Saturday, May 18, 2013

Help Me Stand

Each song that the Lord gives me has such a special meaning and many, if not all of them, have happened at times where I needed the encouragement.  This song is super special as it was written during a time when I made a choice - and then everything around me seemed to fall apart. (Click this link to see the post)  There are some songs that while I write them just make me cry.  This was one of them.  I cried through most of the writing of it and since I also recorded it the same day....well, I was crying during that too and almost couldn't even record it!

Behind the Scenes

The chorus for Help Me Stand was written in 2008 and was quite a bit different than what was sung in the final version of the song.  In fact, while I was writing the verses, God was showing we why I needed to change the chorus.  Which was probably one of the reasons why I was crying at times!

Originally it was written this way:

I will stand, I will be strong,
Despite the challenges I just don't understand,
I will stand tall, In the sinking sand,
For I know that you'll lead me to the promise land,
I will stand.

The chorus was originally written as an affirmation, and I've sung it just that way a great many times over the years.  But as I was working on the rest of the song it was impressed upon me that it needed to be written and changed to the way it is now:

Help me stand, to be strong,

Despite these challenges I just can’t understand, 
To stand tall, In the sinking sand, 
                For I know that you’re guiding me with your mighty hand,
Help me stand. 

You see on the day that the rest of the song was given to me, my circumstances were such that I couldn't stand or be strong and no amount of saying an affirmation was going to make me feel any better!  That's when the Lord showed me that no matter how much we try to say, "I'm going to stand and be strong!" but no matter how strong we think we are it is all through his strength that we can stand and do anything at all!
The word don't changed to can't as when we say I don't understand, to me it comes from more confusion.  Whereas saying I can't understand is such a stronger word and it's said at a point where you've gone beyond trying to figure it all out and are just to the point where you say I can't understand this!

In life there are many moments when we feel like we are sinking in the sand or drowning in the water.  But during those moments we must do as Peter did and look the Jesus and cry out, "Lord, save me!"  Our Lord is always watching for when we may fall or begin to sink.  His hands are always there ready to lift you up and out of that sinking sand. (Check out Matthew 8:23-27 for Peter's story.)

Changing the part of the promise land to with your mighty hand... The promise land could be viewed as what God has in store for us.  Just as Israel was going to the promise land with Moses, so God has great wonderful things for us both on this earth and in heaven.  But I realized that as much as I desire
all the "promise land" that God has for me, it's more important that His hand be leading and guiding me through each step that I take in my life. 

4/29/2013-The Rest of the song....

While the chorus was written all the way back in 2008...this was the day that the rest of Help Me Stand was written.  I love how God brings parts of songs I wrote years ago and brings them together so well!  It just shows and reminds me that He is in control and knows so much more than I do!  And if He can do this with music...He can do it in my life as well! 

Verse One

Though the waves crash strong around me and I struggle just to stand, 

Life can very tempestuous and make you feel like it's so hard just to get out of bed much less stand and get through your day.  The feeling that everything around you is so strong and just taxes your strength.

And my heart starts to beat so fast I feel I’ll fall apart,

Those moments where fear overwhelms you so much and your heart begins to beat so fast.  Perhaps you've had a panic or anxiety attack.  They are never fun and often happen during those moments where life is too big for us to keep plodding on without help.

The temptations all around me make me fear I’ll lose my way,

 In the world today temptations are so close.  Some days all I have to do is check my facebook page to feel discontented, sad and fall into despair or depression.  That doesn't count all the other things that tempt and try to push into our minds from friends, books, the news, get the picture. When I get to feeling down or upset I feel so bad that I've allowed those things to take over and cloud my mind and focus.  Some times the temptations seem like walking through mud in thick fog...I look around and can't seem to find where I should and desire to be in my relationship with the Lord.  My biggest fear has always been that I will lose my way so badly that I won't be used of God.  But somehow He always shows mercy and brings me back!

But I know that God will lead me, So I’ll just kneel and pray.

During all the moments above where life is crashing around we must keep looking to our Lord and just praying for His strength.  It's only when our walk with Christ is strong that we can truly be victorious in our life.

