Put It Together

Life is fragile – handle with prayer!

Sometimes you have to start at the end of the story to gain proper perspective – like putting all the straight edges together first and working your way toward the center of a giant jigsaw puzzle.

“We’re getting married Augiss firthieth!” she announced, with hands on her hips and eyebrows raised, her friend nodding enthusiastically in agreement.

IMG_3856The two little dark-haired beauties were excited with all the wedding plans — dresses and shoes and parties — but they didn’t really see it as a romantic day set aside to celebrate the marriage of one’s girl’s Mom to the other girl’s Dad. In fact, they weren’t impressed with that at all. One seemed most taken with the prospect of having a Daddy — the other, with having a sister. In their minds, it was a family affair, so they told everyone they met that they were getting married and would soon be sisters!

Neither one had any idea of the loneliness their own parent had endured, the brokenness that crushed them or the daily challenges they faced as a single parent – alone with feelings of inadequacy and failure, alone with the heartache and tears.

I knew their story well and had begun singing this song from the moment her parents received her desperate call for help, driving hundreds of miles to bring their broken little grown up girl back home. So when the bride-to-be asked me to write a song for her wedding, it was like déjà vu:

Can you put this together, Daddy?
I don’t know what to do;
I only know that whenever this happens
I run right back to you!

My heart ached for her as she began collecting the remnants of what used to be a young girl’s dreams, attempting to create some stability in the process for the little baby girl she would soon bring into this world. I prayed she’d find hope and healing, with a measure of happiness and strength along the way.

I am so happy to report that she did find all of that and more. Oh, and by the way, so has the young man who was waiting in her home town for God to do the same for him.

As for me, in order to finish the song I had to start in the moment and look into the shining eyes of those precious little girls to fully appreciate the miracle that was taking place. I was reminded that to God, we are all as little children and our grownup problems must seem mighty small in His capable hands. We bring them to Him on a daily basis (sometimes the same thing over and over) but He is never preoccupied, never too busy, never unwilling to help the child He loves so dearly, for He knows what we are made of.

You take all the pieces that lie shattered
Or a picture torn in two
And you put it together,
But sometimes make it new!

Only God can put your life back together. Only God can make things new. Only God can make it safe for you to become that trusting child again, so run to Him! Run to your Heavenly Father and let Him do what He alone can do!

He sees. He knows. He cares.

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. I Peter 5:6-7

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Some Mountains Don’t Move

mtSo I have always wondered about the response Jesus gave his disciples when in frustration they asked him why they had failed to cast the demons out of a young man whose father then brought him to Jesus.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them.  “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to mountain, ‘move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” – Matthew 17:20

It gets worse.  It’s not as though they’d never seen the miraculous.  This incident took place immediately after they descended from the top of the mountain where they had seen the face of Jesus shining like the sun, his clothing white as light; the very place where Moses and Elijah appeared and the voice of God spoke from the cloud, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.  Listen to him.”

(Big sigh.)  If they didn’t have enough faith after such a monumental experience, what hope do I have? Even if I could somehow conjure up enough faith, what if it’s not the right kind?  Are there varying degrees and multiple varieties of faith? If so, how will I ever get by with my little faith, my weak faith – my faltering faith? Who can tell me what quantity or quality is needed to get that mountain moved and while we’re on the subject, why am I so convinced this one needs to move, anyway?

Immediately I recall the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13:2:  “…if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but I didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”  Everyone is talking about love as a verb.  I get that – we are, after all, commanded to love.  But there’s something greater than faith, and the scriptures also tell me that “God is love.”   (I John 4:16)

In the Christian message alone, love precedes life; in every other worldview, life precedes love.  Therefore, in the Christian framework, love has a point of reference: God Himself.  Ravi Zacharias

I began thinking of Love as a person – THE person who, along with his two companions (Faith and Hope), is making this journey with me.  It takes Faith to accept what Love has already done and to place our hope in Love’s ability to carry us safely through this life and into the next.  It takes Hope to look ahead and cling to the ultimate fulfillment of what Love has promised all along. All three are important and all are necessary but without the enduring faithful love of God, Faith and Hope don’t get the job done.

