King Over All
Writing music has always come naturally to me. As a kid, I composed melodies even before I could read music. Over the years, I’ve noticed that the strongest songs have come to me during my most difficult circumstances.
A good example of this is the song King Over All. Cheryl and I had just moved to NC to serve at a strong and thriving church. From every angle, it seemed like a stable organization led by leaders who had a fresh and exciting vision for the future.
This was especially attractive to us. Just a few months earlier, we had finished a difficult 3-year season at our church during which we served as the primary leaders twice, each for 8 months.
Six months later, our pastor called me into his office and informed me that he would be taking a different job.
I dreaded having to come home and tell Cheryl. When I told her, she immediately began to cry. For those of you who don’t know my wife, she is usually one of the last people to get upset about anything.
It was out of this pain that I wrote King Over All. This song would become our mantra during tough times for many years to come.
King Over All would be followed by 9 more original songs. These songs would eventually be recorded and made into an album of the same name.
I always thought that writing music would be easy for me…that is until I moved to Chicago 5 years ago.
Living in Chicagoland
Writing music during this time was nearly impossible for me. To this day, I’m not completely sure why. I think it could have been a number of contributing factors in my life.
I believe my job duties had something to do with it. While my title was the same as my previous positions, the nature of my work was much more administrative. I spent a good deal of my day (and evenings) using the left side of my brain.
I was also losing a battle with severe chronic pain which took every ounce of energy I had just to function each day. For more on that, click here.
My “writer’s block” continued for the full 4 1/2 years we lived in the Chicagoland area. Unfortunately, at the end of that period, I had to resign from my job due to significant pain issues.
Moving to South Carolina
Fast-forward 3 months. We moved to SC to be closer to my side of the family who lives in the Charlotte, NC area. Instead of 12-hour days filled with meetings and weekend prep, I was at home trying to rest so that my pain level would come down.
It was during this time that I started contemplating something I’d been desiring to do for 5 years. I wanted to write music again.
As I thought about it, I immediately came face to face with my physical limitations (or so I thought they were). One after another, I was being bombarded with thoughts of failure.
At this point, I was spending a good half of the day in bed due to pain in my back. The thought of sitting at a piano for hours was daunting. And then there were the side effects of all the medicine I take.
As I pondered all of my limitations, I almost talked myself out of it. But then I began to think about a prophecy that was given to me about 18 months earlier by a sweet and godly woman in our church.
She told me that I would begin writing music again. The amazing part of it all was that she didn’t know that I wrote music or had ever stopped writing it!
Tranquility and Healing
I also thought about Tranquility, a Facebook Live piano session that I do every Tuesday at 12:30 pm EDT. I basically just sit at the piano for 30 minutes and let whatever is in my heart spill out through my fingers.
Over the last 6 months or so of doing this, I’ve heard from many of you. You have told me how much my piano playing means to you.
One comment I will never forget came from a family friend I had not seen for 25 years. After finishing up a Tuesday session, I opened up Facebook and saw that she had written to me.
Here is what she wrote.
This Facebook message was a turning point for me. Despite my pain, I knew it was what God was calling me to do. It was time for me to take my eyes off of my pain and share my gift to help others.
As I did this, I still had to work within my limitations. Thankfully, I discovered that I have no trouble remembering anything musical. Go figure! This, of course, is not the case with everything else.
I’ve noticed that lately, I get really nervous when I take my kids to the doctor or any other kind of activity where I am required to remember their birthdays or other important information. Thank God for cell phones where I can keep it all written down.
Moving Forward With Perfect Peace
As I moved forward with the project, things began to fall into place. Within a week or so I had help with graphics, duplication, recording, and just about everything else. I love when a plan comes together!
I’ve had a number of people ask me about the stories behind the songs. For the sake of the length of this post, I will share only one story about the song Overcome. This is my favorite song on the album!
Overcome was written on a day when I was feeling discouraged and burdened about my chronic pain. More specifically, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work it takes to be seen by my doctors and to get prescriptions refilled.
Unfortunately, those who have abused prescription medicines have made it much more difficult for the people who really need them. As a pain patient, this is something that I am learning to accept.
As I was reading my devotions that morning, I ran across the verse in Exodus 11:11 that says, “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” It’s important to know the context of this verse.
The Israelites were standing on the edge of the Red Sea, hemmed in by the sea before them and Pharoah’s army behind. God was their only hope! In this verse, Moses was telling them to trust in God.
Letting God Fight For You
Trusting Him means not anguishing or becoming discouraged over our situation. Instead, we must release it to God and let him fight for us. For those of you who know the story of Moses and the Israelites, you know that this is exactly what happened to them.
Just as God split the Red Sea for them, so will he do the same for us!
As I wrote the song Overcome, I pictured the struggle that often takes place inside of us as we try to fix our problems on our own instead of surrendering them to God. Sometimes this battle is bigger than the one we are going through!
Thankfully, when we finally let go, God can do what he needs to do for us. We can be sure that “he works all things for our good (Romans 8:28).”
My hope is that as you listen to this song and the others on the album, you will find that same rest that I have found. I’m certainly not perfect. There are days when I sense His peace more than others. No matter the circumstance, we can be sure that He is in control and he is the God of Perfect Peace!
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