…Okay, NOW! Fiesta of Fabulous Forty-Ness Day Three: Steven Curtis Chapman’s latest CD (*Warning: Contains MGO*)

At least you were able to amuse yourselves in the comments while you waited. At least I was amused when I read the comments. This afternoon, I received a little Christmas searcy (you may call them “happies”  or  “surprises” at your house. My family calls them “searcies.”) from a friend I made through blogging. We’ve never met (though she’s going to be traveling my way early next year, woo hoo!), but I have nary a second’s hesitation when I refer her to as my friend. She has become precious to me. I love reading through the comments and finding long-time friends in the flesh intermingled with newer friends who live in my computer. And thanks, new commenters who joined the conversation this week! New friends are always welcome!

Speaking of friends, CarpoolQueen was here last night. She and her boys were driving through on the way to her parents’ house. It was a quick trip, but as always, a good one. The time went by too fast, but it always seems to speed up when we’re together. We drank Starbucks–she didn’t even have to win a gift card! Come on over, and I’ll give you the same treatment—and ate white fudge-covered Oreos and winter Oreos (the snowman ones with the red centers). Then we had to temper the sweet taste with handfuls of Fritos. In between bites we talked about everything and nothing. It was a good visit.

However, I was too busy visiting and didn’t get a post ready for this morning. It’s been a busy day, but I’m home now and I’m ready to give away the latest CD by Steven Curtis Chapman.  I think many of you are familiar with Steven and probably know about the tragic death of his daughter in May 2008. (If you are unfamiliar with the story, CNN did an interview with him in November and you can read it here.) I downloaded his CD, “Beauty Will Rise,” the first day it was available on iTunes. The day after I downloaded it I spent most of my waking hours in my vehicle and most of that time I spent by myself. I listened to the CD and wondered how in the world Steven Curtis Chapman had gained access to my brain.  At one point as I was driving, I turned into an empty parking lot and just sat and listened. Steven Curtis Chapman was singing the songs in my heart that I hadn’t known how to write.

Look at these lyrics from the song “Questions”:

Who are You, God?

‘Cause You are turning out to be so much different than I imagined.

And where are You, God?

‘Cause I’m finding life to be so much harder than I had planned.

You know that I’m afraid to ask these questions

But You know they are there

And if You know my heart the way that I believe You do,

You know that I believe in You

But still I have these questions.

This is not a CD with trite, pat, “smile, because it’s all good with Jesus” lyrics. Don’t misunderstand me. This CD is full of praise and every song on it gives glory to God, but every song on it was obviously written from a place of extreme pain and brokenness. Instead of masking his hurt or keeping his struggles to himself, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote twelve of the most brutally honest, painfully beautiful, raw and real songs I’ve ever heard. And I am so grateful. Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to voice the devastation of grief. I applaud and admire Steven for digging deep to find the most perfectly fitting words and then pairing them with just the right music. I am certain this CD will provide comfort and will even be a catalyst for healing for many.

I’ve never lost a child. I don’t know what that feels like. I do know what it feels like when a parent dies. I am sure that in many ways my pain is very different from Steven’s. But apparently, grief is a universal language, because his heartfelt expressions mirrored my own feelings. This song, in particular, means a lot to me now:

So here’s what I want to do today. I want to give you a copy of “Beauty Will Rise.” Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to give it to a friend who is hurting. You don’t necessarily have to give it to someone who is separated from someone they love by death, although several of the songs speak to that particular kind of loss. Many of the songs on this CD would be helpful to anyone who has a broken heart or is struggling for any reason. And maybe you need to keep the CD for yourself. I would venture to guess that many of you have a deep-seated hurt. You may not have even told anyone about your pain. I would love to give this CD to you in the hopes that it would give voice to your feelings and even turn your heart back towards the only One who can heal it. So, if you win, you don’t have to tell me what you’re going to do with it. I trust you.

Today in the comments, I’d like to know if there is a song or songs that meant a lot to you during a hard time. If you don’t have one or if that’s too hard, or if heavy posts like this make you itchy, you can tell me what Christmas song you would rather not ever hear again. I’ll go first on that one. If I never ever hear “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” ever, ever again, I will not be even one tear-drop sad. In honor of having almost twice as many words as Mr. Hyatt says a good blog post should have, feel free to answer both questions of you like.

*In case you’re new to the party, MGO stands for My Grief Observed. It denotes any post that relates to the journey through grief that I’m currently traveling.



