Tag Archives: Christian Rock Music

Dry Bones

After my hard walk this morning, “Walking Into The Wind” and my cold shower, I felt good and ready for Church, I was refreshed and fully alive.

I got to Church after another mile plus walk, a steady one this time, no mad rush, I met Alex for a chat on the way in, then a chat with a others, including James before taking my seat, yes you know the one, right at the back in the corner.

I was ready to worship, I was ready sing out loud, I was feeling good, well so I thought anyway, the current calm of my life didn’t last for long, I was about to be brought down once again.

I wrote on Friday in my post “Keeping My Head High Amid The Turmoil” about my current issues, the lack of current finances and my relationship status, the money is a problem that is starting to rear it’s head again and is causing a few problems at home to deal with, then the relationship or lack of it is obviously on going and gets to me quite often, both are issues I have prayed continuously about for the last week and indeed before, I had these bases covered, I knew I needed help to address these situations and therefore handed them over to God for his help.

That’s what I thought anyway, until Justin got up and began to talk about Ezekiel 37, 11-14 and how he had felt recently his bones had become dry and he needed God’s help to breathe life back into him.

Ezekiel 37, 11-14
“Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’  Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.  I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.”

He told us all that God could breathe life into our situations and his first two examples smacked me right in the face, relationships and finances, so okay I thought, this is meant for me, I need to listen.

As his talk on Ezekiel 37 went on I felt like I just wanted to stand up or raise my arm, I needed God to breathe life into my situation, the more it went on the more my insides began to freeze and my body go numb, this has happened many times before, usually when I feel God is telling me to do something, this was no different, maybe just more intense than usual.

When Justin finally asked anyone who felt God had spoken to them today about their situations to stand as he prayed, I jumped up, I certainly had been spoken to and I had been ready to stand for a while.  I knew I had to stand, I knew I had to make that declaration, but as I stood I couldn’t stop the wave of emotion that came over me, once again I found myself crying, I couldn’t control it, I couldn’t keep it all in anymore.

He then asked anyone who needed God to breathe life into their situations to come to the front so everyone could pray for them, again I jumped up and walked to the front and once again I couldn’t control the emotion, the wave upon wave of tears just kept coming as the members of the front row laid their hands on me and the others that had made their way along with me.

I thought I had all this under control, I had been  praying for both issues, I had realised I couldn’t do this alone anymore, I needed help from God to find my way through it all, I was more than willing to admit in front of everyone I needed help, I’ve even written that on here the other day, but why the emotion, why all the uncontrollable tears, I don’t know where they came from, I didn’t feel down at all this morning, I was awake and alive, I was feeling really positive despite it all, I knew there would be breakthrough in time as I trusted in God to come through for me, I still do, what I can’t tell is whether the tears were of joy or sorrow or just simply relief at the feeling that God was moving in my situation, I could feel it inside.

The funny thing was also, I couldn’t stop shaking, as I stood there at the front, trying to sing along with the worship song at the end of the service, my knees felt like they were going to give way, my hands and arms were shaking, I just felt like slumping down to the floor, it took a while for the shaking and numbness to subside.

I had wanted to get away as quick a possible, I had a bit of work to do before I went to Karate, but the service was already running late and I got taking to a number of people, then I got speak with James again, he is a member of the front row at Church as service co-ordinator, so he knew I had been at there, so we discussed my issues in length once again, ironically ending up stood against the same radiator, in the entrance, that we stood at during our first lengthy discussion on my first trip into Church just over a year ago, we had a laugh about that!

I honestly can’t quite put my finger on what was happening today, why the not so much a breakdown, but such an outpouring of emotion, I’ve said many times how emotional I can get, today was not an exception, but usually I can pinpoint why, today I can’t it was just simply raw emotion.

I felt good after my walk and cold shower this morning, I felt positive and I still do, I will pray tonight as usual, similar prayers to what I have said over the last few weeks, that will not change, but my hope has been renewed now, I will certainly pray now in hope rather than despair, what do I have to despair about, God is moving inside, he is there with me, I’m not alone!

I share this song with you today, this song our worship team played whilst I stood there at the front of our Church, the song I sung with everything I had through all the tears and emotion.

