Stories behind the songs

“Live the Lyrics”

We were getting ready to sing the title track from our second album “Nothing to Lose” and I was sharing the story behind the song from the stage and said, “I wonder what it would have been like to live the lyrics to this song.” I mentally filed that line away for future songwriting sessions and thankfully remembered it! Casting Crowns had an album called Lifesong which parallels the idea of our life being a song and wanting our “lifesong” to be one of praise to God. It’s a neat idea but what would the lyrics of our lives say? Some of my verses could be about falling and failing and sometimes I find those skipping and getting stuck on repeat. Thankfully, God’s truth grabbed ahold of my heart and my life is now a story or song of redemption. What about you? What kind of lifesong are you living? Is it a repeat of the stuff that you listened to at the party on Saturday night or are you living the lyrics to the songs that you sing on Sunday mornings? What would happen if we’d let God get rid of the lyrics of our lives that don’t bring glory to Him? How would it feel if we’d do something really amazing for God with our life story? The world is watching and they can hear the song that our life is singing. So, what are the lyrics of your life saying to the world around you?

“More Than Christmas”

We wrote this song because we wanted our Christmas album to be something more than another holiday tribute to the warm fuzzies that fill our hearts during this season. Christ came to us in our mess and showed us His majesty and this is what we wanted to share with the world through this project. So many times we get wrapped up in our presents and parties and we forget that the Savior of the world made His debut for the soul purpose of saving those who are lost and hopeless among us. He came and made His life be more than just Christmas and we should do the same.

“Wonder”

Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to be in Bethlehem the night that Jesus showed up on the scene? Sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to be one of the shepherds and see the angels and hear them proclaim peace on earth. Or what about the wise men; can you imagine traveling for miles and months on end? What would it have been like to see the Savior of the world? All this is what inspired the song Wonder… The God Who created the universe for His glory came to this earth to show us His power, love and wonder.

“I Still Believe”

The song “I Still Believe” is based on a true story. My Grandpa, Joe Seaman, was driving his pick-up when he and another driver collided at a blind intersection. Both men walked away from the wreck and on the surface everything seemed fine, but things were not as they seemed. During the collision, grandpa had hit his head on the back window of his truck, knocking it out and causing a wound to bleed. Because of the medication he was on, it took awhile for the bleeding to stop. (He had had a heart attach several years before and so was on an anti-clotting medication.) A few days after the accident, we were on the way to church when my dad’s cell phone rang. My aunt was on the phone and told us that they were sending Grandpa in for a CT scan at the Mitchell County Memorial Hospital. He had been complaining of a pain behind his eye that morning and so they had taken him to the hospital. By the time they reached the hospital my grandpa was getting sick, thus causing the doctors to order the brain scan. Everything seemed to be under control, so we decided to head to church. As we waited for youth group to start that Wednesday night, Dad got another phone call. After reading the CT scan, the doctors ordered that grandpa be airlifted to Wichita. My aunt said that my grandpa’s last words were, “The prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. Is anyone in this room righteous?” He then slipped into a coma and was flown to Wichita. We decided to leave church immediately and drive to Wichita. Two hours into the journey my uncle called and informed us that the doctors said grandpa would be dead by morning and advised that we wait until then to come. Dad decided that we would travel to Wichita anyways and we arrived at the hospital around 2am. We were all allowed into the Intensive Care Unit and I will never forget what I saw. My grandpa lay on the bed in a coma, supported by a respirator with his head swollen because of all the excess blood that was accumulation in his brain. (The blood failed to clot because of the medication causing his brain to hemorrhage. The blood pressure had caused the pain behind his eye and the ultimately his current condition.) The brain surgeon had ordered another CT scan when the plane had landed in Wichita. This scan showed that the blood pressure had moved his brain stem over 2cm. The surgeon told us that, in his condition, there was nothing they could do. Operation would cause him to bleed to death and he was just too far gone. He pronounced grandpa’s condition as being clinically brain dead. When we first arrived in his room in Wichita we prayed and asked God to work a miracle in Grandpa’s body. We all hugged and cried and slept on the floor of the waiting room that night. Most of my cousins came the next day and the decision was made to remove the respirator. The doctors prepared us for how grandpa would pass on. They said he would experience primitive reflex (he would wiggle is foot or twitch his hand but not know what he was doing. Kind of like “Old habits die hard” in the literal since.) They said that he would probably quit breathing for ten or fifteen seconds and then gasp for breath again. Waiting was the hardest part. The third morning after grandpa had been admitted to the hospital, the nurse came in to shave and sponge bath Grandpa. She said, “Joe, I’m going to shave you.” Not expecting an answer, she was shocked when the clinically brain dead man said, “Are ya practicing on me?” Thinking that it had to have been her imagination, she shaved him and then said, “Joe, I’m going to brush you teeth.” Grandpa responded, “What are you gonna do that for?” and she said, “Don’t you brush your teeth everyday?” Grandpa truthfully responded, “Nope.” The nurse immediately paged the doctor and he ordered another CT scan. This time, the outcome was much different. All of the family was contacted and after many tests, the doctor informed us that all of the excess blood had disappeared from the brain cavity, that grandpa’s brain stem was back in place and that their was obviously some supernatural force at work since they hadn’t treated him with anything for three days. We informed him that God was the supernatural force and that the power of prayer was all the treatment required. It was a long road back to total health, but after brain surgery (without the medication his blood had started clotting again and had formed a large clot on his brain) and months of love and support, Grandpa is now back home and doing amazingly well.

