Last night I went to a concert featuring two of my favorite bands, David Crowder and Gungor. Despite the five straight hours of standing in a sweaty crowd, I really enjoyed myself. When I look at God’s people I see a huge painting, each of us an unique color splashed onto the canvas. Musicians add an essential color to my world, and I am immensely thankful for their faithfulness. I love both lyrics and music, but if forced to chose between the two I would have to confess that I am lyrics gal. Nearly all of my favorite songs make the cut because the lyrics strike a chord in my heart.
Every year my Dad released a soundtrack that served as his musical journey, and he gave that CD out to friends and family. I am totally his daughter in that respect. He didn’t live in the world of the iPod playlist, which is where I do the majority of my soundtracking. Since music was made to be shared, I decided to reflect and release my soundtrack for the past year with you. So this is one year of grieving my mom, in musical form. Complete with lyrical snippets of the words that really had an impact on me this past year. I am so thankful to these artists for allowing these words to flow form their souls and into my ears.
1) Beautiful Things by Gungor
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change, at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us.
This song came into my life just a couple weeks before I began the process of grieving my Mom. I heard Gungor perform this live in Waco, TX and I knew immediately it would be played over and over and over again in my car, my home and my walks around the park.
2) Resurrection by Nicole Sponberg
I’m at a loss for words, there’s nothing to say
I sit in silence wondering what led me to this place
When did my life become so lifeless and cold
Where did the passion go?
Here I am, at the end, I’m in need of resurrection
Only you can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead
What I’ve lost to the world, what seems far beyond redemption
You can take the pieces in your hand and make me whole again.
At the planning session for my mother’s funeral my aunt suggested using this song and honestly at the time I just trusted her judgement. I had no time to process the song before we buried her, but over the next few months the lyrics really had a powerful effect on me. There are many days when I thing about my mom’s death and I can almost feel her freedom from mental illness. I pray incessantly that I never know her pain.
3) Give me Jesus by Fernando Ortega
And when I come to die, give me Jesus.
You can have all this world, give me Jesus.
I’ve always loved this hymn and after playing it at the funeral it is even more intertwined into my life. Have you ever thought about what it would mean to really be at peace with God taking everything out of your life and finding true and total contentment in Christ alone? When you process these words, your realize that this really is a concise description of the journey itself.
4) Still Fighting it by Ben Folds
It hurts to grow up
And everybody does
It’s so weird to be back here
Let me tell you what
The years go on and
We’re still fighting it, we’re still fighting it
And you’re so much like me
After my son was born in January I was strangely convinced that he was born sad because he had been on such a deeply painful ride with me during my last trimester. As I was processing what it meant to be a mother to my two beautiful children this song helped me along. I have to grow into my role, even though it hurts sometimes.
This is what it means to be held,
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved and to know,
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held.
I think when your mom takes her life, it really does feel like the sacred is torn away from you. We all want to believe our moms have us, that when life is overwhelming they can swoop in and make things all better, or at least a little better. I felt that was ripped away, I spent long evenings in my bathtub just wishing I could physically feel God holding me and wiping away my tears.
I’ve been living in this house here
Since the day that I was born
These walls have seen me happy
But most of all they’ve seen me torn
They’ve heard the screaming matches
That made a family fall apart
They’ve had a front row seat
To the breaking of my heart
As my family and I went through the process of packing up my Mom’s house, this song kept popping up on my radio. I wasn’t there for most of the sorting and boxing up of my childhood home, but knowing that home was permanently gone was a grief in and of itself as well as a relief. This song confirmed those feelings and after hearing Chris August perform it live last night I love it even more.
Send me a sign, a hint, a whisper.
Throw me a line, cuz I am listening…
…Shine your light so I can see it,
pull me up I need to be near you.
Hold me I need to feel love.
Can you overcome this heart thats overcome?
I don’t know if I would have fallen for this song so hard if it wasn’t for the light bright music video. Go watch that video, you won’t be sorry in the slightest. I am so connected to the story line of the two little lite brite people, the hope at the beginning, the tragedy in the middle and the idea that out of death, something beautiful can grow. I want to be that something beautiful.
Please be my strength
Please be my strength
I don’t have any more
I don’t have any more
This is my prayer many mornings. ‘Nuff said.
He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all
On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave
Also I need to add: “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow, because he lives all fear is gone, because I know he holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because he lives.” The lyrics of these two songs, one contemporary and one a hymn from my childhood, serve as a reminder of where our comfort truly lies. When we face death and pain and un-mendable brokenness we cannot forget the promise that is wrapped up in the empty tomb. One of the reasons I heal and press on is because I know where this path leads. We have already won.
So there are 9 songs on my soundtrack. The top the charts now and they will always be a part of the my life’s dance. They fed me on days when I didn’t know where to find food. Most of them fall in the “christian” music genre but I certainly don’t limit myself to that genre. Wherever musicians are pouring out truth you will find and connect your story with God.
I hope you practice the healing discipline of soundtracking your life. Music is something God wired us for, so take advantage of it and take the time to soundtrack your life in the gray and sunny seasons. I can’t see why you’d ever regret it.
Would you share a few songs on your current soundtrack? Please?