Randy Travis not only sings about "Love Lifted Me" from his Worship & Faith album, but he actually does try to lift others up with Christ's love. Not long ago, the country music veteran heard about the VerHeys family. In early January, Cathy VerHey -- Tony's 50-year-old wife and Ashley's mother -- was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.
According to the doctors, Cathy could live for another two to three years, during which time she would gradually lose muscle control, including the ability to walk, talk, move and swallow. Over the past year, Cathy's physical deterioration has been stark. As her husband and daughter talked about Christmas last Friday, Cathy sat nearby on the family back porch, where she spends most of her time these days.
When their daughter recently got married, the VerHeys danced at their daughter's wedding to the Randy Travis song "Forever and Ever, Amen" bringing tears to everyone's eyes.
When Randy Travis heard the story, he was moved. Together with his wife Mary, Randy Travis wrote a letter to lift the spirits of the VerHeys. In the letter, which is on the couple's personalized stationary, Mary Travis wrote:
"Dear VerHey family:
"Through the worldly interest, we learned of your story, both bitter and beautiful. As we read the inspiring article by Julie Mack in the Kalamazoo Gazette paper about your 2015 journey, we ran across the wedding story and Cathy's dance with Tony to 'Forever and Ever Amen.' We both cried.
"Just as RT touched your lives, you have touched ours. God just has a way of working His magic in an intricate direction. We will keep your in our prayers as we understand the daily struggles since his stroke in 2013! Cathy, you are an Angel and an inspiration. And the family ... determined and Saints!
"Thank you for including RT!
"Love, Mary and Randy."
Cathy and Tony VerHey are now basking in the glow of getting a handwritten letter from their favorite recording artist.
"He really means a lot to us," Tony VerHey said. "We have all his music," and "Forever and Ever, Amen" was the song played for the first dance at their own wedding in 1988.