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1

Love was moved with compassion.  Love came down to seek and to save our poor lost souls. Love gave it all and paid our sin debt on a hideous cross of suffering. Love had the power to rise in victory over sin and death and hell, thus fulfilling the eternal plan and promises of God.  I am overwhelmed with this love and the realization that, to put it in Squire Parsons’ words (from one of my favorite Southern Gospel songs), “when I could not come to where he was, he came to me!”

Love is alive and well, calling us to exercise faith, have hope, and rest assured that he will make a way – not to grant our wildest dreams, promote our own agendas or participate in our self-absorbed schemes – but rather, to fulfill his good intentions, his perfect will and his greatest joy in our lives.

An active faith can remove mountains, not of itself, but in the virtue of a divine power engaged by a divine promise, both which faith fastens upon. – Matthew Henry

So don’t be discouraged with that insurmountable obstacle looming on the horizon. You may have examined all the options, looking at it from every angle.  You’ve worried, wept and prayed, but the situation hasn’t changed. That mountain stubbornly stands in the way, like Goliath to David, taunting you in your weakness, threatening to fulfill your worst fear and turn it into humiliation and failure.

But some mountains don’t move.  Maybe it’s supposed to be there. So whether God wants to remove it or take you to the top, no matter how miserably you’ve failed or how deeply you’ve fallen, remember this:

Love will make a way for me to stand on a mountain
That looks like it’s here to stay;
Love will make a way over and around it
To claim my hope and faith!
Goodness and mercy are running after me, but
Love will make a way!

These three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13

Heidi

I walked a mile with Pleasure, she chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow, and ne’er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her when Sorrow walked with me!
– Robert Browning Hamilton

harpNearly ten years had passed since Eli died and Nancy and I had only seen each other a couple of times. We had a lot of catching up to do, so while our husbands discussed a remodeling project we covered a decade in a matter of minutes.  She showed me a lovely assortment of goats milk soaps she had made, beautifully wrapped and ready for gift baskets.

We cried as she described the day of the accident and spoke of the faithfulness of God through the days and weeks that followed. We laughed as she introduced me to the three beautiful children the Lord had blessed them with since that time. Her eyes sparkled as her oldest son entered the room. Zach, who had suffered for months in the hospital, was now a handsome young man who had managed somehow to find his smile again.

And then there was Heidi.

She was almost four years old when it happened, and she was there at the scene of the accident: old enough to know that something terrible had taken place, old enough to be traumatized and feel her family’s pain, but not old enough to understand the depth of that loss or why Eli wasn’t coming home; old enough to be told he had gone to live with Jesus but not old enough to know what forever meant – certainly not old enough to have a full-sized harp, which is exactly what she wanted for her next birthday.

Her parents didn’t understand her request and frankly, were puzzled by it. After all, they weren’t that musical and couldn’t imagine why, of all instruments, she would have her heart set on that one!

Years passed and with every birthday that rolled around, Heidi reminded them of her request. The autoharp they gave her was nice but she wanted a real harp for her birthday. So finally, once she was big enough to carry it, Heidi got that harp, even though her mother had to drive her 40 miles to the city for lessons. And now, this beautiful young lady with strawberry blonde hair and shining eyes was standing in front of me, smiling shyly as I voiced my surprise in seeing her walk in with a full-sized harp.

“This is nice,” I thought, completely unprepared for the rush of emotions that would wash over me as she began. That girl could play!

I stared hard out the window, hoping to get control of that huge lump in my throat, but to no avail. I trembled as I fought to stifle the sobs erupting uncontrollably as a picture flashed through my mind. It was Eli running through a field of flowers and sunshine – smiling and waving, mischief in his eyes as he called for Heidi and the rest of us to join him.

