A Man You Would Write About

I was in high school when the Contemporary Christian group “4 Him” came out with an album called “Face the Nation”, and my local radio station played many of their songs. It quickly became a favorite album, but one song in particular arrested my attention.

The writer of that song, Billy Simon, would later become a songwriting mentor to me as I would record my first album “From Here” in 2007, and that connection to him was made because of this song and the impact it had on me. That might be a blog for later, but for now I want to tell you about this song that still shapes my heart and sharpens my focus.

The song is called “A Man You Would Write About”. The lyrics talked about how all through the ages of time, God would choose men to lead His people, to hear His voice and to speak what they heard God speak. The idea was presented in the song that “if the Bible had no closing page, and still was being written to this day, I want to be a man you would write about–a thousand years from now they could read about your servant of choice, in whom you found favor, a man who heard your voice.”

I realized the song was sung by four men, written by a man, and highlighted men from scripture in its lyrics, but I also recognized that I could be included in this song as a woman. It wasn’t a gender-specific lyric, but it was a personal one, and I easily made it the anthem of my life.

Someone who found God’s favor, who heard His voice, and who became an echo of those words–that was something I could be. My gender, my age, my hometown, my family situation, my education were not obstacles or deterrents to my ability to know God and hear Him. In fact, probably all of those factors became part of the drive of my heart to know God better, to do those things that please Him, and to say the things He says.

I want to be a friend of God.

It’s not so much that I want to be remembered in books. That song certainly inspires me to want to live that way, but the desire to have God say, “She’s with me,” is one of the greatest honors of living. To be a friend of God, to be someone He trusts–wow!

I’ll write about His goodness. I’ll write about His faithfulness. I will declare His greatness with every breath I have left. In Jesus, God became the “Man I would write about.” And through His Spirit I might one day be.

Steeping the Tea of Writing

The following is an article I wrote for Oikeo Music’s Spring issue of  “Christian Songwriter’s” Magazine.  To download a free PDF version of the magazine, visit www.oikeomusic.com  I hope you enjoy!!

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The tide is coming in as I sit on a large boulder not far from the water-line of the Kachemak Bay. The sky is a beautiful clear blue and the temperature is holding just above freezing. For now my fingers work and the ink in my pen is still a liquid…but I don’t know how much longer. This is my writing studio today.

I take in the view of the snow-capped mountains, and gentle surf, wipe my now dripping nose, and take mental pictures of the the landscape in front of me while my heart begins weaving stories.

Today I process the pain of a friendship, while I am praying for the courage to venture again. Scriptures are coming to mind about God who binds up the broken-hearted. 1Corinthians 13 flashes in my mind as well, with the emphasis being on the fact that “love always believes the best in people.” (v. 7) I talk to God about my fears and my pain.

I pause to throw the ball for my dog who faithfully retrieves it every time, although surrenders it reluctantly.

All of these things at once become threads in the weave of my heart and become the backdrop for my writing, and the metaphors of my story. Friendship, loyalty, beauty, wonder, and God’s Word are the constants. The tide that changes and the temperature that fluxes become the variables that give the story pattern and detail.

A mentor of mine, Billy Simon, gave me some advice years ago when I began songwriting that I still carry with me today. He said:

“The main thing is to be calm in your gift and know that no matter who hears what you create… that your gift matters and is pleasing to the one who gave it to you. No need to be overly anxious. Love life first then add some commentary. We song writers are not necessary in the whole scope. Only our message is. Sometimes our gift can be so exciting to us that we give it too much attention and time. Step out of your “write, write, write” stage and just write. Trees are vital for life on Earth. They’re beautiful and it’s nice to have some in your yard. But if you plant one everywhere you think one can grow, soon you will have nowhere to play kickball. Have peace that you are where God want s you to be, to affect the people He wants you to affect.”

As a songwriter, it is not imperative that I write everything that comes to my head. Some of my best writing has come after musing on things I have experienced, or, like tea, let the ideas steep for awhile until the story feels done. Taking life in and feeling it on every level possible, to me, seem to be the greatest tools of my writing. Not being afraid to feel, to hurt, to be cold, to be hungry, to be interrupted, and to be in solitude, give me opportunities to experience life in a new ways and then express them.
So I process my heart while I steep my ideas. I think about how friendship is always worth the risk of pain, because it warms the heart when the days are cold. I feel the cold air beginning to stiffen and sting my fingers. I wipe my running nose again. I shake my pen to get the ink flowing again, and I exhale with the contentment that when I wait patiently, God speaks to my heart and gives me a reason to write. That same God will also give me a platform to allow my musings to be heard when the timing is right.

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