The Great Lengths of a Simple Gift

Ok, ladies, I know we can’t all adopt 14 Ugandan girls like Katie Davis, but we can impact the life of at least one little boy or girl through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. In less than a month, National Collection Week will begin (Nov. 14-21), and I personally think that every one of us needs to get involved!

Matthew West shares my opinion… 

I already have two shoeboxes set aside especially for this important event. Do you have yours? :)

Find out everything you need to know about packing and dropping off a shoebox HERE.

Photo: Samaritan’s Purse

Celebrating One Last Christmas

In his new single, “One Last Christmas,” Matthew West shares the powerful story of a little boy named Dax and the Christmas that his family and an entire town will never forget…

Learn more about Dax’s story HERE.

You can make a donation to St. Jude’s in memory of Dax HERE.

Download Matthew West’s Christmas single at Amazon for 99¢.

Illustration: C. Weber

The Healing Has Begun

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
and I will not remember your sins.”

Isaiah 43:25

During my years of counseling at a local pregnancy resource center, I met many women who carried a terrible wound deep in their hearts, women with stories like Alycia’s. 

As part of his latest project, The Story of Your Life, Matthew West wrote a song for women like Alycia who by God’s grace have stopped hiding and started healing… 

 

Do you or someone you know need help in finding this kind of healing? Call Care Net’s Option Line to find a pregnancy resource center that offers post-abortion counseling near you.

The Story of Your Life is available for $7.99 at Amazon.

The Healing Has Begun

You have carried the weight of your secret for way too long
Thinking if there is a place called forgiveness, you don’t belong
Oh, but freedom can never be found behind those walls
So just let ‘em fall, just let ‘em fall

Oh, the healing has begun
Oh, the healing has begun

How long has it been since you felt anything but shame
Child lift up your eyes ‘cause mercy remembers your name
All those tears you’ve been holding back, let ‘em fall like rain
‘Cause today is the day, yeah today is the day

Oh, the healing has begun
Oh, the healing has begun
Oh, the healing has begun
Oh, the healing has begun

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Just lift your eyes
And lay it down
What once was lost
Has now been found

There’s a world full of people dying from broken hearts
Holding on to their guilt, thinking they fell too far
So don’t be afraid to show ‘em your beautiful scars
‘Cause they’re the proof, yeah you’re the proof

Written by Matthew West & Jason Houser
Photo: Shirley Booth

Broken Hearts Made Whole

“He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

It’s hard to imagine many topics which would prove more difficult for a songwriter to deal with than the heartbreaking issue of sexual abuse. Yet somehow in addition to songs about cancer, divorce, and rejection, Matthew West also managed to address this nearly unspeakable subject with both honesty and hope as part of his project, The Story of Your Life. Unfortunately, sexual abuse forms a chapter in the lives of far too many women and children, yet as Matthew West’s song indicates, it need not be the end of their story.

The inspiration behind “Broken Girl”… 

Want to help victims of sexual abuse and sex trafficking? Visit Shared Hope International’s website to learn how you can make a difference.

The Story of Your Life is available for $7.99 at Amazon.

Broken Girl

Look what he’s done to you
It isn’t fair
Your light was bright and new
But he didn’t care
He took the heart of a little girl
And made it grow up too fast
Now words like innocence
Don’t mean a thing
You hear the music play
But you can’t sing
Those pictures in your mind
Keep you locked up inside your past

This is a song for the broken girl
The one pushed aside by the cold, cold world
You are
Hear me when I say
You’re not the worthless they made you feel
There is a love they can never steal away
And you don’t have to stay broken girl

Those damaged goods you see
In your reflection
Love sees them differently
Love sees perfection
A beautiful display
Of healing on the way tonight
Tonight

Let your tears touch to the ground
Lay your shattered pieces down
And be amazed by how grace can take a broken girl
And put her back together again

Written by Matthew West
Photo: Claire Cresswell

Reaching Out to the Outcasts

“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24

Last night I did something you should probably never do just before going to sleep, I read the news. Amidst the usual slew of disturbing stories, one article literally brought me to tears. It detailed the tragic stories of four different teenagers from the same high school who had each resorted to suicide after experiencing ongoing cruelty and abuse at the hands of their classmates. The emotional pain these young people endured day after day drove them to make the most desperate of choices, the only choice they believed could keep them from ever feeling that kind of hurt again. 

These stories have become increasingly common on the nightly news, yet still, they give us only the slightest idea of how bad the problem really is. For every incident that makes it to the news, how many thousands more are left untold? In his album, The Story of Your Life, Matthew West expresses the pain felt by countless young people due to the cruelty of their peers. The song is called “To Me”.

