Derek Webb: I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you’ve learned two things:

  1. I’m a huge Derek Webb fan.
  2. I have some huge resentments against the church.

I like Derek Webb for several reasons. The simple reason is that I like his music. Beyond that, I respect him for his willingness to speak things that aren’t popular, especially in the church. He’s spoken up about politics, called out Christians who hate on homosexuals, and talked about how stupid a concept “Christian” music is. I’m usually cheering him on for his bravery, and wishing I could be so bold.

He also calls himself out. Many of his songs speak of his personal struggles, and he’s stated that he often writes songs for no one else but himself. His latest album, I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You, speaks of his struggle with his hard heart and cynicism. I relate to that.

This new album is a follow up to his first solo album, She Must and Shall Go Free, one of my favorite albums ever. That album focused on the relationship of Jesus and the church, and this new album dives in even deeper.

When I listened to it for the first time, I sat down with the lyrics so I could fully digest it. I forgot how deep Derek’s lyrics run, so fully digesting it didn’t happen after the first listen. I have to dig deep and really think. Layers reveal themselves the more I listen. I love albums like that.

I’m still figuring out most of the songs. Some are absolutely perplexing me. Others speak straight to my hurt, and very stubborn, heart.

I’m slowly coming to grips with my resentments against church, all while closing up my heart to the community that is the Church. I know I need that community, but it’s just so much easier to walk away and ignore the hurt.

This album is helping me release the grip on those resentments.

When I listened to Everything Will Change, I cried.

you place your vote

misplace your hope on men

who let you down

with loaded words and broken promises

it’s hard to trust in anyone

it’s easier to just fold up your arms

I cried because I’ve been in this place for far too long. Because I’m tired of being here.

But I know I’m not alone, and can move forward with hope. I’m thankful for albums like this, that speak deep truth with brutal honesty, passion, and love. I’ll continue to listen and challenge my brain and my heart.

I’m glad I can still find music that touches my soul. Music that convicts and comforts, confounds and clarifies. And although I have a long way to go in completely letting go of my resentments, I still hold onto the power of the cross.

and, though my heart is dark i am still compelled

to where your body broke,

to where your blood was spilled

– A Place at Your Table


You can pre-order I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You now. The album comes out in September, and each week leading up to the release, Derek will be releasing an acoustic video of a song off the album. 

Sand and summer storms: Gratitude list

Here’s what I’m thankful for this month.

1. Cherries and berries. I take advantage of the summer harvest.

2. Sand between my toes.

3. Watching a summer storm come in over the ocean. I’m always amazed at the power of nature.
                    4. A chance to jam and record with other musicians, including my talented husband. Hopefully some recordings to come         soon.

5. Getting back into songwriting.

                    6. Ahi tuna. Yum.

7.  Fun with my new coworkers. Including dressing up for a roaring 20s themed party.

             8. Road trips with my hubby. I never get bored traveling with him.

9. Getting to be in one of my favorite artist’s music video.

10. A belated anniversary celebration with a beach getaway weekend. Love ya, babe.

I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry, and I Love You

Hey, guess what?

I'm in a music video! I'm honored that I had the chance to have a small cameo in Derek Webb's video for his new song, I Was Wrong, I'm Sorry, and I Love You.

Stay tuned for some more stuff on Derek's new album. In the meantime, check out the creativity in this video.


Letting go

I'm having a hard time with church. I feel hurt, betrayed, and let down by Christianity. Because of that, I really want to walk away from church. I'm a bit of a loner anyway, and besides, people get on my nerves.

Who needs church, anyway?

I do.

Despite all my hurts, resentments, and overall annoyances with the Christian culture, I know I need the community. I need people that can hold me accountable, because when left to my own devices, I'm not always a great person. I need people to love me despite my flaws. I even need people that I don't see eye to eye with, because living around people that only believe the way I do is boring. How will I ever stretch and grow if I'm not around people that view the world differently?

I'm working through these issues, trying to let my resentments go. It's hard to let go when I've gripped them so tight for so long. It's hard to let down my guard and open my heart again.

I'll continue to chip away the hard-heartedness. In the meantime, I'm sorry for the way I've treated the body of Christ.