Filed under My Grief Observed

23 responses to “…Okay, NOW! Fiesta of Fabulous Forty-Ness Day Three: Steven Curtis Chapman’s latest CD (*Warning: Contains MGO*)

  1. Oh, where is that top 10 list??

    Today, my song is . . .
    I Will Rise

  2. Cindy Moses

    So…I said that Wisconsin has been snow-less…well, just disregard that statement. 🙂 ***

    1. Through broken hearted tears… Blessed Be Your Name…You give and take away… my heart will CHOOSE to say Blessed Be Your Name.

    2. Oceans Will Part… again, through tears…TRUST…nothing is beyond God

    3. I’ll bet your kids will be singin’ “Momma Knows.. or Nose.”

  3. I think You Give and Take Away, Blessed be the Name. Also, After This Day is Gone.

  4. You Are Good by Nichole Nordeman. Even when I can’t see what God is up to in my circumstances, I KNOW that He is good.

    And I despise that hippo song too. Along with anything by the chipmunks, and that Christmas shoes song too.

    Glad you and Sus got to visit…even if it was brief!

  5. Toss up between “Homesick” and “Finally Home”, both by MercyMe.

    You can understand why.

  6. I was very new to this whole idea of Christianity and depending on God for anything, much less comfort and true joy when my mom died. She passed 3 weeks before I turned 30. I remember feeling as if my feet were permantly in wet cement, and that I was surprised that the world could continue spinning on its axis, given the gravity of my grief. I will say this: you’re never old enough to lose a parent. And no matter the state of the relationship, it’s a faith/world shaker.

    At her funeral, I actually had no idea what I was doing–an only child, organizing and eulogizing and just filling needs. But there were a couple of songs that meant the world to me. The first was Amazing Grace, as sung by Judy Collins. My mom was a hippie in disguise of a working, single mom. She lurved, lurved, lurved Judy and Joan Baez. So that was a must. And the song comforts me to this day, especially now that I know the history behind it. The other song that means a lot is “Testify to Love”, by Avalon. I have a memory of watching the sappy, but sweet show, “Touched by an Angel”, and calling my mom to see if she’d seen the episode in which Wynona Judd sings that song for her dying son. She had watched it. We both talked about how that episode brought us to tears. This was not an earth shattering deal, really, but represented a shared connection when at times, our connections were awry. So, yeah. Those songs.

    If I had to fast forward to today, I suppose the only song I would add is “It is Well with My Soul” by Horatio Spafford.

    I love you, Amy. I’m so sorry you’re hurting. xxxooogjh

  7. I’ve run through some tears to Blessed Be Your Name.

    But when my dad died, we sang a lot of songs. All kinds of songs. And I’ll never forget singing “Ancient of Days” at my dad’s celebration of life service. The unchanging nature of our good God, His sovereignty, His kingship over all things is just celebrated in that song in a way typified my daddy’s faith and attitude toward life. Maybe I just can’t explain it. But worshiping the Ancient of Days as I mourned my earthly father’s loss was and is the way that I am able to press on in joy through this life that is so hard.

    That’s me.

  8. Oh where to start, for I truly believe music heals the soul. I always seem to sing “How Great Thou Art” when I am really down or the newer version “How Great is Our God.”

    However, a few years ago, a friend of mine died at a very young age, leaving behind two small children, around Christmas time. (You might have known her…) Anyway, at her funeral, my husband with the church choir as back up sang “These are the Days of Elijah.” It was so powerful and full of praise. It actually had me smiling thinking of my friend Racheal walking with the Lord. It really touched my heart in a special way. Now everytime I hear or sing that song in church, I smile.

    I simply can’t stand the song “Grandma got ran over by a reindeer” if that is even the right title.

    Prayers and blessings friend!

  9. If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens.

    That song brought me to the feet of Jesus, at a time i really needed to be there…

    Happy for your visit with CPQ! And thank you for the heads up on this album. I have two dear friends who lost children this year. So if I don’t win, I know exactly what I am getting for them.

  10. Sandy M.

    One-handed-pecking here (& Sweet Suz called my DD yesterday to check on me…), but so glad you got to visit w/her. I know SHE was looking forward to it!! Fav. song: I Will Rise. What a promise!

  11. Oh, music has always brought comfort to my soul when I didn’t have words. Some oldies, but goodies – “Home Free” by Wayne Watson. I love the opening line: I’m trying hard not to think you unkind, but heavenly father, if you know my heart, surely you can read my mind.”
    I also turn to “I will Trust you” by Twila Paris in the hard times. I remember going through a rough patch in high school and driving in my car with that blaring on the stereo. I had to pull over to cry it out before it was all said and done. When we were job hunting and lost this year, I caught myself singing it more than once.
    And like others, more recently “Blessed be the Name.”
    Glad you got a visit in with CPQ. I had hoped she would pop into your world on this trip.