It took me quite awhile to regain my composure after that, for in that moment, the mystery of eternal life didn’t seem mysterious at all – it’s promise, once distant and unimaginable, seemed well within our reach.  It was almost as though the windows of heaven had opened up to our curious gaze and the angels strained to listen as a young girl took the stage and stormed my heart at a little-known country venue in a once-in-a-lifetime exclusive Concert for One.

Music is a gift from the heart of God, given to bless mankind; mend the broken heart, heal the wounded spirit and soothe the restless soul.  He sings over his children and quiets us with His love. He sends us special moments of inspiration when we least expect them and need them the most.

It Is As It Should Be

image1With my mother’s arm in mine, accompanied by siblings and extended family, I arrived at a pristine estate with pillars on the front porch and a lovely yard that stretched around the house.  A warm welcome awaited us, with smiles and hugs, and good old southern hospitality.

“Come on in! We just want you all to enjoy this time together,” they said.  “It’s important, so stay as long as you want. You just need to be together.”

As we entered the home, I noticed my father’s open casket on display in the parlor. He laid there peacefully, arms folded around his Bible, a half-smile resting on his lips.

Sobs erupted from my throat and I awoke with a start, tears running down my face and onto my pillow. I could not stop crying and reasoned with myself that this was God’s way of helping me grieve. I had been such a rock with my father’s passing – more concerned with how the grandchildren and great-grandchildren were doing, bolstered by the support of so many whose lives he had touched.  Or maybe I was just concerned about my Mom. She was traveling to North Carolina to spend the winter with my brother and his wife in their new home.

I struggled with her being so far away in her condition, away from her doctors – not to mention her three daughters. But as I voiced my concerns to the Lord, the answer came in a quiet whisper – quiet, yet ever so clear, “It is as it should be.”

Her health deteriorated rapidly. The seven of us made plans to celebrate her 85th birthday together in January.  Just days before our scheduled flights, we received word that Mom was in the hospital. Not only was she extremely ill, but she had been diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor – glioblastoma – and we were told she had only 3 to 6 months to live.

I listened in stunned silence to a recording of the consultation with the neurosurgeon as we drove from the airport. He was a godly man who had recently lost his own mother to the very same type of tumor. He was compassionate and understanding as he delivered the devastating prognosis.  I marveled at the way God had prepared this physician, this time and this place, and contemplated that phrase once again, “it is as it should be.”

We walked up the stairs of my brother’s house – a big, beautiful home with pillars on the front porch and a lovely yard that stretched around the house.  A warm welcome awaited us, with smiles and hugs, and good old southern hospitality (even though they grew up in New York).

“Come on in! We just want to enjoy this time together,” my sister-in-law said.  “It’s important, so stay as long as you want.  We just need to be together.”

Entering the foyer, my heart fluttered as I realized that although I had never been there before, this was the place in my dream.  My father had made his journey to heaven nearly two years before – quite suddenly and without warning. We never got to say goodbye.

Every night we gathered around her bedside for prayer.

“Goodnight, Mom, we’ll see you in the morning,” we said, as we turned out the light and left the room.  Together we determined she would never be alone and from that day forward, various family members, children and adult grandchildren, took turns making the trip to spend time with her, trying to help as much as possible. We did not take for granted this opportunity to care for such a beautiful lady – one who had spent her entire life caring for the needs of others.

Mom could no longer speak but she could laugh and there was plenty of that as we enacted a comedy of errors in our home-care efforts. I won’t mention any names but there were stories of adult grandchildren landing on the hospital bed with their grandmother on top of them as they failed to negotiate the transfer properly.

Thank goodness she never lost her sense of humor or her love for her family. How her eyes lit up whenever she heard the voices of the little ones coming down the hallway. She beamed with joy as little Addison, one of the newest members of the family, was placed in her arms.