Be My Song

Sometimes life takes the melody

Leaves me barren and empty

With nothing worth saying

Yet You come with inspiration

And a purpose to sing

And I feel I have something to bring

Sometimes I push You away from me

Refusing to let Your grace play through me

I'm stubborn and prideful

And full of myself

Then I'm stuck in my mess

With feelings I can't express

Sometimes I come with open arms to You

Crying for truth

Longing for substance

And some sense to this life

Wanting a song to sing

And I feel You bring nothing

Be my song

When this world makes perfect sense

Be my song

When life gets too intense

Come and sing to me

Until I have strength to sing to You


Don’t do, just be

This post originally appeared in October 2012. It’s something that I still need to be reminded of.

Years ago, after finishing my time on tour with the African Children’s Choir, a fellow chaperone and I went to see a pastor/counselor. She specialized in helping missionaries who were returning from the field. My friend and I were having trouble transitioning back into “real life” and really needed someone to listen.

She did listen, and she offered much advice to our tender souls. A lot of what she spoke that day is a blur, but I distinctly remember four words.

Don’t do. Just be.

She was speaking specifically about our quiet time. We shared how it felt we were just going through the motions by reading our Bible and praying. Nothing we did really seemed to work. Nothing clicked.

So she told us to stop doing. Like a little child that just wants to sit in Daddy’s lap, we just needed to relish in God’s presence. Stop trying to pray the prayer that makes us “connect.” Stop searching for the Bible verse that will make it all better. Just sit. Be.

I have a hard time with that. I’ve shared before how I have a hard time sitting still and being quiet. But the times when I really do stop doing and just be, it’s amazing the difference it makes.

I’m trying to implement that back into my quiet time again, because I’ve been trying to “do” stuff again. I’m searching again for the magic Bible verses. I get upset when I’m not “feeling” worshipful.

It’s a constant struggle, but I will strive to just be.

Question: Do you struggle with trying to be?


Fireworks and bowling balls…A belated Gratitude List

I completely blanked out last week and forgot to do my monthly gratitude list. Whoops. Well, better late than never. Here’s what I’m thankful for this month.

  1. A new job. Things are going really well, and I’m thankful to work with a great group of people.
  2. Bowling. My old job started a bowling league right as I put in my notice. They invited me to come along and join anyway. I’m having a blast hanging out with my old coworkers, and the bowling’s even been fun. It’s been nice to do something simply for the sake of having fun.
  3. Energy to write. My energy’s been waning a bit lately, but last weekend I felt totally energized and got a lot of work done on my book. It felt good to get so much done.
  4. Music with friends. Along with my husband (an awesome bassist), and a great drummer friend, we jammed a bit recently. We’re hoping to record soon. Stay tuned!
  5. Fresh fruit. I’m not a huge summer fan due to the heat, but I love the fresh berry bounty that summer brings.
  6. A husband that cooks!!! Now that I’m working more hours and coming home a little more weary, my husband has willingly stepped up to more dinner duty. Have I mentioned how awesome my husband is?
  7. Good books. I’ve been reading a lot more lately, and discovering some great new authors like Anne Lamott, Rachel Held Evans, and Ian Morgan Cron.
  8. Fireworks. Rain delayed things by a couple days, but the show didn’t disappoint. 
  9. A good friend returning home. I’m so excited to see a friend who’s been away for a year. I’m looking forward to long coffee dates and catching up.
  10. Speaking of coffee… I’m getting to work earlier these days, so my love affair with coffee has deepened even more.

What are you thankful for this month?

Giving grace to the guy behind the microphone

I led worship for one of my church’s contemporary services almost ten years ago. I was fresh out of college with my church music degree clutched tightly in my fist, and I was ready to serve God with it. I found myself thrust into a worship leader position at a new-ish service. All the other people in leadership were burnt out and stepped down. There was no one else willing to step up and it looked like the service might not make it. I stepped up and offered my help, although I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.

Along with the leadership, much of the band had left as well. I found myself left with a guitarist, drummer, and a faithful sound guy who years later would become my husband. With that bare-boned group, we kept pushing through and eventually built a worship band back up.

I loved it. I grew so close to that group. They were so encouraging to me as I fumbled through and learned as I went. I would have stayed in that position too, had it not been for the volunteer position with the African Children’s Choir that came up. I followed God’s will and stepped down from the worship leader position, leaving it in the capable hands of a sweet friend who took that band where I never could.

Fast forward five years, and I was back from the African Children’s Choir, changes happened at church, and I was struggling with where to fit in. Along with that is all the baggage from my worship journey. I found that I stood in the back of the church, throwing stones and complaining about all the little things I didn’t like.

