“I may be unstrung but I’m not undone.  I’m praising the Lord and I’m having fun!”

Unstrung by Pain

I wrote this song during a 5 year period of time when I was unable to play my guitar due to chronic pain in my hands.  This was a very difficult time for me. Not only did it feel like I had lost a part of me (I had played the guitar since I was 8 years old), but the never-ending pain soaked up all my energy.

Becoming more and more depressed about life, I finally decided to write an acapella song.  I needed to feel empowered to sing a song on my own without any instruments required.  In my Orcadians Choir and Chansons Jazz Choir, at Shorecrest High school (Go Scots!!), I learned how to sing many acapella songs and knew I could do it.   So, I wrote this song as a gift for myself  to lift my spirits up when the pain in my hands would bring me down.

In the past the guitar had become my way of communicating my feelings.  Without the guitar, but with a friend, I was able to discover that I could be very musical through writing and singing songs.  The inability to play guitar forced me to stretch and discover my song writing skills.  After 5 years of writing songs without the guitar, my husband encouraged me to try playing again just a little bit to see how it would go.

At first I was resistant because I didn’t think I could survive the disappointment if I couldn’t play. However, the desire to play again ran so deep within, I just had to give it a try!  After a few minutes of playing–and then a few minutes more–I just about fell over.  It seemed that there was a chance I could play again! Over time I gradually built up my little hand muscles enough to be able to play multiple songs again. Now I can play for a couple hours!

Restrung by Hope

I am so grateful to all those who prayed for me over the years when I had run out of hope, myself.  Sometimes we need to keep hope alive for others until they are able to hope again! My story reminds me of the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him through the roof down to Jesus so he could be healed. My friends and family raised my prayers up to God continuously for me when I couldn’t.

Even though my hands are not fully recovered I am incredibly grateful!  I have been given a second chance to do my favorite thing – accompany myself on the guitar while singing for myself and others.

The most important things I learned from this experience is, be grateful for each day and that no matter how bad things get it isn’t necessarily the end of the story!

Have you ever experienced having something very important “taken away” from you?  Have you ever got to the point of feeling hopeless?  Did you share your burden with someone else so they could help you?  How did it go?  Are you still hanging on?

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This song was written for our God-daughter, Maria, who lives in Norway with her parents, Katie & Kjell Møgster, and three big brothers.  Back in 2006, the Møgsters called us from Mali, Africa (during their missionary years) and asked us to be her God-Family.  They invited us to meet them in Norway to attend Maria’s baptism.  Well, of course, we said “yes!” with great enthusiasm and immediately started the process of obtaining tickets that would eventually have us arrive in Ålesund, Norway.

Now, a baptism is always a special event. But in Norway, it is a HUGE event.  Many hours of preparation were put into decorating the house, setting up tables, making centerpieces, organizing name tags, and preparing group games.  Oh yes, then there is the never-ending supply of food!

The morning of the baptism was spent preparing for the special baptismal worship service.  The worship experience was amazing!  I couldn’t understand a word of it, but the rhythm of the liturgy and prayers felt familiar, especially the Lord’s Prayer.

There was only one part of the service that was in English, the part when I got up and sang.  The Møgsters had informed me that it is often a tradition for the God-parents to have one of their gifts be a poem or song.  So, I happily wrote Maria a song, in the weeks before our Norwegian odyssey.  The words of the chorus were projected onto the screen and I invited everyone to sing along during the last time through…which they did, in their conservative Norwegian way of doing things.

After worship, we drove back to Kjell’s mothers home with the family.  Immediately, their friends and family started arriving for the festivities.  There must have been about 40 people there, each with a name tag showing them where they were going to sit.  We heard Norwegian songs, ate Norwegian food, played group games and learned a lot about … Norwegians!!  The last visitors (who weren’t going to be sleeping at the house) finally left around 8pm that night.  Finally, it was down to just the…15 of us.  This included 7 children, 5 of them young elementary school boys!

The whole trip was an amazing adventure. Being immersed in another culture for 2 1/2 weeks gave me a much bigger understanding of our world. My family and I didn’t want to leave!

In June, 2011, during one of our reunions with the Møgsters, here in the States, Maria asked me to sing her song. I happily agreed.  Maria was 5 at this time, so I could look her in the eyes as I sang.  She would blush and turn away, but soon I found her looking at me again.  It was a precious moment.  Clearly she felt very special about having her own song.

I am so glad that my song touched Maria’s heart. It clearly made her feel loved and cherished.

Has anyone done something extra special in your life while growing up?  Have you ever told them what it meant to you?  If not, think about doing that.  It would mean a lot to them.

Love Touches

Love Touches

Love Touches Everything

“Love Touches”

This is a love song I wrote for my hubby several years ago.  It was either an anniversary gift or a valentine, I can’t quite remember.  Anyway, although it is a “love song,” it wasn’t written during a time when we were really feeling especially connected or even romantic.  Things were actually very difficult!

The chronic pain in my hands was at its worst. It forced me to end my Youth Ministry career. It was only then that I realized how much of my identity was tied in my job. Rediscovering my value as a person and a stay-at-home mom was a challenge. Especially since some of my job required me to do things I couldn’t do very well anymore.  I felt useless.

Living with me was like riding a roller coaster, moment to moment.   I would be exceptionally depressed and then become overjoyed when I would write part of a new song. Poor guy never knew what I was going to be like. Frankly, I didn’t either.

Joel also had to carry the great burden of being the sole bread winner after almost 7 years of sharing it. Plus, I was spending money on doctors appointments often, trying to figure what was wrong with me.

To top it off our precious little lady, whom we love and adore, saved her terrible two’s for the thrashing threes.  She was very big and strong and I was not!  Oi!

In the midst of all this, I felt compelled to write Joel a love song.  Somehow, in the midst of all the stress and tears I was able to see what was still good and true about our relationship.

Even in the Midst of Pain

The first verse is about how I experience his love at its finest.  When we would have a brief break from parenting and enjoy a shared giggle…or if we were really lucky, when we would go on an actual “date”!  Thank goodness, we had those moments often enough to weather the tough stuff.

The second verse is about how I long for him to experience me at my finest.  Every day it is my hope that I can cheer Joel on into his new day feeling supported and loved.  He’s the love of my life, why wouldn’t I want to cheer him on?   Unfortunately, my own pain and resentment about the pain would often spill into my interactions with Joel, tainting all that was good.  It was difficult.

In the midst of all this I chose to find hope, truth and love.

Singing this song helps me remember how much we’ve been through and I thank God for helping us make it to the other side…together! More than once.

Have you and your spouse experienced some painful times?  Where did you go to find strength and encouragement?  What helped you two make it through?  Prayer can make a difference.  Give it a whirl sometime.  You just might be surprised.

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