I Sing Because I'm Free!

This WordPress.com site is the bee's knees

I Wonder as I Wander

1. I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die.
For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

2. When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.
But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall,
And the promise of ages it then did recall.

3. If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing,
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.

This is one of my favorite Christmas hymns.  The lyrics paint beautiful pictures in my mind, and the melody is in a marvelous minor key.  I recorded my own version of it today.

The story behind this song is fascinating.  It was written by John Jacob Niles, an American folk singer, in 1933.  However, the original idea came from a young girl that he met while attending a fundraising event.  Here is Nile’s account of that meeting-

“A girl had stepped out to the edge of the little platform attached to the automobile. She began to sing. Her clothes were unbelievable dirty and ragged, and she, too, was unwashed. Her ash-blond hair hung down in long skeins. … But, best of all, she was beautiful, and in her untutored way, she could sing. She smiled as she sang, smiled rather sadly, and sang only a single line of a song.”

“The girl, named Annie Morgan, repeated the fragment seven times in exchange for a quarter per performance, and Niles left with “three lines of verse, a garbled fragment of melodic material—and a magnificent idea”  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Wonder_as_I_Wander

Niles went on to write two more verses and it was performed for the first time in North Carolina on December 19, 1933.

The song is just as beautiful now as it was then.

Advertisements
5 Comments »

no turning back

IMG_2945

I have always loved hymns, and in particular, learning the stories behind how they were written.  The story behind I Have Decided to Follow Jesus is one that I found particularly moving…

“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” is a Christian hymn originating from India.

The lyrics are based on the last words of a man in north-east India, who along with his family, was converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of a Welsh missionary.

Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” In response to threats to his family, he continued, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.” His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, “The cross before me, the world behind me.” This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village.

The formation of these words into a hymn is attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. The melody is also Indian, and entitled “Assam” after the region where the text originated.The fierce opposition is possible as various tribes in that area were formerly renowned for head-hunting.  

An American hymn editor, William Jensen Reynolds, composed an arrangement which was included in the 1959 Assembly Songbook.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_Decided_to_Follow_Jesus

Often when we sing these words, we think of leaving behind frivolous things- like selfishness, a life of partying, or other things like gossiping or gambling.  When I think of this missionary and the courage he had to sing these words as he watched his own family be taken from him- and then knowing that his own life would be taken, too- it takes on a whole new meaning.  Are you willing to give up everything for the sake of following Christ?  

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.  Luke 14:33

“No Turning Back”

I have decided to follow Jesus

No turning back, no turning back

Hallelujah, hallelujah!

The world behind me, the cross before me

No turning back, no turning back

Hallelujah, hallelujah!

Though none go with me, still I will follow

No turning back, no turning back

Hallelujah, hallelujah!

9 Comments »

Hungry

If we're not hungry for Christ, we're probably too full of ourselves — via @MurrJohnson
You, Lord, are all I want!
    You are my choice,
    and you keep me safe.
 You make my life pleasant,
    and my future is bright.
Psalm 16:5-6 (CEV)

If you’re anything like me, when I start making good “diet” choices, those are the things that I begin to crave.  Like drinking water- that’s not really something I like to drink, but when I am intentional to get in my 6-8 glasses, I notice how much better I feel when I make those good choices.

It’s like that with seeking the Lord, too. When we get sidetracked with life, we can easily forget how desperately we need a steady diet of Him… but when we are intentional to read the Word, to pray, and to seek His presence- He faithfully fills our cup.

For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:9

1 Comment »

Whiter than Snow

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole;
I want Thee forever to live in my soul;
Break down every idol, cast out every foe—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies,
And help me to make a complete sacrifice;
I give up myself, and whatever I know—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat,
I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet,
By faith for my cleansing, I see thy blood flow—
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow.

Written by James Nicholson in 1872

 

3 Comments »

Be Born In Me

This has become one of my favorite Christmas songs.  Written from Mary’s perspective, it so beautifully captures the range of emotions she felt when realizing she was carrying the Son of God.

One of my favorite lines is this –

“I am not brave, I’ll never be- the only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy.  I’m just a girl, nothing more,  but I am willing- I am Yours…” 

May we all make room in our hearts for Him.   Be Born in me.

