Jesus Christ, my Lover in the Forest

Wondrous life, full of simple bliss.
One might say there’s happiness.
If that is so, I know of one source:
Jesus Christ, my lover in the forest.

The trees, they stretch out across the sky,
Defying gravity at soaring heights!
But it’s not the trees I love the most;
It’s Jesus Christ, lover of my soul.

Ah! I look around, and birds I see!
Some blue, some red, from tree to tree!
And the birds they all share one, sweet song:
Jesus Christ, with His love so strong!

Temptations come along the way
Like dark, slithering, sinful snakes.
They call out sweet, but I call out, too:
“Jesus Christ has defeated you!”

One day soon this forest will brighten;
No more shadows of death’s dark, misty haven!
And there from above I will see in the sky
Jesus Christ, author of my life!

Here Goes Nothing

This summer was a good summer for me. Sure, there was pain. Yes, there was confusion. And I had my fair share of hopelessness. But one of the things that filled my summer with so much joy was the chance to delve back into the realm of songwriting.

You see, over the school year I’m asked to do various music assignments and think about music theory, yet my own compositions were suffering. I was at a loss for what and how to write again. I quickly blamed school, saying, “Oh, I don’t have time to write – that’s why things are amiss.” But at the beginning of summer, free from my school obligations, I still felt a restlessness and confusion that I couldn’t shake – I couldn’t write music!

I finally broke down.

I’d been trying so hard – so dang hard! – to write these intricate and amazing, creative and dark ideas that it had escaped me that I was striving to achieve something that was outside of my grasp. I was trying to do things that simply weren’t coming naturally to me, as if to say, “Oh, well if it’s easy to write, then it isn’t the best thing I can write. The hard things – yes, those are the true works of a musical genius!” But that’s not true at all! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that strike into the heart the deepest.

With that in mind, God kind of knocked me upside the head and said, “Now, Ryan, just stop trying so hard. Write whatever comes naturally to you. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t, but at least write something. Try to be okay with doing the simple things.”

So I sat down, in my bedroom, with my guitar, and I wrote. This song was the outpouring of that day:

Hope Shimmers Like The Sea

My soul cries out in joy to my God,
The deliverer of my soul
And the provider of all my soul’s longings!

‘Tis a day of blessed peace!
‘Tis a day of achieving goals
That souls like mine don’t often dream of achieving.

I’ve set a course, and God puts me to task.
I climb aboard, we raise the mast,
And off we sail the wide open seas!
Who knows what God has in store for me?

It’s a joy to think about!
And it’s a joy to live!
For too long I’ve been tied down by ropes
That dashes all my hopes,
Leaving me tripping and carelessly falling to my end.

I’d tried to say I was okay –
I tried to remain strong –
But really, my efforts were far short
And altogether wrong.

I shudder to think of the days I was bound –
Bound by my sin,
Bound by simple laziness,
Bound by fear of the unknown –

But now I am known by the One
Who knows me inside-out and backwards.
I’m aboard His ship,
And we are sailing forwards!

There’s no use in looking back
When the past will only haunt you.
It’s eyes to the horizon,
Where my hope is deep and blue.

Ooh! To know You, God.
Wow. It leaves me in awe.
You take the worst in me,
And somehow You make it strong!

I guess that way there’s no question
Who’s the one to blame.
So, all my days I will praise You
And give credit to Your Name.

Let’s Press On!

I am alone again, and I like it this way.
Now the reins are off;
Now my pedal’s pressed down to the floor.

Before me lies an open door –
Stretched wide,
A mile high –
But sometimes I just prefer to look up at the sky.

What’s my problem?
I’m pretending to tend to good things,
But good things don’t tend to happen from me –
At least not the ones I try to brag about.

“I love people, I love music, I want to reach out to this world.”
– But if I’m just sitting on my butt, what world is really changed?

Certainly not the planet I live on!
Distractions are strong,
Facebook’s in my face all day long –
I need You, God.

I want to give the devil a run for his money,
But if I’m not even running, why would he flee?
It’s stupid.

And if we’re gonna win this, God, we’ve gotta be wise as can be.
And You’re already miles wiser than me,
So impart it to me, please,
And let me shine,
Let me rise above this common dust and grime

Oh, I whine,
I groan,
But hard work ain’t gon’ kill me yet.
And if it does, hey, it’s worth it!
I mean, who am I working for? Myself?
Nah, nah, I can’t do that no more.
It’s useless, it’s rubbish, it’s done.

I want to work for You, God.
Make me driven and determined,
So I know what’s really livin’
And I can show that life to all this world, too,
And no longer be stuck up in my coop
With all my chicken friends who really ain’t as chicken as me.

God, kick the feathers right off of me!
‘Cause I want to fly.
And chicken feathers, well, they’re the wrong kind.

I gotta keep my eye on that prize.
I gotta stop believing these lies
That I won’t amount to anything;
That I can’t control my destiny…
And that one’s actually true, but I can play a part –
I can put in the hard work –
‘Cause God ain’t a fan of laziness.

He say, “Get outta bed, you!
Get off that phone and follow me!
Don’t you see??
There’s a whole world out there!
And the only world you seem to care about
Is the one on your screen.
Do you care about Me?”

‘Cause that’s where my heart’s supposed to be.
And that’s where life is satisfying.
That’s what I’ve been missing.

It’s You, God.
And I’m sorry.

And it’s hard to believe, but You’ve already forgiven me.
You’ve been waiting for this day, and You can’t wait to change me –
To take me,
And shape me –
And give me the victory.
Because the victory is all in Your Son,
And when You’re done,
The devil won’t know what hit him.

Let’s press on!