Songwriting

I live in a world of music.

As a young child my mom used to take all 4 of us children into the living room and handing us each a small instrument she would turn on a worship tape and say “We’re going to worship God!” With Tambourines, maraca’s and lap drums, we would sing and dance before the Lord.

She has been singing her whole life, and our childhood was filled with song. She had songs to wake us up in the morning, songs to help us memorize our address & phone number, songs about God, songs about ice cream cones and goats, and songs that drew us to Jesus. I was tormented by horrific nightmares as a child and my mother put me to bed listening to cassette tapes of Dennis Jernigan singing about the tender longing of our Father, and the faithfulness of the Good Shepherd.

And a strange thing happened: I began to wake up to song. With the exception of a few different seasons and a random day here and there, every morning I wake to a tune, melody, or song floating through my consciousness. Often it is a song that I know and typically it will set the tone of my heart for the day (well, for at least the morning) and almost always the song that I wake to will somehow tie into the prayers on my heart or the dreams that I dreamt right before waking.  It is truly strange, but I think it is the Lord of all Creation singing over me right before I hit the brink of awareness, calling for me to remember Him.

The summer after graduating high school was rather tumultuous as it is for everyone, except that when all of my friends were setting off on the roads before them…..all of my plans were falling through, and Christina the Dreamer found herself NOT walking out ANY of the things I had so painstakingly planned. Right in the middle of the most confusing time of my life, when God seemed so far and so silent, my brother Jeremy abandoned me.

Not really, but he did move to Kansas City to join some ministry that I totally didn’t understand where he stayed up all night long. About three times a week he would get a tearful phone call from me when I got off work at noon. Which happened to be about 3 hours BEFORE he woke up. But praise the Lord he always took my emotional phone calls! J spoke to me about God in a way that I had NEVER heard anyone speak about Him, but in a way that I always wanted to know Him in, and I couldn’t help but be drawn to what was going on in the life of my brother. It was the middle of his internship when he gave me a copy of the International House of Prayer’s “Prophetic History” (whatever that meant). All I knew was it was a bunch of cd’s that had the same title written on the top “Encountering Jesus”.

And that is what I wanted. So I put the first cd in and listened to it the whole way through. Then I played it again. And again. And again. And somewhere in the repeat for no reason at all I picked up my beat up guitar and began to strum while I listened.  This went on for weeks, literally.  I listened to those cd’s for WEEKS on repeat, strumming the three chords I knew (the only three chords that I STILL know) bawling as a man I’d never met gave me hope that God was real, and He had really big plans.

The first time I visited the Heartland House of Prayer, the woman leading worship grinned at me and stuck me on a microphone and that night my whole life changed. For the next year my world revolved around those prayer meetings in that empty room, singing straight to the heart of Jesus and I knew more than anything I’d ever known before that I was made to be a Songbird in the house of the Lord.

Fast forward: here I am in Kansas City doing an internship at the international house of prayer, I have auditioned to sing on a worship team, been approved and asked to sing with a worship leader named Dan Rickett’s. The first night I stepped up onto that stage I just knew: I had been TOTALLY WRONG. Something about that platform broke my confidence, my pride and everything I’d come to believe about my calling and destiny. And yes it was really that dramatic. Over the next 2 years there were many, many, many lessons that I learned while pouring out my soul on that stage.

From Dan to Sarah Edwards to Jill Marsh, I sang and cried and cried and sang. Literally. Most sets ended with me in tears with a handful of tissues: because of my barren soul, because of my pride, or because the heart of the Lord was laid bare through the song of 20 year olds in the middle of the night.

I quit singing when I began working with TheCall, and it has been over a year and a half since I have formally been on a worship team. I still wake with songs in my mind, I still sing to the Lord in my bedroom with my beat up blue guitar, but my SOUL is longing to sing again.

Where am I going with this? I live in a world of music. The Song never stops here, most of the people I know are singers or musicians and some of them are incredible songwriters. Joanna Reyburn, John Scott Young & Mason Gentry, Jill Marsh, Cassie Campbell, Austin Roberts, Ashley Prior, Tim Cone, Jonathan Mills, to name a few and that’s not including our “Big Name” worship leaders like Misty, Jon Thurlow, Luke Wood, Ryan Kondo , Cory and Matt and so many more.

I won’t pretend to align myself with such talented artists as I have listed above, but living in this environment that is so lyrically charged, it makes sense that I would write songs. Unfortunately I don’t. But I do seem to write ditties! Mini-songs, more like children’s songs if you will. Maybe it’s simply because I am untrained that I can’t seem to produce anything “complete” or maybe the Lord just speaks to me simply, but I have a stack of catchy little songs that I sing to my soul to remind me to love and to trust God.

But lately I WANT to write music. Stuart Greaves, the director of the Nightwatch once told us that if we were going to write songs to be sung to the Lord, then  “write me songs that will keep my soul alive in  prison. Not just catchy words to a good tune”. A couple of years ago a young girl from my church back home looked at me shyly and said “Ms. Chris when you record a cd can I have the first copy, and will you sign it for me?”

These two things bring me to my point: I don’t just want to be counted with all of the good singers and musicians at IHOP. I want to write music that causes the generation watching me to RUN into the heart of God and never turn back. To throw their lives into breathing Love and living like the Burning Man, Jesus. Which really means 3 things: 1)I need to actually learn how to play the guitar. 2)I need to learn the art of song writing and 3)I need to spend more time reading the Word of God, which is the only fountain that such music can spring from.

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One thought on “Songwriting

  1. I totally meant to comment on this one!!! As well as the other because i do love your heart in both!! This is so good, so real, so precious!! I seriously agree with you.

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