Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"This is my Story...This is My Song!"

I had been playing the guitar now for about five months. The first two months were really, really difficult. The teacher was good...a Vietnamese who would also spend quite a bit of time at the Chapel. I was learning the chord fingerings OK, and I was getting the theory down, but I just didn't have (or take) the time to practice like I needed to. Part of it has to do with my learning style. If I don't some immediate application to what it is I'm trying to learn, I find it difficult to motivate myself to practice. But...if I either use it, or see how I can use it, then you will find me practicing much more that is expected.

It wasn't until one of my friends, Zach, brought a worship song book by the Chapel that he had that had a lot of songs that I recognized and the guitar chords that went with the songs. I would find myself spending hours in the Chapel during my work time with a guitar in my hands practicing songs. It was amazing how quickly I started to learn how to play that beautiful stringed instrument. It all made sense, and the guitar was actually beginning to make a sound that was more like harmony than the sounds I would hear coming from a guitar that a two year old would create from his own random strumming. I was really beginning to like this!

Then one night, something really strange happened. I started to hear these words in my mind and there was a melody line with them. Could this be a song germinating in my mind? I pushed it aside, knowing that I have never been creative like that, and even if it was a song, I would never know how to write it down.

I put it out of my mind and read for awhile and then crawled up into my bed. I was greeted with the nearly empty pillow case that passed for my pillow and the thin blanket that would cover me through the night, warding off the cold air blowing from the air conditioner directly over my bed. It only took minutes for my body to begin to feel the hardness of the steel plate that substituted for what most people call "bed springs". I knew my body would be screaming at me in the morning as I pulled the blanket up over my head and tried to fall asleep amidst the clamour of another night at TCI.
"I've been down that road
That leads to death and destruction,
I've listened to lies from the devil himself.
I was lost and alone
In a fantasy nightmare,
But God by His grace
Has brought me back to His throne."
As I lay there in bed, the words kept rolling around in my head. They began to develop a cadence and as they continued to play, music once again joined in. Only this time, it was even better than when it first started to ferment hours earlier.
I'm not one to get out of bed and write down things that I think of while I'm in bed. I know that because of that trait, I have left a lot of good ideas in bed that I forgot long before my alarm would wake me the following morning. But on that night, something...or Someone...kept prodding me to get out of bed and write this down.
"You show me grace
You show me love.
You show me grace
From Heaven above.
He has touched me through you
His obedient daughter.
He has shown me His grace
By being loved by you!"
I crawled down out of my bed and rummaged in my locker for a notepad and began to write. As I wrote the first set of words that had come to me (was this really a verse?), another set of words quickly rushed into my mind. Even as I wrote the words on the paper, my mind was associating musical chords to them. I didn't know the name of the chord at the time, but using little arrows, I placed them above the words on my paper to know that the music should move up or down.
My heart started to pound with excitement at the thought that God was giving me a song! And not just any song...this song was about me...about my life and my struggles...and how He has revealed Himself to me over these past months.
"I can't look in your eyes
Without seeing Jesus
Whenever you speak,
I hear His still, small voice.
In the caress of your touch
I feel the love of the Master.
Thank you my love
For showing Christ to me!"
When I think of what I've done in my life and how I've hurt those who loved me the very most, I am amazed at how differently they have reacted. My brother's and sister have shown me love and support since they first heard that I was in trouble. Some of my former co-workers were quick to run the other way and distance themselves from me as quickly as possible, while some that I didn't even realize were really friends have surrounded me with their love and support.
But the one person that I deserved to have completely leave my life...didn't. I know she wanted to, she has told me that. When she left our condo on February 25, she never expected to come back or have any kind of relationship with me. She knew that she would go her separate way and start a new life without me. She had been able to separate her from important people in her life before, so why should it be any different this time? Because Someone else had a different plan....a plan to use her to save a lost sinner...me!
"He has shown me the way
He has shown me the light,
Cleansed me from sin
Given me new life.
Thank You my Lord
For Your treasured daughter,
Thank You my Lord
For my beautiful wife!"
There is a beautiful old hymn that has a line in the chorus that says, "This is my story, this is my song!" That's what God gave to me that night. I didn't plan to write a song about, or to, my wife, Paula. But God had different plans, as He often does. Through the words of a song that He placed in my heart, He continued the healing process that He started over a year before and that He continues to this day. He helped me to see what REAL grace looked like...and He used the person that I have loved more than anyone else on this earth to reveal it to me. And He continued to peel back the scales from my eyes so that I could see exactly the kind of life that I was living. He is truly an amazing God!
The next day in the chapel, I took out a guitar and began to play with the song. Within less than an hour, I had a chord chart written for "my song" and I was playing in the office. David, the gifted musician who played keyboards for the church choir, asked what it was that I was playing. With a little bit of pride in my voice, I told him that it was a song that I had written....a song that God had given me...a song of my life.

1 comment:

Deb said...

Incredible beautiful story. I hope I get to hear you sing that song one day. Maybe it will be something you share at your book signings or as part of the teaching I know you'll be doing.

Your writing just gets stronger and stronger. Your heart is on the page, and I can feel God's presence in your words.

I wish you would consider going more public with this blog. Your story has such healing to offer. Are you ready?

I love you.