You Are Beautiful

You Are Beautiful

You Are Beautiful

I wrote this song after my last visit to San Francisco.  During that visit, I was reminded how easy it is to marginalize people.  We hear about this every day in the news and on social media.  But we don’t really talk about some of the most marginalized – those “dirty, scary people on that block you probably don’t want to walk down”….

My wife and I stayed on “that block” while in San Francisco, and we met some really sweet people.  We also ran into some people who are – probably insane.  The level of what seems to be insanity among the population we were among is more than I’d seen anywhere else (granted, I haven’t been everywhere – maybe this is more common?…).  We were really overwhelmed by this darkness.  I mean how do you reach someone who is incapable of being reached?  God have mercy…

We did run into a few people though who were wonderful and gracious enough to have chats with us.  Some were so pleased we would spend time with them, or even ask their name.  Some just wanted money for a fix.  Some were sleeping all day – maybe because it’s safer to sleep during the day?  I mean, that’s what I would do, if I lived on the streets – so we just left food at their feet.

Each story is heartbreaking, yet sweet.  These are PEOPLE!  With stories, and life, and dreams.  And value.  Never let someone tell you we as humans are insignificant.  As if it’s arrogant to put a value on a human (yes I heard this too, while staying in SF, at the conference I was at.  A very very intelligent man was spouting this lie to an audience who eat it up like steak…).  We as people ARE valued and valuable, to the One who created us.  This is not arrogant, because it speaks to HIS glory, not ours.

I wrote this song, after the visit.  For Anna, who lit up with the most beautiful smile, when we asked her what her name was.  For Doris, who could not see past her need for the next fix, even at the expense of the babies in her womb…  For Karen, who was actually the first person I approached, ten years ago.  I wonder what she’s up to today…

For Heather, who just needed a few more bucks to make rent, so she would not be thrown out on the street again.  For the Vietnam vet, who felt like he had no more use.  For the men piled on each other for warmth, as they slept in a forgotten alley…

I’m giving the song away.  But if anyone streams or downloads it, I’ll donate to a local Minneapolis organization called In Love Word and Deed.  They go out weekly and bring meals to people in Minneapolis.  They pray over and with, share love and good news with, get to know, cry over and with, these wonderful people.  They are wonderful people.  If you see fit, please consider helping them out.

And if you would, prayerfully consider, how your smile, your “hello”, your handshake or hug, might just show someone they matter.  Because they do.  And so do you…

You Are Beautiful

You are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Anna, such a beautiful smile
Such a beautiful name
And I call you mine
I’ve called you by name into My grace
My mercy is yours for the taking

Dear child, don’t you know yet?
Dear one, haven’t you heard

That you are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Doris, you don’t need that hit…
You don’t need that shame…
Cause you are My gift
I give you Myself
And that’s enough
If only you’d know this…

Dear child with a child of your own
Dear one, don’t let go…

Cause you are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

Dear Karen
Pure in heart
You think no one sees you…
But I do…
your name’s not forgotten
It’s on my book of life
And today you will hear me in paradise, say

You are beautiful
You’re made perfectly
You are beautiful
You’re made in the image of Me

You Are Beautiful

 

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If You Falter…

If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!
Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
(Proverbs 24:10-12)

Sunday January 22nd marked 43 years since abortion was made legal in this country…

It’s celebrated by so many today, as a woman’s right to her choice, to her own decisions with her body.

It’s mourned by so many others, as a time when we as a nation said, “It’s OK – no righteous – to kill your baby”.

We argue whether or not this baby is a baby – is a life.  When it’s a life.  What determines this child is a living human being.  What determines viability.

It’s become quite the topic, of late.  Political candidates ran on this platform, as they have in the past.  But it seems the lines have been drawn harder than before.  It’s a hill many are willing to die on.

Am I?

I wrote this post in September of 2015.  I talked about not being able to stay “on the fence”.  Then – I got back on the fence…  I never stopped believing what I wrote.  But I – just hid…

I confess, I am a coward.  I am afraid to post even this.  I’m afraid to take the stand.  I’m afraid to offend so many of my friends – to lose friends…  But if what I believe to be true, is true – how can I tremble in the background in fear?  How can I NOT say something?

