Category: Blog

The Salvation of our God

The Salvation of our God

At the end of a dead end road that the fears of the past are chasing us down/ No escape to the left, right, front or back/Yet our God has given us no reason to doubt/And he won’t start now

Behold the salvation of our God/ Be still and know He is our deliverance/Then rise up and be strong as you say to your anxious heart/Oh, oh, oh, oh, behold the salvation of our God

Paralyzed inside a room with no windows/But no lock on the door can keep our the grief/Did we witness the death of our only hope?/Or does blood in the ground water the seed that resurrects beginnings?

Behold the salvation of our God/ Be still and know He is our deliverance/Then rise up and be strong as you say to your anxious heart/Oh, oh, oh, oh, behold the salvation of our God

The Red Sea/The Upper Room/No way yet, but yet a way through/To the promised land/To the empty tomb/Our God, is there nothing You can’t do?

Behold the salvation of our God/ Be still and know He is our deliverance/Then rise up and be strong as you say to your anxious heart/Oh, oh, oh, oh, behold the salvation of our God

So, I was listening to a podcast about the exodus a few months ago, right before I released Album #3, on a Sunday morning. While I was in the shower that morning, most of this chorus came to mind, and I remember leaving for church thinking, “I hope that becomes a song, it’s pretty cool!” It is definitely very poppy, as I was producing a lot of similar music at the time, so it was catchy.

When I came home, it was still in my head and I started writing the first verse. And even though I don’t mention the Red Sea or the Exodus in verse 1, it is my hope that that is where the listener’s mind goes. I was trying to capture this moment of: what happens when we trust God and we think things are going a certain way, but all the sudden, following the path God has us on, we encounter a dead end. That is certainly what happened to the Israelites. It made me think of comparing it to the disciples after the crucifixion, but before the resurrection. Surely they knew they were following the Son of God, the Messiah, as Peter had exclaimed. But, now what? He’s dead. If He is still actually the Son of God, what does that mean for us? What are we supposed to do…where are we supposed to go? So, I took those two ideas and morphed them into one song. The disciples are verse 2, but I let you know that those are the places that you’ve been sitting the whole time in the bridge 🙂

The chorus comes from Moses’ words to the Israelites before they saw the way through the sea. (Exodus 14:13-14) “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.'”

The podcast mentions that this is the first place in Exodus that the word for salvation is used. Joshua (and then Jesus) are both forms of that word. “The Lord saves”. So, behold the salvation of our God, both then and now! Hope you enjoy it!

In Between

In Between

In Between

36 and 17/Stuck somewhere in the in between/I’ve been holding out, not slowing down/I’ve been trapped inside/A ticking time bomb called my life/Cut the wires, oh, I’ve tried, but I’m locked inside

Strike a math and watch the time burn away/Counting years and watching my dreams fade

I can’t tell wait I’m afraid of/All I know is I don’t want to wake up/20 years down the road unable to trust Your love when I don’t have what I want

I’m in overdrive/Took the left lane to save some time/Now I can’t stop passing my life by with my foot to the floor

Hit the gas and watch the miles illuminate/How far I am from the plan I had made

I can’t tell wait I’m afraid of/All I know is I don’t want to wake up/20 years down the road unable to trust Your love when I don’t have what I want

What I want/But what do I want?

Will I still be here at 36 years of age still keeping score of all the people who have what I want, but oh, I want so much more/ Don’t want to be left here chasing the wind again/ I just want to be content/Whatever that means, wherever that is/Will you hold my heart until then?/Will you teach me how to press in?

Will you hold my heart until then?

Will you teach me how to press in?

So, this song is the last blog about the album A Fork in the Road that will release 3/23/23!! It wasn’t the last recorded, however. I feel like the story of its being recorded and the writing of it are both significant, but I’ll focus on the writing process. But, if you want to hear the other story, let me know. God’s hand was clearly in the recording process too!

If you know me, most of you know I’ve been in several weddings. Seven, actually. The first round of weddings took place after college and all my college friends were getting married. That is when I originally penned this song – the first verse and the beginning of the chorus are from that time. The idea behind the song was overall this feeling of being “left behind,” so to speak. All my good friends were having this experience, and I wasn’t. But, I was still 25 after all, and I trusted God with my future, so I wrote the song and was able to tuck a lot of the “why not me?” questions away and just keep moving on.

