Snippets of things to come:
I started something a couple of years ago and I am about to finish it. I can't wait to tell you about it. More on that next week.
Back in the day, I was a singer. Okay, I still am a singer, but that part of my life has taken a back seat to other things in recent years. Those things included motherhood, various jobs, owning businesses, and writing a whole lot of songs for other people to sing. I've loved doing all those other things, but I always hoped I'd get back to the piano and the microphone at some point. I've also written a couple of books and have long planned to write more. I used to wrestle with the notion that anyone (namely me) who puts out an album or writes a book must have some kind of ego to think their words have enough value to put out into the world. I don't think that anymore. I've come to terms with the fact that I didn't put this creative spark inside of me, but I do have a responsibility to use it well, which means taking that spark and starting a fire every once in a while. More on that next week.
My friend Natalie encouraged me greatly a couple of weeks ago. I was telling her how frustrated I was because life hasn't been super kind lately and I had plans to build something I was excited about. Now, I wasn't sure I should keep building it. She told me she'd been studying Nehemiah in the Bible (if you haven't read about him, I recommend you do) and even though things got really difficult for him, he just kept building. She told me she thought maybe I should grab another brick and keep building. More on that next week.
One of the things that has kept me from moving forward on some plans was the fact that things have felt pretty broken lately. Like I needed to get it together before I could offer anything worthy of anyone's time. Maybe I was hoping life would be kinder soon and I could breathe a little easier. That hasn't exactly happened. BUT, I was listening to a podcast the other day and heard something that has changed my perspective a whole lot. The guest on the podcast basically said if someone is drowning and we throw them a rope that's new and shiny and slick, they won't be able to take hold of it and keep holding on. But if we throw them a rope that's old and knotted and worn, they will be able to grab it and hold onto it and be rescued. I guess that's how I've felt lately - like an old rope that's knotted and worn. Frayed and tested by the stuff of life. But maybe that's the kind of rope someone else can hold onto. So, I'm moving forward on those plans I had. More on that next week.
For many years, I wrote songs for the sole purpose of recording and singing them myself. When I would go out and do concerts, I would occasionally sing a song someone else wrote, but mostly I wanted to sing songs that were born out of personal experience. It simply felt more honest and it seemed that audiences connected more with the songs I had written and lived myself.
When I began writing songs to pitch to other artists for their records, I had to shift my thinking a little. I wasn't simply writing out of my experiences anymore, but instead, I needed to put myself in someone else's shoes, helping them communicate what they want to say, in a way that feels genuine to them when they sing it night after night, trying to connect with their audience.
A few years ago, I wrote a song with my friend Lee, as a possible pitch to an artist who had cut a song of mine on her previous record. We had been given an opportunity to hear what she wanted to say on her next record, so when we met to write, we began crafting a lyric we thought would resonate with her. I might not have lived every line of what we wrote, but I sure believed it. When we finished, we loved the song and hoped it would make the very short list of songs that ended up on the album. It didn't take long for our hopes to be dashed as the song was quickly rejected by the powers that be. I'd like to tell you that because rejection is an almost daily part of a songwriter's life, we took the news well. We didn't. I don't care how much it happens, having your song rejected stings, every single time.
I've learned to trust God with when and where a song finds its home, believing He knows better than I do what journey a song is supposed to take. In this case, the song was eventually recorded by a group, but I also I ended up recording the song myself for a project I did a few years ago. Even though it wasn't originally written from a personal place, the song had become more personal to me over the years and I loved singing it live.
Full transparency, I don't like how personal this song has become. I've lived more of this lyric than I've cared to and people I love dearly are living its words even now. But even though it's a little painful for me to think of how personal this song has become, I still believe in its message. Probably more now than ever. It feels like what I wrote back then was intended for me to hear now and to pass along to people I know who are afraid, hurting, weary, and doing everything they can to just get through another day.
If you are weary, do not lose heart.
If you are brokenhearted, let me remind you there is hope.
If you are trying to hold it all together, you don't have to.
He will lift you up. He will be enough. He will carry you.