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
- becoming a fan of Mercy River on Facebook
- following Mercy River’s blog
- becoming a fan of Island Belle Photo on Facebook
- 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.