have a live studio audience onboard the cruise with us. [Audience cheers] We are at sea.
I got excited about this cruise when we were starting to put the plans together. I got a call in my office one day; and they said, “Laura Story is going on the cruise with us.” I got really excited because, Dennis, I became a Laura Story fan the first time I heard the song Indescribable. The reason is because—not only was it a great song, melodically—but it was a theologically-substantive song. They aren’t always theologically-substantive, but you could get your chops into this song. I really liked it. I said, “Who wrote that song?” because Chris Tomlin was singing it. I said, “Who wrote that song?” “Laura Story.” “Who’s Laura Story?”—that’s where the journey began for me.
Dennis: That was over—how many years?—12 years ago?
Laura: Yes; 12 years ago!
Dennis: Long time. So here’s the thing—
Laura: So, I must have been like—
Laura: —14 when I—[Laughter]
Dennis: I have never done this. We’ve been doing radio, now—Bob and I—for 21 years.
Laura: Oh, no. I’m scared. [Laughter]
Dennis: Oh, yes. You should be.
Bob: Me too!
Dennis: You said “Yes,” to being on our broadcast.
Laura: I know.
Dennis: I want to ask you to sing that song for us, right now—Indescribable. [Applause]
Bob: Jump up.
Laura: Let’s do it! And if anyone in our live studio audience happens to know it, I’m—
Bob: Wait, wait. If anybody doesn’t know it, we need to witness to you because I think you have to sing this at your baptism today; right?
Laura: Oh, y’all are so kind. I’m a worship leader—so, I’m always more comfortable when you’re singing with me than when I’m just singing at you. So, feel free to join me.
[Laura sings Indescribable]
Bob: Amen. Isn’t that great? [Applause]
Laura: Thank you, guys.
Dennis: So, Laura—tell us how you met your husband, Martin.
Laura: Well, we met in high school. We’re high school sweethearts. [Applause]
Laura: Yes. We met—this is kind of funny. We met at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event that I still, to this very day, am not entirely sure why I was attending this event.
Dennis: How long did you date?
Laura: We dated for maybe two or three years, and then were just good friends for about seven years, and then got back together and got married.
Dennis: Oh now, wait.
Bob: Yes, wait.
Dennis: Wait, wait; wait.
Laura: I know it’s kind of weird.
Bob: What happened three years in?
Laura: Well, so, I was a Christian at the time.
Martin grew up in the church and would have told you he was a Christian. By the time I got to college, I got very involved with a couple of ministries at school and met some Christian men. Their relationship with God—it wasn’t just one of the parts of their life—it was the central piece in their life.
I began to talk with Martin about this, and it was really clear that he didn’t really understand that. So, we broke up because of just some convictions. Then, about a year later, he became a Christian; and he said, “All of it makes sense now.”
Laura: And it wasn’t: “Hey, I’m a Christian now. Let’s get back together.” It was just us—we would see each other every three, four, five months and just talk about what the Lord was doing in our lives. It was really a neat thing.
Bob: So, seven years later, what happened?
Laura: Seven years later—the short version was—he came to me and said, “I really think you’re the person I want to be with the rest of my life.” I said, “Well, I’m just not sure.”
He said, “Okay, well, then, let’s take a break.” So, after about three months of the break, I was just desperate. I showed up at his house; and I said, “Yes, yes!” He was like: “What? What? I’m not asking anything,” [Laughter] “crazy woman!”
Dennis: So, you proposed to him?
Laura: Basically, yes—pretty much. [Laughter]
Dennis: Way to go!
Laura: I know—a little bit unconventional.
Bob: You guys went through a really challenging season. Tell the listeners about that.
Laura: Yes. We have. About eight years ago, Martin was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He went through a couple different surgeries and lives today with a brain injury. I think anyone who has either done life with a disability—mental or physical—or has done life with someone with a disability—knows that it’s just a tough road.
Marriage is hard anyway. I think that marriage, plus disability—it definitely teaches you to rely on the Lord.
Bob: When you got that diagnosis, take us to that moment when you found out he had a brain tumor.
Laura: Yes—it was—we got married. Probably, within four or five months, we started seeing symptoms—him being lethargic. He never had headaches or anything. So, we never thought, “Tumor.” We just thought, “Maybe, some sort of infection or something.” And then, after going to see different doctors for maybe 9/12 months, we found out that he had the tumor.
This is kind of funny—we were meeting with the doctor. The doctor said: “Martin has to have surgery. It’s possible that when he comes out of the surgery that he won’t remember who you are.” I remember thinking about how heartbreaking that would be. Sure enough—we come out of surgery—and as soon as he sees me, he says, “Laura Story!” I thought, “Oh, he remembers me!”
And then he said, “What are you doing here?” I could tell that he knew exactly who I was, but he had no idea that we were married—which is really weird news to tell somebody! So, I finally got around to breaking this news to him. His response was: “We’re married? Yes!”
[Laughter] Which is really the best way something like that could go down—if you ever find yourself in that situation—of telling your spouse they’re your spouse.
Bob: What are his disabilities today?
Laura: Oh, gracious. Well, he has a short-term memory deficit. He has some balance issues. He only has 50 percent of his vision—has trouble—kind of a time-conception deficit trouble. He had damage to his hypothalamus—so, he has trouble sensing hot and cold, or full/hungry, thirsty—things like that.
Brain injuries are so funny because sometimes there’s one area that isn’t affected at all. As far as his cognitive ability—he’s still there. He’s still the same person he’s always been. But on the other side—with the memory—it really is kind of interesting. Hopefully, you’ll get to meet him—he’s here this week. You can have a conversation with him and he seems just fine.
