Friday, April 3, 2009

Three Heart Cries - Three Musical Answers

An Open Heart Journal
Living Each Day Better than the One Before
April 3, 2009

Three Heart Cries - Three Musical Answers

Music has been a major part of my life since I was a little girl. My Father collected records - mostly classical music with a little Herb Albert thrown in and he would quiz me to identify songs by their title, composer and dates while at the dinner table or while watching a television program that used classical music in the background. I didn’t get it right the first time but I worked hard to get it right the second. Music has made me smile, cry, and even choose life over death on more than one occasion. When I’m in pain or going through a long medical test that requires me to lie still for long periods I play the Alphabet Game which I learned from comedian Chonda Pierce. You start with the letter “A” and sing at least one hymn for each letter of the alphabet. I rarely finish but just the attempt always calms this little Baptist heart and mind that memorized much of the Baptist Hymnal during the 69’s and 70’s. Twice in the past the Lord has used a wonderfully talented songwriter/singer to touch my heart and yesterday He did it a third time.

In 1984 when I thought I might never live to see my only son grow up a song called “The Warrior is a Child” played on the radio while I was carefully driving myself home after a long day and discouraging day with the doctor. I turned on the radio just in time to hear these words...

Lately I've been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I'm amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don't see inside of me
I'm hiding all the tears

They don't know that I go running home when I fall down
They don't know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
'Cause deep inside this armor
The warrior is a child

©Twila Paris “The Warrior is a Child” 1984

I was so touched by the song I had to pull over just to cry. I remember going to the Christian bookstore instead of home just to find this album which was brand new at the time. I even wrote Twila and met her both at a concert in Dallas and once again at the same Christian bookstore so I could tell her thank you. More than one of her songs reached my heart and I was very grateful. I used several of her songs when I visited patients at a local Cancer treatment hospital to sing to them in their rooms.

A few years later I found myself a single mom fighting for custody of my son and feeling like I was losing in every area of my life. I was so suicidal that I knew I shouldn’t be alone so I drove to a friend’s house. While on my way there I turned on the radio just in time to hear Twila’s familiar voice singing these words...
For the young abandoned husband
Left alone without a reason
For the pilgrim in the city where there is no home
For the son without a father
For his solitary mother
I have a message
He sees you. He knows you
He loves you. He loves you
Every heart that is breaking tonight
Is the heart of a child that He holds in His sight
And Oh how He longs to hold in His arms
Every heart that is breaking tonight

©Twila Paris “Every Heart that is Breaking Tonight” 1989

Once again, I pulled the car over and wept. I swore I heard Twila say my name as she sang “He sees you, He knows you...” and I knew that taking my life was not what He wanted for me or my son. Just a few weeks later I sang that song in church and only one other person understood the real impact of those words on my heart and life.

Yesterday, the Lord used the same artist while I was driving on the same road and spoke to me so clearly with the promise that He has not forgotten me. This was the first “long” drive I had made in many, many months and I was headed back to my son’s house after running several errands in my own home area. I was happily listening to my iPod through my radio when interference made hearing the music impossible. I switched stations and in just a matter of seconds heard Twila singing...”When you think your dream has died - He has not forgotten you. When your body aches from trying - He has not forgotten you.” This time I wasn’t able to pull the car over but I wept because it was as if she was singing words right from my deepest heart cries that very morning.

Here is what the first half of the song says:

When you think your dream has died
He has not forgotten you
When your body aches from trying
He has not forgotten you
When you worry for tomorrow
even though the sky is blue
See the sun is shining
And He has not forgotten you

When your life feels like December
He has not forgotten you
When it's painful to remember
He has not forgotten you
When it seems you cannot live
And there is not much let to lose
He has got a plan
He has not forgotten you

And hope will spring eternal
in the home of those who know
That loving eyes will follow
everywhere we go
Even in the darkness
His promises are true
Keep this in your heart
He has not forgotten you

He is faithful
He is present
He is listening
He is love

©Twila Paris “Not Forgotten” 2009

This album was just released in February and is titled “Small Sacrifice” and I encourage you to find it and listen. These are songs with a message for most of us today that find ourselves facing things we never thought we would be facing. Twila has spoken to the Body once again with purpose and encouragement in a way no one else can.

And so my heart, though tired and in pain, physically and emotionally, is clinging to the promise that He has NOT forgotten me. Yes, my life feels like December and many times in the past weeks I wondered if there was anything else I could lose. But there is still this underlying hope that HE has not forgotten me.

My hope for you is that you will know that He has not forgotten you. It’s not just lyrics from a song. It’s promise in His Word and sealed even with the blood of His own Son. As we enter the season of Passover and First Fruits (Resurrection of our Savior) let us remember that not only our salvation but our life here and in eternity has been bought, paid for and sealed by the promised Messiah and His death and resurrection. This is no trite promise - it is a guarantee that “He has NOT forgotten you.”

From the Heart,