Then, two years ago, I was in another round of weddings after meeting several of my dear friends in STL through Bible study (BSF). This time, I’m processing some of the same thoughts…but it has been 8, 9, 10… years later. And sometimes waiting makes it harder to trust God. I’m thankful that there are stories in Scripture where others had to wait (Abraham, Jacob, the whole Israelite people..) and perhaps not all waited well. I still hope God creates in me a pattern of waiting well, but I’m thankful that moments of impatience don’t disqualify us from His care and love. (Thank you Jesus!)

So, the chorus used to read “I can’t tell what I’m afraid of. All I know is I don’t want to wake up 20 years down the road to find I haven’t changed at all. 20 years down the road and still the same.” Which, this is still true. And the first time I wrote it, it was from the perspective of: “I really hope my life circumstances change, and I’m not feeling like the only one left out, etc.” But this time around, realizing that not many of my circumstances had changed much, and I don’t feel like it is in my power to change them (I think it’s in His), I had to ask myself, what do I really want to change?

Several good friends let me talk over these lyrics with them, and I believe it was their help that led to some of the best lyrics. (And the Lord’s work through them, of course!) As I was mulling over these thoughts, God was gracious to show me that what I am really afraid of is losing trust in His goodness and the goodness of His sovereign plan for my life even after all this waiting. Because I felt like after more time had gone by, I should have a surer faith, not a weaker one. But, it certainly feels like it is a weaker one. So, the song tried to capture my desire to still want a trust in the Lord despite undesirable circumstances. The words were turned to “I don’t want to wake up 20 years down the road unable to trust Your love when I don’t have want I want.” Which is so true. I want my desires to be transformed to His desires, but even if those aren’t met, I still want to trust His love.

And, the end of the song turned from “I just want to be content, whatever that means, wherever that is keep my heart and my mind open” to ” I just want to be content, whatever that means, whatever that is, will You hold my heart until then? Will you teach my how to press in?” Because I want more than a heart open to possibilities – I want a heart that is seeking His will, His good gifts, His gifts of fulfillment and contentment, even when it is hard.

End of story is – whatever you are facing and waiting on God’s timing for, I hope when this song comes out, you will roll the windows down and sing with me that you long for the comfort of our God.

Hearts and Mountains

Hearts and Mountains

The most 80s song coming to the new record A Fork in the Road:

Hearts and Mountains

Feel so helpless on my own/This worthless heap of flesh and bone/Try to raise up broken souls for You/But, I find I’m broken too

Oh, I’ve given all I have/Could it be that I’ve got nothing left/This heart, a rock, a stone, immovable/But, God, with you nothing’s impossible

I just want to move hearts, not mountains, Lord/But I can’t do either/ All this motion needs faith that I don’t have/ Make me a believer in what I can’t see/’Cause I want to believe, yeah

Want to see a people on their knees/I’m finding out that “people” starts with me/ My heart’s afraid to break, but it’s then You make the change/It’s then my doubts begin to fade away

I just want to move hearts, not mountains, Lord/But I can’t do either/ All this motion needs faith that I don’t have/ Make me a believer in what I can’t see/’Cause I want to believe, yeah

I’m becoming more certain of what I don’t yet see/ I’m becoming more sure of what I hope and dream

I just want to move hearts, not mountains, Lord/But I can’t do either/ All this motion needs faith that I don’t have/ Make me a believer in what I can’t see/’Cause I want to believe, yeah

So, this song I wrote a few years into my teaching and it has become the favorite of many of my Christian coworkers. It gets at the heart (ha! pun intended) of what we feel a lot of time. We want to make a difference that matters! But, how often does trying harder on our own strength fail? And, I find that most often my struggle is having a lack of faith. I truly want to believe that God can draw students’ hearts to Himself, but when I don’t see it, I lose faith.

So, this is a song about wanted to see God move, and acknowledging, like the father in Mark 9, “I do believe! Help my unbelief!” So, this is a call that not only do I want things to change for others, but I want to be different too!

