The stories behind the songs…
HOLDING OUT (2019)
“I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
1. Holding Out – a friend challenged me one day to explore a description of eternity – how would you explain it? I knew that I couldn’t. This song came as I attempted to wrap my head around the incomprehensible tension of living between the ‘now and then’. We are merely in the shadows of what is yet to come and our eternal perspective in the everyday sets the stage for how we approach every element of life.
2. Be the Grace – one of the greatest and most important gifts in the walk of faith is that of community. This song came on the heels of several very dear relationships hitting some troubled waters, and my grappling to understand what love and grace sometimes look like when things get hard or complicated. Godly friendships are worth fighting for – we are almost guaranteed to be hurt or to hurt others at some point or another, but these are the times when grace can be poured out and the gospel is on display.
3. Refiner – one of my favorite analogies used in scripture has always been the one of the silversmith – the refiner (Zechariah 13:9). There are so many beautiful and encouraging truths we can take from looking at the process of refinement – maybe the two that always struck me the most was how the silversmith will never take his eyes from his work – and secondly, he knows the metal has reached refinement when he can see his reflection in it… likewise, day by day we are being refined into His likeness…
4. Holy Ground – last year I had the joy of studying Jess Connolly’s challenging book “Dance, Stand, Run”, and I found the truth she presented in those pages so freeing, so affirming, and so life giving as she found a beautiful way to present the balance of living in freedom and in holiness before the Lord.
5. Raise – a song about idols. A hard one, but a crucial one if we’re to ever submit to the Lord moving us past the things in our lives that are destroying us. Can we pause long enough to take an honest look at what distracts us? What binds us? What turns our heart’s affection away from the only one who is worthy of it?
6. How Firm a Foundation – the words of this song, written in the 1700’s are taken from several rich passages of scripture (Isaiah 41:10, 2 Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 13:5). As I was writing for this project, I felt that somehow this song needed a place. How do we walk in truth, in freedom, in hope if not by the foundation of His word?
7. He Wept – added to the project at the eleventh hour, this song was born out of a deep feeling of inadequacy to understand the grief so many close friends were experiencing, but realizing that when Jesus himself was faced with the grief and loss of those he loved, he gave the moment the space to breathe – he allowed himself to feel it and he wept (John 11). He already knew how everything would turn out – but he still entered into the sorrow of those he loved. For many of us, this side of eternity, there are no answers, the sting of death makes no sense, and there is nothing to ease that pain… but somehow I find comfort in the fact that Jesus humanly knew what we felt. This song is dedicated to our dear friends Aaron and Lauren Watson after the loss of their beautiful daughter, Leah Marie.
8. Epilogue (Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus) - At the end of it all, can we turn our focus back to Him? We are still living in the shadows – don’t let the trials of ‘this side’ cause us to loose sight of the glory of our King and the Hope that is unseen.
LEST WE FORGET (2017)
“But you who held fast to the Lord your God are all alive today… Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, LEST YOU FORGET the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.” - Deuteronomy 4:4,9
1. Prologue - My dad taught me many years ago that the most important sentance you'll write for an essay will be the thesis statement. My heart longed for this album to tell a story - to convey a message. It was important to me that it wasn't just a collection of random songs, but a musical/lyrical/worshipful journey that the listener could enter into and be carried through. So, this is the thesis statement, if you will; The 'main idea' in a few words, stated simply in these opening lyrics.
2. God Who Reigns - The verses of this song were written in the 1600's by Johann J. Schütz, during a period when the Church faced great persecution and many believers were being martyred for Christ. Even amidst such harrowing circumstances, the Church recognized God's sovereignty, and many beautiful praise songs arose from the ashes to encourage the saints. While I had already written and recorded the chorus of this song in the closing of 'Battle Cry', I couldn't help but feel that the lyrics from this timeless hymn could not be more fitting to the story that was being written in this project.
3. In Your Light - The idea for this song came after reading a beautiful memoir by Margaret Jensen, 'First we have Coffee'. She recounts the story of when her mother lost one of her children and the way she made a distinct choice to stay in the light and seek after that which would continue to illuminate truth and hope, even when emotions and feelings would tug her elsewhere. Having also experienced great loss as a mother, this resonated with me, and this song formed as a reminder of the beautiful gift of community and the way we sometimes have to actively put a stake in the ground and choose not isolate to ourselves to the darkness.
4. A Glimpse - Written hours after a poignant conversation with a dear friend about her journey through childhood cancer and the near loss of her son. Even when the doctors told them there was nothing more they could do, she shared that she felt like the veil was being pulled back and she experienced the nearness of God in a way she never had before. Her heart for worship was forever changed. He truly meets us in our darkest hours. Written for the Fleming family.
5. Ebb and Flow - There are seasons in our life when God can feel so far away and we feel shaken to the core. But our feelings so often betray us and we have to actively remind our hearts that He never leaves us - His goodness and faithfulness is not dependent on our circumstances or emotions, and sometimes we have to preach to our own souls the unwavering truth of His word.
6. Hiding in Thee - In the year 1876, after a season of great loss, sickness and much prayer, William O. Cushing wrote 'Hiding in thee' . I stumbled across this song in an old hymnal and the verses quickly became a deep encaougement to my heart - knowing that He doesn't always rescue us 'from' the storm, He does shelter us 'through' it. Dedicated to my precious friend Elisabeth, who has been walking the storm of losing her husband to cancer in the prime years of raising their 5 beautiful daughters. She truly exemplifies one who leans into the very heart of Jesus.
7. Lest We Forget - Taken from the verses in Deut 4:4,9, where Moses calls God's people together and essentially is saying, "make reminders for yourselves so that you never forget - never forget what God has done for you". I too, after several years of walking a road marked with unexpected and difficult circumstances, had experienced so intimately being held by His faithful hand, and I knew that somehow I needed to 'remember' this in some way - so that no matter how far down the road we got from everything we had been through, we would never forget. The guts of the song came easily, and yet, as simple as it is lyrically, I struggled for a good while with how to finish it up. During this season, a new turn in life events brought me to a place of wondering if God was completely closing the door on this project. I grieved this for a time, and then felt convicted that I had not actually 'asked' for God to provide if it was something he wanted me to press on with. So I prayed. A week later, while running errands one morning, I randomly crossed paths with a beautiful soul who'd heard a song I had shared with our local church body that past Sunday morning. They pulled me aside, wrote a check for the completion of this project and prayed for me in the middle of a grocery store. Completely in shock, I came home and finished the song that afternoon. It became the title track for the album, because essentially it's everything this project was about - a remembrance to never forget.
8. Battle Cry - When is feels like the enemy is crowding in around us and we are tearing at the seams, it is the act of turning our eyes back to Jesus, and bringing our worship to His throne that wages war on the battle field. When our perspective is set on eternity and we remember how fleeting these momentary days of struggle really are, our hearts are encouraged and we can rejoice in the victory that has already be won.
Audio CD with lyric booklet available for purchase. Also available for digital download and/or live streaming via all major digital music distributors (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc).
Contact Megan at: email@example.com