Verse Two

Lord, I have so many questions and no answers come my way,
Life is such a struggle challenging my faith,

 Often I've questioned why God has allowed my life to go in the direction it has gone.  So many things just don't make sense to me.  So I ask Him, "Wouldn't it be easier if things went this way God... instead of whatever you're doing??"  Once again He doesn't strike me down with a bolt of lightening...although I still wonder if one of these days all that will be left of me is just burnt leftovers from a lightening attack....thank God that He is full of so much more mercy and grace than we could ever imagine!

I usually don't get the answers I'm looking for when I ask, sometimes in despair and sometimes in rebellion, "Why God?"  It hurts when I don't see things playing out in a way that I would view as being profitable.  My heart grows heavy with the desires left unfulfilled and longings that never seem to happen.  It is a challenge to my that I'd rather not have.  I would love to say that my faith never falters and that I stay strong in the face of the challenges.  But sadly I fall and fail far too often.

Yet you’re always there beside me holding out your hand,
Guiding, teaching, leading me towards your perfect plan.

  Once again, I thank God for His tender mercies-which are new every morning- and His grace.  Despite all my failing and short comings He is always near holding out His hand.  Such love He has for us that He never gives up, even when we do. 

I know a lot of the songs I've written deal with trials, so forgive me if as I publish more of them you see the same thing over and over; but, it is through the trials that God guides, teaches and leads us in the way He desire us to go.  It is by His grace that He gives us a free will and doesn't force us to do anything.  Yet if we trust Him to lead, He will give us the desires of our hearts and so much more.  He sees a much bigger picture than we could ever see on this earth.  I know many of you have heard of the puzzle illustration.  How when you only see one or just a few pieces of the puzzle you can't get the whole picture.  However, God sees the whole puzzle of our life. 

So often I cry, whimper, whine and stamp my little feet in frustration at what God is doing in my life.  Only to be reminded that just because I didn't get my way doesn't mean that He's not working.  God's timing is perfect and although at times it's so hard to keep that in mind, someday I will get to see the whole picture and it will all make sense.  It's just not going to happen until I get to heaven.

Verse Three

Until we get to heaven there’ll be trials in our way,
But we must stay close to Jesus for He is our stay,

This part of the song it really brings it all to a conclusion.  It is inevitable, that while on this earth we will be faced with many spiritual, mental and physical challenges, trials and stumbling blocks.  But it's only by staying close to Jesus and letting Him be our Rock and Shelter that we can face them.

When my sister heard the song for the first time, she asked, "What does Jesus being our stay mean?"  She totally thought I used "stay" in a wrong context-which I admit is very easy to think that "stay" isn't the right word usage here.  I looked it up on way I could get a definition that makes me sound smarter than I really am.....and "Stay" means:

To support, prop, or hold up.  To sustain or strengthen mentally or spiritually.
To rest on for support. To cause something to become fixed or to rest on (a support, foundation, base, etc.)

I love that definition!  It hits the nail on the head as to what Jesus does for us. 

And though I don’t deserve it He gives blessings every day,
With His mercies all around me I can kneel and pray.

It is true, we don't deserve any of the goodness God gives to us; and yet, His mercies are new each and everyday.  This alone should encourage us to kneel and pray. 

Help me stand, to be strong,

Despite these challenges I just can’t understand, 
To stand tall, In the sinking sand, 
                For I know that you’re guiding me with your mighty hand,
Help me stand.
Keep pressing on!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Like Song of Deliverance

Sometime last year the Lord showed me that I needed to move forward in two areas of my life that has just been stagnate for a while.  And while I have devoted some time to these areas, there hasn't been a great deal of progress.  You would think it would be easy.  God tells you what to do and you do it.  Right?  No.  I struggled so hard with what to do.  I knew the direction God wanted me to start heading towards, but certain things just didn't make any sense to me!  So I struggled and pulled away from what I knew God wanted me to be doing and clung to what I thought would be the best and only thing I should be going.  Let's face it, I could work on whatever God wanted me to work on and still cling to what I felt safe and comfortable with....right?

