Written by: Kelly Meade (3/15/18)
In I Can Only Imagine: A Memoir, MercyMe’s Bart Millard details the extreme highs and lows of his life as well as the dreams and demons he wrestled with on his journey as he gives readers an in-depth look into the inspiration for “I Can Only Imagine”, a song that has touched thousands of lives since its release.
We read of how much of an impact his tumultuous relationship with his father who was dealing with many of his own issues & past failures had on the decisions Bart made throughout his young life.
Bart’s relationship with his mother was also rocky as she struggled with depression. Through divorce and being in the middle of the parental conflicts, enduring effects of emotional, verbal & physical abuse, Bart’s childhood years were heartbreaking to say the least.
He notes the constant bright light of the love of both his maternal & paternal grandmother’s being a source of peace for him & his older brother. Bart also sought solace with his own imagination, dreams & music that helped him escape from the harsh and often violent reality his home life became.
While faith & God had always been around Bart’s life, it wasn’t until his early teens when he really began to embrace it and truly begin a relationship with Christ. In Bart’s high school years, a grim diagnosis led to a change in his father’s behavior and attitude towards Bart. This began a very slow process of the father and son reconnecting and sparked the beginnings of dramatic change in their lives.
As I was reading about the profound affect that music had on Bart’s life I found myself relating to just about every word as music has also been one of the constant’s in my life. Always there when it seemed no one else was and one of the few things that fully held my uninterrupted attention. To this day that fact remains true.
The road to MercyMe “making it” in Christian music was a long one, yet the persistence and God moments that paved the way are incredibly inspiring to read about. Bart also didn’t shy away from sharing the struggles he personally experienced even after the phenomenal radio success and accolades of “I Can Only Imagine”, but throughout it all, the message of God’s provision, unending grace and faithfulness come through loud and clear. Readers are sure to come away with a refreshed spirit.