I stand to sing Your praises
I stand to testify
For i was dead in my sin
But now I rise
I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him
Now in Him
I live
(Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise) by Hillsong Live)

A New Month, A New Year & A New Horizon

It’s fair to say that once again my March started with challenge for the second year running, but in a strange way this March mirrored the previous twelve months, the rollercoaster ride that was March 2012 through to the end of February 2013 was condensed down and relived across the month of March 2013.

Its only now since April has risen that I can now look back on the last year and the last month in particular and say, I have OVERCOME!!!!

When I look at last month I see the same patterns of the previous twelve months, last year starting with death, not physical, but the death of a relationship, that part of me that died when reality of dying love hit hard, this was reflected last month in the physical death of a loved one.  In a way I had abandoned both to die, I had exiled myself from both, in my relationship with Victoria I hid away just letting it die without a fight, until it was too late, with Nanna I hid away also, in both situations I knew I had to face them both before it was too late, but both came to an end before I could bring myself to do anything, the remorse of both hit hard both times.

In the early months which followed March last year I suffered the physical pain of the withdrawals, they were at times quite brutal, they didn’t leave me for weeks, for around six weeks I suffered some sort of constant pain, from an ever present headache to full on body pain, all as a consequence of my actions, all directly as a result of my drinking.  Last month after the early blow of grief, I dealt with the pain of my drinking all over again, this time emotional pain, as I faced the remorse of the delayed actions of my previous drinking, I lived for a time in the pain of my own mind, not a headache as such, but my own head, my own mind, it drove me back to edge for a while, it was hard to deal with it all again as I was blinded by dark thoughts again, the clouds fogged my thinking, the light faded and I sank back.  On both occasions I was lead to Church, to find friends and support, last year for the first time to find a way forward, this time on the day I got the news of my Nanna, I walked straight into Church, to find the same arms that had supported me over the previous twelve months.

In April last year I almost reached the end during the withdrawals, I wanted to give in one Monday night, I couldn’t take the pain and isolation of them anymore, I wanted to drink but knew I couldn’t, I got to the point I couldn’t face it alone anymore, what did I do that night, I reached out to a friend from Church, to James and told him I couldn’t do this anymore, the moment I reached out I was released from the torment of pain, the pain was there, but I could see through it, I could see it as something I had to go through, but would soon subside.  Then that Sunday morning three weeks ago when I felt couldn’t go on anymore, when I wanted to walk into that lake, when I wanted to run and hide, when I couldn’t let my friends see me fall, when I wanted to simply give in, I reached out again, I got to Church against my own will and let them know I couldn’t do it alone anymore, again I was released from that pain, it was almost removed straight away, within hours I was back in reality.

The rest of the previous twelve months were mainly positive, rebuilding with the help of friends and most importantly with my Faith in God and belief in Christ Jesus as my saviour, I had held onto that since that dark night in April last year, I had held to the belief I couldn’t do this alone, through prayer and help of friends I glided through those months with little to hold me back, the odd moment, the odd low point, but mainly growth, in faith and as a person.

That then was mirrored in the remainder of the last month, regrowth, remembering how I got as far as I had, through faith and knowing I was never alone, that I didn’t have to face any of this alone, at any point I could reach out to friends or more importantly to God.

The lessons of last year were evident, whatever I go through, whatever pain, whatever remorse, the point when I had to do that alone came to an end the day I prayed for that first time, since that night I knew I had support for all I was to face, he gave me peace that night and every night since, I guess I forgot that.

That support was increased further when that Easter Sunday in April 2012 I raised my hand from that seat, right at the back of our Church, to accept Jesus in my life, from there, from that point I had everything I needed to get through, GOD, JESUS, FRIENDS!

The pain of our situations can blind our vision, it can cloud our judgement, leaving us lost for direction, we often don’t see beyond that pain, leaving us feeling alone.  It’s hard sometimes to lift our heads, to see with clear eyes beyond the tears that we are not alone, even though we don’t see, we are not alone in this, we have someone that loves us beyond anything else waiting there to help us, we just have to call out in the darkness, to ask for help from the Lord.

On Good Friday I managed to get the day off work to attend Church, it was my first Good Friday service, by the time this day rolled around I was in a wonderful mood, it was the anniversary of my Sobriety and I was ready to celebrate the sacrifice that made it all possible, to celebrate Jesus laying down his life for my sins, for the first time I really understood the importance of the Cross.

