Living Higher: Letting Go of What’s Standing in Our Way

Today is a special Saturday post. It was written by my friend Brooke who is 1/3 of the singing trio Mercy River. I’ve seen Mercy River’s career from the beginning (I even handled the marketing and design for their first CD release) and I thrill to see the milestones and success they’ve reached along the way. I love when my friends do great things. And … exciting news! … these three lovely ladies just released their third album, Higher.

In honor of the CD release, I asked Brooke to guest post and share with us what it means to her to “Live Higher.” What stands in the way of lifting our lives to the levels we hope for and dream of? What holds us back from living the lives God wants most for us? This is a topic I’m always thinking about so I’m excited to see what she has to say. (Oh and stay tuned at the bottom for a giveaway and the link to their music video.) Welcome Brookie!

First and foremost, we are HONORED to be a guest on this blog. Krista is one of our dearest forever friends, and between you and me, I’m sort of jealous of her writing abilities. But here we go!

So, you know how we all have our own little quirks? Well, here’s one of mine—I’m a planner. Spontaneity is not my forte. I don’t do well with surprises, no matter how fun or romantic they may be. i.e. Don’t take me on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Europe. I need at least a month to get the right wardrobe, research any and all tourist spots, and lose a couple pounds for all those tourist pictures. Also, I don’t want a surprise party. I would rather choose the restaurant, the guest list, and the after-dinner location. And I will do my OWN Christmas shopping, thank you very much.

So you can guess how I take it when my “life plan” doesn’t go as … planned. NOT well. And you would think I’d be used to it by now. Have you heard the saying, “Whenever you make a plan, God laughs”? This is extremely true in my life. I’ve made lots of plans, only to have them re-arranged, altered, and at times, completely cut short.

For example, there was the time I dreamed of being a basketball player like my sister and totally bombed at tryouts. Or the time I auditioned for the part of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and instead was cast as the Wizard. (What? A BOY’S part??) There was also the time in high school, when I fell in love–only to have my heart broken. The college I didn’t get into. And the job I wasn’t chosen for. Or the years my husband and I suffered from infertility when I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.

These were all times in my life when I “wrestled” with the Lord. I wanted my life to go a certain way, and I experienced frustration (and to be honest, sometimes anger too) that there were detours off the path of my ideal life. But after each of these situations–and so many others–I could see, looking back, that once I surrendered my will to His, once I loosened my death-grip on “my way,” I felt free. Once I let go, I was lifted higher.

Our newest album was a huge “let go” experience all of us. Any feelings of pride were almost ripped from our hands. Ideas were thrown to the wayside to make room for whatever fit the budget and time frame. We held so tightly to our own dreams it was painful to turn them over to the Lord. But in the end, it turned out better than we hoped. He took something that seemed doomed for failure and turned it into not only a beautiful product, but a beautiful experience as well. In fact, we almost titled the album Let Go, but then changed it to Higher because ultimately, that’s  where God takes us when we do let go.

Really, I think we’re the ones standing in our own way of rising higher. We each have things in our lives that we’re holding on to: Moments in our past. Pride. Childhood memories. Hurt. Shame. Regret. Anger. And sometimes, our own plans. But holding on to these things always prevents us from becoming something greater.

There’s a poem I heard a few years ago that put this in perspective for me:

Like children bring their broken toys

With tears, to us to mend,

I took my broken dreams to God

Because He was my friend.

But then, instead of leaving Him

In peace to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help

In ways that were my own.

At last I snatched them back and cried,

How could you be so slow?

My child, He said, what could I do?

You never did let go.

The Lord can’t “lift” until we LET him. And his wisdom, His knowledge, His vision all exceed our own. He knows how to create something beautiful in us. So. Let go of your broken plans, your detoured dreams, your pride, your insecurities, and anything else that is holding you down. And let Him lift you higher.


Thanks so much Brooke. I loved this. We’re cut from the same cloth, you and me. I’m a planner right down to my color-coded calendar. And I totally understand what you are saying—even though I’m not always good at it. My current life is so different from what I envisioned, dreamed, and planned for myself so many years ago. But how thankful I am that God sees the end from the beginning and knows what, ultimately, will help me grow the most. And how thankful I am that when it’s hard to “let go” (and it usually is) … he helps us with that too.

