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Mary Morgan-Corbitt
“Following My Heart With Music”

Mary Corbitt- Worship Leader
Mary Morgan-Corbitt Worship Leader

Though I can’t quite recall when I met Mary Morgan Corbitt, I know that my life is richer with her in it. Her contagious Midwestern smile makes me think of long days in a sunny field where nothing feels rushed. No wonder, she’s cultivated a habit of gratitude and praise despite her ongoing vision loss.  

Meet Mary Morgan Corbitt.

Growing Up 
I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. I have one sister who’s a year and a half older. Our family traveled every summer since my parents were both educators. We’ve visited 49 of the 50 states. After my parents retired, they were able to complete the final state – they drove all the way to Alaska!

Marriage and Children
My husband, Adam, and I have been married for 18 years and we have two beautiful daughters: Maya (13) and Morgan (11). We live in St. Charles, outside St. Louis. I met Adam at a local bicycle shop. He loves cycling and we’ve enjoyed cycling together for many years.  Now we ride a tandem!  He teaches at one of our local elementary schools. We taught together in the same school for nine years. Our daughters attended there as well so there were years we would all ride to school together! We enjoy traveling, hiking, biking, Cardinals baseball, music and exploring life together.

Coping with Vision Loss
I have worn corrective lenses since I was ten.  I remember being hyper sensitive to light and needing sunglasses even when no one else complained about the light. But five years ago, at age 37, I  was diagnosed with an eye disease I never  heard of before called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

I researched and learned all I could, read every book, article, clinical trial opportunity, visited at least 10 different doctors, received genetic testing, and became very knowledgeable in how to create the ultimate green power smoothie – sure to provide the best nutrition to my failing retinas.

I did so much research on RP, I overwhelmed myself. I didn’t know a soul who had this diagnosis and everything I read was very depressing – with a grim prognosis!

The first two years, I continued life as normal, except then I understood ‘why’ I felt like the metal ball in a pin ball machine when walking in crowds, or navigating in the dark or in unfamiliar settings. I understood why my being clumsy wasn’t always related to lack of sleep.  I couldn’t believe (and still can’t) people see the things they see. I am shocked when my husband tells me he can see his own lap, or me sitting next to him, or one of our daughters sitting on the floor.

Two weeks before my 40th birthday, my eye specialist told me my driving days were over as my peripheral vision had decreased so much.

A new normal began for our family because then it affected me and my family daily – not just a bump or collision here and there. Instead, my independence was greatly impacted!

My husband is amazing! Not once has he ever complained about taking on all the driving, errands, pick ups/drop offs etc. Even when I once made brownies with olive oil rather than regular oil (yuck), he didn’t complain about making another grocery store run. He just grabbed his keys and said, “So maybe I’ll get two boxes of brownie mix, just in case.” I love his sense of humor!

Musical Background
My parents had musical talent. My mother used to play the cello and still plays piano beautifully. My father loved to sing old Irish tunes as well as musical numbers and classics. We often sang together around the piano in our living room. I sang in school choirs and was involved in many musicals throughout high school and college.

Music has always spoken to me, and it’s where I seek solace. I love to write songs and pour out my thoughts and stories on paper. I’ve written and recorded a children’s musical  CD titled Watermelon Socks.

A musical CD I wrote

I’ve been singing locally for the past 20 years – wedding receptions, private parties, the ‘hired band’ gigs. That served as a great way to build my confidence and fulfill my love of music.

But after my RP diagnosis, things changed. I joined our church praise band and fell in love with the lyrics – the messages, the stories behind the songs. I felt closer to God and learned that He wants and desires to have a relationship with me. A beautiful, personal relationship directly with me!  I felt this in the music and knew I needed to continue to glorify Him through song. I left the party band, and directed my attention to praise & worship!

Mary singing,jpg

Changing Vision, Changing Goals
I taught school for eighteen years. For the last five years with RP, I was determined not to let it affect my work. I learned to avoid those embarrassing collisions, especially by scanning the landscape before I proceeded to walk.