This was the first song recorded for A Fork in the Road album, and it really set the stage for the whole album to be a fun, poppy album! My friend Lorna had to wait two albums to be on this one because it wasn’t Old Testament, but I’m glad it is produced and on this album, and for her (and others) excitement about it!

Strong In Love

Strong In Love

I’m about to go down and finish up recording for album 3, Lord willing! I have recently received back the final cuts from the songs I did back in August, and let me tell you: they are AWESOME! Since one of them hasn’t been a blog post yet, I figured I should get it up here!

Here is the story behind my song Strong in Love:

I have a good friend, who also happens to be my sister-in-law’s sister. No blood relation but we call each other our “sister-kind-of.” Several years ago, she had a friend tell her, “You know, you are too soft. You need to not be so innocent, so loving…it’s going to get you in trouble.” Now, my sister-kind-of is about the sweetest person anyone could meet! And, Jesus does say to be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Our God is not about people being stepped all over. However, that advice was quite offensive to me. This is because I believe love is the strongest force/power there is. That is because God is love. I’m not talking about romantic love, or love is love, or any of that. I’m talking about the force that sees through our mess, loves the unlovely, and finds a way to redeem. I think each of us, no matter our place in life or vocation, can agree it is actually harder to love than to hate. It is harder to respond in patience and compassion than to lash out. As a high school teacher – this is my experience. It is far harder to love the unlovely. It would be much easier to walk away.

Yet, this is what our God means by love. A love that never fails, never quits, because it is inspired and empowered by the only love that can do that – the love of Jesus.

So, I decided back then I wanted to write a song for my sister-kind-of to remind her that she is not soft, she is strong, as she loves well with the love of Jesus, and now it is a really hype song! I’m thankful God gave it to me and is allowing to be produced!

Strong in Love

Why is faith seen as weakness? When its harder to stand up for what you believe in than to sit down and join the crowd/Why is love seen as softness?When its harder to keep giving second chances to the masses, I am asking

Who said hate was stronger than love?  Who said faith isn’t enough?

There was a man, He had enough faith to reach Calvary/He walked the road for me/In His love, He is strong, strong enough to brave the tree/Crucified for victory

So be strong but strong in love/Only love can endure what’s been done and what’s to come/It conquers all/What more can I say? It’s by faith alone and not by my strength I keep moving on/I will fall, but He’s standing

Who says hate is stronger than love? Who says my Savior isn’t enough?

There was a man, He had enough faith to reach Calvary/He walked the road for me/In His love, He is strong, strong enough to brave the tree/Crucified for victory

We’ll see Him/He’s seated/Up on the glorious throne/On bended knee, all tongues sing/Faithful He reigns on  and on and on and on

Manna in the Wilderness

Manna in the Wilderness

What is this? What’s it like? This little taste of heaven left here by design/It’s abundant, but to my surprise, I can’t hold it for more than one day at a time

How can I know how much is right?/ Will I ever need more than what You’ve said You will supply?/As I gather it up at first light, I pray for the faith to trust You always provide

For to take and eat this sacred feast/Is to taste and see all I need/It’s to grow in gratefulness and to find Your faithfulness/Like manna in the wilderness

Do we hunger so that we know what it feels like to live on more than bread alone?/ For every word You have spoken sustains the life of each delighting soul         

From the garden through the desert sands/To the shores where You fed thousands/Lest I wander to what won’t last/Create in me a hunger for Living Bread/The Living Bread that came from heaven

I mixed it up this time and started with the lyrics instead of the story. One of my favorite memories of this song was playing the first verse (all I had written at the time) for a friend without any context. While they were listening they exclaimed, “This has to be about manna, right? That would be SO cool! Because manna means ‘what is it?'”

And yes, it was about manna. Over the last year, I’ve done a lot of big picturing pondering. A lot of friends in my life have “moved on” from where I am, so to speak. I’m still living that single life, and they are all married, having kids, etc. Sometimes I find myself telling God, “this would be so much easier if you would just let me know long term. Do I have to wait 5 years until my life “changes”? Will it never “change”? (I put quotes because our lives are always changing, I just fail to see that sometimes).

