“My dad was a frustrated and sometimes angry man,” says Jason, whose picture of his dad as superman quickly faded when his parents divorced when he was only five. Jason bounced back and forth between parents until finally landing with his dad and step-mom in high school.
Unashamed of His Past
“And that was the worst day of my life,” recalls Jason. It was the painful day when the hero Jason saw in his dad died.
“When your dad gets home he’ll deal with you,” said Jason’s step-mother. She reamed him out for leaving the butter dish out, wasting hard-earned money. But he hadn’t. When his dad got home, it wasn’t pretty.
“I don’t understand why you’re so mad,” Jason said. “I did not do this–it seems like you’re really mad about something that doesn’t make sense.”
“You obviously want to fight; I’ll be out in the back yard waiting for you.” Jason looked out the sliding glass window at his dad in fear and with no choice, Jason went out into the yard.
Thunder and lightning raged, matching the intensity of father and son. Jason’s dad hurled insults straight at Jason’s heart with his fiercely critical words.
“It looked like a tornado was coming over the ridge, and my Dad said ‘Hit me—I’ll even give you the first shot.’”
That’s when Jason broke. He didn’t know what to do—so he cried.
Picking Up the Pieces
“As a teenager, I was trying to figure out who I was going to be and I looked at my father and I didn’t understand. He loved me and I knew it, but sometimes it felt like he had no way of controlling the anger that he felt.”
With his life in chaos and left with just the shattered image of his dad, Jason turned to the church. It was there he found the love, friendship, and safety—what he always wanted in his dad—in the body of Christ.
“The people at church were not amazing rock stars of faith and courage, but they were there and they loved Jesus,” Jason recalls. “They loved me in a way that didn’t really make sense, and they just kept my schedule full of encounters with God.”
It was then Jason began to seek the Lord and work through the hurt in writing music. The songs were a secret, but they would ask Jason to play them and they would resonate with people. The youth leader would say, ‘Hey play that new song you’ve been working on.’”
So Jason’s story began to leak through his music.
Unashamed of their Story
Jason didn’t realize he was writing about his dad, but his dad did. The open wounds of Jason’s music brought healing to his dad and ultimately pointed him to Jesus.
“When I wrote “Stronger” I was never really planning on going, ‘Hey that was about my dad,’ but it is one of many songs that I’ve written that continue to make the hurt of the past matter. My music has definitely been a part of changing my father, and I never set out to do that.”
As Jason came to terms with his own story, he realized God would get the most glory through the truth of Jason and his dad’s battered history.
“This has been a great season for me in coming to grips with my past…not being a person who glories in my failures or in my doubts or in my fears, but glories in the power of God through my failures, doubts and fears.”
It’s been a long journey to healing, but through the grace of God Jason has arrived at forgiveness for his dad, who has “apologized a thousand times for the past.” Jason says his dad is an amazingly humble man who loves Jesus and is now Jason’s biggest cheerleader.
”It’s not unusual for me to be on the road having a bad night. I’ll get a call from my dad, and he’ll say, ‘I’m so proud of you. You chased it. God is with you, He is for you and can never be against you, and I’m so proud of who you are today.’”
Jason and his dad are unashamed to give Jesus all the credit for the loving, restored relationship they now enjoy today.