Writer: DANNY MOGLE / Photos: Courtesy / Jan.-Feb. 2017
When it comes to exposing the good, the bad and even the ugly of their life’s journey as a faith-driven couple, Matt and Megan Magill are brutally honest.
To put it bluntly, things haven’t always been good between them. The husband-and-wife duo has had issues and lapses of faith to work through.
The heartache of disappointment and the triumph of compassion, forgiveness and trust are in every song that Matt writes and that they sing side by side, two as one.
They credit God’s grace with keeping them together and putting them in a position to reach others through music and ministry.
It is a Saturday night and the Magills are performing at Liberty Hall, a renovated old movie theater in downtown Tyler, Texas.
Moments into the show, they launch into “The Devil Ain’t Cryin’,” a song with a hymn-like chorus about the soul-killing work of the devil.
Matt shares that he wrote the song after he had a random encounter with a stranger who forced him to confront an unpleasant truth. “I was ignoring the way the devil was having his way with me.”
Between songs, Matt and Megan talk about their faith, marriage and overcoming trials.
MORE ABOUT THE MAGILLS
- Listen to some of the Magills’ music : http://www.themagills.org/
- Learn more about their ministry http://b3ministries.net/
“We’re not scripted,” he tells the audience.
“Sometimes I think with my guitar,” he adds later.
“Megan and I are seeing some of our friends going through very difficult times,” says Matt as they prepare to sing “Magnolia,” a song about a man pining for his wife who’s apparently given up on their marriage.
“You have to believe in the process (of working things out in marriage),” he continues.
“Yes,” interjects Megan. She looks at her husband and nods in agreement.
During the concert, they share other words of encouragement: “Some of the best relationships are born out of suffering;” “The Lord can redeem anything;” and “You have to let go and die to be born again.”
“People are often struck by our transparency, wondering how we’re able to be who we are on a stage in front of others,” Matt writes on their website. “My answer is that we’re full of faults and full of grace. Learning to live in the tension between who we are and who we are becoming has characterized our life and art together for years now.”
RELYING ON GRACE
Matt and Megan met in 1998 while doing summer theater in Oklahoma. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight but there definitely was mutual attraction, Megan says.
Having been raised in Tyler with a strong religious upbringing, she wasn’t sure if Matt, who had reputation of being on the wild side, was right for her.
They later worked together in a show on a cruise ship and fell in love. In 2001 they married and moved to New York City to pursue careers in music.
Megan landed roles in touring stage musicals and frequently was on the road. Matt stayed home, wrote songs and tried to hook up with bands. He entered a downward spiral fueled by self-doubt, drugs and alcohol.
Both say their need for individual praise as performers too often controlled their choices. They weren’t sure if their marriage was going to survive.
“I needed forgiveness from my wife and I needed to forgive my wife. And we needed to forgive ourselves for all the damage we’d done to one another,” Matt says on their website. “We needed a well from which to draw because we were dry and dying of thirst.”
The Magills started going to church and hanging around a different crowd.
“When we started walking with the people of God and reading the word of God, the church encouraged us and saw something in our weakness and our brokenness that God can use,” Megan says in a video.
Megan says once they accepted that “God is actually going to use us” they began singing together. And, adds Matt, their music began reflecting “what was going on in our hearts.”
MUSIC AND MINISTRY
In 2010, Matt and Megan moved to Tyler to be closer to her parents. One of the first things they did in Tyler was to establish B3 (Blessed Beyond Belief) Ministries. They use the ministry to counsel couples.
Megan says by being honest about how they overcame marital problems that they’ve helped couples go from being miserable to having thriving marriages.
The Magills are also raising two daughters, teaching music lessons and working in worship outreach.
Through all their ups and downs, music has been the one constant. In December, they finished recording their fourth album, “Down is Up is Down.”
Megan says the message is that you have to let go of sinful ways holding you down before you can rise.
“When we share our music and stories, Megan and I want to be transparent about our continued need for grace and to be bold in proclaiming God’s ability to provide for us all,” Matt writes on their website.
People often describe their music as a combination of Americana, country, folk, soul, rock and gospel. Matt says they think of it differently. “We just call it grace music.”