In the service Justin talked about pain with purpose, that sometimes the pain we go through is there for a reason.  He also talked about how he had disliked it in the past when people said to him that “Christians use faith as a crutch!”, he said he always though he had faith because he wanted to Believe rather needed something to hold on to, but over time he had began to see it the other way, his faith had become his crutch, he couldn’t move forward alone, not without the help of God as his crutch.  The interesting thing here was the during my walk prior to the service I had had the same thoughts, but I saw my faith over the last month not so much as a crutch, but as a walking frame, I had to grasp that frame with two hands and place firmly place it down before me, then take small steps behind it, before repeating the motion and moving forward.

I don’t mind walking behind that frame, I’ll take those small steps behind a framework that guides my way and I will keep holding on as I walk.

If this last month has taught me anything, it has taught me to rely on God for everything, that with faith in God and belief in Jesus as my Saviour, I can overcome and continue to overcome, I’m not enough alone, but with that faith and belief anything is possible.

Today I’ve chosen Our God by Chris Tomlin to accompany my post, for a couple of reasons really, the lyrics themselves say it all, but this song we sang on my first visit to Church one year ago (well they sang it I stood on looking around in awe), then the next day as I walked to work this song played on my iPod, I had forgotten I had added it a year or so earlier right in the middle of my dark days, when despite my complete aversion to God and faith, I sought to listen to Christian music as much or mare than I sought to listen to any other music, as I walked that morning I found myself singing it quietly under my breath, it played again as I walked this Saturday morning, I didn’t sing it quietly this time, I sang it out loud and proud.

Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There’s no one like You
None like You
Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God, our God
(Our God by Chris Tomlin)

Heaven Breaks by Sleeping At Last

I heard this song this morning whilst walking, it was the first time I’ve listened to it in some time, I simply love the beauty of the song.

As usual I couldn’t find a lyric video, so I’ve made one of my own again, enjoy.

When heaven meets the earth
We will have no use for numbers
To measure who are and what we’re worth
When Heaven meets the earth
We will have no need for mirrors
To tell us who to be
And where we fit into this awkward point of view
(Heaven Breaks by Sleeping At Last)

How About We Make Today “International Healing Begins Day” To Highlight The Problem Of Addiction?

Today brings another in a long list of little anniversaries that led up to me making the decision on Sobriety, on this Tuesday a year ago, just the very day after meeting with Gareth, I received one of those messages in my head, a message that you don’t really know where it comes from or why you are thinking it, it’s just there and will not go away, not until you have satisfied that urge, believe me it’s not an urge like an addiction, but an urge for something you know you need to do!

My urge that night, that message was that I had to listen to the song Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North, I have written in detail about that message and the song, so I won’t go into great detail and relive every moment of the night in this post, but needless to say the lyrics hit me smack in the face, it highlight where I was, what I had done and what I needed to do to start that healing process.

But that song became a guide of sorts in those early weeks of my recovery, it woke with me every morning, it walked with me everywhere I went, I comforted my in dark moments and it sang to me as I lowered my head to my pillow each night in search of rest.  The song reminded me of why I was making these changes, reminded me that there was a way forward and that the light will meet my dark.  I know now it was a message that could only have come from God, it wasn’t a coincidence or my own thinking at all.

Although I started the actual writing of my journal the weekend after I met with Gareth, I back dated the writing to the night I met with him, those early pages of my journal are littered with references to lyrics of the song and other words of inspiration, I even labelled that first journal book “The Healing Begins”, incidentally I label the second book “The Precipice” after the song which inspired me to start this Blog, the third book had yet to be named, but I’m sure when I complete it there will be one song that sums up that period of my life.

Journal 1 Cover

Journal 1 Cover

Healing Begins Lyrics

Healing Begins Lyrics

This Is My Time

This Is My Time

Healings Begun

Healings Begun

I Will Be Strong

I Will Be Strong

I don’t think for one moment that this little voice from little old Newark on Trent will be heard around the world, but I urge that if you agree that we should make this day “International Healing Begins Day” to highlight the problems of addiction, then please lend you voice, via your Blogs, Facebook or Twitter, etc, together you never know!

