Songs of the Heart

I am currently working on my next album, it’s quite the process so please be patient with me. A lot of times albums are named after one of the songs on the album, hence “Sing for the King” for my last one. But this group of songs all came from things, circumstances, hurts, revelations…. of my heart. Here are three of those songs.

The following is a testimony of sorts that I shared at Cross Connect on Saturday, April 30th, 2022. This is not a salvation testimony, although that is my greatest treasure, this is a testimony of the Mighty God we serve, His intervention, His provision, His grace and the beautiful sanctifying work He has done and is doing in my heart. What a God…

Fall 2019 – Our son and daughter-in-law tell us our unborn granddaughter has triploidy and wouldn’t survive, that Sydney (our daughter-in-law)’s life was at risk and they are going to terminate the pregnancy.  I was devastated and in my desperation for the life of my unborn granddaughter I hurt my daughter-in-law by basically saying she should give her life for her baby.  I saw her a couple days later and hugged her and told her I was sorry I hurt her. She was teary and gracious and said “it’s an impossible situation”.

I don’t think I’ve ever prayed harder than those next few weeks, I was praying and believing that God would give them a miracle. They had many more tests and ultrasounds and in November ended the life of little Evelyn Hoagland. They got her footprints and have a memorial for her, I know they valued her life. I didn’t have words or didn’t know what to say so I didn’t say anything, meanwhile, my precious daughter-in-law was struggling and hurting and being hurt by followers of Jesus…we have to do better, brothers and sisters in Christ. We can stand up for the unborn AND love their mamas. Jesus sure does, He died for both.

Somewhere around this time, I’m not really sure when, before or after?  The enemy began an assault on my heart, my mind, and I believe those around me.  I wasn’t really aware of it even, I just knew something was off.  In December I was crying off and on, stoic and a depression settled over me.  In January 2020, upon James’ request, I went away for a few days to spend some time alone with God and try and get my heart right. Meanwhile, we were still doing ministry and had almost 200 prison services scheduled for that year.  For the next few months I was still off and then COVID hit, prisons were shut down and we were all forced to be still.  We (the SFTK prison team) were making changes, seeking the Lord, making plans and I was struggling, so much so that I started having very dark thoughts.  I had lost my joy, my “everything’s going to be Okay” attitude and was just going through the motions of life.

And THEN GOD…intervened, I received a “random” phone call from a godly pastor friend, he didn’t know the situation but spoke truth over me and immediately I began to weep and a beautiful peace washed over me.  From there I prayed, talked to my husband, we prayed and I made a decision regarding Sing for the King Ministries, I knew what God was telling me to do and I had a confidence and boldness in it but it was not well received and the outcome was not at all what I thought was going to happen and when my darling husband said maybe we need to just step away I thought I would die.  I had put so much of my identity in doing prison ministry that I thought I couldn’t live without it.  I loved prison ministry, WE loved prison ministry, we had seen so many incredible things and loved being a part of it.  But it seemed like we were doing ministry for God than with Him.  Thankfully He does the work and used me in spite of myself, in spite of my striving.

I was having a hard time letting go and walking through everything, I asked my husband of course to pray but I also asked my accountability partner and BFF to pray for me, not just to pray but to pray and join me in asking God to show me my sin.  I didn’t want to be on the wrong side of this, I didn’t want to hurt anyone – I loved these people.  God, in His wonderful, beautiful grace pointed back to my obedience and this is what I clung to, that despite of the outcome or how I thought it should go and wanted it to go I had to be obedient to Him and He continues to confirm it even now. God has a better way, His thoughts are higher, He sees the bigger picture and I never again want my plans to interfere with what He wants to do.

I wrote this song July 13, 2020, in the midst of all this…The Beauty of Your Grace – it’s what we all need – my daughter-in-law, my ministry partners, my own heart – God’s beautiful grace. 

I sat down and it just poured out, like a prayer.  A prayer that some or all of us have prayed or will pray.

SONG – THE BEAUTY OF YOUR GRACE

Verse 1
Here I am again
Wondering how this ends
I need a friend
I’m on my knees, asking You
Please, oh please
Seeking Your face
A touch of Your grace

PreChorus
God I know You can, help me
I Need Your hand
Reach down for me
Reach down for me, (oh please)

Chorus 1
The beauty of Your grace is
Even when I fail it covers my shame
And takes all the blame
The beauty of Your grace is
Even when I’m wrong it’s never too long
To see I belong to You

Verse 2
You understand I’m broken
My heart’s words unspoken
Jesus, You see me
I’m on my knees, begging You
Please, oh please
Humbly I plead
Pour out Your peace (on me)

Chorus 2
The beauty of Your grace is
You choose me as Your own, I’m never alone
Or too far gone
The beauty of Your grace is
It restores, redeems and chases my soul
Secures all my hope

(Tag) Verse 3
Draw me near to Your throne, (where I’m) justified by grace alone

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” Titus 2:11

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

One of the things God showed me through this season is that my identity is in Christ alone, I had come to terms with this regarding my singing and worship leading – I didn’t worry about messing up or hitting a wrong note…it was no big deal because I knew my identity was in Him.  I just hadn’t embraced that with every part of my life.  Christ Jesus, my Savior, my Redeemer, He is all and everything I need.  He is enough and if I never sing or write another song – that’s okay! Jesus is enough!

