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Authentically Showing Up: personal narrative by GraciAnn Hicks


Photo of a flower garden, lupines, blue and purple blossoms backlit by the sun, image by Moshe Harosh, on Pixabay.

















flower garden, lupines, image by Moshe Harosh, on Pixabay



Authentically Showing Up


Our worship leader stands on stage with the words “There’s nothing better than You”

in a large font on the screen behind him. He shakes his head from side to side with

eachstrum of his guitar. We’re in the back left area of the room, next to the sound-mixing

booth like always.


My mom stands next to me. As the band leads us into the bridge, she chokes on the words “You turn mourning to dancing.” She clasps her hands in front of her chest, but she still sways to the music.


I rest my arm gently against hers. I want her to know that I see her and grieve with her,

but I don’t want to draw attention to her. The band glides through the bridge, but I see

the weight of the words reflected in their faces. Still, they remain strong with unwavering voices and hands raised in confident worship.


My face contorts as I croak out the line, “You turn graves into gardens.” My mom and I

have both stopped singing. We understand that authentic worship sometimes means unexpected emotions.


The vocalists declare, “You’re the only one who can,” proclaiming it a few times. Their

harmonies meld together, and the drummer accentuates the lines. My arm loops around

my mom’s waist, and she pulls me closer.


We stand there linked to each other and let the sounds of the worship band wash over

us. I close my eyes and allow myself to breathe in the healing nature of the Holy Spirit. Goosebumps rise on my arms and legs as a sense of calm envelops me.


The band jumps back to the song’s bridge. As the words “You turn graves into gardens” once again appear on the screen, I look at my mom. Alongside red cheeks and teary

eyes, she wears a small smile.


I admire the strength of her vulnerability. A smile of my own forms, and I lean my head against her shoulder. The lights are low and nobody notices the two women swept away

by the moment.




Refers to the song “Graves into Gardens,” written by Christopher Joel Brown, Steven Furtick, Brandon Lake, and Tiffany Hammer.








GraciAnn Hicks is a journalism and professional writing

double major at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She acts

as editor-in-chief of WMSR Redhawk Radio’s blog and as managing editor for The Miami Student Magazine. She has been published in both of these publications, as well as

The Miami Student Newspaper and The Chautauquan Daily

of Chautauqua, New York. Her article “A life almost taken,

mine forever changed” was a regional finalist for a 2023 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award

in feature writing.

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