Posted in Emotions, Grace, prayers, White Knight, Worship

His & Hers Songs

Music is amazing.  Music crosses cultures and communicates to everyone at some level.  It’s inspiring.  It pierces to the soul.  Music communicates the deepest of man’s emotions with a single note or word.

Song writers are amazing.  That someone can so expertly put into words what I am feeling but am unable to communicate or even make sense of for myself is AMAZING.
Today I have his and hers songs share so that I will remember this moment.  These two songs exactly communicate the cry of my heart.  Mine, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles. . . should be self-explanatory.  My Knight’s, “Shake it Off,” by Florence and the Machine . . . was a moment of inspiration watching him hunched over in the tub, head down, slumped.  I could almost see the demons riding on his shoulders, weighing him down.
“Gravity” – This is my favorite version by the singer/ songwriter done live.  Also see Alex and Sierra’s
Something always brings me back to you.
It never takes too long.
No matter what I say or do I’ll still feel you here ‘til the moment I’m gone.
You hold me without touch.
You keep me without chains.
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your reign.
Set me free, leave me be. I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I’m supposed to be.
But you’re on to me and all over me.
You loved me ’cause I’m fragile.
When I thought that I was strong.
But you touch me for a little while and all my fragile strength is gone.
I live here on my knees as I try to make you see that you’re
Everything I think I need here on the ground.
But you’re neither friend nor foe though I can’t seem to let you go.
The one thing that I still know is that you’re keeping me down.
You’re keeping me down, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
You’re on to me, on to me, and all over…
Something always brings me back to you.
It never takes too long.
“Shake it Off” – This one is done by Glee, one of my favorite version for the trio effect.  More meaningful too since it was situation specific for the show.
Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn
And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around
All of his questions, such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn
Shake it out, shake 

it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah!      2x

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, ooh woah!
And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but its left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn
And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my rope
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right up my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me, ohh


Posted in Church, Community, Emotions, Life's Lessons, White Knight, Worship

Waiting for No Man

I don’t know where that phrase comes from – I wait for no man.  A movie I am sure, but it suits my revelation and thoughts of the last eve.  Why am I waiting on anyone else to make me happy?  That’s my job!  Not my husband’s, not God’s, not my workplace’s.  In my head, I’ve putting too much pressure on my White Knight to be all that I think he can / should be thinking I would only be able to be all that I can be when he does.  This is not true.  I need to do my best at all times regardless of anyone else’s performance.  If I’m not doing what makes me happy, I need to be the one to change it not wait for some external source or grand calling.

If I’m frustrated about the lack of music in my life, I need to make time for worship and maybe learn a new instrument or two (like I’ve been saying for months / years).  Not wait until he gets off his butt and learns to play the guitar he bought two years ago.  

If I miss church, I need to make time to go even if we work Sunday morning there are options in the evening or early or on weekdays.  

If I miss dance, I need to make time for a class or at least alone time with some music and an empty room.  

If I am lonely, I need to make some friends instead of relying on him to be my everything.  

If I miss making a difference in my community, I need to step out and step up to the plate, not wait for him to have the energy/interest/drive to help a worthy organization.  

Stop making excuses Grace!  

You are your own person.  Take some responsibility for yourself and your own happiness.  He’s not holding you back.  He’s missing out on life, but so are you!  No more.  I wait for no man.

Posted in Church, Theories, Worship

Worship Through the Ages

The family and I spent several months searching for a new home church, since finding that the church I grew up in was too far away to maintain relationships. From a previous post you may remember the check list.

1) Good message
2) Good worship
3) Good people
4) People our age (preferably with kids the same age as ours)
5) Good children’s program

Rare is there all five characteristics in one church body and while I do understand no church is going to be like my old church, its hard to know when you find your new church home and when to move on.

Anyway . . . I think we’re there! Good Message. Good People. A Children’s Program. (A few) people our own age. Added bonus – my mother-in-law goes to church there too. The kids love going to church with their Grammie and she loves having us sit in the pew beside her. The only thing . . . the worship sucks! No offense. I have great hopes for the future. There is talent and new church leadership is sensitive to their shortcomings.

Worship is EXTREMELY important to me. I don’t have words to describe it. I also don’t have the words to communicate the feeling of nails on a chalkboard uninspired squawking on a stage labeled as worship creates either. It drives me nuts! I understand making a place in any worship service for yourself even with the driest songs and worst leadership, but I also recognize the distraction bad worship can be for the congregation. Instead of preparing the heart to hear the word I spend the time being irritated about what’s going on on stage while the congregation zones out. All that aside, I spend way too much time thinking during the service when I should be listening. This last Sunday I was thinking about the shelf life of songs, in particular, worship songs. Here’s the theory I came up with last Sunday.

