Sunday, January 31, 2021

Author, Write My Story - The Story Behind The Song

Author, Write My Story - A Songwriter's Journey 

   Have you ever sat down to write something - a book report, a poem, a song - and felt totally uninspired?  Most of us have felt that way many times. We have those wonderful moments when creativity is flowing through our veins, and then we have those other moments when it just isn’t there.  Sometimes we look at what we’ve written, then crumple it up and throw it away, deeming it junk.  How many of us have stopped to think of our lives as a work of art in progress: a book, or a song, that is still being composed?  Every day we are adding another phrase, another sentence, another paragraph.  How many of us have looked back at the day we just lived or the decision we just made and thought, “Well, that was dumb.”  It happens!  It especially happens when we try to write our story without God’s help.  In Jeremiah 10:23, the prophet said, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”  We’re human, and we don’t know what the future holds.  We’re living out our story without knowing its outcome.  That’s why we need help - help from Someone Who sees not only where we are, but also sees every moment of our past and our future.  

  It was while thinking on these things that I began to feel an urge to write a song called, Author, Write My Story.  It took a while (didn’t all come in one burst of inspiration!), but finally came together.  I was able to record it earlier this year.  More than just a lyric, this song has become my heartbeat.  I have a sign with the words hanging in my room.  I speak them to God when I pray.  I felt this song as I wrote it, and it taught me some very important lessons.  In fact, it’s still teaching me. 

   “Born into this world, my life a book filled with empty pages…”  We all come into this world with a clean canvas.  The future is an endless road before us, our stories are not yet written.  

   “As I began to live, the void was filled with written lines and phrases…”  As we grow, we begin filling the pages with our story.  Tales of carefree childhood and echoes of laughter punctuate those early chapters.  But also, the general direction of our life begins to take shape.  The Bible says that “Even a child is known by his doings…”  Prov 20:11.  These are the formative years - our character and personality begin to speak to others of who we really are.   

   “But, it didn’t take that long to see that it would never be in me to write a story beautiful and true.  Mistakes were made and lines scratched out, there were things I could not figure out…”  Because we are born with the fallen nature of Adam, it doesn’t take long for us to start messing up.  The problem is that unlike an article or a poem, you can’t press backspace 32 times and erase the wrong decisions, or words, or attitudes.  This is real life, happening in real time, and there’s no going back for re-dos.  Sounds kind of depressing, right?  Well, for a lot of people, life is depressing.  They feel in over their heads.  Their story is not what they wanted it to be.  But, we were never meant to write this on our own. 

   This song applies to more than just those who are broken and in a messed up place in their lives.  I’m a preacher’s kid.  I’m known as a good girl who loves God.  And I do!  But, I still don’t have the ability to write my life’s story.  I’ve made mistakes, made decisions based on my own understanding, stressed about things I had no power to control or change.  But, around the time of the writing of this song, a realization began to take shape in my mind: if I want my life to be beautiful, I’m going to have to climb to a higher place of trust in God.  I can’t do this on my own.  I don’t have the understanding or the expertise to write the story of my life.  Oh, but, here is the good part: I have a Friend! 

   “’Til I began anew, and gave the pen to You…”  Every single one of us has the option to ask for help in the writing of our story.  You see, the One Who made us truly knows us.  He sees where we’re at, and where we’re going.  He sees the messes and mistakes, and only He knows how to bring beauty out of the ashes.  He sees our confusion, wondering why things happen the way they do.  He sees our frustrations at not knowing how things will unfold, or when the answers to our prayers will be provided.  He knows it all - His understanding and power are infinite.  He has a plan.  And the best part is, He loves us!  Everything He does is for our good.  He has only our best intentions in mind, and He proved it once and for all when He allowed rusty spikes to be driven into His sinless hands.

   He alone can turn our stories into something beautiful…and He wants to.  Oh, how He wants to!  We make the smartest decision of our lives when we let go, and in sweet surrender, give God the pen.

Author, write my story for Your glory, for Your good.  May it be a testimony to a world in need of You.  You alone see beginning to the end.  Let every line and every chapter be according to Your plan.  I know You love me, so write my story with Your nail-scarred hand.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Main Thing

 I really wanted to do something special for my mom's birthday.  We were in Benton, a town near Little Rock, AR, visiting some long-time friends, the Emersons. August fourth (day before Mom's birthday) we went on a a little trip and ended up not getting home till about four am...crazy, I know! So, the next day, I got up in the wee hours of the morning (10 a.m.) and wandered into the kitchen with the Emerson's 8-year-old daughter, Jayla. I really wanted to start my mom's birthday off right with a good breakfast; I finally decided on waffles, one of her favorites. My mom was still in bed, and I couldn't find any waffle or pancake mixes, so I went online to find a recipe. Then I confidently strode into a brand new kitchen, sure that I could handle a simple meal like waffles. (Forget that I was 17 and had yet to discover my inner-chef.)

I stumbled around that kitchen - it took me ages to find every single ingredient.  Finally I found what I thought looked like flour.  It wasn't marked, but I didn't see anything else that looked like flour. I got everything together and started mixing it up in a bowl. The lumpy mess didn't look promising. I fired up the waffle iron, and poured some of the mix on. After just a minute or so, I knew that something wasn't right. The waffle mix was seeping from the sides of the waffle iron, as well as smoke. I tentatively opened up the iron to discover a flat, gooey mess. I was sick. My wonderful birthday breakfast for my mother was not turning out the way I had planned at all. It was then that I realized that the substance I thought was flour was definitely not flour.  I later found out it was corn meal.  (Ok, you can quit laughing now.)  As you all know, waffles without flour don't turn out too well! 

This reminded me of a simple lesson Jesus taught in the Bible. He told the Pharisees, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the others undone."  Matthew 23:23
Jesus is saying, "You've got the minor details, but you forgot the main thing!"  Oh yes, the little stuff is important, too.  But, so often, if you get the main thing right, everything else falls into place.

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets."  Matthew 22:37-40

Lesson learned:  
When you're in the kitchen, don't forget to put flour in your waffles.
And while you're on planet earth, don't forget to love God, and don't forget to love people.