If you falter in a time of trouble,
    how small is your strength!

So my invitation to talk is still open, to anyone who is willing.  If you think I’m an idiot, a bigot, against women and/or women’s rights, heartless, a monster – SHOW ME why this is the case.  Come talk to me.  Reach out to me, and I will gladly meet with you.  If you think a child with a heartbeat at 18 days is not a living human being – TELL ME why.  Let’s talk about it.

See – I don’t want to hide behind politicians making decisions that may or may not affect law in this country, or in our states.  I am surely interested in that – but I know it’s not the answer to changing hearts and minds.  Hearts and minds changing might however affect law, eventually – certainly it has in that the morality of the day says a women’s right to choose trumps the life of a child.  That didn’t happen overnight.  And I think short of Jesus returning, that likely doesn’t get reversed overnight.  43 years plus of the message that abortion is necessary, a right, GOOD, will affect us as a people.  Think about that…

So – let’s talk…

But I understand that an invitation will likely be met with silence.  Or an online argument that gets heated beyond what I am comfortable with – I’m willing to go there, and I will be patient and hear you out, responding with respect.  Or the invitation will be met with me being unfriended on social media.  Or labeled.  Or all of the above.  I get it.  There is a line in the sand.  One must choose sides.  It’s just not a topic anyone can speak passively on, or really, avoid.

I fear speaking out about such a divisive topic today could hinder my ability to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  But really, Jesus – God in flesh – came to save the weak, the oppressed, the sinners (all of us).  That’s this child growing inside of you, as much as it is YOU, dear mother…

And know that I am not here to condemn you, if you have had an abortion.  Just as I have plead with those I love getting a divorce, “Don’t do it!”, only to love them and move forward with them after they still made the decision to end the marriage, I would do the same for you.  Heck – that is what Jesus did for me…  That’s what He does for us…

Rescue those being led away to death;
    hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
    Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

That passage, has been used before in pro-life talks.  I think it is important to note, those “being led away to death”, that isn’t necessarily applying to the child growing inside of you.  It applies to you, mother.  To you, father.  To you, doctor.  To you, pro-choice advocate.  To all of us.  My Lord – that’s what Jesus did for us…

No idea who might read this.  I don’t get a lot of readers.  But if  you are in a situation, where you or someone you know are considering abortion, know there are options.  Here are just a couple, in the Twin Cities:

http://www.nlfs.org/

http://www.mypregnancychoicesmn.com/

It’s only a couple of options, I know.  I’m sure many could list other options, possibly better options.  And I would appreciate that greatly, as I would love to provide every option to those faced with these decisions.

I know that some of you are facing something I’m not.  I know that having a child will affect you for the rest of your life.  But really – the pregnancy, whether going to term or being ended prematurely – will affect you the rest of your life.  It does not go away with abortion.  You were still a mother, once…

Grace and peace…

T.

Song Story #6 – Shedding My Skin

sheddingskin

Shedding My Skin

Odd title, I know.  Odder still, if I tell you this song is about death?  And why would one want to talk about death, on the eve of Thanksgiving???

Death is one of the few guarantees we have in life.  It’s the most painful, terrifying thing.  We have NO CONTROL over it.  And we like control, don’t we?

I came up with this title 23 years ago, when my grandma passed away (she drew the picture you see above, by the way – I have it framed in my studio).  See, when my grandpa died in 1988, I watched my grandma turn from this feisty, firey, sweet old lady, into a depressing, depressed person just begging to die.  My memory of her may differ from others?  But I distinctly recall her saying, more than once after my grandpa’s passing, “I’m sick.  I’m dying.”, in a “life sucks” tone.  This was not her prior to his death.  Not to me anyway.

But I also remember, in her last days while in the hospital, a sense of renewed LIFE!  The last time I saw her, she looked younger than she had, maybe ever in my life.  Like she had shed her skin, and a new Grandma was there!  She was glowing, and vibrant.  So beautiful… Then she was gone…

So I wrote a song, trying to capture that.  I can’t remember much of the original version I wrote so many years ago, other than the chorus, which I used to write this one.