This was a call to get back on my face, to seek Him, to be in His presence unrushed and undistracted, to spend time with Him with no planning for this service or that event, to simply draw near to Him. And He continues to remind me…to lean into Him, to sit at His feet like Mary of Bethany and choose the better thing – time in His presence, HIM.

I can imagine that 2020 and following has been hard on all of us.  Maybe it was hard before, maybe it’s hard right now. Did you know that You are seen, chosen, known and loved by Almighty God? He created You, breathed life in you and He is enough for you no matter what circumstances or situation you find yourself in.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:25-26

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.” Jeremiah 17:14

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—” Philippians 3:8-9

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” 2 Peter 1:3

“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come” Revelation 1:4

SONG – JESUS IS

Verse 1
When the world feels dark
And the storms keep raging on
Help me to remember, I’m not alone

Verse 2
When I can’t forget my pain
When the hurt won’t dim or fade
Remind me once again, Lord, You know my name

Chorus 1
I am known, I am chosen
I am made with God’s own breath
I am seen, I am loved
I don’t have to be enough
Jesus is

Verse 3
When I’ve lost my way
When I want to just give up
Bring me to my knees to choose You, the better thing

Verse 4
You are the God who sees me
While everyone walks by
(And) Lord I know You’re faithful and all I need

Chorus 2
I am known, I am chosen
I am made with God’s own breath
I am seen, I am loved
I don’t have to be enough
Jesus heals and He saves, Jesus is, He is my praise
Oh, He was and He is, Jesus is, He is

Bridge
He is Holy, Messiah, my Savior and my King
He’s my hope, Redeemer, He is my Victory
He is kindness and He’s goodness, the truth, He is the Life
He is power, my freedom, He will satisfy
Jesus is, He is, He is, He is

Chorus 3
I am known, I am chosen
I am made with God’s own breath
I am seen, I am loved
I don’t have to be enough
Jesus rules and He reigns, Jesus is, He is my praise
Oh, He was and He is, Jesus is, He is
Jesus is enough, He is, He is, He is

Isn’t He good? What keeps us from completely surrendering and selling out to Him?

SIN.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:16

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

A few months ago, a close friend of mine confessed a secret sin at a church service, they not only went forward for prayer but confessed their sin to the guest speaker and the pastor there. 

We have to confess to God, He is ready and waiting, longing to cleanse us and heal us.  And we need to confess to someone we trust, someone who will check on us, love us and love us enough to keep us accountable.

The enemy wants you to hold on to your sin, to keep it in the dark because he knows as soon as it is brought into the light it will no longer have power over you! You will be set free! 

I know this is hard…we don’t want to be found out, but yet, we don’t want to continue living in the dark, tormented and condemned and feeling stuck.  But we can’t hide sin and be everything God has created us to be.  He has called us to be children of light.

“For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.” John 12:46

SONG – CONFESS & BE HEALED

Verse 1
Deep inside my sin remains, things not said, my secrets laid
And I, I just can’t
What if they saw who I am, the broken, prideful, wretched man
And I, oh I just can’t

Pre-Chorus
I hear you, confess you say, what if I remain this way
I don’t want to stay the same, I don’t
I just can’t

Chorus
Confess and be healed, let the darkness disappear
The Light is here, let fear give way, be healed
Confess and be healed, let the darkness disappear
The Light has come, the victory’s won, be healed

Verse 2
You don’t know the things I’ve done, the weight, the hurt, how far I’ve run
And this, it’s tucked away
Depression, pain, anxiety, all the things it steals from me
And I, I want free!

Pre-Chorus (2X)
I hear you, confess you say, what if I remain this way
I don’t want to stay the same, I don’t
I just can’t

Chorus
Confess and be healed, let the darkness disappear
The Light is here, let fear give way, be healed
Confess and be healed, let the darkness disappear
The Light has come, the victory’s won, be healed

Bridge (3X)
Speak it out, lay it down
Declare what’s in the dark
Name your sin, say it now
Let Him heal your broken heart

Chorus
Confess and be healed, let the darkness disappear
The Light is here, let fear give way, be healed
Confess and be healed, let the darkness disappear
The Light has come, the victory’s won, be healed

Tag
Mercy, grace, His righteousness, confession leads to all of this
And now, now I’m free

I hope these three songs and the messages they carry speak to your heart as they do mine and that you will realize the beautiful grace of God, confess any sin you may be holding on to and fall at the feet of Jesus and bask in His presence. He really is enough.

For more about these songs and others read blog posts in the Behind the Music category.

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