The last couple of years, I realized the increase in ‘classroom accidents’ were directly related to RP – falling over chairs, classroom tables and even children. I knew things were changing again with my vision.  In June 2015, my eye doctor confirmed I was legally blind with about 10 degrees of peripheral vision.

This prompted deeper conversations at our house. My husband and I had many late night, heart-to-heart chats about goals, purpose and God’s calling. I decided to fill out early retirement paperwork.

How I defined myself felt foreign. If I wasn’t a ‘teacher, ‘ who in the world was I?!! What was I meant to do? I was just 42 years old!! NOT retirement age. So I decided to name it, “RE-WIRING” rather than retiring. This helped me keep a positive outlook on it!

Seeking Direction
God’s timing is amazing! I met with our pastor because I needed to talk all this through and seek spiritual guidance. I shared my love for music and ministry with her and said I felt God had placed the desire on my heart to grow in this area. But, I also felt that maybe it was my own desire and not really a ‘calling.’

The pastor said she believed God was calling me into music ministry. We prayed and I left feeling hopeful and certain that God would direct my steps. A week later, she called me into her office, excited to share a new idea on her heart. The pastor asked me to begin worship leading for our Saturday night service!! WORSHIP LEADING!

Dealing with Doubt
Although I was an experienced teacher – a higher education nerd – two Master’s Degrees, certifications to teach multiple levels,  I felt completely uneducated! I told the pastor I wasn’t ‘trained’ in this sort of thing. I wasn’t ready. I would need so much guidance.  Surely she knew others who could musically accompany themselves better, know how to pray out loud better. I had every excuse under the sun!

God Supplied My Needs
And then, just as God does, a National Worship Leader Conference was being held in Kansas City, Mo the very next week. Guess who received the ‘extra ticket’ our church happened to have!!???  It was life changing and I loved every minute of it!

Future Goals
I’m willing to go where God leads me. He continues to present doors of opportunity for me to step out in faith. Being a worship leader has been such a beautiful blessing! I want to continue following opportunities to glorify Him, to share the truth that lies in His love, grace, and peace. Through music ministry I hope to offer encouragement and hope.  My prayer is to continue supporting ministries, which empower people to grow closer to God during life’s trials.

Can you share a life-changing decision you’ve had to make that caused you to be uncertain? Did you follow your decision or put it off? If you did, how do you feel about it now? 

View Mary’s video link here: 

To follow Mary Morgan-Corbitt or learn more about Watermelon Socks Children’s CD, visit Amazon.com or send a private message to Mary through her email address or Facebook page.
Facebook page
Amazon.com
Email Address

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17 thoughts on “Friday Friends: Spotlight on Mary Corbitt

  • February 26, 2016 at 3:25 pm
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    What a wonderful, beautiful soul Mary is! I love her to death and am so very blessed to get to hear her fantastic voice when she sings with the praise band, or really any time I am able to hear her sing. Thank you for featuring Mary in this way, allowing her love of God show through!

  • February 26, 2016 at 3:31 pm
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    I have the tremendous blessing of knowing Mary through church. She is as amazing as you have written. Filled with faith, love and humor. She is an inspiration to all who know her.

  • February 26, 2016 at 4:15 pm
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    Mary is an incredible person, with a true gift from God. She is an inspiration to many and I am proud to call her family!

  • February 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm
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    This made me think a lot.
    It’s sad to me that once vision loss comes into the picture, so many feel like they cannot continue their work. I come at it from a different direction, as I have been visually impaired since birth, but it still feels so unfair.
    Of course, it can lead to doing something else and that is great.
    It’s hard not to let the depression and the grim circumstances get you down.
    It’s great that you have a partner who can get more brownie mix when a recipe goes wrong.
    🙂
    I hope for all the best for you with whatever your future looks like.

  • February 27, 2016 at 9:39 pm
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    Mary is an amazing person. I had the pleasure of working with her. She is eternally positive and it is passed to anyone in her presense. She rocks!