This new version is about those dear loved ones, who are left behind.  Specifically a spouse.  See, much like my grandma, who lost her life when she lost her husband, I have witnessed the same or similar in my own mother and mother-in-law.  It’s so sad to see…  Yet, at the same time, so beautiful…  You see how these couples really were “two becoming one”, when you see that person left without their life-long love…

The death of a long-time spouse – your lifetime friend, lover, confidant, basically YOU – that death is the death of two who had become one.  I’m describing this as one who has witnessed it but never experienced it.  I wonder if I have it even close to right?  But that is what I was trying to capture in the writing of this song.

And also, the ultimate freedom that comes in our physical death – for those who are in Christ Jesus.  The lines, “To be with you, I’d give everything just to be with you”, were written from the perspective of my mother saying this to my father who had passed on.  But personalized by my desire to be with my Jesus.  I’d give it all up – my wonderful family, the life he’s blessed me with here, my own wife – all of it – to be with Him now.

Who have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You…

This is my favorite song on the new record.  The beauty and sadness in the lyric.  The fact that I accidentally stumbled upon a Phil Collins vibe in the music (I’ve spoken about my obsession with Mr. Collins before, so it may not come as a surprise when I say, this was a treat for me), the chanting crescendo of “Hallelujah” at the end of the song.  I hope I don’t sound braggadocios when I say, I love this song…

And I hope you will too…

Shedding My Skin
I’m so alone
Nobody knows
Nobody understands
I’m waiting to die
Cause maybe then I would matter
At least for a little while

And to be with You…
To be with You…
I’d give everything just to be with You…

Why am I waiting?
Why am I here?
Why can’t I remember…

That oh, I’m shedding my skin
I’m ready to live again

I’m less than normal
I’m less the free
Trapped in this bag of bones
I’m searching for comfort
I’m waiting to die
So maybe I’ll live again

And to sing to You…
To sing to You…
I feel so alive when I sing to You…

Why am I waiting?
And I’m still here praying
“Lord, help me remember”

That oh, I’m shedding my skin
I’m ready to live again

Hallelujah…

Shedding My Skin

Song Story #5 – This Is the Soundtrack For My Heartbreak

sins-of-the-father-final

This Is the Soundtrack for My Heartbreak

I wrote about this song already as well, as I had released it prior to the record.  This is my attempt at writing a cool, hip, up-to-date pop song.  I sounds in no way cool, hip, or up to date.  But I do like how it turned out.

Two things I remember, as I dropped my daughter off in Seattle, over a year ago.

  1.  I balled my eyes out, the night before.  I was in a hotel room with her, so I had to wait until she fell asleep, and then cry as quietly as possible.  I am not a big cryer – so this was all weird to me.
  2. I recall the next morning, the breakfast before – while we spent a few days together, had a wonderful time, chatted away – and generally did and do chat away normally – I couldn’t think of a single thing to say.  So I asked dumb questions, brought up dumb topics.  I’m sure the poor girl was thinking, “When is he just gonna drop me off already?”

I remember when I left the house, and how that relationship you have with a parent – changes…  I now know what my mom was going through, with each kid.  🙂

I am bummed that I cut the first nano-second of the song, as I was editing.  Ah well, is what it is.  🙂

This Is the Soundtrack for My Heartbreak
Sunday morning, waiting for words
The last chance to pour out
Sitting silent
Can’t think of a thing to say to you
Why can’t I say

All the things I wanna say
All the things I never say
All the things you needed to hear me say

You’re moving out, you’re moving on
Will you ever be home again?
The bird is flown and the nest is alone
And I don’t know how to deal…

All the things I wanna say
All the things I never say
All the things you needed to hear me say

This is the soundtrack for my heartbreak
And I just can’t seem to turn it around
This is the backdrop for your breaking out
And I never thought I’d have to say

I’m not ready…

This Is the Soundtrack for My Heartbreak

New Music – AGAIN…

I Love You

I Love You…

Yes, I have new music, AGAIN.

Or better- it’s older songs of mine, that I re-worked, re-recorded.  So – in a way, it’s new!

I got a ton of help on this one.

