Valleys to Mountains
For the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a very special project. It’s been on my new album, called Wide Open. It’s all original songs from my season and journey for the past couple of years. If any of you know me, you heard me announce another album (out of this valley) a couple of year’s back that was never released. Those couple of years was some of the hardest times I’ve walked through, and I just felt an unsettled feeling of releasing those songs at that time, in that season. Well, coming soon, I’ll be releasing some of those songs as well as some new ones!
Sometimes, being on the other side of trial and pain brings about new light and perspective on where you were. It’s easy to think in the moment of trial, “where is God?” or “why is He letting this happen?” That surely was the case for me. Now, I’m happily married and in one of the best seasons I’ve been in for long time, and can totally see how God was at work through those hard times.
On reflecting on the past couple of seasons of life, it’s got me thinking. I wonder how we can go from these valleys to the mountaintop moments? How can we navigate through or how do we deal with the ups and downs that life throws? That is the whole heart behind this album, because no matter who you are, you’re dealing with something that’s got you in a valley or you just came out of it and are at a brief pause on the mountaintop.
In my reflection and time with God and writing these songs, I’ve found it’s never been about how fast I can get out of the valley or how long I can stay at the mountaintop, but it’s been about my posture, or how I carry myself through the seasons, and what God is wanting to teach me in those moments.
Here are a couple of verses that inspired the songs of the album and that carried me through the ups and downs in life.
Romans 5 (MSG) Developing Patience
5 1-2 By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
6-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
9-11 Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!
The introduction is the culmination of all of the lyrics and ideas of this album smashed into one song.
YOUR LOVE IS CHASING ME
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
THROUGH THE TRIAL
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
1 Corinthians 8:6
Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
FROM THE BEGINNING
Colossians 1:18-20 (MSG) Christ Holds It All Together
15-18 We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.
18-20 He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
No matter where on the spectrum you find yourself, whether deep in a valley or high on the mountaintop, be encouraged that the way your hold yourself matters. There will be a time when you’ll be on the other side, and you’ll be able to see how God was at work and what He wanted to teach you. Keep developing, learning, growing, and leaning on God and those placed around you. I hope these songs encourage you and push you to keep going.
We'll have physical copies here at Watermarks in January 2017 along with shirts for sale ($10 Album) and the album will be on all online platforms by January 1st, 2017! So excited for all this album is and hope you enjoy!