“Never Give Up”

Life is hard. How many times have you heard me say that The truth is sometimes hard to take, but in the end, it’s always the best thing to believe. Even when the truth is that your season is over… Our cousin and close friend, Jihan, was a freshman in high school. She was running hurdles in her very first Varsity track meet when her world was overturned by injury. While sailing over the third hurdle, her back foot caught the top of the hurdle, causing her left knee to smash into the track, freakishly tearing most of her major ligaments. Her season was over before it had even started. What do you do when you receive devastating news? How do you handle the heartache and hurt? I was a senior that year and was writing notes on the back of my pictures. When I got to Jihan’s, I contemplated what I would say. I wanted to be encouraging yet didn’t want to give false hope (after all, we didn’t know if she would be able to ever participate in any sport again). The only hope that isn’t false is God’s, so in the course of the note I wrote “Never give up and never get down. Always look up, God’s there when you’’re down. PS. Don’’t throw this away; I think I just wrote a song.” Never Give Up is a song of encouragement and hope. Hopefully, God will use the words of this song to inspire and motivate all of us, not just to get over hurts and deal with pain but to keep running the race that He has planned for us, the race of life. Tough times will come and life will be hard, but if we will depend on Jesus and let Him help us through the hurt and tough times, we’ll have the strength to Never Give Up.

“Nothing to Lose”

Can you imagine being so broken that you can’t do anything but surrender? It’s happened throughout history… in wars between rivaling countries, in cities filled with famine, in friendships that go sour, in the Bible stories we grew up with (David, Elijah, and Jesus), inside you wages a war of spiritual conflict. The winner of this war is the winner of your soul. We all have a choice to make, to surrender to God’s will or to keep fighting against Him. Nothing To Lose tells the story of two women in the Bible. Both had been banished from polite society. Both had been hurt by humans, tormented by demons and had a sickness inside that only God could heal. Both had no hope of ever living a normal life again. Both had nothing left to give, both had nothing left to lose. One woman had been bleeding internally for twelve years. She had no money left; the doctors had stripped her of her funds and still couldn’’t find a cure. She had no friends or family she could turn to (in Bible times, when a person was incurable they were forced to live separate from everyone else in a camp outside the city.) When and if you dared enter the city, you had to walk down the street shouting “Unclean” so that everyone would keep their distance and therefore not be contaminated by you. This woman hadn’t been able to hug her kids, kiss her husband, and share a smile or a laugh in over 12 year. She had nothing… The other woman was a prostitute. She had been with more men than she could count or ever wanted to remember. But who would want to remember her, most people wouldn’t ever look her way (unless it was someone interested in her occupation). She was tired of the torment, sick of the seduction; the realization of what her life had become was not what she imagined as a little girl. She just wanted someone to be real, to love her for who she was and not for what she could give them. She had heard of a man who everyone said was different. He was a miracle worker, a forgiver of sins, a preacher and teacher that made the religious people jealous. Was He really different? Could He forgive someone like her? Did He really work miracles? We all know their stories, we’’ve heard about it as Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and in church. We know about the way that Jesus came and healed them, forgave them and restored hope. But while these women were walking into the situations they faced, as they traveled to meet Jesus, they didn’’t have any idea how he would react. We get the benefit of knowing the end of the story while they lived each hour in agony, not knowing if Jesus would accept them. We all have to walk this road. We all have to choose which road we’re going to take. They had to choose that they had nothing to lose by letting go of their past that they had nothing to lose by letting go of their pain… All she had to do was get to Jesus, to touch Him, the first person she had touched in 12 years, and she believed she would be healed. All she had left in the world was her alabaster box of precious perfume. It was to be her dowry, but she’d never need it for that. She felt in her heart that she should give it to the man that had given her hope. She had to choose that she had nothing to lose… She had to choose that she had something to gain, if she would call on Jesus name, and even though she knew the cost she knew she could come to the cross. They surrendered to Jesus, they were forgiven, healed and hope filled for the first time in a long time. We all have to make the same decision. We all have a choice to make. We all have a past, we all have pain, we all have something to gain if we call in Jesus name. What is your choice? Just remember, you have nothing to lose. He is no fool to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. ~ Jim Elliot Missionary Martyr

