It seems every day, I hear of yet another person facing some new nightmare in their lives. And much too often, I hear of how they have decided that the struggle is just too hard and they are giving up. During those times in my own life when getting through each day was so hard, occasionally I would run across a song that would lift me up or speak to my heart that someone out there understood what I was feeling. Those songs would encourage me to keep keeping on - to put that next foot in front of the other one more time. I believe music can minister in ways nothing else can, so I decided to record a collection of songs to help people keep keeping on. I wanted to make sure the words were clear and encouraging. Some of the songs on this album are ones that helped me through, some songs are new to me, but spoke to my heart. I may not understand all that you are facing, but I am acquainted with pain. I am a breast cancer survivor - triple negative. That's not good. I know the silence in the room after the birth of my 7 pound son a week after he died, only to have it happen again years later with a daughter. I know that sometimes life gets very, very difficult & it's hard just to take the next breath. I also know, however, that life is worth the living - even when it is so full of pain and uncertainty. I want you to know that no matter how bad you feel about yourself, there is someone who holds a much different opinion of you - someone who believes you are one of the most wonderful people in their life. I also want you to know that life can be a blessing again. Just please don't give up. So please allow me to use this one voice that God has placed in me to encourage you on your journey. Each song was included for a reason. Here's why.....
Angel - From time to time we all need a soft place to land - an escape from our struggles and fears. Somewhere fully protected from the pain of our daily world. In the arms of an angel.........
Trust His Heart - When my son was in first grade, he had his tonsils and adenoids removed. I will never forget the way he looked at me when he came out of surgery - so betrayed! All he could understand was his present pain and he knew I had brought him to it. He couldn't understand why I would want to hurt him; he thought I loved him and wanted what was best for him. And he was right. I did love him and want what was best for him. Days would pass before he would see how his surgery had been a good thing. In the meantime, I would have to bear his condemnation, but I loved him enough to let that happen. I loved him enough to let him dislike me. I could see what he couldn't see. I could see a bigger picture. God sees an even bigger picture than I can. He can see through time and space and He can read the hearts and minds of everyone on earth. God loves you enough to let you be mad at Him. He loves you more than you will ever know and He is acting on your behalf. The really cool thing is - He has the power to make a real difference. Sometimes, though, what He does for us is hard to see as good. Sometimes it feels like we've been kicked in the gut. When you can't understand, trust His heart. He really does love you. Really.
It Is Well - The story behind this hymn is worth repeating. Horatio Spafford was a successful lawyer who lived in Chicago with his wife and 5 children. In 1871, his only son died and few months later, the Spafford's lost nearly everything in the great Chicago fire. Two years later, the family set sail to England for a vacation, but last minute business delayed Mr. Spafford's trip. His wife and daughters went ahead. On November 22, 1873, the ship they were on was struck & sank in 12 minutes, killing 226. Days later, Mr. Spafford received a telegram from his wife - "Saved Alone. What should I do?" He immediately left for England to bring his wife home. As he was sailing near the place where his daughters had died, Horatio wrote the words to this hymn. We are not promised a life of bliss. We each have our own story, but life is worth the living and God really does love us. Looking forward to eternity in heaven puts these trials in a different light.
Bridge Over Troubled Water - The first time I recorded this, it was because a friend asked me to sing it for his funeral, to record it and give a copy of it to his wife. A tough assignment. I hope it gave her some comfort in her grief. And I hope this new recording speaks to your heart & encourages you that you are not alone.
You'll Never Walk Alone - There is a story in the old testament of the Bible in which a prophet felt so alone, like he was the only one who still believed in God. He told God how he felt. God's response was to show him all those who also believed in Him and there were many - 7000. He was not alone. You aren't either, no matter how it may seem to you.
Amazing Grace - This song has been such a source of comfort to so many for centuries. The incredible love of God is made clear when we consider the great chasm between His perfection and our own imperfection and that He wants to spend eternity with us. It is beyond my comprehension. That God would want to be with one as imperfect as me is nothing short of amazing. I can only respond with gratitude & acceptance of His offer.
Precious Lord / Just a Closer Walk With Thee - It's such a comfort to know that when we are weak or weary, our Lord is there to lean on and to help us through. Some people believe that God is "out there" somewhere completely detached from our lives. I really don't believe that. I believe with all my heart that He is right there beside us every step of the way. Sometimes we ignore Him or don't feel His presence, but He is there none the less. He wants to be our safe haven, a comforting companion when our path is difficult. It is in walking together that we can draw from His strength.
On Broken Glass - When trying to title this project, I searched for the phrase that described what I felt as I was going through some of my more difficult struggles. I had felt so uncertain, so vulnerable and helpless. It felt like being on broken glass. Any action on my part would only bring more pain. But I couldn't just stay there; I had to move on, but how? I put those feelings into this song, so that you could see that you don't have to let those feelings overwhelm you and steal your hope and your future. You really aren't as helpless as you feel. Not only can you get through it, but your life can be beautiful once again - even after so much pain & uncertainty. Where there is life, there is possibility. Your life can emerge richer & more beautiful than ever.
