I professional does not cry when they sing. Last night, during the dress rehearsal for Millennial Choir’s Be Still My Soul, I broke that rule… a lot.

The next big concert by the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras is entitled, Be Still My Soul. My sons and I are in the choir and we have been practicing for weeks. Last night was our last rehearsal and I noticed that one of the directors, Brandon Stewart, and many others were wearing a shirt that said Hope. I asked my friend Damon what it was all about.

Be Still My Soul - Brandon Stewart

Last month a member of our children’s choir was diagnosed with a couple brain tumors. I remember Brandon telling us how impressed he was with the faith of 10-year-old Anna Ortega. Days after her diagnosis that one tumor could be removed, yet the other inoperable, she was there at rehearsal singing with my sons. She wanted to be with nearly 1,000 other youth singing about her Savior.

She wanted to be there last night to sing in the choir and perform this weekend, but her illness prevented it. My heart broke for her. It is one thing to miss a concert you had been preparing for, but quite another to miss it because you have a life-threatening condition. As we sang Be Still My Soul the words had so much more meaning.

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,

Then as I sang the rest of the verse, they touched my heart, and the tears began to stream.

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

It was a beautiful moment that I am incapable of stringing together words that could do it justice. Here is a preview from our recording session:

Update on Anna

July 20, 2017 post from Mindi Ortega (Anna’s Mom):

By far the hardest post I will ever write. Our sweet Anna passed away this morning in our home surrounded by her family. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to experience and cannot express with words the loss I feel. Yet it was so beautiful and peaceful. I cannot even tell you all of the small miracles that have taken place in the last couple months, days, but most importantly the last few hours. Heaven is so much closer than we all realize and it is beautiful. I have never felt more love from my Father in heaven in my entire life than what I experienced today as I went through all ranges of emotions. I know He weeps with us and I know Anna is in his loving care…

If you would like to continue to support the Ortega Family through this difficult transition, there is a GoFundMe set up for her family.