Now readers!: if you would like to win a copy of Mercy River‘s new album, Higher, just leave a comment below. You can also get extra entries for

  1. becoming a fan of Mercy River on Facebook
  2. following Mercy River’s blog
  3. becoming a fan of Island Belle Photo on Facebook
  4. signing up on my email list (the form is on the right near the top of this page)

    Just let me know in the comments section if you do any of those extras. This giveaway will stay open until, and winner announced, next Saturday, April 7.

    And here is their new music video:

    *photo courtesy of Hiya Papaya.

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    1. I love, love mercy river! I listened to them a lot the end of last year when my oldest sister passed away unexpectedly at the age of 28. It helped me keep my mind in a good place.

      I am fans of their Facebook page

      I am following their blog

      Thank you so much for this! They are an amazing inspiration!

    2. I really enjoy listening to Mercy River. My kids use to sing with Whitney when they were younger. It is refreshing to have good and uplifting music to listen to!! Thank you for the wonderful music and the all the posts on the blogs this month. You all amaze me and are great examples to the world!! :)

    3. im going to the TOFW in arlington and i was looking for what kind of music u sing so i wouldn be “lost” during that time and maybe can follow some of the songs, great by the way!!!! i liked you page on FB too. can’t wait!!!!!

    4. My Olivia loves to sing their songs (and I do to, just not very well!!), and yes I am a fan of their’s on facebook.

    5. I saw Mercy River at TOFW in Anchorage last fall….
      LOVE THEM! Beautiful voices and beautiful women
      of God.
      (I follow them on Facebook :-)

    6. Oh how I love you all. Add me to the list of planners in the world. This sweet reminder of a post is so much appreciated.

      I am a fan of Mercy River and Island Belle on Facebook and am leaving this comment as an entry for the CD giveaway.

      Blessings to one and all!

    7. My eternal companion and I are currently serving a 23 month mission in the Philippines and I can totally relate to this post!! Two years ago I would have NEVER thought I would be here, in a third world country, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting the things that are everyday for me now. It was not in MY plan but it was in His and with His help, I am letting him direct my path-my favorite scripture has always been Proverbs 3: 5-6. I WILL allow him direct my path. It has taken me MANY years to come to that conclusion-he is driving the bus…I am just a passenger with a window seat! I LOVE Mercy River-music has always been a big part of my life and because I have known Brooke for many years [her mom and I are friends from the 90’s] I listened and immediately fell in love! I will be anxious to get back to the states and broaden my CD collection with their music-keep up the good sounds…

    8. I love, love, love Mercy River!!! Saw them at TOFW and was ecstatic to get to meet them and take pics and to get autographs on their CD. Really loved hearing their testimonies and experiences…making their music so much more personal for me. Would love to get their new CD (my daughter said I am literally wearing out their last one! Lol)

      Have read their blog and already like them on Facebook. Thanks for this opportunity! :)

    9. I love Mercy River!! I have since I first discovered them. Their music has got me through some rough times, like when my dear Aunt died from cancer. Thanks for sharing your talents! I would love to own your new CD!

    10. I follow on Facebook and signed up for the email! I love Mercy River because I have a family member that is going through a rough patch in life but she can sing every song on your last album. I am thankful that she can be uplifted through the music that you ladies sing.

    11. Just want to thank Brooke for her inspiring
      words that I needed to hear. As Krista’s mom, I don’t think I should enter the drawing, but I assure you I am a fan of all of the above and am excited to buy “Higher!” :)

    12. Thanks Brooke for sharing this wonderful insight! I am amazed each day at the blessings the Lord has given me. I am grateful that I have a wonderful family and friends that help to aspire “Higher”. I can’t wait to hear the new album!

    13. I can’t wait to buy your new album. I first heard of you guys when you performed at TOFW in Boise on my birthday 2010. I bought your CD there and listen to it at least every Sunday! :)

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