  12. Robin M.

    The Christmas I don’t like is Christmas Shoes… just way too sad and heartbreaking.

  13. I love, love, love Casting Crown’s ‘Praise You in this Storm’. It gives me a new perspective every time I hear it. I love the phrase ‘and every tear I’ve cried, You hold in Your hand’. It gives me such peace and joy! And it humbles me too. Thanks Casting Crowns!!
    But, I could live my whole life and never hear ‘Jingle Bells, Batman Smells’ again.

  14. lydia harrigan

    when my son was in the NICU we heard Blessed Be Your Name by Matt Redman. it was such a testimony that in ALL things, the Lord is good and worthy to be blessed- even in the waiting and watching as your newborn sits in a hospital hooked up to all kinds of machines, not knowing how it will come out at the end.

    p.s. i’ve never commented, but i read your blog through my best friend candace. 🙂 she can tell you the whole story, but we met in seminary!

  15. That was a beautiful song, thanks for sharing it. Its funny, as I was reading the first part about the CD, I was thinking about someone I would give it to.

    A song that has been a great blessing to me is called Walk On With Me by Danny Donnelly.

    This post, and thinking of my friend I mentioned has inspired me. I think I want to make a CD for her.

    Oh and the Christmas song I can do without is that Christmas Shoes one. Sorry to be all hard and cynical, but it just seems emotionally manipulative to me. Just sayin.

  16. It Is Well With My Soul…a hymn that comes from a deeply hurting man who deeply trusted God speaks to me about trials in my own life.

    Mighty to Save by Hillsong…The line “take me as you find me, all my fears and failures. Fill my life again.” gets me every.time.

  17. Oh gosh, too many I think!! But, right off the bat I have to say “Who am I” by Casting Crowns was with me during a dark time…but I cannot make it through any sad/dark/scary/uncertain time without Travis’ “In Christ Alone”…

    “no guilt in life, no fear in death this is the power of Christ in me, from life’s first cry to final breath JESUS COMMANDS MY DESTINY…no power of hell nor scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand!!”

  18. Sami

    We sang Blessed Assurance when I lost my first love. “Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight; angels descending bring from above, echoes of mercy, whispers of love. This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” As we sang this verse, I was able to picture it as fact. This is what he was doing at the very point in time. It wasn’t just a song. It was his reality.

    Oh, and I hate the Chipmunks Christmas too. 🙂

  19. Sometimes it’s not the big, deep valleys… it’s the small stuff that gets me all down. Be Small Enough by Nicole Nordeman fills the bill for me.
    Come thou fount does it too.
    Amazing Grace
    Voice of Truth (Casting Crowns? I think so)

    Last to the party as usual, but will stay afterward and do the dishes with you 😉

  20. Erin King

    I have been thinking about you so much lately and praying for you. The song that speaks to me at times like these is Praise you in this Storm by Casting Crowns.

  21. Nica

    I accept that these two songs were a spiritual gift to me. I’d had them in my iPod playlist for a long time but they arrived back-to-back shuffled in an instrumental playlist just at the time that I needed them.

    A musician friend of twenty-eight years from Massachusetts had been semi-conscious for several weeks following surgery with a gradually worsening prognosis. Her daughter had called me from her bedside to allow me to talk to (at) her before they discontinued life support.

    The truth of her death was difficult for me as I’d never witnessed her rapid decline and saw her in my mind only as I’d seen her last. These two songs came on as I was driving in the car. The first served as a catalyst that brought my grief to a head and crushed my denial; I had to pull over. Why? I don’t know. It just did. The second with its piano voice spoke to me as a reminder that Priscilla was freed from the disfunctional, limiting shell of her body and able to create even more beautiful music than she ever had in life. The non-verbal choir suggested angelic accompaniment and the ultimate in praise music. . . I’m sure if she’d been able to voice her own preference she would have chosen that over a hospital ICU bed!

    It was only later that I saw that their names were “Returning Home” and “Fly Away”.

    These songs may not be anything but pretty music to anyone else but they will always be meaningful to me. I hope you find the ones YOU need to help you tarry awhile or travel on in your journey HOWEVER you need to.


  22. Mary

    Has to be “You Raise Me Up.” My favorite. There have been times when it was pretty much the only song I would let myself listen to, until I actually believed what I was hearing. I have about ten different versions — you can’t go wrong with Josh Groban (duh), but Selah is my personal favorite.

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