But, God doesn’t give me that 5 year assurance. He says, “trust me for today.” And then the next day, “trust me for today too.” And that’s just like manna. They weren’t allowed to collect food for a year, or a month, or a week, just a day.

And as I wrote the song, I was struck by the passage in John where it talks about how Jesus is the living bread from heaven. The Israelites ate the manna, yet they died. But, Jesus comes to offer us something greater. So, yes, I need God to provide my daily sustaining grace, but what I need most is the Giver Himself.

Easy to say. Hard to live into and acknowledge.

But, now I have a really nice ballad that encourages my heart to do so even when it is hard!



Sitting here in studio on August 9th, 2022! Starting to record this song! With three days in studio, and this in the middle – this is a blast! I will say, it is interesting to record a song that was 6 months old, and then start on this one which is 10 years old!

This song is one of the only songs I have written that doesn’t have much personal connection at the time it was written. It is a song about the transition that happens as one becomes a believer in Christ. As the gospel of John says: Everyone stays in the dark for the fear of their deeds being exposed. But, there is freedom in exposure and forgiveness. And, although I do identify with this song, I wrote it years after I would identify with the experience. It was written because of several students that I have interacted with – how they so clearly wanted to live without their lives exposed. However, they (we all) still feel such shame over them, even if they are hidden. That is not an accident. The Lord knows that it is not the way to live in freedom, grace, and goodness. But, once we experience that shame, we don’t think we can ever make it out. Which, we can’t on our own. That is the beauty of Jesus’ sacrifice. He takes on Himself the punishment, wrath, shame, humiliation and allows all who confess Him as Savior to walk into the freedom of new life.

That is what is song is about, and I’m going to let these lyrics speak for themselves!


Living life in the dark was a promise of freedom/Could do what we wanted, with no one to see us/I don’t  need a mirror to know what I’ve become/One look inside me would reveal a heart of stone

Such a lonely existence, longing to see the sun/Just want someone to notice, who won’t care what I’ve done/Look into my eyes and see me/The real me

Is there light out there somewhere, I haven’t found it yet/Is there Hope out there that someday, I can enter inCan I will walk into the Light of Day, Unafraid, Unashamed

I walk in the shadows, ashamed of my very skin/What once offered freedom is the jail I’m living in/I need someone to run into this darkness/To feel loved is all I’ve ever wanted

I’ve been watching, I’ve seen Him:  The Unapproachable light/He’s coming towards me/Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide/What if that man sees me like this, stains on my hands, stains on my lips

He reaches me, I fall to the ground, brace myself for rejection/Look up, no one’s around; just one lonely man, in Him I see my reflection/A different face with my filth and my stains, He shares in my pain, no longer afraid/I look down I realize He took them from me, I am free, I am clean

If there is light out there somewhere for me/There is light out there somewhere for you

There is light out there somewhere, I’ve seen it/There is Hope out there that someday, You can enter in/I will walk you to the Light of Day, unafraid, unashamed

How Long Must We Wait?

How Long Must We Wait?

So, this summer (Summer 2022), we are studying the Psalms of Asaph in my summer Bible Study. First, if you haven’t read that backstory of Asaph – go find him in the Chronicles. He is a super cool guy! Second, his Psalms are pretty jam packed! A few of his psalms are imprecatory Psalms – those that call for God’s judgment.

The week that we studied Psalm 79 (probably worth a quick read if you are interested), my Bible study leader asked the group: “What type of song do you envision this being? Should we sing this song/type of song in worship today?” Immediately, all eyes shift to me because they want to know what the songwriter has to say. Talk about pressure. 🙂

Even though I don’t think what I would write would sound anything like the original (middle Eastern music has half-tones, people), I was given one line of melody right there on the spot that I sang for people. “How long, Oh Lord, will Your jealousy burn like fire?” It kept repeating in my head all the way home. And then a kind of angsty verse vibe was in my head for the next several weeks as the song worked its way out.