Weeks passed before I was able to return early in March, and by then it was obvious she didn’t have much longer in this world. We continued our nighttime ritual and during the quiet afternoon hours, sitting at her bedside, this song began singing to me:

We don’t have to say goodbye, we’ll see you in the morning;
Where time can only die, life goes on!
It’ll never end in heaven, forever in his care;
We don’t have to say goodbye – We’ll see you there!


I could not bring myself to sing it to her. My brother had told me that every time she heard my voice come up on his Play List, she would begin to cry – and not just little tears. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to make her cry.  Lord knows I’d done enough of that in my lifetime.

image2About ten days later, after several delays and schedule changes, I had to return home. I held her close and kissed her, whispering in her ear, “I love you, Mom.  Give Daddy a kiss for me and tell him I love him!” She blinked once in understanding.

Back in New York the very next day, March 17th, I received the call on my way home from work. Mom had gone on to glory. It was my brother’s birthday. Bittersweet, indeed. They told me how they prayed and sang together around her bedside and as she breathed her last breath, a single tear rolled down her cheek. I sat there in the parking lot at the gas station where I had pulled over, crying out in anguish through my tears, “Why? Why couldn’t I have stayed one more day?” Once again, the words came back to reassure me, “it is as it should be.”

I don’t know that I’ll ever understand it, but there was authority in those words. They gave me peace. For in all of this my God has been demonstrating to me the beautiful reality described by the Apostle Paul when he wrote:  “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” or as my husband likes to say, “Our last breath here is our first breath in heaven.”

What a comfort! What a blessing to know our Heavenly Father took care of every last detail of this dear saint’s home going. What a joy to know she is healthy and vibrant in the presence of the Lord and his angels, along with my Dad and so many friends and family who have gone on before. I’m not sure why she had to endure such a debilitating illness or the frustration of being trapped in her own body without being able to attach words to thoughts. I don’t understand why we couldn’t have any of her final words to cherish – only memories of our own – but I do know this:

God is good and everything He does is good.
And whether or not I understand all that he allows – or why,
My faith is strong because in this I know “It is as it should be!”

Just An Excuse

“Never trouble trouble ’till trouble troubles you!”

“It is never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.”

“It’s not the ups and downs in life that’ll get you, it’s the jerks!”

1My Dad had a host of quips and quotes that remain as whimsical sound bites from his 53 years of ministry. Some originated with people who influenced him: authors, teachers, poets, parents and preachers, while others were reminiscent of growing up in a time when such pearls of wisdom were valued and repeated often, passed down from generation to generation in a farming community. Still others, or so I am told, came from signs on the barber shop walls where he used to get his hair cut!

“I hate the guys who criticize and minimize the other guys
whose enterprise has made ’em rise above the other guys!”

“Never kiss by the garden gate. Love is blind but the neighbors ain’t!”

As a teenager, those favorite sayings of his were sure to elicit a groan or rolling of the eyes from me. I wondered if anyone else noticed how many times he’d repeated them. But there was one in particular that got under my skin a little bit because he had a real knack for knowing when I least wanted to hear it and would deliver it with gusto, even though it wasn’t necessarily directed toward me:

“You know what an excuse is, don’t you?
It’s just the skin of a reason, stuffed with a lie.”

Ouch! Let’s be honest – we all make excuses for things we don’t want to do (or don’t believe we can do) and our culture encourages it. Even in church. In the name of being sympathetic and understanding, we need to be careful we don’t ease someone else right out of a commitment or worse yet, their calling. We have become experts at justifying a lackadaisical, non-sacrificial, Christian-like existence and highly skilled at encouraging others to do the same.

Well, you can sugarcoat it but it’s just an excuse!

