Thursday, November 4, 2010


So, you might know my friend Gabriele by now. We met in Germany on my mission trip last spring and it's been sisterly love ever since. She got married on September 4th of this year and ended up moving four hours away from her family to be with her husband in Wolfsburg. She's 20.

She writes me often about how much she misses her family and her church. It's not easy picking up and having to start over.

I woke up yesterday morning commenting on how much I loved how cold it was in the house. I had a few hours before class, so I sat down and wrote these two verses:

I feel it in my bones
the early morning cold

looks like a steamy breath
one second I can see it
then it's gone

Then I wanted to try something different and write in third person. Whoa. What a concept. So I just changed the "I's" to "she's" and it was done.

Now the only question was: who was "she"?

I've been in both 1 Timothy and the Book of Ruth lately, so immediately I thought of a virtuous woman. So I decided to write the song in light of how Ruth lost her husband, yet still left Moab to follow Naomi and God to Bethlehem. It couldn't have been an easy thing to do, not knowing what awaited her on the other side.

then your world falls away
and you're in another place
Far away from home
with a strength not of your own

I tried writing a few verse's pertaining to fields and gleaning, but it just wasn't "settling." So I waited a while before picking my pen and guitar back up.

I got a message from Gabi over facebook in the meantime and as soon as I read her message, I knew that the song was about her; everything pertaining to her having to move away and start all over. Thus enters "don't give up now, Gabriele." I wrote the second verse about Gabi's willingness to submit to her husband Daniel, ultimately to God.

the bending of a branch in the wind
she'll go where He goes

Then something really unexpected happened:

Today I went to class, and in the middle of the lecture I started writing these random lyrics that ended up being the second chorus. By the end of that chorus, the song took a completely different turn. All of a sudden it hit me that this was a song about my friend Ashlee as well. All of a sudden, I'm waking up on a November morning in Ashlee's shoes and finding my 5-week old son not breathing; I'm walking around aimlessly in Target remembering how my son was with me the last time I was there, and four months later I'm moving to Tampa with my family of three, when it should have been my family of four. So I continued to write the rest of the song specifically with her in mind: adding to the second verse, the second chorus and creating the third and final chorus.

there's never enough
unswerving devotion
and saddening goodbyes

Common day, common scene
but now you're remembering
everything as it once was
Gabriele, don't give up now


there's a day
when you will see
all the answers to your questioning
the fruit to your suffering
Gabriele, don't give up now

when the shadows begin to fade
will you kindly reiterate
the smile upon your face
Gabriele, don't give up now
don't give up now

When I checked facebook later today I saw that today was her birthday. Talk about providence.

It's obviously still Gabi's song, just as it is a song about Ruth and Ashlee. It's the song of anyone who has ever let the Lord uproot them and trusted Him in the process. Each one of their stories played a huge part in writing this song and in ministering to me by revealing such a beautiful image of our ever faithful and sovereign God. I'm blessed to have so many examples of Ruth in my life.

Everything we do in obedience to God, no matter how small, is significant.

- John Piper

God always has a way of leading His children to higher ground. He will always guide us. He will always be our common place and our strength. Always urging us on. Always urging us to not give up. Always hiding a smile behind what seems to be a frowning providence.

Gabi and Ashlee,
Thank you for being courageous.

Listen to and see the lyrics for 'Gabriele' here.

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