  • Nathan and Joan Boyer again helped with re-shaping the songs – mostly lyrically, but also with forming a song into something usable.  They also helped with vocals on a few songs
  • Elise Magalis helped with vocals, including sharing lead vocals on “Ain’t Gonna Hide No More”
  • Tom Carlon played bass on all but one song.  And he shared lead vocals on “Oh!  Sweet Love”
  • Tony Preston, who crafted the song “Press On”, also lent vocals, lead guitar and hand claps
  • My lovely wife helped with hand claps – she’s the best hand clapper out there!
  • While I took the pictures on the cover – I was with my lovely daughter as I took each one.  So I gotta give her credit as well.  😉

This was a lot of fun to make!  I hope you enjoy!

As with my last records, I’m going to give away any money raised.  This time around, all monies raised will go to benefit the Salvage Project, my dear brother Jeromy Darling’s non-profit.  Their mission is, in their words, “To repurpose forgotten people and broken lives through music and stories that transmit the saving power and grace of Jesus Christ.”  You can read more about their ministry here .  I’ve been privileged to be part of what they are doing, and it’s incredible to be able to share hope with those who many want to avoid.  Showing someone in real, tangible ways, that they matter, are valued, valuable, created in God’s image – LOVED – that is an awesome thing.  It’s God moving through His children. It’s a beautiful thing…

So – there you have it!  You may or may not know these songs?  But either way, I trust you will enjoy yourself.  Would love to hear your feedback!

I love you…

T.

Download “I Love You…”

 

I Will Remain Confident of This…

My Praise Cover 4

Land of the Living

Another song off my record, “My Praise” – the second of two projects I put together and am selling to raise funds for marriage counseling, for some couple or couples I may never meet.  🙂  You can read about it here:

Wedding Coat Campaign

Know the Truth Ministries

I wrote this song around the verses in Psalm 27, that have been resonating in my heart and mind now for almost a year:

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord
(Psalm 27:13-14)

Every time something upsetting, or tumultuous, would happen in the news, or in our lives – this passage came to mind.  It’s a passage of hope.  Sadly, it’s not a hope everyone has….

We see this today, all over us.  Donald Trump is getting headlines for something he said.  Some are violently for him, others violently against him.  Most of the time, the vitriol for or against, causes me to wonder, are we putting our hopes or fears too much in one man?

A young man was killed in Minneapolis back in November, by a police man.  This sadly is not an uncommon occurrence.  It’s caused an uproar among many who have a distrust for our authorities, and the system we have in place for law enforcement.  This young man was black, which leads to suspicions that race was a driver and contributes to more distrust in the systems we have in place.

I bring this story up from November, because just last week the decision was made that the police officers were not found guilty of murder – that given the evidence they acted as they had to.  Agree or disagree – the thing that comes to my mind is that those who knew and loved this young man have had his death replayed, over and over, in the news and social media.  I wonder how I’d feel, if he were my son…

Add to this – the young man was black.  Another black person killed by police.  I won’t weigh in on this, because to be honest I don’t know much.  I saw the evidence, in this case.  I made up my mind.  But to be honest – I don’t know.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a black person in America today.  I also don’t know what it’s like to be a police officer in America today.  I simply don’t know what happened that night, or other days or nights, when officers were responding to whatever it was.  But the bottom line is this – we have an issue with our fellow man today in America. We MUST deal with it.  I must deal with it…

Abortion videos have been the rage now for months.  The affects have been – interesting.  Many have seen these videos, and had to re-think their stance on what they see as “women’s rights”.  Others have dug their heels in, making heroes out of those who promote this choice.  Both sides are building their armies, and especially in an election year.  Please – let’s not forget, lives are affected here.  Sure, it’s a legal, and even political, discussion.  But really, it’s about LIFE here.  The life if the child.  The life of the mother.  The life of the FATHER, and all the family.  Everyone is affected…

Divorce is celebrated more and more.  Marriage is becoming something people don’t even see a reason for.  Why get married, when we can just shack up?  I know this is nothing new.  But think about this – when we as people learned about how smoking affects us and those around us – we started to re-think how “cool” smoking was.  People just don’t associate smoking with “cool” anymore.  Divorce, which has just as much of a disastrous affect on us and those around us, is still considered “cool”, or “OK”.  “Do what makes you feel good, that can’t be wrong”. ..