“Through the Storm”

Through the Storm is a song that I wrote when my world was falling apart. Have you ever been so overwhelmed with fear that you can’t see hope in your future? Have you ever been so broken that you can’t imagine drawing another breath? Do you wonder how you’ll make it through today to tomorrow? Sometimes life happens and it’s not perfect. Sometimes storms come. What do you do when your cozy, comfortable perfect world crashes in around you? Do you turn to God or do you blame Him? Do you question how He can let this happen? Is that wrong? What do you do when the nightmares of life are dragged from the depths of your mind to the forefront of your thoughts? You can no longer deny that your life isn’t perfect, that your world isn’t wonderful, that a storm is stealing over your soul… It was late at night and I was overwhelmed with circumstances. Events of the day had my mind running in circles, my stomach tied in knots and my fingers seeking the solace of the keys of our piano. With tears streaming down my face I tried in vain to get a hold of my emotions. There was no way to reason away, rationalize or cope with this devastating news. I could do nothing but surrender everything to God (which is the best thing that any one of us can do at any moment of our lives.) I sat late into the night pouring my heart out to God while working my fingers across the piano keys and this song was born. The peace of God stole over my soul as I put words to the music I had written. I wasn’t planning to write music that night. I wasn’t planning on my perfect world falling apart either. But God can use any circumstance, any situation, any test, any trial, any storm to work good in our lives. The storms of life are never easy to weather, but with God’s help, we can survive anything. Nothing is a surprise for Him. He holds every moment of our lives in the palm of His hand. Nothing is impossible, too complicated or too devastating for God. He holds our futures and failures, our hurts and our hopes and our dreams and disappointments. All we have to do is walk in His will, through the storms and trials, and come out with Him on the other side. Because yes, there is another side to every storm.

“Unmistakable”

Dreams, we all have them. Some hidden from public view, some far off and seemingly out of reach. Always in my wildest dreams I would imagine myself standing on a stage, becoming a Christian artist and ministering to others through songs. I never really expected that dream to become a reality but God has written a life story for each of us that is beyond anything we would ever dare to ask or imagine. We had been ministering at a church in Clay Center, KS. After the service, a man came up and asked us if we had a CD available (this was becoming a frequent question and we had been exploring the possibility of making an album.) This guy told us that he had a friend who was a producer and that he was going to contact him and see if we could get connected. I thought to myself, “Yeah right, like a producer is going to call us.” As it turned out, God did work everything out and a few weeks later we were meeting Joe Mills (our producer for Eternity Focus) for the first time. He talked to us about making a CD and encouraged us to write our own music. That was definitely a challenge for someone who couldn’t even write a publishable poem. He told us about how song structure worked and we took that information and traveled home. All the way home that night, I thought about the awesomeness of God. How he really can do more than we would dare to imagine and truly does have a perfect plan for our lives. At times, I thought that God’s plan for me was anything but perfect and had fought it tooth and nail. However, He was always patient with me and when I finally surrendered my will to His, He takes what I give Him and uses it for His glory. That night as I looked into the night sky studded with a fabulous array of stars I was awed my God’s majesty. How could the Creator of the Universe care about my life and the dreams? Not only care, but cause them to become realities… Inspired, I went to my room and wrote the song Unmistakable. The song has since won a national award (another one of my dreams come true) and has touched countless lives. Only when we are totally surrendered to God, is He able to bring glory to His name through our lives. Ephesians 3:20

“When God Seems Far Away”

Have you ever felt that God is distant? That He is standing at the edge of the universe just watching you, waiting to see how you will live your life, not really caring about the outcome. Sometimes God seems uncaring, unloving and unkind. You feel like He’s just an isolated Being setting on a throne in an unreachable, unapproachable heaven. Sometimes God seems far away. When the situations and circumstances of your life are overwhelming and you feel you can’t go on or don’t even want to try… When your hopes are crushed, your dreams are dashed and the perfect world you lived in isn’t perfect anymore, when your life turns into an unending downward spiral, what do you do? It’s easy to find yourself in the depths of despair, feeling sorry for yourself, resigned to your horrible fate. It’s much harder to figure out how you are going to escape the dungeon you find yourself locked in. The key is making friends with the gate-keeper. God holds the keys to death, hell and the grave. If you feel you can’t go on after the death of a loved one, you’re facing a hell you never imagined existed or are a walking dead person from the inside out, the solution is simple. The tragedies are taxing, testing, difficult and demanding but Jesus is not. He has planned each day of our lives and has the power to help us through the tough times. All we have to do is place our trust in him and learn to live in obedience, faith, love and joy. It’s easy to say, but lots harder to actually accomplish. However, when we finally decide that the time has come to cast off pretense and place ourselves completely in the palm of God’s hand, we’ll find that there is no better place to be. And even on the days when God seems far away, we can have faith, hope and the courage to live, just because of Jesus.