I think there are very few songs that hold their power beyond the time in which they were written. This goes for songs of the world and songs of the church. The Beatles wrote a few songs that outlived their performance of them. “Amazing Grace” will always touch the heart. But, Lord knows, one hit wonders abound and last year’s hits are long gone. Even recent powerhouse worship songs like “Shout to the Lord” and “How Great is Our God” aren’t what they were the first ten times you heard them. I feel like most inspired worship music is given for specific times in the church body’s growth. God’s word is evolving as he gives new inspiration and breathes new life into the Word of God. He is not stagnant nor is our relationship with him. The same goes for worship music. New inspiration is given and new leaders and song writers step up each with their own skills and talents to be used. While there are a few universal messages that never lose their power, you don’t recycle sermons. Worship songs are endlessly replayed and recycled and rarely with the power and intention of the original writers and musicians. If you’re going to do an oldie but goodie, I feel like you should at least put a modern spin on it. I love what recent musicians have done with some of the classic hymns – adding a chorus to what is usually a bunch of wordy verses, playing with instrumentation and even the chords. Traditional Christmas songs are the best example of this. Wordy, traditional chords, no repetitive chorus, no emotional upswing just one feel the whole way thru. The list goes on. The words aren’t the problem for most of the traditional hymns. More often than not, they’re straight from the Psalms. The problem is you LISTEN to wordy songs, you don’t enter into worship with them!

I could continue to expound (or rant, if you will), but I think I have said enough for now.

Posted in Church, Community, Worship


Worship. God, I miss it!

It’s been over a year (with the exception of a visit to another church) since I feel like I’ve been a part of a GOOD worship service. The church we presently attend has a two out of five rating in my rating system:

1) Good message
2) Good worship
3) Good people
4) People our age (preferably with kids the same age as ours)
5) Good children’s program

They’ve got the people and the message. We should be teaching our kids at home and you don’t NEED people your own age to go to church with. But the worship. . . the worship just kills us! Its stale and old and totally uninspired. Today’s service for example. There wasn’t a song less than ten years old and most of them were over twenty -five (they print the dates in the programs)! The drummer played one beat the entire service. The vocalists stood perfectly still and stare at their lyrics the whole service. They clapped on the opposite beat and they read a pre-programed scripture between each and every song. Both my knight and I are very musical people. Its almost like nails grating on a chalkboard to sit through a worship service like this. That’s how much it physically bothers me, not mention the spiritual aspect I am missing out on.

Growing up in a charismatic church and being a part of that worship team for so long, I feel I have a unique need for worship. A worship team is (or should be anyway) three steps ahead of the congregation in entering into worship. You’re leading. The congregation won’t go where you haven’t prepared the way. Being on the worship team, I’d always been a part of reaching for that higher high. I also had the benefit of the natural high that can arise from being a musician and playing with other musicians. There is something incredibly exciting about being in that moment where you feel it all ‘click.’ Its an awesome feeling. All that to say, I feel it when the worship is off and I know that I have higher expectations than the average church goer.

Should we go back to my old church? I have a lot of history there. Its got a five out of five on my rating system. The only downside is how far away it is from where we live. Its hard to have relationships with people you can only see for a few hours on Sunday because the drive discourages more. As an added factor in my decision making, my sister recently let me know that the present pianist is stepping down. Am I ready to serve on a worship team again? Especially that worship team? It’s changed so much since I was there. My sister is the only musician left on the team who served with our original worship leader, Ron. We spent 6-7 years learning how to worship with him as our leader. A very inspired worshiper, the rule with Ron was follow. We became experts at ‘hearing’ where the song was going as Ron was always open to following the spirit. We learned to play by ear, transpose to new keys in our head, pull out leads from cds and figure them out on our instruments. Change is hard, but abrupt change after years of continuity is harder still. The last year I was on the team was a ruff one. I had to work hard at not being offended by various changes made by leadership. Even so, I spent the last few weeks on the worship team in tears half the time. Sometimes tears are a part of the worship experience, but not these cleverly disguised ones.

The piano had been my instrument of worship for years. In the six years I had been playing in church, there had been no other pianist in the church. Suddenly there was! Somehow, it was assumed that I would be playing the synthesizer now instead of the piano with the addition of this second pianist. Let me tell you, the creativity factor is nil on a synthesizer compared to a keyboard. I felt like my ability to worship had been stripped. So strong were my feelings, I would literally break into tears during the worship service as I had to listen to another pianist struggle through a song I played for years! I couldn’t participate, couldn’t worship like I had before. After practices, I would cry on the way home in the car, knowing I had just heard a beautiful song with gorgeous piano fingerings, and I would not get the chance to play it. She was a classically trained pianist as opposed to my self-taught ear training, so maybe the switch made sense to leadership. Not to me.

I WAS offended. I knew that offense has no place in the church having seen its ill affect on my mom and our family. That doesn’t mean I knew how to deal with it. Conveniently, my husband and I made the decision to find a church closer to home at that time. I never had to ‘deal’ with the offense. I avoided it. So where does that leave me today? We’re still looking for a church to call home. I know that worship is in my blood, and I will again serve on a worship team. Its just a question of where, when, and how.