One night, I was feeling nostalgic and actually getting into the worship at church. I thought, “I miss that. I miss leading worship.”

Literally two days later the volunteer worship leader asked if I would consider taking over. I prayed about it, and said yes.

I took the position and was scared to death. It had been years since I had done this. It was uncomfortable and awkward, and I struggled to fit in with the group. And yet I still knew that I was supposed to be there.

All the discomfort in standing up there on stage in front of everyone kept me humble. I found that I was less likely to throw stones at other worship leaders because I remembered all the tough stuff that went along with it. Worship leading is tough.

I led for a year and a half. I loved the musicians I played with. I trusted them and I felt safe. I found that leading worship helped keep my cynicism in check.

However, I soon felt the need to step down.

Choosing songs and holding rehearsals was exhausting. I discovered that leading worship was just one more thing on my to do list. I was draining myself and discovered that my heart wasn’t really in it. This is not a good place to be.

I still don’t feel led to step back into worship leading. But I’m thankful for the reminder of how hard worship leading is, and how I always need to offer  grace to the one behind the microphone.


Secular worship songs: Stairway to Heaven

I have a pretty embarrassing confession. I had never heard Stairway to Heaven in it’s entirety until last week.

It’s possible I’d heard the whole thing and just don’t remember it; that sheltered, Christian me tried to block it from my memory. After all, Led Zeppelin is one of those satan bands. There’s a whole controversy about how the song played backwards says, “So here’s to my sweet Satan.” Yeah.

I must say, Led Zeppelin is not a band I’d listen to much. As talented as they are (the drummer and bassist are IN-SANE), classic rock is just not my music of choice. But just because you don’t always listen to a particular genre doesn’t mean you can’t respect it, learn from it, and even enjoy it.

Drew played this version of Stairway to Heaven last week. It’s from a concert honoring Led Zeppelin, and it brought tears to Robert Plant’s eyes. I can see why.

I love the passion, the energy, the excitement the musicians put into this song. I mean, WOW. The way it builds and builds until the music just slaps you in the face. I especially love the drummer; he looks so excited just to be there, simply ecstatic to play music. You can read a bit more of the story here.

After watching the video, Drew played the original version. And I heard where the passion and excitement from the remake came from. No wonder this song is so legendary.

I’m ashamed that I’ve missed out on these classic songs. That my sheltered, Christian existence led me to believe that passionate songs like this are evil. I now believe that God is in all things, even if they weren’t created with Him specifically in mind.

I really have no idea about the meaning of the song (my husband who’s heard it for years didn’t really know either) and honestly, I don’t even want to attempt to figure it out. I’d rather just bask in the awesomeness of the music.

(I do want to make clear that I do not think this song would be appropriate in worship. This whole secular worship series is not about songs that we need to include in our worship sets. It’s merely me, finding beauty and passion in music again. And where there’s beauty and passion, I truly believe that God is not far behind.)

What do you think about songs like this? Have you ever “over sheltered” your life? Are there other classic songs that I need to hear?

Father’s Day and the church

Last month I shared about the pain that Mother’s Day often brings, especially within the church. How so often churches will often ask the mothers to stand, leaving the rest of us feeling a little bit empty. (I’m happy to report that last month, my pastor asked ALL women to stand, acknowledging that we’ve all be mothers in some way. I shed a few happy tears over that.)

I wonder if there is a similar pain involved with Father’s Day. Do men that aren’t *technically* fathers dread the “Will all the fathers please stand?” moment of the service? Do they walk out feeling empty and sad that the time they’ve spent mentoring or being an uncle or babysitting “doesn’t count?”

There’s a more common theme I see within the church involving Father’s Day, and it’s different from the pain of Mother’s Day. When Mother’s Day rolls around, the church praises the moms for all their hard work. They honor them. When Father’s Day comes, it seems that many churches tell the men that they’re not trying hard enough, that they’re failing their family somehow.

A commenter said that one of his friends doesn’t go to church on Father’s Day for that basic reason. That he was tired of being told, “You men are not taking care of your kids and that’s why society is falling apart.”

This is sad. Many men that I know work so hard and sacrifice so much for their families, for their children. Who are we to tell them that they aren’t trying hard enough, that they need to do more?

I’d like to ask the men, what are your experiences with church and Father’s Day? I pray that many of you were honored and thanked for all you do, not just by your family but by your church as well.