Holding it Together

From the moment I opened my eyes one morning last week, I knew it would be an uphill battle. A headache pounded behind my eyes, and when I sat up in bed, I felt the nausea set in. Not wanting the headache to develop into a migraine, I shuffled my way into the bathroom and fumbled for the aspirin. In the process of retrieving my pill organizer from the drawer, the pills spilled out and clattered onto the counter and floor below. On my hands and knees, I fumbled to clean up the mess, grumbling the whole time about my klutziness.

I set about completing my morning routine: taking glaucoma meds, cleaning my prosthetic lens and then inserting it, brushing my teeth, and then finally reaching for my allergy pills. It was then that I realized that there was only one pill remaining in the bottle and that I would need to call the pharmacy for a refill. When I reached for the phone, it slipped from my grasp and clattered against the porcelain tile. The battery compartment snapped off and went flying across the room. I couldn’t see where the piece had landed, so once again, I was on my hands and knees on the floor, searching for the elusive thing. At last, I found it wedged in the far corner, but not before some more grumbling to myself.

“Why can’t you just get it together?” I remember asking myself out loud. This was not a good start to the day. The headache, the spilled medication, the broken phone… all of it didn’t offer high expectation for success, and that really made me nervous. You see, I had big plans for my studio time that day. Oh, have I mentioned that I am recording an album? If I have failed to share that, I am sorry, but it’s true. I am in the studio this summer, recording a project that will hopefully be releasing before year’s end.Reocrding Waiting Here Vocals

But anyway… back to my big day ahead in the studio…

I had been under a lot of pressure lately. I had nine songs that were gelling and coming together fairly well, but I wanted one more piece to round everything out; a ten-song album just seemed like it would be a better fit— more complete and final. But we didn’t have a plan for a tenth song; I had tossed aside a song months ago, disappointed with its lack of promise and started moving on to other alternatives. For several weeks, I toyed with a few options, consulting with the producer and violinist. I needed a guitarist for one of the options I was considering, and the reality was that we only had about two weeks for a musician to learn that material. So that option quickly fell through, leaving me feeling stressed and on edge. Would I have to settle for a nine-song album? I had an idea for a hidden track; could that be my tenth song?

Then while I was practicing for an upcoming live performance, I played a song that I hadn’t performed in years. The lyrics went straight to my heart, and tears streamed down my face. It wasn’t an extraordinary song; in fact, the message was quite simple. But there was something special about the song and it struck me then that perhaps this could be the missing link. I sent a rough recording to the violinist and producer, and within the hour, I had my answer. We would record the tenth song in just two days.

I was confident in my decision, but I hadn’t played the song in so long that I was rusty. Would I remember what chords I would need to play? Would I recall the lyrics with ease even after all these years? How would I arrange the song in such a way to leave space for the violinist to add in her melodies? The two-day deadline was daunting, and when the morning of my studio day dawned with the headache and mishaps, I was immediately frazzled.

I took to my Facebook page, and asked my friends to pray for me. This isn’t something I do very often, even though I value Christian community. I have no problem asking for prayer, but I felt so vulnerable admitting that I was worried and stressed. My mind was buzzing with so much, that every time I tried to open my heart to God, I would quickly divert to something else that needed my attention.

So I left my studio time to the prayers of my Facebook friends, and above all, to God, and when I sat down at the piano to record, I felt instant peace. The studio session wasn’t easy, but the creativity was flowing, and the arrangement came together bit by bit— piano, scratch vocals, back-up vocals, and even some sound effects. I left the studio that day feeling good about our progress and so relieved.

In the end, I didn’t need to hold things together in my own strength. The stress and worry were real, but they were wasted effort. When I couldn’t seem to pray, my Facebook friends had it covered, and even more significant than that, God had it covered. He was at the center of everything, and He knew the end result. Sometimes I have this mistaken belief that I have to hold it all together: be the brave and independent disability advocate, set a good example as older sister and auntie, set achievable standards for the worship teams, and somehow manage to make my album come together with incredible musicality. I can’t do it all in my own strength, but somehow, I think I can if I just try. It’s so easy for me to divert to my independence driven mindset; I don’t need help and if I just work hard enough, it will be okay.

But entering into the studio that day, I was not okay, and it took me awhile to realize that I had been chasing after success through my own ability when I should have been relying on the strength of my Savior. Colossians 1:17 reminds us that He holds all creation together, and since I know that is true, I can say with confidence that He is holding me together as well.

He is holding my album together and growing it into something beautiful… and He is holding me together even as I fumble and grumble along the way. I am so grateful for His patience and kindness toward His stubborn child. He holds the mess of my life together and He’s guiding me in the midst of the journey.

As for the songs that are making the cut for the album, you’ll have to stay tuned!


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