I am always wanting time to think. For me, thinking without writing is nearly useless. Unless I am in the right place, in the right frame of mind, with the right journal and the right pen, thinking gets me nowhere. It is no secret that I love coffee shops. There is something wonderful about trading three or four bucks for a cup of good coffee, something to eat, and quiet space. I really could sit for hours with the right journal and pen, slowly sipping, brainstorming, journaling, making to-do lists, doodling, and just processing life in a tangible way. Some spaces are just made for opening up the windows of thought and letting in fresh air. Some spaces are not.
Last week, I spent 6 days and 5 nights in the hospital with my newborn son, Kells. He was in and out of fever for days and was in obvious pain whenever he was awake. After many prayers, lots of tylenol, and careful attention by wonderful nurses, his fever finally broke, and his symptoms began to subside. The doctors said he was fighting off some sort of virus, and that he was on the mend. We came back home to Randy and the girls nearly a week after we were admitted to the hospital. Those days were scary and unsettling for us. Life is so fragile and so precious. And so impossible to replace.
While Kells and I were at the hospital, I had so much time on my hands. He slept most of the day–every day–and I just stayed by him to hold him or feed him or change him–whatever he needed. It seemed ridiculous to have so much time but not be in the right frame of mind to use it for any practical purpose. I couldn’t work on songs or lesson plans or even write about what was going on. The atmosphere in the hospital was just too heavy to use my brain for anything but taking care of my son and praying he would get well.
On the way out of the house, while I was packing our bag for what I thought was going to be a two day stay in the hospital, I grabbed a book. I didn’t think I would start it, much less read the entire thing. (I haven’t read a whole book since Rosie was born!) But I did read it, and I feel that in some way, it has changed my life. The book is called No Compromise, and it is about a man named Keith Green, who was a prolific songwriter and performer in the 70’s and 80’s and died in a plane crash in 1982. I had heard his songs since I was a child. We sang one or two of them in our church. He was a man that spent his life seeking the truth, and his search ended up bringing him to Jesus. I have rarely heard anyone speak or sing with such conviction about anything. When he began following Christ, he and his wife (who wrote the book) began opening up their home to people who were searching for God. At one point, every penny Keith earned in music was going directly to the housing and feeding of over 80 people who they lived with and mentored. He believed that everyone should be able to afford the gospel, so he began giving away his albums for free. His convictions led him to do many things that seemed crazy to some people, but in the end, his heart was truly set to see people come to know God. I was really inspired by his conviction, his selflessness, and his transparency. He wrote love songs to God, worship songs for believers, as well as really pointed accusations against hypocrisy in the church. One of his songs, Asleep in the Light, is a direct call to Christians to live out the love that they claim to have in Jesus Christ. He urges them to get out of their beds and reach out to those who are dying around them. It is a song that sends chills down my spine. A song that convicts me deeply. I believe this message is so relevant for our culture.
Another thing that struck me is how like Randy he is to me. I have seen this same conviction in him. Randy went through such a long search to come to the Lord, and the transformation in his life was so great that no one who knew him before could deny it was real. Apart from both being musical geniuses (Randy will not like that I said that he is a genius–but there is no other word to describe it. I’m sorry, sweetie.), Keith Green and Randy also seem to have similar personalities, and I respond to the way Melody, Keith’s wife, describes him and their life together. I also see many similarities in what we are trying to do in life. Melody had a baby just before they recorded an album, and she was singing in the studio, holding her two-week old baby. On the way home, Keith told her that he felt like they had both given birth–she had a baby, and he had an album. (Which is exactly how I have described our summer…) One thing the book talks about is how they really reached out to ask for prayer for their albums. They prayed for everything–when Keith was having a hard time hitting high notes, they prayed. When they were deciding on songs, they prayed. Production, engineering, everything. I believe this, along with his genius and heart, is one reason his albums had such an impact on the world.
The last month of recording and living has been both exhilarating and frustrating. At the beginning of June, Rosie was hospitalized for bronchitis with asthmatic symptoms and dehydration. She stayed in the hospital for two nights with Randy, while Paloma and I stayed with my parents in case I went into labor at any moment. Two weeks later, we were back at the hospital having our baby boy. Then we were adjusting to our new life and work schedule, trying to get into a groove for a couple of weeks. There were doctors appointments for asthma and for Paloma’s heart (we were relieved to find that her murmur was what they call innocent–and completely healthy), and then back to the hospital for nearly a solid week with a virus. Health issues alone have taken up so much of our time this past month. We had planned to get so much more accomplished in our first month of recording. Randy has been working late into the nights, and we have had lots of help with the girls from family and friends so he could continue working through some of this hospital time, but it has been so disheartening how much time was lost in our first month. We both believe that God has blessed this endeavor. He has brought so many people into our lives to help us make this dream a reality. He has provided the money for us to get our home studio up and running, and we still have the rest of the summer to lay aside our teaching jobs and really concentrate on hitting a stride with The Seven Year Scratch. I would like to humbly ask, as Keith Green did, for prayer for this cd. I believe that God has a plan for these songs. He has put a message in our hearts to share with others about love and family, and I believe He wants it to be heard. I know God hears and answers prayers. These are the things we are praying, and we ask you (and others you would like to share this with) to pray with us:
1. That God will be glorified in the entire process of creating this cd. That his love will be seen and heard in every note that is played and sung, and that the love that we are singing about will be a true expression of God’s love for us.
2. That we will not have any other health complications or other distractions from the work that is set before us.
3. That we will really hit a stride with recording–that every day will be steps forward, no steps back.
4. That God will help me to be a good mother, that I will be able to meet all the needs of my children and give them a memorable summer. That we will get into a good routine of being at home and away so Randy can record exactly what he needs to record when he needs to record it.
5. That this cd will be finished when it is meant to be finished, and hopefully very soon! Our goal was to finish by the end of the summer. Please pray that God will help us meet this goal.
If you are still reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart for caring about us and/or our music. I know that everyone who is reading this may not be a pray-er or a believer in Christ. I pray that the way I have talked openly about our faith is not offensive to anyone. He is the dearest thing to our hearts. He truly is the reason we love one another, and the reason that we write songs…
So, I did not have a lot of time to think at the hospital. I would have much rather been sipping on a decaf coffee, eating a lemon blueberry muffin, writing about life. Instead, while caring for my precious son, I was able to read something that truly inspired me to actively pray and to ask others to do the same. I believe this will be the thing that will change the atmosphere for us.