Bob: As a husband, there’s this—it’s built into us to want to provide, protect, take care of—to do all the things a husband is supposed to do. Is he able to embrace that and be that for you?
Laura: I think it depends on what your definition of: “The husband being the leader.” For me, he’s the spiritual leader of our family because he is the lead pray-er. He’s the lead repent-er. He is far more spiritual than I will ever be.
He doesn’t provide for us financially; but in some ways, I wonder whether I really do. I feel like to write songs and to get checks in the mail—that’s really God providing for us. I truly see Him as our Provider. [Applause] Yes.
Martin is a great, great man; and no disability—it’s funny—this is kind of related. I think, for a while, disability really is very tough in a marriage. Anyone who’s been through that, even if it’s a short-term thing, knows that it’s just hard. For a while, we really saw it as being, “That’s the problem in our marriage.”
For me, I guess it was a couple years ago when I realized that Martin’s disability isn’t the problem in our marriage. Our sin is the problem in our marriage. It’s not that: “It’s the husband’s job that’s the problem,” or it’s not that: “It’s the wife’s past”—it’s not things like that. The problem in our marriage is always our sin.
Laura: With his disability, there are times that he’ll have to ask me things over and over again. For me, I can either get frustrated with that and act out because of my sin, and selfishness, and not wanting to be inconvenienced—or if I truly am living the way that God wants me to—I can see that as an opportunity to serve, and honor, and love my husband five more times than another wife might be able to.
Bob: We all have challenges that come our way. The question is: “Do we deal with those challenges in a God-honoring way or in a selfish way?”
Dennis: Yes. And people have disabilities—and they have limps you can see—some have disabilities and limps you can’t see. But all of those were meant to be, I think, used in our lives to bless us. You think that, as well, because you wrote a song that ultimately went on—
Bob: Oh, that was smooth the way you did that. I just picked up—you were segueing right into her song. That is—
Laura: You must be a professional! [Laughter]
Bob: You’ve done this before; haven’t you? [Laughter]
Dennis: Well, all I know is she won the Grammy for the Best Christian Contemporary Song. It’s entitled Blessings. [Applause]
Dennis: So, would you sing it for us?
Laura: I would love that. Thank you.
[Laura singing Blessings]
Dennis: Well, thank you for using your gifts to honor God and for suffering well. When you get married, you don’t get married to go through what you’ve been through; but when we pledge, “…in sickness and in health,” it’s a covenant. I admire your keeping your covenant, and caring for your husband, and writing about it to give others hope and encouragement to do the same.
Laura: I think a lot of times people feel like God blesses us when He gives us that health, wealth and prosperity. I think that a couple really learns to be a couple when they walk through suffering—whether it’s a loss of a child, whether it’s job loss, whether it’s an illness. I almost feel like there’s a blessing that they’re missing.
For us—and sometimes, I think we didn’t even know what it meant to be married until just a few years ago. We thought it was this thing that the two of us did together—which, yes, I guess that it is—but it’s this thing that God really does in us, and He’s that glue.
It’s not just Martin, and I, and God—it’s also, God never created marriage to exist apart from your local church. I believe that two people aren’t enough to hold a marriage together. I think it’s the church coming around you to encourage you—to give you resources. Churches that are okay with you coming to them, saying, “Hey, we need
help,”—that they’re not going to point at you and think that you’re a bad person.
We’ve had a hard road that we’ve walked; but man, we have seen God bless us in some ways—even if it was just showing us how deeply we need God / how deeply we need Jesus, at the very core of our marriage, every single day.
Dennis: We do. We do.
Bob: Would you thank Laura Story? [Applause]
Bob: Well, it was a treat to travel back in time a little bit today to our conversation with Laura Story that took place on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise. This was back in 2014.
I should let you know that the 2018 Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, which happens Valentine’s week next year, is already sold out. We do have a number of names on the waiting list. In past years, a lot of people who had signed up on the waiting list have wound up on the cruise. If you are interested in going and you’d like to get your name on the waiting list, get in touch with us, here, at FamilyLife. In fact, go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com; and you’ll see a link there to information about the cruise. You can get on the waiting list and maybe we’ll see you in February on next year’s Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.
Laura Story also has a new CD out. The CD is called Open Hands—that’s the title song. We’ve got the music video for that song—a link to that on our website at FamilyLifeToday.com.
I want to say a quick word of thanks to those of you who make FamilyLife Today possible. You know who you are—those of you who support this ministry. You make not only this program possible, now, on a variety of platforms—we’re heard on local radio / we’re heard on the FamilyLife app—a lot of people will stream the program or download the program from our website. Of course you can subscribe to FamilyLife Today as a podcast and have it delivered to your device each day.
Those of you who support this ministry—you make all of that possible. This month, we’re asking you to consider making a special gift to the ministry. We’re trying to raise funds for our pastors’ scholarship program. This enables pastors and their wives to attend any Weekend to Remember ® getaway registration free—we cover the cost of registration for them. And you make that possible when you give to support this ministry.
If you are a regular listener, but have never made a contribution to support FamilyLife Today, you can do it easily online at FamilyLifeToday.com; or you can call 1-800-FL-TODAY; or you can mail your donation to FamilyLifeToday at PO Box 7111, Little Rock, AR; our zip code is 72223.
Now, tomorrow, we are going to introduce you to a couple who—well, their marriage has been battle-tested and almost didn’t make it through the fight. You’ll get a chance to meet them and hear their story tomorrow. Hope you can be with us for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, along with our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas; A Cru® Ministry.
Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Artist: Laura Story
Album: Blessings (p) 2011 Laura Story
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