Never Give Up - I truly believe that deep inside all of our hearts, God has placed something that needs to find expression. That "thing" is unique to each person and often a complete mystery to others. They do not understand or empathize and may even attempt to convince us that our passion is silly or pointless and without merit. Please do not let those negative voices stifle your dreams. Understand that even a God given mission takes work on our part. No one said it would be easy, but please believe this - if God has brought you to a place that is difficult and you think you just don't have what it takes, please know that He has given you everything you need to succeed. Draw on your experiences and on the people around you. Keep your eyes on the one who gave you life & believe He has equipped you for your journey.
Keep Holding On - There are times in life when we are out of all the pretty ideas and things are looking pretty bleak. In those times, just keep holding on. We may not be able to see our help. We may not be able to see any light at all, but keep holding on. The nightmare will pass. Nothing on this earth is forever. Hang in there. Look forward to the day when this present pain becomes a memory.
Faith - Sometimes we need to just let it out - to have a moment. We are not throwing in the towel. We'll pick it up again and forge ahead, but right now we need to rest and have a little faith that this will all work out in the end. Sometimes the things we learn about ourselves or about life when the sky is dark are such insights that just learning those things makes it worth the struggle.
When You Believe - Whether you believe you have won or lost, you are right. You must first believe it is possible. In my own life - I am 8 years out from a cancer that only 15% survive beyond 5 years. I am only 5'2" and I was in the top 10 in the Miss Indiana Pageant. My mother's doctor wanted me aborted because she was ill with TB while carrying me. We are both still alive, but that doctor is not. Against all odds, if we believe that we can succeed, we can. When we believe, we are looking for the victory. We see things we might otherwise miss if we are looking down or into our pain. The road may be difficult & we may get bloodied along the way, but believe you can do it & you may be surprised at who or what comes to your aid.
Through The Rain - Sometimes the difficulties in our lives cannot be shared by others. There are certain things we must do ourselves. Others may try to help or want to help, but don't know how. Sometimes seeing you in so much pain, just paralyzes the very people you need so desperately to lean on. Their help simply isn't going to happen. They are completely incapable of giving what you want or what you need. So what do you do with that? Give up? Finally, this is your life. Yes, it would have been easier to have assistance, but I have always found it more helpful to deal in realities. Look at your realities, then do whatever is in your power to do. You will be surprised at how strong you really are and how much you can do. And then, please forgive those who have let you down. They don't understand.
Music of My Heart - This song makes me think of a wonderful woman who opened a whole new world to me. Since the age of 3, the goal had always been to learn the words and the notes exactly as they were written. Then in college a famous lady singer entered my life with another idea - one that I had never considered. She believed the goal was to perform the song exactly as the composer intended it - full of emotion and full of meaning. She explained that each person who performed the song would have to find that true expression of the song for themselves and that it would be different for each person because the singer must pull from their own heart to express the true meaning of the song. Changing notes and rhythms was absolutely allowed. A revolutionary thought! That woman was Eileen Farrell and she opened my mind to the music of my heart. Is there someone in your life who opened a whole new vision for you? Someone who showed you a new world that had been here all along? Remember them. Let that memory recreate a blessing on your life. When you feel all alone and under a load of pain, remember that your life has been blessed by some very wonderful people. Let them lift you once again.
I Hope You Dance - We will have moments in our lives that would be "easier" to just take a pass. Walking into a room full of people you have never met. Admitting we are at fault. Working through a misunderstanding. Taking on that project that feels way too big. But if you're going to be alive, then BE ALIVE. LIVE! Go ahead a take it all in. Be in the thick of it - not on the sidelines watching other people live. Take a deep breath and go....... At the end of the day, when you look back over the time you have had on this earth, it will be the moments that you pushed past those feelings of shyness that will yield the most wonderful memories for you and for those around you.
Ordinary Miracle - Even when life is not going the way we would have wished, we are surrounded by incredible beauty. Each day is filled with miracles! Life itself is beyond miraculous. The knowledge imbedded in the most mundane things is mind boggling when you consider it. Look at the miracles surrounding us. Seeds. Birds. Sunrise. Morning dew. Rainfall. Other people who want you in their lives. And you, yourself - a part of this most miraculous world. Consider how incredible life is. If you have life, you have been given an incredible gift! Enjoy!
On a Clear Day - It's easy to lose perspective on who we really are. We get so wrapped up in our own issues that troubles seem to be everything and we forget our own power. Please let me remind you. You are infinitely more beautiful and more important than any star hanging in space. That is God's opinion, not mine. Each person carries his own unique persona that is incredibly complex and incredibly beautiful. Don't let anyone tell you you are not important or beautiful. Anyone who believes that believes a lie.
True Colors - Each person has a beautiful essence to them, but when other people remind us of our shortcomings, it is so easy to believe that we are nothing but flaws. Please let me encourage you that you have something to offer that no one else on Earth can. You are the only you there has ever been. And that is a good thing. How sad for us all if Louis Armstrong had never lifted his voice to sing. Was his singing voice perfectly balanced and melodious? No. It was in his imperfection that his perfection was found. If you can't find your own beauty, please know that others do and love you because they can see your true colors shining through. Flawless? No. Wonderful? Yes! Oh, yes! And such a thing of beauty!
May Each Day - My wish for you as you go through your life. May you see something good and worthwhile in every day of your life. May each day of your life be a good day........