Be Born in Me (Mary’s Song)

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior
If God is pleased with me, why I am I so terrified
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on it’s knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we’ve waited for the promise
All this time You’ve waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

*written by Nichole Nordeman

*originally sung by Francesca Battestelli  

3 Comments »

Love is moving

The hem of His robe is where our healing lies
The wounds in His hands are where our life resides
Love is moving, moving among us

The beat of His heart our steady rhythm
A soul of a King and a Kingdom
Love is moving, moving among us
Love moves
Love is moving, moving among us

He illuminates with a holy fire
And it burns with the flame of God’s desire
Love is moving, moving among us

The power of God is in His presence
And the mercy of Heaven in His movement
Love is moving, moving among us

So we reach, we reach our hands to Him
Just to touch, to touch the Healer’s hand
We fall, we fall in worship
Our God is with us

Love is moving, moving among us

by Audrey Assad and Christy Nockels 

I heard this beautiful song for the first time a couple of weeks ago. For a while now, God has been stirring within me a desire to do something!  I have been praying about what God wants me to do, and so I’ve begun going once a week to help with a local non-profit group to serve and do whatever they need.

Sometimes we want God to use us to do “big things”… but I am finding the greatest joy in doing the smallest of tasks.  I have been so blessed by making phone calls, sorting through donations, delivering stuff to those who are less fortunate, praying for people, and just making myself available.  

When we love God, His love transforms us.  His love moves us to serve, to love others, to give of ourselves, and to worship!

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.

Isaiah 58:10

God, help me to be obedient to Your nudge- and to do whatever You ask of me- no matter how big or small it might seem.  Help me to see others through Your eyes, help me to shine in the darkness, and to do all things with a thankful heart- and for Your glory!

8 Comments »

The Shadow of Your Wings

“The Shadow of Your Wings”

running for shelter 

in for stormy weather 

and I don’t know where to go 

or what to say

I need a time out 

so I can cry out 

I’m searching for a place

to hide away 

so I run to You 

to hide under the shadow 

hide under the shadow of your wings

Hiding, hiding

in my secret place 

abiding, abiding 

in my Father’s warm embrace

hiding in the shadow 

of Your wings

I hid and then You found me 

that grace of Yours astounds me

and I don’t have to say a single thing 

because You see right through me 

my thoughts are not a mystery

cause You made me 

and You know me intimately 

so I run to You 

to hide under the shadow

hide under the shadow 

of Your wings

There have been so many times when I have wanted to run away and hide- from people, situations, and just life in general.  Have you ever seen a child cover their eyes and think that they are “hiding”?  I remember my girls doing this when they were little, and it always made me smile.

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!              Psalm 139:7

We may try to “hide”, but NOTHING is hidden from Him…and we can come into His presence and hide in the shadow of His wings. He is my Comforter, my Protector, my Helper, my Loving Father- and there is nothing as fulfilling as spending some quiet time with Him. I wrote this song a few days ago, after spending much of the day praying and “hiding” out with my Heavenly Father. What a comfort it is to know that He loves us, knows every detail about our lives, and that whenever we feel like running and “hiding”- we can run straight in to the arms of our loving Father.

Because you are my help,

I sing in the shadow of your wings.  Psalm 63:7

IMG_0787

Leave a comment »

You Have Redeemed My Soul

You have redeemed my soul

from the pit of emptiness

You have redeemed my soul

from death

You have redeemed my soul

from the pit of emptiness

You have redeemed my soul

from death

I was a hungry child

in a dried up river

I was a burnt out forest

and no one could do anything

for me

but You brought food to my body

and water in my dry bed

and to my blackened branches

You brought the springtime green

of new life

and nothing is impossible

for You

(by Waterdeep)

I didn’t write this beautiful song- but it might as well have been written for me.

I heard this song one Sunday when a college student led worship at our church many years ago. God began to stir within my heart a desire to draw closer to Him as I heard it.  Months went by, and all I could remember was the word green, and I knew I had to find this song again. I called my husband at work and asked him if he remembered what song I was talking about.  He did-  but he, too, couldn’t remember the name.

It wasn’t but about an hour later- my hubby remembered it (he has a fantastic memory, praise the Lord!!) and he sent me the words of the song. I sat at my piano, with nothing but these words and I played and sang it. I did this every single day.  For weeks.

It was the first worship song I ever played on my piano. Honestly, it wasn’t worship at all when I first started playing it. But I believe God had been planting seeds and that He was teaching me how to worship. I was hungry for Him and desperate to change my life.  I played and played…and the more I played, the less I had to think about what I was doing.