Although in some respects, this song was hard to write, it was also a gift. For instance, I’ve never been like the Israelites, who failed God’s specific covenant agreement with them, and God was jealous enough for them that He sent in neighboring nations to kill all my people. But, once the song was done, I realized how much I can relate to their cry. Their cry of “How long, oh Lord?” We, too, want the suffering to end, and for the Lord to set everything right. And, I had to throw a little Isaiah 53 in there. As Asaph recognizes his peoples’ need for forgiveness, we must also recognize that, and call upon the only God who saves.

I hope you like it!

How long must we wait?

Yours, all of this is yours/All the rubble all the ruin/All the blood that’s been poured like water upon a thirsty shore/’Til the ground is saturated and it cries “No more!/No more!”/It cries out, “No more!”

How long, Oh Lord, will Your jealousy burn like fire? How before You pour Your wrath on Your rivals? Why should the nations say, “Where is their God? Can He save?” How long, oh, how long must we wait?

Ours, ours is this desperation/Ours are the sins of past generations/Deliver us, Oh God/May our groans reach Your ears in this dire hour/In this hour, as we cry out

Lord, we deserve Your anger/For all like sheep we’ve gone astray/And without Your loving-kindness no one would remain/So, God have mercy on us/Forgive our sins for Your name’s sake/That we might forever praise the only God who saves!

The God Who Sees

The God Who Sees

Hello from summer! I am finally settling down for at least a few weeks to try and work on some songwriting! It has been good, but there is always so much else to do, you know?

This song is from the spring, but I haven’t had a chance to post until now! Each year, the youth group that I volunteer for has spring retreat. We take the kids to a YMCA camp with sketchy cell service to play games, eat food, worship in song, and hear from God’s Word.

This year, when I was communicating with the speaker about her sessions, she was able to pass on to me her big theme and Scriptures well in advance. She was going to start with the story of Hagar in the wilderness, emphasizing the truth that God sees us. He sees you. He sees each broken story, and meets us in it. Then, over the next sessions, she would hop to stories in the New Testament: stories of blind Bartimaeus and Saul on the road to Damascus. She would then explain that not only does God see us in our blindness, but He seeks to heal us from it.

Who could resist such a great Biblical theme? I knew I wanted to write a song about it. But, by the time I got around to planning the worship sets, it was a little over a week away, and three of the days in the coming week were going to be spent out west with my family, skiing the Colorado slopes. How was I going to write a song?

Well, let me tell you. It was a gift from God. Rarely do I ever write a song quickly. Typically when I write even a portion of a song quickly, I know the Lord’s hand is all over it. This song was written in two days, without an instrument in hand (that’s never happened), primarily while skiing down blue and black runs in Breckinridge. A few lines were penned when I woke up and laid in my twin Condo bed. It is also potentially the only worship song I’ve ever written. Not that my songs couldn’t be sung in church, but they aren’t congregational numbers. I’m far too wordy :). But, this one I sung with the kids, and they caught right on!

It’s a catchy tune you can’t catch from the words, but hopefully someday you will hear it!

The God Who Sees

In the desert, running from home/Blind beggar on the side of the road/When the world leaves me broken and all alone/You draw in close

You are the God Who Sees where I am from where You are and comes to meet with me/Yes, You are the God Who Sees into the blinded eyes longing to believe that You are the God Who Sees

In my defiance, I lost sight of the truth/My ways of violence had led me farther from You/But no darkness is too great that Your light can’t break through and see me made new

Oh God unto whom all hearts are open and no secrets are hid/You are the God who reveals them and forgives my sin/As Your glorious redemptive plan shows me who I am

The Song of Your Salvation

The Song of Your Salvation

Well, I have great news, friends! I didn’t miss a month of blogging due to writer’s block this time! Just due to a busy schedule. But, it seems that God deemed it that I should get COVID well after everyone else. So, here I am right before Easter 2022, hanging out at home with COVID. But, at least I’m telling you about a song!

So, about 10 months ago, in the midst of quite a bit of writer’s block, I started trying to mess around and learn some piano. I feel pretty comfortable to move my way around the piano in the key of C now – which is pretty fun to see that 10 months can do that! Maybe in another 10, I’ll have mastered one sharp ;). However, in that time, I started composing a melody in 6/8 that didn’t have any words yet. Come January, I actually had an entire song written on the piano, but with no words yet – that rarely happens to me. Usually ideas come first with a hint of a melody or a lyric line, but then a lot of it gets written together. So, here I was with a song just waiting for words.