When you know what God wants you to do, and he’s provided repeated opportunities to act on it but you haven’t, you’ve opened up your heart to a slow process of decay that sets in and festers every time you repeat the lie. Others know it, too, but they may slap a band-aid on it and repeat it with you anyway, so as not to make you feel badly. And then everyone goes about their business, never really speaking the truth and never knowing what it’s like to experience the fulfillment of growth or the thrill of victory; seeking every day yet another distraction to take away that gnawing sense of defeat.

It’s just an excuse – it’s what you do;
And each time you choose to use it you lose
And you just can’t win!

Excuses breed mediocrity and failure, and while I don’t like the sound of either one of those outcomes, I am pretty sure I have employed my share of excuses. They have the potential of destroying relationships and integrity, and are harsh in their treatment of cherished dreams, subjecting them to a slow and painful death. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had just about enough of that!

Excuses have whittled away some of the best years and greatest opportunities of my life. Some were born out of vulnerability and weakness, others in pride; all of them desperately trying to hide a lack of faith in the One who promised to fulfill His good purpose in my life.

But that was then and this is now! I keep reminding myself that as long as I wake up every morning to a brand new day in this old world, I have yet another opportunity to do something with the time and talents God has given me – something of value for the next. I am committed.

How about you?

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.”  – 2 Chronicles 16:9a

A New Song

That moment you realize it’s not about you.
The gifts you’ve been given were meant to share.

6Blessed by the generosity of a family of gospel singers and a couple of dear friends with a penchant for road trips, I found myself in the middle of a week-long songwriting school at Lee University in Cleveland, TN.  Thinking I was in pretty good shape with several of my best songs, my heart sank as the instructor informed us on Day 1 that he didn’t want to hear anything we had previously written.  Of course he didn’t – ’cause that was just one more frustration to add to my growing list.  Recently unemployed, I was disillusioned with ministry and feeling like I’d been drop-kicked to the curb. I was also recovering from surgery and had been on complete vocal rest for six weeks. To be honest, I was unsure as to how well (or if) I would be able to sing after that.

“They meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”

These words were etched in a stone monument in front of the dorm where I would stay that week. The original building had been destroyed by arsonists but a new one triumphed in its place.  Choking back the tears, I reflected on the Old Testament story of Joseph and was reminded that God had a way of turning things around.  The same God had promised to continue (and complete) his good work in my life – no matter how it hopeless it seemed at the time.

Our assignment for the week was to write a completely new piece by adhering strictly to the instructor’s very methodical (and might I add, boring) process.  I labored over it, every word an effort and every effort a drudgery.  I felt completely out of place with this group of professionals and chastised myself for spilling my guts on the first day when asked to write out what we hoped to accomplish in his class. My, I had some lofty goals! I was embarrassed and wished I could retrieve that paper, hit the road and pretend this never happened.

Rip it up in pieces – the song I tried to write; I know I’d never sing it anyway!

Returning to my room after a deeply moving chapel service with the Voices of Leeon Wednesday night, I panicked at the thought of presenting my song in class the next day. Disappointed with myself and a little mad at God, I tore the lyrics into tiny pieces, throwing them on the floor in my frustration.  “I’m not singing that! I hate that song!”

So why pretend it’s working when the words don’t seem to fit?
The rhyme and meter move to different times.

Self-condemnation, feelings of inferiority and fear of humiliation were followed by my usual litany of questions. “What was I thinking? Lord, why did you bring me here, anyway?” Moments passed. He reminded me of the prayer I had prayed months earlier, asking him to show me what was holding me back in my songwriting. In my heart I knew that God had ordained the time and place, and had chosen and prepared the instructor well in advance and, while many others benefited from it, it seemed that week was just for me (I’m not spoiled, just blessed).  The tears of doubt subsided and I realized after a while that the struggle had quietly crept away in the face of God’s peaceful calm.

So what if I didn’t have the latest songwriting software or laptop computer with all the bells and whistles? The Lord had always managed to use me just as I was –  a simple singer with a classical guitar and handwritten lyrics on a legal pad.