So you thought you had to keep this up
All the work that you do
So we think that you’re good
And you can’t believe it’s not enough
All the walls you built up
Are just glass on the outside

So let ’em fall down
There’s freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We’re here now

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won’t disappear

So let it fall down
There’s freedom waiting in the sound
When you let your walls fall to the ground
We’re here now
We’re here now, oh

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark

Sparks will fly as grace collides
With the dark inside of us
So please don’t fight
This coming light
Let this blood come cover us
His blood can cover us

This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark
(Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North)

Ever Close To You – Pocket Full Of Rocks

As part of my post last night, Mountains In Your Path?, I was desperately searching on YouTube for a video to a song that I had been listening too over the last few days, I song that had caught my attention and match the content of the post, but alas, YouTube failed me, there was no video at all, let alone a lyric video.  So not to be out done, I’ve made my own again and I post it here for you to enjoy.

Daily Prompt: Musical

Daily Prompt: Musical
What Role Does Music Play In Your Life?

Quite simply music does and has always played a large part of my life.  I’m not particularly musically gifted, I don’t sing (tone deaf) and I don’t play any instruments, but I love good music, regardless of what type.

Although I prefer to listen to music that is created by and played by the artist, boy bands, girl bands and the large part of the dance music genre hold virtually no place in my musical tastes, the odd song done well is okay, kind of like Back For Good by Take That, etc, other than that I like music driven by the musicians, not the producers.

I grew up listening to a lot of sixties music, including Motown/Soul and reggae, mainly through my parents influence, they held the purse strings and bought the music, so we listened to a lot of their tastes, I still like that music, although at the moment I don’t really listen to a great amount of it.

There is still the odd song from the sixties Motown sound that I really like, although not so well now, Indiana Wants Me by R Dean Taylor is still a stand out for me, I can’t explain why, I just really like it.

Obviously you’ve gotta love the Beatles, even if you don’t I think everyone has at least one song of theirs which you must love, for me that one is A Day In The Life.

When I started work in 1990 I was in to any sort of music, but I soon developed a taste for the UK’s Indie music scene, with bands like James, The Wonder Stuff, The Charlatans, Suede and Carter USM, I would get my wages and spend around £200 a month on CDs and records, my parents garage is filled with over 1500 7” vinyl singles and 1500 CD singles and over 300 CD albums, they always nag me about moving them, but I just haven’t got room.

When I started dating Victoria back in 1997 I slowly reduced my record buying, but still brought the odd CD throughout the coming years, like many I’ve download from the internet over recent years and since I’ve had my iPod I’ve filled it with thousands of songs.

About five years ago my tastes changes again and I move into the slightly heavier US rock scene, some quite heavy, some more radio friendly and some quiet angry, I chose songs that echoed my mood at the time.

Eventually I discovered Christian Rock music, even though I wasn’t a Christian at the time, the music was good and I enjoyed it. I found through my troubled years that followed I started to listen to it even more, until eventually when my world collapsed and I turn to God for the strength to rebuild my life, I started to listen to Christian Music even more and now listen to very little else.  There are many great bands and songs, I try to add a song to every one of my posts (except with poetry or photography posts), I try to choose a song that matches the content, but not always, it may just be the song I was listening to last or really caught my attention earlier in the day that I just want to share.

Quite simply for over twenty years I have been immersed in a world of music, my tastes change as life moves on, but I never ditch those tastes, I just archive them and return to them in moments of nostalgia.  I have rarely walked alone without music in my ears in those last twenty years, starting with an old cassette tape walkman, an early portable CD player and now my iPod.  When I walk every morning I have music in my ears and quite often, in moments of solitude, I sing along.

What If I Made A Mistake?

I am going to start this with a bit of change here to my usual format, I’ve placed my song at the top of this post, rather than the bottom, this whole post is based on my feelings for the words of the song, so hopefully you will listen before or even whilst reading the rest of the post. I wrote this post a few months back, but couldn’t find a video for the song, but after last nights break through in the making of lyrics videos, I have created one for it.

There’s a gentle guiding in my gut
It shows me the way out when I’m in a rut
This time it led me to my knees
Instead I chose to do as I please
Now I think it is too late

What if I made a mistake?
What if I heard you but I ignored you
How many tries will it take?
What if I made a mistake?

Oh the steady burning in my heart
It gave me direction right from the start
This time I took the long way around
Until I found myself face on the ground
I guess it is never too late

What if I made a mistake?
What if I heard you but I ignored you
How many tries will it take?
What if I made a mistake?

