Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.
Ask Joseph Habedank which song, of all the songs he has written, is his all-time favorite. You might be surprised! He won’t name one of his #1 hits, or even his Song of the Year-winning landmark hit “If You Knew Him.” He will name a song Ivan Parker recorded in 2011, “Mary’s Wish.”
Joseph Habedank and Matthew Holt became close friends and began writing songs together when they were both members of The Perrys. They continued writing together after Matthew left the group in 2008.
One day, shortly after Matthew’s departure, the Perrys bus was parked at a Wal-Mart in Huntington, Tennessee. Matthew drove out to Huntington to meet Joseph at the bus and take him out to write and do lunch. As they walked into O’Charley’s, Matthew asked Joseph, “What’s the song you’re wanting to write?”
Joseph sang him the chorus to “Mary’s Wish.” He recalls, “Matthew started crying, which he doesn’t do very often—he’s not a crier. It moved him.” After lunch, parked Matthew’s car in an alley next to a Kohl’s, and finished the song in his car.
The song was inspired by a comment Matthew’s wife Lindsey made while she was expecting their first child (their son, Fletcher). That December, as Fletcher’s due date drew near, she told Matthew, “Now that the time’s come, I’m almost a little apprehensive about exposing him to the world. I almost wish I could keep him inside of me.”
She paused, then added, “I can’t imagine how Mary must have felt.”
“That was one of the more special songs we’ve ever written,” Habedank recalls, “probably my favorite thing that I’ve ever had a hand in.”