Monday, December 11, 2006

Breathing Room


Well, tomorrow is it...the day I record my CD, or should I say...the day I begin recording my CD at Keith's Dad's studio in St. Pete. I feel differently about this personal project than any other I have ever done in my life (and by that I don't just mean musical project, but any kind of ministry project.) It's difficult to explain, but to endeavor to a bit...

This is probably THE most different type of CD that you have ever heard of. And although I'm not striving for it to be musically deficient, quite truthfully I don't care much about whether it sounds like award winning music. It's a lot bigger than that to me. I never thought anybody was going to hear these songs when I wrote them in the first place so I didn't really worry that much about musical excellence when I wrote them. Years ago you would have never heard me say that but today is a different day.


Whenever I'm upset about something I can usually be found late at night in my living room at the piano. Sometimes I'm there at 2 or 3 am. Song writing has always been one of my coping mechanisms. Sometimes when I'm just overcome with stress or grief, I'll just sit down and play hymns at night in the darkness. A few years ago when I went through one of the darkest times of my life, I wrote a collection of songs that were just between the Lord and I. Throughout most of these, I sing a verse of my own song, and then you'll hear a few lines of a comforting hymn woven through it...something like, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" or "Be Still My Soul". Then it goes back into my own heart-wrenching cry to God about my own personal feelings. These are songs of intensity that anyone who is dealing with depression, grief, hurt, betrayal or anxiety would really relate to. But I didn't write them to relate to anybody. I wrote them because I was hurting so bad I thought I would die. It was just my own private musical journal. These songs got me through.

Fast forward a few years later, I'm on the other side of all that pain, and here I am at our church here in Tampa and one Sunday morning the person who was supposed to sing for the offertory backed out. The music pastor here at the time said, "Why don't you fill in and do something this morning?" (Knowing I can pretty much just turn around on a dime with a song and nobody realizes I never practiced...)

I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me in that moment to do one of these songs, rather than one of my customary sound tracks or something more "church service" oriented...you know, something that sounds more "TBN'ish", which is fine with me, that's cool too. So, for a minute I thought, "nah, this is a bad idea...people will think I'm suicidal or something if they hear this music..." But the voice of the Spirit was clear. So I decided to do, "He Can Handle It". In the middle of the song, I see a woman sitting in the back of the sanctuary, with her head in her hands, just sobbing. Looking across the congregation, I see many kleenex's coming out of purses. After the service, I lost count of people coming up to me saying, "how did you get inside my head? That's exactly what I'm dealing with right now!" People begged me to do more of these songs, so I did. Several more of them and each time people would tell me how it ministered to them, how it changed their life. So one day in prayer, God told me, "put this collection of songs on a CD for people who are depressed and feel they have no hope...for people who think there is no light at the end of the tunnel...for those who are ready to give up." And then He also directed me to add a prayer to the CD at the conclusion, praying for those listening who don't even have the strength to pray for themselves, who need someone to stand with them...at 2 am, 3 am, when they don't know who to call.

I asked the Lord, "what will we call the CD?" A few weeks went by, I was still waiting for His answer when I was reading the Message Bible one night, and the the title of the CD stood out..."Breathing Room." 

"God, the One and Only -- I'll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not? He's the solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul..." Psalm 62:5,6 

When we are depressed, hurt, hopeless...waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel -- we can WAIT on Him, knowing that He is our Hope and He is the One who gives us "breathing room" for our soul when we feel that this thing, whatever it is, is suffocating the life out of us! When we feel it's going to kill us, we can stand firm and wait, knowing He is the solid rock underneath our feet and He has a plan. He's already in the future, just waiting to show us around. I'm on the other side of my pain now, and these songs are now a testament of what He has brought me through. I was "singing the right song on the wrong side" as I call it, and now living on the right side, LIFE IS GOOD.
 
The CD will have an "unplugged" feel to it. I'm hoping people will feel like they can identify with me sitting in the dark in the living room, just me and the piano. Basically after this is done, people will hopefully get the CD for their friends who are at a place in life where they have lost hope. My prayer is that somebody out there who doesn't know where to even start, what to say, where to go, what to read...someone who has perhaps LOST THEIR SONG, will pick up this CD, listen and go, "I can make it...I'm going to hold on." My prayer is that somebody who is getting ready to end it all will pop in this CD and change their mind. 
I know it's Christmas time, and life is on warp speed, very busy. And I need something else to do besides my normal church schedule as much as I need a hole in the head. Not only do I have my regular schedule, but it's Christmas! Only 2 weeks left and I am so far from being ready for "the big day." But...we've been trying to book this for months and this is when the time finally opened when we could get the studio time, so we're doing it now. God has a reason for everything and His timing is perfect. 

My prayer for this is not anything musically grandiose. I am not trying to make a musical statement or have anyone walking around humming these songs. I just want to see people decide to press on instead of give up, and believe God for the abundant life that He has out there waiting for them if they will just hold on. Everywhere I go and speak there are women in particular who are so depressed. So many have lost hope.

This is basically a CD for depressed people. A crazy idea? Perhaps. But I know it's God.

2 comments:

Lindsay Barta said...

I'm SO excited about this CD! When will it be available. I know of someone I want to give it to already!

Pastor Deanna said...

Believe it or not we finished recording the tracks today. (Not a hard job since it's unplugged -- just the grand piano, and...me). Now it has to be mixed and in a few weeks it should be mixed. Keith is finishing the cover...sending it to the printer. Then we have to get the CD's duplicated. It won't be long. We may even have it available by January. Like I said, this is not musically grandiose, just very simple, yet I hope...powerful.