It’s real relentless and it won’t let me go
I can’t fight this, this dirt on my soul
It’s relentless and it won’t let me go
I can’t fight this, this dirt on my soul

What if I made a mistake?
What if I heard you but I ignored you
How many tries will it take?
What if I made a mistake?

What if I made a mistake?
What if I made a mistake?
What if I made a mistake?

What if I made a mistake?
(What If I Made A Mistake? by Stephanie Smith)

To those who have followed my Blog from the beginning, it should be quite clear by now that music is a big part of my life, it always has been, going back over twenty years I have had almost constant music in my life, headphones on whilst walking or the radio on whilst working, music has been a major part of my life. But my journey into Christian music started well before I tried to fall of the face of the earth. Back in 2008 I happened across a number of Christian bands, I would often look through music websites for other artists with similar music to the rock bands I was listening to at the time, I happen across a couple of Christian bands and I found I liked the music even if I wasn’t really into the subject matter, I just like good music and most of this was good music, from there I found more and more artists I liked and added their music to my iPod.

I was listening to this Christian music alongside my other rock music and even singing along, but it was clear I wasn’t actually hearing the words, I never embraced the message that most of these songs held within them, I just sang along.

There were messages in many of the songs and I know now that I was supposed to find this music, but it wasn’t just messages through music I was getting and ignoring, there were messages in my life, people I would meet, like all the people from Church I met who now support me, there were comments by friends, even comments from my own two lips, there were so many messages, but I was too deep down in my own self pity that I just couldn’t hear, I just didn’t want to know, I never had a problem in my eyes, I knew I had to sort a few things out, but I believed I could stop drinking at any time, even if it meant I had to endure broken sleep and bad dreams, I could sort this all out at anytime I wanted, I simply just didn’t want to or rather I was incapable of doing so.

It really is no use telling an alcoholic they are drinking too much, my partner tried, but my response quietly behind my breath was “you don’t know how I feel, you’re not walking in my shoes, you don’t know, I can stop drinking anytime, I’ll show you!”. Then how did I show her, I shot off round the corner to the shop and indulged in even more drinking, that showed her didn’t it, good one!

I shut myself off to every message, I can see them all now when I look back, I shut off until I came to that crossroads on 18th March 2012, to end it or change it! Well as you know I changed it, big time, I had no choice but to listen this time, I swallowed all my beliefs and approached God for help.

The first time I heard this song after my change of direction, I was struck down by the lyrics;

“What if I made a mistake?
What if I heard you but I ignored you?
How many tries will it take?
What if I made a mistake?”

I suddenly realised I had made a mistake, many in fact, not small mistakes, massive ones. I heard Him, He put all these things in front of me, gave me music to listen to, new friends that would later become crutches in my recovery and the love of a partner I spurned for the supposed comfort of a bottle.

I know now I heard all those messages, but I ignored them all, I carried on with my self destruction, there were many tries, but I made many mistakes!

I guess I got there in the end, I heard the biggest message of all, that day, the 18th March 2012, you can’t get a bigger message, that message, that moment when he whispered in my ear whilst holding my wrists.

I know that day he protected my left wrist, whilst he held my right wrist to move the blade away, then gently whispered in my ear;

“You can’t do this, you know it will be one of your children that finds you,
you can’t let them live with that.”

I heard that message that day, this time I didn’t ignore it, I heard it loud and clear, I had to change it all, I had to get up, clean myself up and sort my life out. The next day started with a phone call that would change everything, a phone call that would start a rollercoaster ride that will hopefully never end.

I can’t put everything that I’ve done right, I can’t repair every heart I’ve broken, but I am trying to make amends, I’m trying to put as much right as I possibly can, but it will take a long, long time to heal some wounds, but I’m on this journey for the long haul now, I listening now, I’m hearing now, I’m no longer ignoring!

I know now that Jesus chose to give up his life on the cross
So I didn’t have to give up mine!