The prior summer (when I was composing the melody), I had memorized Psalm 40, and thought it was a great candidate for a song (aren’t all Psalms though?!). In particular, a great candidate for the album I’d love to write where every song will be a Psalm but focused on Jesus as the fulfillment of the Psalm. Because Psalm 40 even gets referenced in Hebrews 10! “First [Jesus] said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them’ — though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, ‘Here I am, I have come to do your will.’ He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Wow.

But, this Psalm was very confusing to me at first. It opens with all of this talk of God rescuing the Psalmist, who is David. The beautiful line “He put a new song in me” caught my attention :). He praises God for all His wonderful works. Then, David launches into this quote that gets pulled into Hebrews about how the Lord doesn’t desire sacrifice, so David comes to do God’s will. Then, shortly thereafter, David describes being in great distress again, from enemies, from His own sin, and that he is in a position of waiting again for rescue. So, I’m left wondering: Is this David’s Psalm that gets hijacked in the middle where God’s Spirit gives him a revelation about Jesus…or does this part of the Psalm actually fit in with the Psalm too? I have a pastor friend who encouraged me to see it as a part of the Psalm first, then a revelation about Jesus second. He read this Psalm through the lease that David has made an important discovery. A discovery that many other Old Testament characters would make: God is much more about having a relationship with a person, a person who delight’s in Him and desires to do His will (and perhaps fails and needs rescue in the process) than someone fulfills their sacrificial duties but doesn’t care for Him. And, the truth that we know on this side of the cross is that we could never sacrifice what we need to please God. The other hard truth is that we actually could never delight in Him and desire to do what He wills either. But Jesus.

What a great two words. But Jesus. He is the fulfillment of this Psalm because He is the one who can rightfully show up and say “I have come to do Your will.” He does this perfectly instead of offering meaningless sacrifices…but actually God’s will for Him is to become the sacrifice that can allow us to experience the same relationship with God that He has! Mind. Blown. So, God was so good to give a bridge to this song that highlights all of those ideas.

The rest of the song is tailored after David’s words in beginning and end of the Psalm. Praising God for His rescue and merciful acts, acknowledging that he will need them again. The idea that God put a new song in David struck such a chord in me (haha…all of that was intended) that it became a focal point of the song. The Song of Your Salvation became the title because when left to ourselves, we can’t please God. Any song that I write for my life can never actually right my wrongs or make me who I want myself to be. Only His song can do that. He has to write a song and put it in me. And, super fun, another of the other Old Testament writers that talk about obedience and a right heart being better that sacrifice make it into the bridge!

One last cool moment before I give the lyrics here: I often wondered how David could wait patiently in the pit of mire at the beginning of the song. Whenever I’m in dire straights, I pretty much want to get out of it immediately and complain a lot until I do. But, I think what he meant was: I know that any effort of my own to get out of this will sink me further, so I will wait for the One who can save me. I really think God put some meaningful words together to convey David’s thoughts. Here’s, The Song of Your Salvation

The Song of Your Salvation

I waited patiently/You heart my cry/All struggle is vanity/When you’re deep in the mire/You lifted me from the pit/Set my feet on the rock/Long before I had fallen in/I was known by my God

You put a new song in me at just the right time/Now Your Word within my being unveils my design

Many, Oh Lord, my God, are the wonders that You have done/Great is the song of Your salvation/Within it I find Your desire for my heart’s reply/So, I say, “Here am I”

I offer this invitation/Though it houses a plea/I cannot outrun my sin/Oh, God come and save me

And put a new song inside my soul that I cannot write/For it is You alone who holds the words of life

Many, Oh Lord, my God, are the wonders that You have done/Great is the song of Your salvation/Within it I find Your desire for my heart’s reply/So, I say, “Here am I”

You have opened my ears/You’ve caused me to know/Nothing I give can atone for the sin of my soul/But there is One in whom Your will was done/And by His blood, You bid me to come/How great is Your love/How great is the song/Of Your Salvation