So what if no one else ever recognized my potential or validated my songs? It didn’t seem to matter anymore as my heart rejoiced in knowing it was his validation, his approval, his anointing that I needed and without them, I wouldn’t want to sing anyway.

What mattered most was the condition of my heart and my relationship with him. This was his work, these were his songs.  His gifts and calling are irrevocable and were never intended to be admired like trophies on a shelf. They are more like relief planes dropping supplies across enemy lines to the starving, war-ravaged masses; first responders heralding a message of hope and healing.  They have a purpose – they are given to bless others.  I picked up my guitar and began singing softly through tears of gratitude, without a single thought as to what anyone else might think:

Someone’s waiting for my new song;
Are they longing for peace and harmony?
It’s worth waiting when a new song
Brings new life and sets you free!

And then I knew – everything was going to be all right.

He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. – Phil. 1:6

It’s Not About You, It’s For You!

7Losing a loved one is devastating. Losing a loved one around a holiday can destroy your ability to enjoy the festivities for many years to come. Losing a child around the holidays is devastating and it’ll change you and the holiday forever, casting a shadow of darkness that separates you from everyone else and all the joyous celebrations that take place that time of year. Many people exist in that dark and lonely place but unless you know their story, you might get the wrong impression.

If I knew you and you knew me,
If both of us could clearly see,
And with an inner sight divine,
The meaning of your heart and mine,
I’m sure that we would differ less,
And clasp our hands in friendliness;
Our thoughts would pleasantly agree,
If I knew you and you knew me.
 – Nixon Waterman

I knew my friend was carrying some deep hurt. I could see it in her eyes. I could feel the sadness surrounding her when she entered the room. I longed to find a way to help her but didn’t even know what was wrong. So I asked the Lord for wisdom.

I prayed and yet I was caught off guard the very next day when she began to vent. For years she had carried this burden but for some reason, on this day, she needed to talk about it. And there I was.  She was angry with God and didn’t understand why she had to go through such a painful loss. She’d had all she could take of well-meaning people using faith and the Bible to explain the why’s or offer their condescending “you-should’s” and “you-need-to’s,” as if they actually knew how to soothe the pain in her soul or satisfy that longing in her heart. My spirit was crushed with her sorrow and all I could do was offer the assurance of God’s love and understanding as her eyes filled with tears and she exited the room.

I was stunned. My heart ached and I fought back tears all day and for the next several days as I replayed those five minutes in my mind. They would not leave me alone. I felt compelled to write and the verses literally fell into place as I recalled our conversation.  The chorus was my response and the prayer of my heart that day and for many days to follow.

 

Months later, once I was sure the song would be included on the next album, I shared the news with my friend.  She looked pleased and said, “I’ve never had anyone write a song about me before!” Without giving it a second thought I replied,

“It’s not about you, it’s for you!”

She smiled, eyes shining, and we shared a quiet moment of understanding as God reminded me that my life, my gifts and abilities – and my songs – do not exist for my pleasure and enjoyment, but for the benefit of others.

Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes others,
Let this my motto be,
Help me to live for others
 – Charles D. Meigs (1917)

Lift Me Up

2This is a little story about a day in the life of a starving artist who has to work to support her music habit.

I would love to tell you that there was some grand spiritual moment, a great awakening that prompted the writing of this song. But it wouldn’t be true. I was rushing around to get ready for work and there was a good chance I might be late. But when I pressed the nozzle to put on a little perfume, nothing happened. I looked at the empty bottle in shock and dismay and said out loud, “I’m fresh outta Happy!” Frantically, and slightly annoyed, I searched the vanity for another bottle that may hold a drop or two of my favorite fragrance but to no avail. I got nothin’! Then I began to chuckle as my mind repeated the phrase, “fresh outta happy!”

