Songs Are Memories
Every song on all of my CDs represents a moment in my life. Experiences that have made an impact on me that were important enough to put on paper and partner with a tune.
After experiencing a great sense of accomplishment producing my first two CDs (Strings Attached and Up & Strumming), I felt a tug to write some blues. I have always loved the blues. I was about 9 years old when I was introduced to the song, Stormy Monday. I fell in love with it immediately. I sang it all the time at home and at Girl Scout camp-outs. Whether people were listening or not I just loved singing that song over and over. Something about it was different. Something about it resonated with something deep inside of me. Blues spoke a special language. A language I needed to speak to. (more…)
Tears poured down my face as I wrote out the words to this song. I sang Hand of Heaven probably a hundred times before I could get all the way through without crying.
The three years following my retirement from Youth Ministry ended up being one of the most lonely and painful periods in my life. After 7 years of working so hard at my career I realized that all the relationships I had were tied to that church. (When you retire from a church staff position it is proper to leave that church. This helps the congregation adjust to the new person. It also gives the new person some breathing room without the old guard watching over their shoulder. I have seen the dysfunction that takes place when pastors don’t leave their congregation and isn’t very pretty.)
So we left. It was like starting all over again, accept we were living in the same home.
For those three years I found myself in a friendship drought. If it hadn’t been for a very small number of people in my life and songwriting, life would have been so much harder than it already was. The depression due to the extreme chronic pain in my hands made regular life even more difficult.
When Jessica was in first grade, Joel was offered a promotion and a move to Boise. We had been in Yakima 10 years; we were ready for a new adventure!
Joel moved 7 weeks before we did. So for 7 weeks I prayed that God would prepare some special ladies to become my friends. I also prayed that He would prepare my heart to be a good friend to these new ladies. Frankly, I was feeling pretty rusty at friendships by that point. I had come to believe that I was a pretty boring person who was no fun to be around.
In the Hand…Heaven
Well, God pulled through and multi-blessed me with friendships. It was during that time I discovered a bunch of ladies who for some odd reason loved me to pieces and thoroughly enjoyed my company. I had never experienced so much love from so many ladies at one time in my life ever!! Their love really set me free from feelings from the past. It also empowered me to open up and reach out to others. All this became very helpful both in boosting my self-confidence and encouraging my music along.
Of course, as time has gone by some friends have moved and others our paths just don’t cross anymore. I seem to be in another drought but I have confidence that I will get through this. When I desperately needed to know I was lovable, God blessed me a rainstorm! So I am just preparing for rain once again.
I can’t thank God enough for pouring down on me so much love in the past!! He provided a hand of heaven. I can’t wait to see what God comes up with next. He has already started the process of ending the drought with one new girlfriend. Yeah!
Have you ever experienced a friendship drought? Are you there now?
Express your thoughts here…. If you know of someone who is going through a friendship drought, give them a little TLC and then encourage them to read this blog. Knowing that you are not alone in the experience can make a big difference!
In Washington State you cannot get your driver’s license until you are 16 years old. I think this is a very good rule and always will. Why? Let me tell you a story…
Shannon was a nice friend to have at church. She added a lot of joy to the singing quartet I led when we were in high school. She always invited me to youth group and encouraged me to hang out with her and her friends. And she made me feel wanted, cared about, like one of the gang.
Shannon was a social butterfly, very comfortable around boys, laughing, joking etc. She taught me a lot about being a teenage girl, kicking back with gal pals, and flirting with the guys. She was a fun, popular, and genuinely a nice person.
In the Spring of ’85 (yes, a long time ago), she invited me and my dear friend, Katie, to go to a Michael W. Smith concert. I’d never gone to a concert before. I was so excited! That night we laughed, sang, linked arms, and swayed to the music. I had never had so much fun with gal pals ever! In spite of the fact I couldn’t hear worth a darn afterward, it was awesome!
Some Milestones Are Better Than Others
No sooner had this whole new world of fun and frolicking opened up to me when, “BAM!,” I was overcome by complete devastation. Some milestones aren’t welcome.
Shannon died. She was in a car accident the night before we were to sing some special songs at church. We were all crushed. How could this be, God?! She’s just a kid! Everyone loved Shannon, so why not take me instead?! Oh, I wrestled with that feeling of guilt and unworthiness most of the summer.
Our quartet stopped singing. We went through a time when we really didn’t even interact with each other. It hurt too much!
Thank God, our mom’s were watching out for us. They helped us pick up the pieces and move forward. It was hard, at first. Shannon’s parents stopped coming to church. This was sad. I felt like if I had just run over to them and hugged them that maybe they would have stayed. I think the reality that even kids can die was so frightening that I was just emotionally frozen for a while.
It’s amazing how some of our greatest losses can have the most incredible impact on the directions of our lives. At church, I was suddenly viewed as a leader in the youth group. I ended up changing my career path from majoring in Music to majoring in Youth Ministry. More milestones.
Little did I know the pain I experienced as a kid would provide me with the tool of compassion.
As the years go buy I think of Shannon often, all the amazing gifts of life she has missed out on because of one mistake in a car. I sing this song and share this story so kids can hear first-hand about the importance of taking driving seriously. No texting, speeding, goofing around…please!! You have so much ahead of you. Don’t miss it! Arrive at all the positive milestones you can.
What has been a significant life-shaping event in your life?
Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did. And if you’d like, you can listen to a sample of my song, “Milestones” on iTunes.
This is a song I wrote for my sister, Catherine, and her husband, FJ, for their wedding day (Catherine & FJ Abaya). At the time I had to sing it acapella because my hands still hurt so much. This made me very nervous, but after singing acapella on the cruise ship, I was determined to do it! I hoped it would be a blessings for their ceremony, as well as a chance for me to pray out loud my hope for their life together.
When it came time to record this song I was ecstatic to surprise them with me accompanying myself on the guitar.
This song underlines the importance of having God woven into your marriage, “three cords combined.” Life can provide you with joyful times but also many challenges and disappointments. Sometimes circumstances around you can get so bad that it can use up everything you’ve got! When two people who love each other are both dealing with their own difficult situations at the same time it can get really rocky. God can be that third cord to keep you strong and keep from breaking apart.
If you ever find yourself wondering who it is you are living with and even questioning whether you like them.
You are just normal!
We all unknowingly bring so much of our past experiences into our lives that we don’t always see the other for who they are but either who they remind us of or even who we wish they would be. It’s important to stop and recognize this.
We need to get our heads wrapped around the fact that we are all broken doing the best we can with the tools we were given.
It’s also important to be open to the fact that we could learn more through counseling.
Counseling has been a helpful tool we have referred to off and on throughout our marriage. It’s part of the reason we have made it this far.
I encourage you to embrace your spouse and the fact that you are both imperfect and can still learn and grown no matter how long you have been married.
Ultimately though, welcome God into your marriage every day. He can give us compassionate ears that can listen to our spouse when we really don’t want to. He can give us self control when all we want to do is scream about our own boss, or our own relational situations. It is purely by the strength of God that we can have what it takes to care for each other in the midst of our own stuff.
Seriously, let God give you what you need to be there for each other. Don’t turn your pain into a competition, where you compare who has the worst situation. Everyone’s feelings count. We normally know this but when we are hurting it’s hard to think clearly. Remember you are a team. You two are one, but you don’t need to do it alone! Praise God!!
Can you relate? What are some tips that have been helpful in your marriage?
Add your thoughts below. We’ll be glad you did.