Friday, November 30, 2012

Blast from the Past

I saw an old friend over Thanksgiving break.  I can't believe I hadn't seen him in something like five years, but he was gracious enough to brave the traffic and pick me up from DFW airport on Sunday.  Chivalry is not dead, ladies and gentleman! :)  Anyway, I guess seeing him again got me feeling a little nostalgic, so I find myself on this Friday evening flipping through some old recordings on iTunes from my songwriting days.  (Those of you who have only known me for the last few years may be shocked that I ever wrote songs!)  The truth is that I miss those days.  It actually breaks my heart a little that I don't write like I once did.  It really breaks my heart that I don't remember how to play any of those songs anymore!  I used to have dreams of making an album.  It would have been called "Beautiful Again..."  But seasons are seasons, and there is a time for everything under the sun, I suppose.  For now, I am content with my journal musings with God, a few poems here and there, and singing "Naughty Kitty Cat" to my kiddos at school.   Maybe the seasons will change again in the future.  Maybe not.  Nevertheless, here are a couple of those old songs for your enjoyment!

I am reminded of this fact as I traverse memory lane: the path we walk with God is a path of victory and redemption.  We move from glory to glory, and God is good.

Beautiful Soul
Stephanie Frakes
November 16, 2009

Sometimes the pain is more than she can hide
Sometimes the battle raged is more than she can fight
And she cries but no one hears her
Yeah, she cries, but she won’t let you see her

But He knows and the scars on her arms tear Him apart
He knows and He wants her to know she holds His heart
He loves the tortured, beautiful soul

She can’t explain this feeling here inside
She slipping away no matter how hard she tries
And she cries but no one hears her
Yeah, she cries but she won’t let you see her

And the tears smear the ink as she pours out herself
She’s down on her knees and she's crying for help
And He says…

I know and the scars on your arms tore me apart 
Now you’re whole, and I want you to know you hold my heart
I love, I love, I love you, my beautiful soul

Beautiful Again
Lyrics by: Stephanie Frakes and Jacob Wallace
Music by: Stephanie Frakes
July 11, 2009

Broken daughter, won’t you look into My eyes?
Broken daughter, can’t you see the blood of Christ?
It came to cleanse you, and to make you new again

Beautiful again, Beautiful
Like the stars in the sky shine through the darkest night
Beautifully for you, Beautiful
Look up and remember you're Mine

Broken daughter, won’t you stand here by My side?
Broken daughter, can’t you feel the love of Christ?
It came to heal you and to make you new again 

And even behind the clouds the stars still shine
And even when you doubt, darling, you’re still Mine

Look up and remember
You'll never be called broken
You are forever Mine

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Ugly-Beautiful - Music that preaches the gospel

I just came home from the recital of a former professor and very dear friend.  I am simply trying to process it all.  There is so much.  It was so deep.  I mean the programming was exquisite.  This poignant, powerful, almost brooding music and then closing with the second movement of a Schubert sonata... Hope.  The music itself was the cross.  Sorrow and beauty colliding.  The gospel, where light meets dark and death meets life and tears meet joyful hope.  It was the beauty of the broken.  Not the beauty in the broken.  The beauty of the broken.  And there was this moment in the Chopin she played where the funeral march gives way to this poignant lyrical section, and I could sense every soul in the room reaching.  It's as if I held my heart in my hand, like I held the breath in my lungs, and just lifted it, reaching to place my broken mess in God's hands and eternity washed over me anew.  And the Schubert was the smile through the tears.  The moment when the prodigal son lays his head on the Father's chest (like the beloved disciple reclined against Jesus at the last supper) and the Father whispers, "You were dead, but now you are alive again." And the son hears the beat of a heart so full of love it aches.

Then there's the pianist and how her performance is how I long to live: given over, holding nothing back, heart laid bare on the altar, no fear of the depths.  Could we ever live every day like that, believing that God is so glorious and good and holy that the broken is beautiful in His presence, when given over completely to Him?  Let it be so, Lord!  Let it be so! And the contrast of the words I wrote in my journal yesterday ("There are no fancy words tonight.  I am simply in pain.") with what I write tonight is not lost on me.  There is so much pain, so many wounds that need healing, but the miracle of God is that, while we may need to wait for pain to be soothed and wounds to be healed, we do not need to wait for beauty and joy.  I think I'm starting to get it now: the ugly-beautiful.  It's a funeral march that captures you.  It's the longings that will never be fulfilled that stir your passion. It's a Father running to meet his filthy, straight-from-the-pig-pen son and covering him in kisses.  It's Peter denying Jesus and still be entrusted by the Savior Himself to feed His sheep.  It's the way God uses pain to shape us into who we really are: His image-bearers.  It's the unfailing love that causes a prophet to buy back a wife from prostitution.  The ugly-beautiful.  And it exists only because of the greatness of our God.