“I Choose You”

We were hanging out at the church one Sunday afternoon and suddenly this song was born. Actually, we had been to the studio recording our first album (Eternity Focus) that week and so we were all in the mood to create. Danika and Lainika were at the piano most of the afternoon and crafted this song during that time. I Choose You is a song that declares devotion and singular sincerity to God. We all need to be sure that our focus is continually placed on Jesus. This world is full of things that try and steal our attention from the truly important and eternally valuable. After recording this song, we entered it into the Gospel Music Association’s Songwriting Competition at the Music in the Rockies Event. There were over 550 entries and I Choose You made it into the top 20! A panel of four judges (published songwriters from around the country) and the top 20 finalist met and discussed each song. It was a fantastic experience that we will never forget. We learned so much for everyone in attendance. God continues to blow our minds? He is so amazing and we love being in His family and will. His plans are better than anything we could ever dream up and it’s awesome to be living that dream.

“God Are You There”

Abortion is a huge issue. In America over 40 million lives have been aborted since 1973 (about 4,000 lives everyday). Around the world every year 46 million abortions are performed (over 120,000 babies lost everyday). The worldwide, lifetime average is about one abortion per woman. These are lives forever lost, lives forever changed. Lainika was listening to Focus on the Family with Dr. James Dobson one hot summer day while waiting in the car with my mom stuck in road construction. The program that day discussed the pain women who’’ve had abortions are forced to endure. I never really thought about the after effects that occur post-abortion, but for women who have made the choice, there is a long agonizing road ahead. As Christians, most of us tend to shun women who would willing discontinue the life of a baby growing within them. We picket and protest but what do we do when one of them shows up in our church looking for answers? What Would Jesus Do? Tough question, is there a simple answer? Life isn’t simple but Jesus’ love is. We need to reach out to the young, pregnant, teenage girl faced with shame, hurt, betrayal and fear. We need to hold up the woman who has come from within the clinic, bleeding, wounded, confused, and filled with regrets. We need to extend the love of Jesus to the hurting and searching souls. The song “God Are You There” is a song that tells the story of a girl faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Her partner deserts her, her fears are rationalized and the notes to her lifesong fall flat. She gets an abortion. She is tormented day and night by both her choice and her pain. Is God still the God of love that she learned about at VBS? Does He still care about her life and destiny? She turns to the only place she can, the church… She gets her answer from us. Jesus isn’t on earth anymore in a physical body. He depends on His followers to show the world Who He is. What are we telling her? How are we treating her? God Are You There and the story behind it are not meant to promote abortion. Quite the opposite, we believe that all life is sacredly ordained and given by God. The God Who listens to our deepest secrets, heals our hurting souls and loves us no matter the mistakes that we make. God is still there, after an abortion or after a blindsided accident. No matter what we face, God is there to face it with us. The road of life won’t be easy to travel. We’ll encounter hardships, ridicule, adversity, suffering, need and want… but with God to forgive and fulfill we can rejoice in the healing balm He gives with His presence in our lives. God Is Still There.

“Another Chance”

Have you ever read a book, seen a TV show or watched a movie that had a profound impact on your life? Media has a huge influence in our culture and it’s important that we choose to fill our lives with Godly things. I was reading Frank Peretti and Ted Deker’s book House one night and this song was inspired. In House, the characters find themselves trapped in a haunted bed and breakfast. There is no escape. The people trapped inside are given an ultimatum, a list of rules that must be completed by dawn if any of them want to survive. The rule, there must be one dead body at dawn. At the beginning of every chapter is printed the time (example 1:37am) and “One Dead Body”. As the hours start to wind down and dawn approaches, there is a slight but profound change made at the beginning of each chapter “The Wages For Sin Is One Dead Body”. Up until that point, I hadn’t really gotten the point of the book. I’m really not into haunted ghost stories and horror etc… so I was a little lost. Why would these people write a book about a haunted house? What was the eternal value in that? When I read that sentence I knew what they were after. Sure enough, they paralleled the story line in the book to the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. The wages for sin, One dead body. I wrote the bridge to the song Another Chance that night “You laid it down, You gave Your life, You traded crowns, You sacrificed”. House was an interesting book that I probably won’t read again (of course I never read a book more than once ?) but the impact that that one sentence had on my outlook on life changed me from the inside out.

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