Many, Oh Lord, my God, are the wonders that You have done/Great is the song of Your salvation/Within Him I find Your desire for my heart’s reply/So, I say, “Here am I”

Pilgrim Hearts

Pilgrim Hearts

Here we are, in February, and I think I finished the song that I started over a year ago, about Genesis. Last year, in BSF, I studied Genesis, and I knew I wanted to write a song encapsulating the main idea that I felt kept coming up for me through that study. Well, at least chapters 12-50 of Genesis seem to have the following theme: the patriarchs were promised big promises that they saw fulfilled in part, but still had to trust that God was going to bring the full outcome later, whether in their lifetimes or not. That seems to be our story sometimes, too. Although, the promises God promises us don’t look quite the same as theirs, the idea that we don’t just immediately receive all of them remains true. And, even though we have in some sense a greater gift, the Holy Spirit, we still have to watch, wait, and work with Him as He sanctifies us.

But, as I was pondering these reflections about Genesis, we studied the last few chapters, where Jacob leaves the promise land to go down to Egypt. He knows his family will return to inherit the promise land, but he certainly has been through a lot of hardship. When he talks with Pharaoh (ch 47), he says, “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty. My years have been difficult and few and they do not equal the years of the pilgrimage of my fathers.” The song then had a focus: trusting God is like being on a pilgrimage.

Several months later, after writing the first verse and a few lines of the next, I was ready through some well known psalms to prepare for worship leading. Psalm 84, usually known for its opening lines (“how lovely is Your dwelling place, Lord Almighty. My soul longs, even faints, for the courts of the Lord”) provided some awesome verses I had never pondered before. Psalm 84:5 says, “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.” I thought this was such a related thought. We need to not have our eyes set simply on the end result, or the promise (although we can be sure it will be fulfilled, since our God is faithful). We need to have our sights set on the journey itself. Because in it God shows up, He walks with us, He teaches us how to live, He begins to open our eyes to the parts of the promise already happening.

I pondered those thoughts for several months. Different pieces of the song were kind of coming together, but it felt a little disjointed. Finally, I knew I had all the pieces, but the chorus kept evading me. I wanted to use the line “hearts set on pilgrimage” because I loved it so much, but I didn’t know how. I would take that line out, bring it back, not have anything to put with it. Just a few weeks ago, the near rhyme came to me:

“Because hearts set on pilgrimage

Find our God is who He says He is

He’s not far; He’s not a destination”

Well, they didn’t come to me just like that, but after a little help from some good songwriting friends, the syllables settled into that. The last line I penned was “He’s not a destination.” That has become the line that almost everyone points out as being the most helpful and profound. And, God dropped it in my lap right at the end. I’m so thankful for that!

So, the writing of this song ended up being a lot like a pilgrimage in a dry season, but I’m so thankful. Here is “Pilgrim Hearts”

Pilgrim Hearts

Here we are just like Abraham and Isaac/Just like Jacob and his sons, oh, here we are/Taking a lifetime to understand a promise /And to learn how to respond with pilgrim hearts

Here we are, just like Abraham in Canaan counting the stars/When the the night sky foretells of greater blessing/Than we have yet to see with our own eyes/We believe our God and walk in stride

Because hearts set on pilgrimage/Find our God is who He says He is/He’s not far/He’s not a destination/He is the very strength within/The hearts set on pilgrimage

Here we are, just like Abraham and Isaac/At the base of Mount Moriah looking up/When we don’t know if we can even pass the test/We will declare the journey is not done/To give in full abandon what He asks of us

Because hearts set on pilgrimage/Find our God is who He says He is/He’s not far/He’s not a destination/He is the very strength within/The hearts set on pilgrimage

Here we are now like Jacob bowing down to Pharaoh/In a foreign land beyond what we thought that God had planned/But, there is more of this God to know /And there is still time to follow

Because hearts set on pilgrimage/Find our God’s who He says He is/He’s not a destination/He is the very strength within/The hearts who seek Him/Our God, ever Present with/The hearts set on pilgrimage