One morning, I sat on my old piano bench, and  I remember my youngest daughter was crawling around on the floor in the next room.  I began to play this song that I had been compelled to play for weeks on end… and for the first time, I tried to sing and nothing came out.  Tears flowed down my face as I realized all this time I had spent searching for the words of this song- I had been searching for Him.  And these words I was compelled to sing- He was doing that for me all the time, and had already done this for me… He was simply waiting for me to see it.  You know that saying “fake it ’till you make it”?  After all that time of singing praises- finally in that instant, empty words were brought to life in my heart, and His presence was so real.

He was already with me…I had been blind, but praise God- that was the day that for the first time-

I could see!

One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”  John 9:25

9 Comments »

Finally Free – a song about Baptism

Dying with You,rising again

leaving behind my body of sin

born in the Spirit and ready to live

accepting Your gift, and I’m ready to give 

I declare today to all the earth 

that I no longer live but Christ through me

and by His grace I have a second birth 

because He paid the price

I’m finally free

Lord find me worthy to suffer for You

to feel just a taste of what You went through

so I can stand with You when this life is done

Embraced by the Father, redeemed by the Son

Give me the boldness to stand by Your side

seeing my faith as nothing to hide

sharing with others Your mercy and grace

whenever Your time, Lord, wherever Your place 

About 5 years ago, my husband wrote these beautiful lyrics.  I put them to music and sang this at a special service where several people were baptized- including myself.  I had accepted Jesus as my Savior as a child, but had never been baptized before.

This song will always hold a special place in my heart.  It is wonderful to write songs with my husband, and even more awesome to know what He has done for all of us.   To God be the glory!

Because He paid the price, I’m finally free

10 Comments »

Daddy’s Silly Songs…and a song about them

Image 2

Tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s 11th birthday!  What a wonderful blessing she is!  Sweet as pie, eyes as blue as the sky, loving, and kind… she’s a beauty inside and out!

She is quickly leaving behind the little girl things like dress-up and playing with dolls… but just the other day, she warmed my heart when she said just how much she loves it when Daddy sings his Silly Songs at bedtime!

Since the girls were very little, we have had the same bedtime routine.  I pray with them every night, and Daddy sings to them. They think it’s the best thing ever.  Any child who has been here to sleep over can tell you about the ruckus that occurs in this house for the 5 minutes before, during, and after one of Daddy’s Silly Songs.  Have you heard of Silly Songs with Larry from Veggie Tales?  Well, they are nowhere NEAR as silly as my husband can be!   He will ask them for a word, and then uses the word to make an entire “silly song”!  And I don’t know that I’ve ever heard anyone with laughter as loud as my husband’s!

Even though my husband works long hours, I am so thankful that most evenings he is able to be home to tuck them in bed and sing them their song.  This is the highlight of the evening for both of the girls.  And I admit, I smile, too- even though I know this is not settling them down for bed, lol!   Every time I see how silly he is with the girls, God reminds me that I need to laugh a little more with them, too!

I wrote a song about our evenings.  When I am stressed to the max doing homework with the girls, cleaning, phone ringing, making dinner, playing referee… I quickly remember that everything’s going to be ok- because I have a loving husband and father who is going to come home to us… and his silly songs will make us all smile!  When I hear him singing with the girls, I am reminded how very blessed I am!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Oh- and Happy Birthday, Katie Bug!

 It’s Gonna Be Okay

There are times when I feel
my patience wearing thin
at the end of the day
is when it all begins
Momma’s in high demand
and I’m feeling torn in two
dinner, dishes, laundry, homework,
and dog is barking, too.
Then I remember that I’m not alone
Daddy’s working hard to give us a home
And He’ll be here to say goodnight
And with all of us home, everything’s alright!
It’s gonna be ok, daddy’s coming home tonight
He’ll tuck you in bed and He’ll turn out your light
He’ll sing a silly sing and you’ll both sing along
and momma will pray with all of her might
it’s ok, ok, ok….. ok, ok, ok
Seeing daddy reminds me
that I need to be more silly
And not take everything
quite so seriously
Then he comes to their room
and he asks for a single word
he creates the silliest
bedtime song
that You have ever heard!
And I thank God for my family
and all the blessings He’s given me
A thousand love songs I could sing
But a silly one- that’s daddy’s thing!
13 Comments »