What a great track that provided for my train of meandering thoughts! I began to revisit many of the extreme circumstances of my life and realized that even in times of deepest despair, I could not recall one single moment when I didn’t know that God loved me.  He had never failed and had always been there for me. I began to wonder what life would have been like had I not known Him and how it must be for the multitudes who don’t. My heart broke for others  – the loneliness and hopelessness they must feel, the alienation when Christians get all joyful and singing Love Lifted Me all the time. Without Jesus, that kind of deep abiding joy is foreign and unattainable.

I thanked God then and there for all the times I had cried out to Him and He had faithfully lifted me out of the depths and set my feet on higher ground. An old hymn from my childhood (Higher Ground by Johnson Oatman, Jr.) kept inserting itself into my thought process, seeming to want to climb aboard at every stop.

“Lord, lift me up and let me stand by faith on heaven’s table land;
A higher plane than I have found, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground!”


I don’t remember much about the rest of the day except that even as I worked, this song was on continuous play in my mind as it sought to find the right words to express itself, and by the time I got home that night, it was complete.

“I shoulda known you would provide along the way
All that I needed to get by another day.
Now I can sing and shout about how your love lifted me;
I want everyone to see!”

Hear “Lift Me Up” and all the songs on the new album by Becki Bice, “Color Me Love”. Click here.

 

The Colors of Love

BeckiBice_ColorMeLove_r3-1If it’s true that every singer has but one song to sing, and they sing it all their life, mine would have to be the love of God: vast, unmeasurable, unconditional, extravagant – its power completely underestimated by his prized creation, the very object of that love.

“Did you ever find the song that sang of itself  in the quiet of your closet, when you heard His ‘Yes’ to your prayer for His glory to come on earth? When nothing was seen of His working for you or your loved ones, did you hear the sweet strains of the song that sang?”  – Lettie B. Cowman, Springs in the Valley

It is my motivation, my compelling force, my guiding light and ultimate source of all the good I can do in this world. All humanity craves its comfort, cries out for its healing touch. It is the birthmark of true believers, the one characteristic that identifies me as a child of God.

It has been a golden thread weaving its way over and above, around and through the fabric of my life.  As a child, I was an unwitting and oblivious recipient. As a wayward teen, I ran from and resisted the love I was so desperate to find, knowing in my heart that it was there all the time.

From the moment I began following Christ in earnest and loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, its recurring theme began showing up in my songs like some rogue musical photo-bomber, seemingly out of turn, yet strategically poised, ready and waiting for that look of surprise when I found it front and center once again.

So when I read the following phrase in a blog by Dr. Charles Ware about this time last year (thank you, sir), I started smiling because I knew I’d have to sing it again. I could already hear it easing into the next refrain:   just “color me love!”


May my life present a portrait of His love in living color – His peace, my frame!

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can.  In all the places you can.  At all the times you can.  To all the people you can.  As long as ever you can.”  – John Wesley

Hear clips from all the new songs from Becki Bice’s new CD “Color Me Love” at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/beckibice2

End of the Road

bb3A feeling of panic swept over me as I prepared for my first trip to Nashville to meet with Creative Soul. What was I thinking – saying I’d go down there? I started assembling all of the lyrics I could find – some scribbled, some typed, and others written neatly on legal pads. After I had exhausted all possible options of where they might be hiding, I stared at the dining room table covered with songs spanning several decades. With a lump in my throat I began to talk to myself – half complaining, half praying – “this cannot be for nothing – this cannot be all there is … there must be a purpose. Whatever possessed me to sit down and write all these songs? Why would anyone one do that, Lord?”

I stood there, tears streaming down my face for several minutes as I reflected on all he had brought me through. I sat down at the piano and started singing the chorus … “This can’t be the end of the road …” The first verse came quickly and by the time I got to the end I realized that my musical journey was remarkably similar to the story of the prodigal. Broken once again, I wept as I realized how tired I was of trying to figure things out on my own and that my Heavenly Father was indeed waiting; but not only that, he had been with me all along and was even now preparing the way before me.

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