Tell Me a Story...

The Holding Place: The Story

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Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash

Several years ago, my mom shared this personal story by Michael Wilcox (found in his book entitled Walking on Water and Other Classic Messages). 

When Michael was a baby, his father left his mother and she raised her children alone.  Through the years his Dad’s choices caused a lot of pain and heartache for their family.  As a teenager, Michael felt a need to pray for peace, healing and help forgiving his dad.  So he did, and no answer came.  He kept at it, and through the next several years, he prayed for the same thing.  But no answer came.  When he was in his 30’s (married, with two girls and two boys of his own), he was asked to give a talk in church about families.  He sat down to decide what to say, assuming he would just talk about his mom.  But the Spirit whispered “Talk about your Dad.”

My dad? He wondered. What in the world would I say?  But Michael felt prompted to think about him.

Then his two boys, ages 6 and 2, came into the room and just stood there looking at him.  In that moment, hundreds of memories he had shared with these two little guys flooded his mind- many little everyday interactions as well as bigger moments.  And suddenly an answer came- I am now ready to answer your question. Now that you are a father, now that you know a father’s love, would you be the son who lost his father, or the father who lost his son?

He gathered his sons into his arms and cried and cried- for all his father had missed.

Here is the quote that sums it all up:

“Why didn’t my Father in Heaven give me that answer at fifteen, or twenty-one, or twenty-five, or when I was married, or when my daughters were born? He needed to wait until I was a father of sons and had enough experiences with my boys to understand what a sweet thing it is to be a father and share memories with sons. The holding place had to be carved in my heart, and as soon as I could really receive and comprehend the answer, the Lord gave it to me. Maybe we are in the fourth watch, but the Lord is saying to us: I’ll answer your prayer. I’m aware of your needs. It is recorded in heaven, and I’m going to answer it. But right now in your life there’s no place for me to put the answer. Life will create a holding place, and as soon as you are able to receive it, I will give it to you.”

I have retold that story so many time over the last few years, and have found it to be SO true in my own life.  So many times I have wanted an answer but I didn’t have a place to receive it- yet.

For several years I have talked about writing a song called “The Holding Place” because this story touched me so deeply.  But I find that sometimes that becomes a problem- something I care so much about becomes difficult to sufficiently express.  So it has taken a long time to write this one.  A few years ago, Jon (my sweetheart) jotted down a poem for me, hoping it would help me work through the creative problems that stood in my way of finishing it.  I saved the envelope he wrote it on 🙂 and used some of his ideas for the bridge.  I appreciate his constant support.

Another interesting tidbit is that I had a hard time writing the music for a while because I felt that I couldn’t totally relate to a father leaving his family.  I had a very steady and loving home-life growing up, so I wasn’t sure how to express what he had experienced.  When my youngest went to school last fall, he struggled each day going to school (fortunately he LOVES school now and is all smiles).  Big crocodile tears would roll down his face and he would ask “Why do I have to go to school?”  It was then, during the days when I had to send him to school with tear-stained cheeks and worry about him all day long, that I wrote “tell me the reason, I’ll try to be brave, but it makes no sense and I feel afraid…”

Musically, my favorite part is the bridge- where the momentum increases from a pensive, thoughful backdrop to a pulse.  “What should he tell them of the years gone by?  Of hurts and hopes and heaven?  They will understand in time…” and that winds back to the chorus.  That part was the most fun to write.

One other funny fact- if you were to compare the sheet music to the recording you’d see there are several (unintentional) differences.  You’d think I knew this piece inside and out after writing and editing it for several years, but I still ended up unintentionally changing lyrics and timing during the recording process!  I decided to leave the changes for now because I think they’re kind of a fun, spontaneous addition :).

Enjoy!

~Laura

Click here to hear it!  The Holding Place

Music

Emerge: The Story

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(Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash)

Mmm- I just love this photo.  It visually describes everything about my newly posted piece, Emerge.

Right now my life seems pretty easy.  Rewind a few years and my life was much different:  it was a time when I had 3 adorable little people that needed a lot of me (physically and otherwise), I was dealing with major health issues, I was tired all the time, and I was also dealing with pretty intense anxiety on a daily basis (partially because I had a child who was struggling).  It wasn’t that my life was horrible- I love being a mom, my husband is an amazing support, and I still say that we soaked up as much joy from that stage as possible; but compared to everything else I’d experienced in life, this was by far the hardest and lasted the longest.

I joked during that time that I felt like I was 30 going on 50 (maybe I’ll change my tune when I experience 50!) and I wondered if I would ever feel back to “normal”- whatever that meant.  The anxiety was particularly troubling to me- it felt as though my thoughts and emotions were often so much heavier and darker than I wanted them to be, but at the time I really didn’t know how to do change that.  I longed for more peace which had seemed much more accessible before.

I prayed to be rescued from the dense fog I found myself stuck in.  Though Heavenly Father didn’t send immediate all-in-one solutions like I wanted Him to, He did send help- gradually.  He sent bite-sized pieces so not only could I be cured, but I could grow through the process of healing.  I look back and see how he placed people, books, and other things in my path so that a step at a time, I learned how to deal with the anxiety in constructive ways.  I also had moments of feeling overwhelming love, peace or contentment; a sense that Heavenly Father was aware of my needs, and would continue to guide and help me.  The kids grew and became a little more independent and my health improved over several months (partly because the baby started sleeping through the night-hallelujah!)- I held on to faith and hope before, but now I could actually see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It was during this time that I began to experiment with writing music-not as a creative outlet, but as an emotional outlet.  I started playing around on the piano, attempting to express the way I felt through the music.  What could I “say”?  This was the result of that exploration.  Hind-sight is a funny thing: though I’d never sign up for a repeat course through the fog, I also wouldn’t trade what I learned from it for anything.  So without any more words, here is “Emerge”!

Emerge