My Year So Far In Music

Back in June I started thinking about songs that map out my journey, I was listening to a lot of music, Christian artists mainly or just music that was inspiring, on my Baptism day I posted six songs on my Facebook page, six songs mapping my life from February to July, one to describe each month and a quick reason for each, now I have expanded the list for the whole year and I will describe the reasons in more detail:

January : Dead Man (Carry Me) by Jars of Clay

So carry me
I’m just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can’t find a heartbeat
(Dead Man (Carry Me) by Jars of Clay)

Back in January I was oblivious to what was happening in my life, I was working now for a couple of months, Christmas wasn’t that bad (the year before I was ill over Christmas up to New Year), so the drink had been flowing well, work equalled money, money equalled beer, so I was slowly becoming a Dead Man, people were carrying me, I just couldn’t see it, my friends, family and workmates didn’t know it, it wouldn’t be long before I was dead on the floor.  When I first heard this song following the breakdown of my life, the lyrics hit me right between the eyes, I was that dead man, I was carried longer than I ever realised, I had been dead on the floor for years.

——————————

February: Monster by Skillet

My secret side I keep
Hid under lock and key
I keep it caged but I can’t control it
(Monster by Skillet)

This is a song I had played many times, infact it was one of the most played songs on my Ipod over the previous three years, but I was again completely oblivious to it’s relevance to my life.  The truth is there was a monster in me, I did keep it caged, but I couldn’t control it, I never let anyone see it, but it was there, I tried to fight it but lost everytime, it had control, I was it’s slave, a body and a soul consumed in torment.

——————————

March: Daylight by Brave Saint Saturn

Jesus Christ, Light of the World
You never did forget me
And when I bled in darkness, You held me
Still held me
(Daylight by Brave Saint Saturn)

To understand the song you have to know the concept of Brave Saint Saturn, the band have released three albums that tell the story of a space mission to Saturn, the first album deals with the departure, the second the mission and it’s failure, the third the rescue and return.

Daylight is from the second album, the mission has gone wrong and the crew are stranded in darkness with no contact with mission control.  The song is meant as a metaphor for that feeling of isolation, that feeling I was going through, feeling lost and alone in darkness, unable to reach out for help.  The crew members try desperately to reach mission control, but fail, then they hear a voice, as their ship comes out of the darkness.  I felt the same way, I was lost, until a voice came through from mission control to bring Daylight to replace my darkness, Gareth Morgan came through bringing the light of Jesus with him, I truly made contact with mission control when I prayed for the first time on 21st March 2012.

——————————

April: Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won’t disappear
(Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North)

I’ve posted before about the song Healing Begins and the message I received to listen to this song, all through April this song was my guide, it stood by me through the pain and my struggles, it kept me on my path, even when I felt like falling back into the darkness, it kept my striving for the light.

——————————

May: Right Beside You by Building 429

When the walls are closing in
And you think you’d rather sink than swim
When you think there’s nothing left for you to lose
I’ll be right beside you
(Right Beside You by Building 429)

Another song that I had listen to many times, but this song became more important to me as my journey with God took more significance and relevance in my life, I was still coming to terms with the pain and withdrawals, I realised when I was at my lowest, so close to succumbing to temptation, if I asked for help from God it was there, he was right beside me, it just hit a chord with me, it didn’t matter how low I was he was right beside me.

——————————

June: Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple

Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
You were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies
(Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple)

This song was another I had listened to over the last few years, I really liked the song, but again never looked at it’s relevance to me, but as I became stronger and moved further away from the drink, I felt like I was gaining some element of control over it, I knew how to handle most of the feelings of temptation.  So X, which in my case stood for alcohol really didn’t own me anymore, it was still there trying, but I was fighting it, I had an element of control now, DEAR X (ALCOHOL), YOU DON’T OWN ME!!!!!!

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July: Unbreakable by Fireflight

Now I am unbreakable, It’s unmistakable
No one can touch me, Nothing can stop me
(Unbreakable by Fireflight)

On the day I was baptised I posted this list of songs on Facebook, without any real explanations, I was looking for a song for July that described how I felt that day, having been baptised in the amazing circumstances that happened that day, well I was so high on the whole experience that I felt Unbreakable, nobody could break how I felt that day, that feeling would last for sometime.

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August: Rise Above by Fireflight

Counting scars and losing track
Afraid to crash we never spread our wings
And with every chance we take we find a reason
To give up on the hope that we all need
(Rise Above by Fireflight)

With my control over my problems gradually improving, out of the blue I found this song, it said everything I was feeling at the time, whatever came my way, I had to rise above it, keep going on my path, whatever was throw at me, I could not afford to let it bring me down, I simply chose to rise above it, so this song just said everything.