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; (Romans 1:28-30)

This is us!  We are not going here.  We have BEEN here, and for generations.  We have decided we don’t need God.  And God has allowed us to – go our own ways.  That’s the “wrath of God being revealed” in our time – the turning over to our wickedness, more and more.  People are scared, worried, filled with rage, discontent, entitled, self-preserving, self-absorbed, judgmental, condemning – the complete opposite of how Jesus lived while here on earth.

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.

So I wait.  And I do whatever it is I can, that the Lord would have me do, according to HIS will, not mine.  While that does mean helping those who are left out, forgotten, “the least of these” – the ultimate goal is not to make THIS world better.  Sorry to say, it ain’t going to get better.  There will be no “utopia on earth”.  Not until Jesus comes back.  Sure, we can and must help those in need – but anything we do according to the world’s view of “good”, is temporary at best.  The “land of the living” mentioned in Psalm 27 is not here and now.  It’s the new heaven and new earth that Jesus Christ will usher in upon His return!

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.

Yet God has not forsaken us.  He is still SEEKING us.  And He’s still seeking YOU.  I beg you – please don’t shut Him out…

Land Of the Living
God is man’s creator
Still we craft our gods
God is man’s redeemer
Still we choose the dark
But I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

God reigns over all things
Lord, don’t let us deny
God is dwelling in us
Don’t let us choose to die
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living
The Lord is my salvation
There’s nothing left to fear in the land of the living

I lift my eyes to the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord

God, You see the murder…
God, You see the hate…
God, you feel our heartache…
God, you feel our pain…
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living
The Lord is our salvation
There’s nothing left to fear in the land of the living
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living
Be strong, take heart, wait for the Lord…

As I mentioned in the other posts, I am selling this record to raise money for marriage counseling.  Please prayerfully consider giving to this cause, to save maybe just ONE marriage.  You can buy my music here:

My Praise

Wedding Coat EP

Or, if you like, you can donate directly to the ministry here:

https://northlandcounseling.us/Donate.html

I have a goal to raise $1000, and I will match that dollar for dollar.  As of today, we only need $136.50 to make that goal!  Will you help me obtain this goal?

I love you!

T.

Ransom For the Righteous…

The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
    and the unfaithful for the upright
(Proverbs 21:18)

Depending on who you are, what your story is, you might read this in different ways.

  1. The wicked get what they deserve, and the good guy wins in the end!  Yay, good guy!
  2. Well, who are we to say who is wicked, and who is righteous?  I mean – God doesn’t judge, why should we?
  3. “I don’t wanna go to heaven if I can’t get in”
  4. Wha?  I don’t get it?  Why would the righteous need a ransom?

Truth is – this is a prophetic verse.  This is about Jesus the Christ.  He became the ransom for the righteous, for the upright.

But even that doesn’t make sense, does it?  That implies Jesus is wicked, unfaithful.

Yes.

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)

See, Jesus BECAME sin.  Jesus, who was perfect, became that which God detests – sin.  In this, He became wicked in the Father’s sight.  In this, he became unfaithful.  For YOU.  For me.

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli,ema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Matthew 27:46)

Picture, if you could, perfect union with God the Father.  You can’t, really.  Because nobody, save for Jesus, has ever known this (and Adam and Eve, before the fall).  We have always had at best a cloudy, strife-ridden relationship with God.  For now.  Some day that will change, thank you Jesus!  But bottom line, we cannot know that perfect union between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Now, picture, if you could, COMPLETE SEPARATION from the Father!  Oh, how I dread this, how I tremble in terror at the thought!  I can’t even imagine….

And – nobody can.  Even those who reject God, do not yet know what it means to be completely separated from God.  Yet…

But Jesus did, in that moment on the cross…  He endured the worst possible thing…  For YOU…  For me…

Jesus took our sin, our muck, our wickedness – and gave us His righteousness.  He became the ransom for you.

God is so good…