Editor’s Note: It’s always such a joy to receive updates from the Catholic musicians who share their gives to inspire and enlighten us, drawing us closer to God with their talents. One of my favorite musicians, Amanda Vernon, shares an update with all of us this week and offers a reflection on her beautiful song “With This Ring”. I hope you’ll enjoy hearing from Amanda and that you’ll join me in supporting her apostolate by considering a purchase of her new single. Amanda shares the following news:
I am doing fantastic! Marriage is better than I imagined. Before I got engaged, I thought I would have to “give up” a lot if I got married. I have found just the opposite to be true. I feel more “myself” than ever. The biggest blessing has been our new little son, Jamal Raphael Shaheen. He was born on October 11th, 2010. When my husband David and I went to Washington DC to give a concert in January, we brought Jamal along. He did fantastic and was a joy to share with the students who came out for the March for Life.
God continues to open doors for my Catholic music ministry. Notably, I provided entertainment at various Steubenville Conferences last summer (quite a new experience while pregnant!) and I hope to perform in concert this August for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid. In addition to releasing a new music video, “With This Ring,” in September 2010 with Outside da Box, I also released a new single last week called, “I Went to Paris” with Icon Studio Productions. Finally, my husband David and I started a new outreach called “Chastity Force,” to encourage sexual purity as a daily commitment for people of all ages and walks of life. You can check out the apostolate at our website: ChastityForce.com. My new single is available for purchase at CDBaby.com: “I Went to Paris.” (All proceeds will help support my pilgrimage to sing for World Youth Day this summer)
With This Ring
The night before I received the Sacrament of Confirmation, I was in the middle of washing the kitchen floor (as the oldest of seven children, chores were definitely a big part of my life), when my parents called me over to talk with them in our sitting room. My dad surprised me by handing me a small black box and an envelope with my name on the front. I opened the envelope to read a beautiful message in his handwriting.
If I chose to accept what I would find inside the box, I would make a promise to my dad and to God to save my virginity for my future husband. Tears streamed down my 14-year-old face as I read how much my dad loved me and cared about my obedience to the Lord. The promise I made that day would impact me for the rest of my life. Throughout my teen years, it was a blessing to have such a dainty yet meaningful reminder with me at all times. When I was nineteen years old, I wrote a song about the importance of that symbol.
A few years later, I was standing at the edge of the Vocation of Marriage. What a thrilling time in life! My best friend, David, asked me to marry him, and I said, “Yes!” with all my heart. During our engagement, I received an excited invitation from Eric Groth of Outside Da Box, a Catholic film company from Illinois. Eric wanted to create a music video for one of my original songs. When we agreed upon my composition, “With This Ring,” we decided to include actual video footage from our wedding.
All of the scenes were shot in my home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Some were outside with a grand piano, on one of our walking bridges downtown. That definitely caught people’s attention on filming day. The video shows a peek into my true-life love story with David. For instance, we really did know each other as children. Even the coffee shop in the video is an actual spot where we spent time while we were dating.
My hope is that anyone who watches the new music video will catch a glimpse of the joy of chastity. Of course, I was able to commit to this virtue at a young age because I was surrounded by a family and a community that encouraged me. The times I fell short of purity, I knew I could seek forgiveness and start over again. Thanks be to God for each person who cheered me on. I am especially grateful to my parents, who taught me to celebrate the gift of purity and to find true love in the eyes of my Heavenly Father.