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September: Run to You (+ Meet You) by Parachute Band

You are calling you are calling me to you
And i run     and i run to you
I need you i cant get enough of you
I come alive when im in your presence oh God of my salvation
(Run to You (+ Meet You) by Parachute Band)

This was again another song I had added to my Ipod well before my world changed forever, but one morning on way to Church it randomly played, I was blown away by it’s beauty and the simple message, the song just hit me.  Walking home from Church I listened to it over and over again, I just felt the song, it says everything to me really, it didn’t matter what I did or where I tried to hide, he would meet me, Christ would find me and I am so grateful that he did.

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October: Times by Tenth Avenue North

My love is over. It’s underneath
It’s inside. It’s in between
The times you doubt Me, when you can’t feel
The times that you question, ‘Is this for real?’
(Time by Tenth Avenue North)

Of all the songs on the album Over and Underneath, this song originally I didn’t really like, I still wasn’t a big fan when my world changed, then after listening to their new album The Struggle, I revisited this song and I finally understood it.  The song basically has two parts to it, in the first part the singer questions his relationship with God, the second part God replies that no matter what you do his love will always be there.  At a time when things in my journey became real and I questioned if I was ready for it, I got my answers, this song played out in my life, I questioned, he answered.

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November: Don’t Change a Thing by Seabird

Waking up before the sun came up, was a fight that I would lose
To fall in love without a heart must be the hardest part for you
If I could change anything I’d change everything but you
Please promise me you won’t change a thing
(Don’t Change a Thing by Seabird)

The reoccurring theme here is that all these songs were on my Ipod well before my fall, they were there, I had listened to them many times, they were on my regular play list, but I hadn’t heard them, I hadn’t taken their lyrics and questioned them or their relevance to my life, now I feel them, I see the words, I hear them, at times many of these songs still reduce me to tears, I just can’t believe I never really heard them before.  If I could go back to that darkness I was in, with what I know now, I would change everything but Christ, in fact I have, the only constant is Christ, I have with his help changed everything.

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December (hopefully): Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More by Relient K

I made it through the year and I did not even collapse
Gotta thank God for that
I’m torn between what keeps me whole and what tears me in half
I’ll fall apart or stay intact
(Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More by Relient K)

I know we are only in November, but I love this song, it is my all time favourite Christmas song, narrowly beating “Fairytale of New York”.  I just hope that I make to through the year with out collapsing (again anyway), I will certainly thank God for that, though not everyone I love will be there to greet me, I will be thankful to have at least reached Christmas, things could have gone horribly wrong this year, between contemplation of suicide and being a heart attack waiting to happen, whatever happens for me this Christmas, I will be glad just to have made it.

200 Days of Freedom

When I look at a calendar it always seems like a month is a long time, just one month comprising of 30 days seems so, so long.  If you’ve got to wait 30 days for something it always seems a long way away, until all of a sudden it’s there and takes you by surprise, so 200 days?

Well, this day took me by surprise, only on Saturday did I realize that today 15th October 2012 would mark 200 days without a drink, 200 days of FREEDOM, 200 days DRY, 200 days SOBER, 200 days of the craziest rollercoaster ride you could ever image.

201 days ago, there seemed like there was no chance of making it through 200 hours without a drink, in reality 200 minutes without a drink was a struggle at times, so 200 days, well I am going to celebrate, I have had an extra bowl of Coco Pops and now for a glass of lime cordial, as you can see I am really pushing the boat out here.

As well as it being 200 days since my last drink, it is also exactly 30 weeks since the night I sat on this settee, the very sette that I am writing from now, a broken man pouring his heart out to his Pastor, not knowing at that point what I wanted to achieve or what I was planning to do about it, only knowing that it all had to change.  I class that day as the first day of my life, that day my whole outlook changed, it may have took me two days to find the courage to pray and ten days to find the strength to quit drinking for good, but that day was where it all started, that was the day after I was honestly ready to end it all, so that Monday it all started again, a new journey, a new life.

Quite simply, I feel like I’m born again.

I was lost when you found me here
I was broken beyond repair
Then You came along
And You sang your song over me
(Born Again by Third Day ft. Lacey Sturm of Flyleaf)

Has it been easy, well no, I can honestly say it hasn’t, the early days were hard, the withdrawals were brutal, but it does get easier and I can tell you now all the pain worth it.