  • February 29, 2016 at 7:19 pm
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    Dear Ryan,
    Thank you for taking time to read and comment on Mary’s guest post. Are you in the praise worship group as well or did you work with her in the school where she taught? So nice to meet you! I was so fortunate to meet Mary through the book I wrote. I,too, am blessed by her.
    Please come back and visit my blog again.
    Sincerely,
    Amy

  • February 29, 2016 at 7:24 pm
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    You know, Kerry, although it’s difficult to leave a career you love, there is always something good around the corner that builds on our skills
    skills. We have to make some adjustments. But that adds to our experience. Yes, it can be grim and very frightening. But there are aspects that really make us grow as a person, as you know, when we seek the good from something.
    Again, thanks so much for being a loyal member to my community.
    Amy

  • February 29, 2016 at 7:27 pm
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    Hi Ann,
    It’s such a pleasure to meet you! How are you related to Mary?
    So happy to have you visit my blog. Please come back anytime and read more about vision loss and coping positively.
    Mary will be fearured again this Friday.
    Thanks,
    Amy

  • February 29, 2016 at 7:33 pm
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    Hi Karen,
    What a pleasure to have you visit my blog. Please feel free to visit again and read more posts about vision loss. Thank you for taking time to comment. It sounds like you have a very warm and active church there, of which Mary leads and inspires through her role as worship leader. Bless you!
    Take caze!
    Amy

  • February 29, 2016 at 7:47 pm
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    Hi Al,
    Thank you for sharing your love for Mary’s singing. I can’t wait to hear it. We’re trying to get a sampling of it to post.
    Thank you also for taking time to visit Amy’s Adventures and reading Mary’s guest post. Please visit again on Friday when I feature her in relation to her speaking mission. Come back to our warm community anytime.
    Glad to have you!
    Amy

  • March 1, 2016 at 3:03 pm
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    Al,
    You are a beautiful soul! Thank you for your encouraging and kind words! You are such a blessing to our church family and all who know you – love you!

  • March 1, 2016 at 3:05 pm
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    Ann,
    How I am so blessed by your beautiful friendship! Thank you for your support, encouragement and your spiritual guidance!

  • March 1, 2016 at 3:07 pm
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    Karen,
    I am so grateful to know you! You are such an encourager and I love talking with you!! Thank you for your kindness and friendship! You do so much for your family and the love you pour out to them and others is so beautiful! Much love to you my friend!

  • March 1, 2016 at 3:10 pm
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    Ryan, Ryan, Ryan!!
    Thank you friend!! What an awesome time it was to work together way back when! That was an amazing year!! So happy that you followed your heart and are now teaching! You make a difference! Remember that…
    Thank you for your constant encouragement!!

  • March 1, 2016 at 3:21 pm
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    Kerry,
    I totally hear what you are saying…so much of this journey can feel very unfair. I did certainly, spend much time processing the possibility of doing something different. Knowing that for me, things were changing quickly. During the initial adjustment of not teaching full time, a close friend of mine reminded me that although my “audience” – in teaching had changed, I am still a teacher – I am still finding avenues to educate, just differently now. That really has made all the difference – and helps me to remember that I have not ‘left’ anything…I am going ‘towards’ something -where my heart is leading. I have to make a daily choice, to not feel that my vision loss is taking things from me although, some days are easier than others right? 🙂
    I really appreciate your comments and your encouragement!! I look forward to reading your postings!! Thank you so much!!

  • March 4, 2016 at 9:52 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    Very inspiring article. I can totally relate to how Mary can’t believe what sighted people can see. I find it hard to believe that a sighted person can look me in the eye while I’m standing and at the same time see my feet. Imagine that! Love “Watermelon Socks” title for her children’s CD. Oh, next time see if you can get the recipe for that green power smoothie–sounds delicious.

    Keep Up the God Work,

    Matt

  • March 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm
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    Hi Matt,
    Thanks so much for your comment! I know, it’s becoming mind-boggling how clearly others can see what i cannot.
    Sure thing! I’ll see if I can get Mary to post the recipe on here for you and others to see!
    Amy

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