It’s not a song till it touches your heart.
It’s not a song till it tears you apart.
After what’s left of what’s right and what’s wrong,
Till it gets through to you,
It’s not a song.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard song lyrics and thought “Yes! That’s it! I’ve never known how to say but that it’s right there.”
In my teen years, I was a huge Amy Grant fan. To be honest, I was one of MANY teen girls who loved her music. I still “go back” and listen to those songs. Especially to this one. Theses lyrics jumped out at me the first time I heard the song. It’s exactly how I’ve always felt about music. And I listened to this song so often that I wore out the first cassette tape I owned and had to replace it. After all these years, these lyrics still hit me right in the heart and this is a song I still go back to again and again because I find myself in these lyrics every time.
Today’s post won’t be terribly long. But since these Monday posts are supposed to be about my personal musical history I thought I’d share this quick memory.
I was 12 years old and we were getting ready to visit my grandparents for the weekend. I’m not even sure how it exactly came about, but I was asked to sing special music for the Sunday morning service while I was there. I was more than a little nervous. I had played for the occasional Sunday service but this was different. It wasn’t going to be happening while others were singing. It would be just me.
I sang a song called “My Father’s Eyes” originally recorded by Amy Grant. I had loved the song for a while and jumped at the chance to perform it. But, yeah, I was nervous! I hadn’t had a single private voice lesson at that point so I was simply going with what came naturally. I can’t remember much of what anyone said to me after. It didn’t really matter. There was something about that moment that felt so very “right”. Music and faith have always been so intrinsically linked and that experience simply helped build on that.
I’ve sung in many venues and in front of crowds of various sizes. I’ve sung in churches, at conferences, at camps, in theatrical productions . . . but there’s something about that first one that will always be special.
I love words. Books, poems, short stories, song lyrics . . . I love them all. I’ve been a voracious reader for the vast majority of my life and have even dabbled in a bit of poetry and fiction writing. No big career aspirations, just a creative outlet. And, as the occasional songwriter, I’ve crafted a few lyrics in my adult years.
When you take my love of music and combine with my love of a well-crafted turn of phrase, something magical happens. Song lyrics can leave me breathless, remind that I’m not alone in this weird journey we call life, or serve as a gentle nudge of conviction.
In my own songwriting, the lyrics are always a reflection of a moment. Maybe I was learning a lesson or struggling through a challenge. On occasion, a specific scripture passage as spun around in my brain to the point that I was inspired to write. Whatever the motivation, each and every song reflects a piece of my own personal faith journey.
I’m hoping to make this “words and music” feature a regular feature on this website. The focus will be on the lyrics of others that I have been inspired by. It’s been my experience that the creative expression of truth sometimes has a longer-lasting impact than any lecture or sermon ever could.
In his song titled “Hello, My Name Is”, Matthew West gives us this powerful reminder of our identity in the song’s chorus –
These are the voices,
these are the lies
And I have believed them,
for the very last time.
Hello, my name is child of the one true king
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, and I have been set free
Amazing grace is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true king.
It’s one of those songs I cannot help but turn up and sing along at the top of my lungs!