for Poets and Songwriters … invitation from Amber

My friends Amber and Chad invite you to enter their story and respond with your creative abilities …
For further background, you might want to read this
To post your reply, go to Songs for a Revolution of Hope here
Need for a song:
I have been listening to Brian McLaren’s new CD and David Crowder’s newest CD, Remedy. Feeling inspired by both in different ways, I have found myself wondering if a talented musical artist could put to words exactly what I have been feeling this past year. You see my life, our life, took a dramatic turn a couple of years ago when our son, Peyton, was diagnosed with autism. We jumped into looking for ways to help him reach his max potential. He was very sickly and so the first response was to find a doctor willing and able to understand our unique situation and not just label him “failure to thrive.” After much searching, we found a doctor who was a pediatrician but moved into natural healing. Within 6 weeks of implementing this doctor’s approach, Peyton gained 5 pounds and grew 4 inches. During this time, we also jumped into every therapy possible to help Peyton who was almost two learn to crawl, sit up, walk, play with toys, eat anything other than baby food and eventually speak.

During this time of frenzy, we found out we were pregnant again. Overjoyed, scared, and prayerful, we welcomed the thought of a little one hoping it would be a girl who would likely be less affected by autism. The baby was a girl!!!! For the first 15 months, Taya developed typically and we held our breath as each day passed and she passed the next milestone. Between 15 months and two years, we noticed a slight decline in her rate of development but did not worry since she has passed other milestones quickly. By her second birthday, our worries turned once again into action. We had the therapy program that Peyton was first involved with assess Taya and much to our disappointment she had not progressed since 15 months old. We have not had her officially diagnosed but her therapy program matches our sons program.
During these years of searching for help for our children, I did not give myself an opportunity to feel the emotions of having two children with special needs. I went into action and stayed exceedingly busy, but upon our daughter entering into therapy my walls of coping crumbled. My immune system could not handle the stress and my body became injured even during light physical activity. Sick and unable to exercise to burn off my stress, emotions began to build up inside and then I quit sleeping. After not sleeping for 5 weeks, I thought I was going insane and struggled to see hope for myself, for my family, for the world. I knew my mind and body could not handle much more of this stress. I was scared of myself. I was scared to drive my kids around town because I was so tired and easily excited. I felt my nerves were on edge and one more thing gone wrong and I would crack into a million pieces. I struggled to find God in the midst of the chaos. Did God give me special needs children because of sin in my life (a first century belief)? Did God create my children this way to teach me something? Is it totally a result of our assult on our own environment with our pollution, our waste, our unnecessary drugs, our excessive behavior? Where is God?
People would say to me, “This is so good because this time (referring to my daughter entering therapy) you know exactly what to do.” Or “Isn’t that nice for you that both of your children will be at the same school (a school for children with special needs).” All of these comments failed to give me hope that the speakers intended and instead made me angry. I thought, “Wow, I guess I should feel glad that my daughter has special needs as well as my son instead of sad.” Or I thought, “I must not be Christian enough since I don’t feel blessed that God made it easy for me with both my kids having special needs and attending the same school.” None of the comments made to me gave me room or time to feel sad, disappointment, lonely, discouraged or fearful. All of the comments jumped immediately to words of hope which failed to offer me any peace and instead furthered my guilt.
Enter my topic of discussion: music. I absolutely love David Crowder’s sound and look forward to each CD that is released. His latest CD has a song entitled, “Never let go.” In this song he says, “When disaster came. Oh, my soul. When waters rise and hope takes flight, Oh, my soul. Ever faithful ever true you never let go.” And then repeats, “You never let go.” This is a fantastic song as my dear friend pointed out in getting you to repeat the phrase, “You never let go.” Over and over again. But I felt that the verses barely touched on what it is like to have hope take flight or to feel like you are drowning when the waters rise and instead he immediately jumps to thinking about the positive in that God never lets us go. For me, in the process of pointing out that bad things happen and then jumping to God never letting us go is much like my conversations with well meaning friends…it gives you no room to feel. Even worse, sometimes it makes you feel like a failure as a person of faith if you can’t immediately jump to hearing and believing that “You (God) never let go.” What about when it feels like he has let go? This reminds me of the time during the prophets when hope took flight and disaster struck the Israelites. God says through the prophet Amos, “The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro seeking the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.” Amos 8:11-12 Barbara Brown Taylor wrote a book that I love entitled, “When God is Silent.” I will not go into all the details of this book because I could not do justice to the depth and breadth of her discovery, but what I will say is that there are times when we need to be allowed to feel that God is silent. I need to be allowed to work through feelings that include God’s apparent abandonment of me and my family. The bible includes portions of scripture dealing with this very topic (anyone read Job lately and discovered that God does not come out looking so good in that book!!!!) but we in our Christian society today don’t give ear to this topic. Why not???
I wish that we could come up with a song with the flare of David Crowder but with the depth of Brian McLaren. Brian McLaren along with other artists just released a CD that everyone should hear! My vision of the perfect song for people in crisis like me is to have a song that really talks about what it feels like to be drowning in sorrow, what the tears taste like, what the cold water feels like when it is rising up, what grief smells like. The song would talk about the journey of the night breaking into dawn. This reminds me of the relay for life where you walk all night long until the sun comes up to feel what it is like to go through having cancer: tired, sick, weak, darkness, alone, one step at a time, I can’t do one more step, and then finally dawn. This is how a song could really touch people and maybe there is one out there that really talks about sorrow, grief, and crisis. I would love to see the song be full of sorrow and then the last line be like the dawn: enter HOPE. Not too much hope that would engulf the rest of the song, but just the last line so that the rest of the song, the sorrow, has its place and is acknowledged for what it is but then the dawn of a new day. Because there always is a new day. Thank God!!!! Praise Jesus. But the new day does not always bring about total healing or restoration so I wouldn’t want too much overwhelming hope in the last verse, but enough to point a person in crisis to God and then let them feel. If you have heard such a song, please pass it along. If you have need for such a song, I have ears to hear from you. If you can write such a song, allow this email to inspire you to unleash the gift God gave you, a gift that could touch so many lives.
At Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change conference and book tour, we were given time to write our feelings. We were supposed to write our feelings surrounding the topic of the conference but as someone struggling to grasp and accept their own reality of life’s surprises this is what I wrote, if you have ears to hear. ( Please hear the emotion of the words and not the actual words themselves for I know that I do not possess the gift of song!!!)
Questions. Desires. Hopes. Despair.
Despair leading into darkness where tears fall heavy unending.
Unending gushing forth like the rage of the rapids dispersing into streams of trickling water bringing life.
Life so complex, so free, yet bound, so joyful yet pricked with anger.
Anger like a wild beast caged and given food but no chance to express.
Express the struggles and hope, sadness and joy, frustration and acceptance, fear and thoughts.
Thoughts about loneliness that wash over the body
cleansing only temporarily enough to make it one more day.
Day the dawn of a fresh start, a new thought, a greater perspective, a deeper belief
Belief: we are never alone.
Thanks, Amber …
Creative friends, to post your reply, go to Songs for a Revolution of Hope here