When I stopped drinking, I weighed in at a portly 13 stone (182lbs), now I weigh in at a trim 10 stone (140lbs), I still want to lose a little bit more, not much more, but my target is 9st 10lbs, so I’m nearly there.  I feel better and if I don’t say so myself, I look better.

I can’t say that everything in my life is fantastic, it isn’t.  I still have issues in my life that I have to deal with, but I choose not to let them drag me down, these are challenges that at this point in my recovery I have no influence on, situations that are currently beyond my control, so if I can’t do anything to change them, then I simply choose to rise above them, I let all these things get to me before and look where that got me.

Let face it, if my God would not permit me to take my own life, I am sure he won’t let anybody else take it from me either, there is nothing that anyone or anything can do to me that is more dangerous or deadly than I was doing to myself.

The Healing Begins

I guess sometimes we hear songs and sing along with the words without really grasping the purpose of the lyrics that the songwriter intended. Some songs are really just nonsense, others just have no meaning, others love songs, etc, but some have meaning, some have a message and I guess for me in a period of my life when I was at my worst, I didn’t want any messages so I just heard words, I wanted to close myself off from the outside world, to just enjoy the company of a bottle of wine or can of cider.

Prior to turning my life around, I can safely say I did everything possible to avoid church, religion, Jesus, God, etc, I had never walked into a Church purely because I wanted to. So I guess it now seems odd that in 2008 I started listening to Christian rock music and was listening to it more and more when my life started to unravel at the end of 2009, when everything started to descend into darkness through my increased drinking and I guess depression.

On the 19th March 2012, I started the day with a phone call, which in turn started the snowball, that is my recovery, rolling. I met with my now Pastor, confessed my downfall and started to put into place the steps that would lead to my recovery.

The next day though, something happened to me that at the time I couldn’t explain, just coincidence maybe? The day was a lot more positive than I expected, I felt free of some of the weight of my problem, that I had shed part of the load by sharing it with others, I was singing Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” to myself most of the day, you know the bit that says “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways”, I was making changes and I was starting with me, today.

But that night, as I was teaching karate, I started getting these messages in my head, that I must listen to “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North, it wouldn’t go away, it was like a woodpecker was hammering at my head, you must listen to this song TONIGHT, you must listen to this song, over and over again! So classes finished at 10pm, I went over to the pub with one of the lads, had a couple of pints, instead of my usual four, at this stage I had stopped drinking at home and reduced my intake at the pub, I was just starting to do something about my problem, so as I walked home I put the song on my iPod.

This song had been on my iPod for two years, I had listened to it many times, I liked the song and I liked the band’s music, but even though I had sung along to it many times, I hadn’t really heard the words, I hadn’t absorbed them and figured out their relevance to my life. Well I can certainly say that I heard the words that night, when I heard those first few lines that was it, I was broken, I was walking home crying as I walked, not just silent tears, a complete outburst of emotion, I must have looked a right sight to any passing cars!

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won’t disappear
(Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North)

That night I played the song on constant repeat, over and over again into the early hours of the morning, these lyrics perfectly described what I had been doing over the last 2/3 years, I had been putting on a show for everyone and hiding behind walls, to me I was hiding within a shelter with walls made of glass bottles and a tin can roof, it was truly time to let the walls come down, to let some light meet my darkness.

The next morning, when my alarm went off the first thing I did was to reach for my iPod and play Healing Begins again, I played it over and over again. That night I managed to get through the night without the urge to drink and after playing the song yet again, I prayed for the first time, prayed for the strength to get through this, to start living again.

Over the coming weeks, I played that song first thing every morning and the last thing before I went to sleep at night, it was my anthem, my guide, my reminder of what I had been and my reminder of where I was going, that night the light certainly collided with my darkness and the sparks were definitely starting to fly.

So why this urge, why that night, why that song, what was happening here, I took a few months to work it out, but eventually I did, that was no coincidence, it was and could only be a message from God, I truly believe he wanted me to listen to that song, that night, he made sure of it, it was there to guide me to him and find a life with him, a better life.

So, have any of you had urges to listen to a certain song, a song that then changes your life? Or have you had these messages, but ignored them?