Just a Stepping Stone: “Adore” Song Story

I’ve written about it already— about the fact that 2009 was a difficult season for me and many of my friends. In the fall of that year, our church family learned that a dear friend had received the diagnosis of terminal cancer. It was heartbreaking to watch this vibrant and fun-loving man be forced to comprehend the realities of impending pain and eventual death. Just days after his diagnosis, he seemed to come to terms with what awaited him on the horizon. I asked him if he was okay. He told me that he had lived his life with one goal— to glorify God and to share His story— and he felt he had done that to the best of his ability. It didn’t seem fair that his days were now limited, but it didn’t change his purpose and perspective. He had his eyes on eternity and nothing else.
I was so inspired by his hope for eternity, that I felt the first stirrings of a new song. I was running errands with a friend a few days later, and I could no longer ignore the lyrics spinning around in my head. The radio was cranked up as we drove along, and I asked my friend to turn it down. I fumbled in my purse for something I could write on, and the lyrics spilled out so quickly it was difficult getting it all down on paper before they slipped away.
“This world is not my own.
It’s just a stepping stone to Your glory.
I lift my hands and pray that I can live each day
Just to tell Your story…”
There was no melody— just the lyrics. But I didn’t despair at the unfinished song. I knew the music would follow soon. I just needed to sit with the lyric for awhile until it came together.
That evening, I couldn’t concentrate. I had grad school homework due the next day, but the crisp breeze and fall colors drew me outside. I went for a long walk, repeating the lyrics in my head over and over again. With each step on the pavement, I found a tempo. A melody began to weave its way into my heart, but it wasn’t anything like I expected. I was saddened at the impending loss of my good friend, so I had in mind something more introspective with a depth that would reflect the nature of the circumstances. But what emerged was something upbeat, almost bouncy— an almost happy anthem about love, life, and eternity.
It was so different from my typical writing style that I set it aside for awhile— not because I didn’t like it but because I didn’t know how to bring it all together into a cohesive whole. Little by little, “Adore” found its sound. It started on the piano with my sister Becca lending her harmony. Then we took it to the studio as I prepared for the trip to Nashville. I did my best to create a full sound with synthesized drum tracks, guitar, and strings. It turned out all right, but it didn’t resonate as anything special. Perhaps I was just too close to the project.
When I was considering the songs I wanted to include on “The Dawn” album, I knew “Adore” had to be a part of it. But I was stuck. I needed new vision for the song, so I turned it over to the producer to work his magic. The track began to take shape with electronic drums, a rhythmic bass line, and of course, the piano. The vocals layered over the top with some added effects and reverb. It certainly wasn’t something I would have come up with on my own, and in the end, I liked the vibe. As I cranked it up in my kitchen one day, I recalled the afternoon I had written the lyrics while cruising down the interstate in my friend’s car. It wasn’t hard to imagine “Adore” blaring over the speakers with the windows down and the wind blowing in our hair. I don’t know what you think, but when I hear “Adore,” I picture a sunny Summer day on the highway, and this song blasting through the speakers on repeat.
“And to all who hear, I will proclaim the saving power of Your glorious name.”

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