We were introduced to Mercy Me and K-LOVE radio about a year ago. Prior to moving to Colorado, we had a home church. We attended with some kind of regularity. The body’s children were baptized. We were baptized. We considered ourselves believers. And for the most part we belonged at the church, provided we kept “us” a secret and could at least somewhat pass as one of them. We were losing our desire to go to church after months of watching the perfectly dressed, always immaculate, always perfectly behaved children snub the rest of the kids who didn’t meet their standards. The adults seemed to have that same way of behaving. It made it hard to be true to ourselves and to take a relationship with Christ seriously when this was our example. And a relationship with Christ is what most of us were looking for.
Religion. Relationship with Christ. That’s a hard one for a lot of us. Several of us don’t know how to feel about a God who would allow us a life of such hardship. Some of us are okay with that part, but how do we reconcile being unwelcome among God’s own people because there are 30+ of us in one body. As a group, we have all done things that are not at all in line with Christian values and we are as far from pure as anyone I’ve ever personally met. All of that makes it hard to pursue a relationship with Christ. We aren’t even welcome in churches. For the most part we had given up on all of that and considered it one more thing we don’t deserve and that’s outside of our grasp.
Then comes K-LOVE. We had never heard of K-LOVE before moving in with Mama and Daddy in Colorado. Mama listens to K-LOVE almost all the time. It didn’t take long before we were singing along, whether we wanted to or not. Music creeps in and catches us easily. We all love music. After awhile we started paying attention to lyrics. It was then that we realized some of the artists were speaking to us clearly. Mercy Me, for example, continued to catch us off guard with songs like “Dear Younger Me” and “Flawless”. Those two songs in particular started to make us wonder if maybe there was a chance for us too. Danny Gokey’s “Hope in Front of Me” provided the first taste of hope for us. Not just a chance, but actual hope. Hope that God would want us too. And then, one day, came Sidewalk Prophets’ “Save My Life“.
Tell me what I need to hear
Tell me that I’m not forgotten
Show me there’s a God
Who can be more than all I’ve ever wanted
‘Cause right now I need a little hope
I need to know that I’m not alone
Maybe God is calling you tonight
To tell me something
That might save my life
This song created a deep physical ache, and yet a blinding hope. So many of us who come from a trauma background find ourselves either completely shying away from religion, or desperately craving religion that we worry we don’t deserve.
There seems to be a huge gap in churches when it comes to mental health. Guys, we can’t pray away our DID, our anxiety, our depression, our eating disorders, and our disordered thinking. We aren’t suffering all of this because we don’t believe strongly enough or pray hard enough. We are not being punished for some offense. We are survivors. We are surviving things done to us. We already feel dirty, broken, less than, worthless, and often hopeless. We don’t need the congregation of churches to shun us and make us feel any worse. We end up avoiding churches, congregations, and mass religion in general because the rejection became too much like confirmation of our worthlessness.
But yet, so many of us felt (and still do feel) such a pull to Christ. We want that relationship. We do believe. We want to believe and yet are afraid to hope that maybe we are good enough. If Christ’s followers shun us, why would Christ want us?
And that brings me back to K-LOVE, and Mercy Me… and Danny Gokey, and Sidewalk Prophets. At first we were just listening to K-LOVE in the car with Mama. Soon, little Olly refused to sleep unless “God music” was playing. That meant that our phone app had to be playing K-LOVE while we were falling asleep. The app has an annoying habit of turning itself off after 2 hours, which meant Olivia would wake up in a panic because her “God music” went away. So we started using the radio in our room instead, on K-LOVE, all night long. We owe our renewed and budding faith to the music. I don’t know that we are ready to jump back into a congregation, but I do know we are ready to to entertain the thought that maybe these lyrics quoted here might apply to us too.
If I knew then what I know now
Would’ve not been hard to figure out
What I would’ve changed if I had heardDear younger me
It’s not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger meYou are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeedEvery mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me
Quotes are lyrics from “Dear Younger Me” by Mercy Me and “Save My Life” by Sidewalk Prophets. They are not our words at all and are pieces of beautiful songs who just may have saved our life a time or two.