Well, I ended up being just plain miserable.  And doing what I felt safe and comfortable with became just the opposite.  I would go about my work and feel like I didn't belong there and get a super strong feeling that I couldn't stand being there any longer!  Allow me to clarify what I mean by doing what I was comfortable with and made me feel safe.  

As you know I worked at a christian camp and retreat center called His Thousand Hills.  My mom had gotten a job through a program that assists people 55 and older in finding employment, and they placed her at HTH.  The camp always can use extra hands so my mom suggested that I could come and help out.  I took her suggestion and started volunteering there in June of 2009.  I just kept coming back and by the end of that year they offered for my mom and me to come on as staff.  We still had to raise support as the camp is funded based on donations, but we decided to pray and seek God's will.  He told us that HTH was where we were meant to be.

So HTH became my home away from home.  A place where God healed some of the hurts and pains in my life.  Where each summer He allowed me to learn something new and pushed me a little more out of my comfort zone. And then that one year happened where He blessed me with two of the bestest friends a girl could ask for.  Friends who pray, cry, laugh and have talked with me about things I never thought I'd ever share with anyone.  The list could go on and on with what God gave to me by allowing the opportunity to minister there.  Yes, there were still up and down times, but He always shined through and gave me the strength I needed to do what He had for me to do at HTH.

Perhaps you can see why it made no sense to me that when God clearly showed me, "I don't want you there anymore."

My shocked response was: "Really?!?! Are you sure?  You can't possibly mean that I have to leave and go to....go to what?"

I kept thinking, "This must be my flesh, the devil, a spiritual attack or something else!"

I stayed and felt conflicted for months.  Finally, it overwhelmed me.  I turned to the Lord and asked Him to show me what to do.  He said told me to "be still and seek me".  So I took a day where I let go of all my expectations, desires and even my goals and dreams and sought and asked God to show me what HIS will was.

It was still difficult to let go of the camp.  In fact, even though deep inside I knew that the Lord wanted me to leave, I still would ask Him to "show me what You want me to do".  I'm so glad He's patient and didn't strike me with a bolt of lightning!

I sought God on a Wednesday and that Saturday I still went to camp asking Him to clearly (yes, it's okay to laugh and shake your head in disbelief ) I mean REALLY clearly show me!   The response that was whispered to my heart was, "I've already showed just need to do it."

That night the door opened to let me intentions of leaving be known to the camp leaders.  It was amazing how God just opened the door, where I had no choice but to spill the beans! ;)

What was it that God wanted me to move forward in?  He has always given me songs to sing in my time of the first thing was to really focus on sharing those songs with others.  The second was to working on writing.  I've always loved to write stories and articles...and God has given me so many ideas that I just need to get them written!
It hasn't been the smoothest since I made the decision and followed through on it.  A week and a half after I told the camp I was leaving I lost my singing voice for over a month!  It was difficult to talk, but singing was impossible!  I feel into despair thinking, "How am I supposed to get these songs out there if I can't even sing them!"  I actually began to believe that I would never sing again.  My health took a HUGE step back-I'm still trying to get some strength back from that.  And a few other areas in my life seemed to fall out from under me.  I mentioned that my voice left for over a month...well, all of this kept happening over those same weeks.  And I had thought things were rough when I kept insisting that I had to stay at the camp!

It wasn't until I was texting a friend that I realized and recognized that what was happening was a spiritual attack.  It wasn't until I left HTH that the enemy insisted on breaking my spirit..and he still does...after all the devil knows just the buttons to push that allow us to falter and fall.  After that our flesh takes over and the doubts start to come and cloud our mind and heart.  I'm grateful for my family and friends who prayed me through those rough weeks! 

It's funny how once you realize what is really happening, the spiritual attack, it lets up.  My friend started praying, my mom started praying and I knew others may not have known, but they were praying too.  I'm thankful that I no have my singing voice back.  My health always has it's ups and downs, but in the down moments I just have to focus on what I can do and let everything else go so as not to get stressed about it! :)

It's important to realize that when God wants us to do something for Him, the devil won't like it.  But our God is bigger and mightier than he is...which means we've already got the victory!

Please like, and share, the facebook Song of Deliverance page to get updates on new music and writings.  You can also subscribe by email to get notices of new blogs posts!