The story…

Just as Jesus Christ was a friend to the outcast, so should we reach out to those who’ve been left alone and rejected. An act of kindness on our part may turn out to be the difference between life and death. 

The Story of Your Life is available on iTunes for $9.99.

To Me

Well, it breaks my heart
Every time I see the world break yours in two
You know those lies ain’t true
But when you let ‘em get to you
Being you is hard to be, I see

These days, stick and stones
Sound like paradise compared to those harsh words
They’d rather cut you down than hold you
But they don’t know you like I know you
If they did, I know they’d see, yes they would see

To me you are
Heaven’s finest invention by far
So much brighter than the brightest star
And what I’d give to make you see
Who you are to me

All your so-called friends
That said, they’d be there ‘til the bitter end are gone
But I won’t be just like the others
I’m gonna show you my true colors
You can’t ever make me leave
No, no, I won’t ever leave

When you laugh
That’s my favorite song
And all the gray is gone
Every single time I see you smile
I just haven’t seen it in a while

So go on and dream
Bigger dreams than this town’s ever seen before
There are just two kinds of people
Ones who say you’re just not able
And the ones who change the world
And you’re gonna change the world

Written by Matthew West
Photo: Dora Pete

Hearts Divided by Divorce

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”

Psalm 147:3

Each time a marriage ends, husbands and wives are forced to tackle the complicated task of separating into two what God joined into one. Houses, cars, bank accounts, furniture–everything gained during the course of life together must somehow be divided between the two parties. The sad reality is that physical belongings aren’t the only objects divided during the divorce process; the hearts of children are also torn in two as mom and dad head off in separate directions. Although society’s distaste for divorce has steadily decreased over recent decades, the pain experienced by children of divorce has yet to lessen. In his song “Two Houses,” Matthew West articulates the heart-broken cry from the child of a broken home and points to the hope of a home that will never be divided.

Here’s the story behind the song…  

Ladies, as much as it is within our power, let’s commit to creating homes filled with love, strength, and stability for the glory of God and the good of our children.

The Story of Your Life is available on iTunes for $9.99.

Two Houses

Well, Mom found her a new place to live
And Dad found him a new girlfriend
Looks like everybody’s moving on
And it’s, “Hey, look on the bright side kid,
Now you’ve got two Christmases
And it’s every other weekend from now on”
Yeah, but all I want is the way it was

When love would always last forever
And families stayed together
Back to the day before two houses
When they held my hands when I was little
Before I got caught in the middle
Somewhere in between two houses
‘Cause these two houses sure don’t feel like home

Wide-eyed wonder grows up fast
Trust is shot and nothing lasts
And I’m thinking maybe it was all my fault
And will I ever get back to
The innocence that I once knew
Before that Summer turned into Fall
When I close my eyes, I go back in time

I heard about a love that never leaves
So I’m asking you to show me
I’m talking to You down here on my knees
Feels like You’ve always known me

When love would always last forever
And families stayed together
Back to the day before two houses
You were holding my hand when I was little
You were there when I was in the middle
Somewhere in between two houses
These two houses
These two houses

But tonight my heart has finally found a home

Written by Matthew West
Photo: Kiomi

Celebrating Survivors

“…in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

While out walking yesterday, I noticed another woman on the track. Dressed in her workout clothes, iPod strapped to her arm, and moving at a good pace, she looked like everyone else at the gym. The bit of bare scalp visible beneath the woman’s ballcap served as the only clue that she was in fact, not like everyone else casually working out that day. She was battling cancer. When Matthew West’s song “Survivors” started playing a moment later, I seriously contemplated handing my iPod over to this brave lady so she could hear it, but I worried I would disturb her. I decided to take a moment to pray for both her physical and spiritual healing instead. Still, I wish I could have shared this song with her.

Here’s the story…

The Story of Your Life is available on iTunes for $9.99.

Survivors

You’ve been dropped like a dream to the floor
You’ve been told not to try anymore
But you’re waking from yesterday’s war
‘Cause you’re a survivor
And your strength has been stolen away
And your faith has been worn to a fray
But you live to live one more day
‘Cause you’re a survivor

Nothing can stop you now
Nothing can back you down
You never give up, never give in
You’re a survivor
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa

For the phone call that tore you apart
For the fear that gripped your heart
For the moment you saw who you are
And what you’re made of
For the cancer that stole all your hair
For the smile like you just don’t care
For your hope in a midnight prayer
You’re a survivor

I’m convinced neither death nor life
Neither demons nor angels of light
Shadows present or future light
Can separate us
From the love that will lead us on
To the hope when all hope is gone
‘Til the day heaven calls us home
We are survivors

Written by Matthew West
Photo: Alice Wycklendt

143 Million Minus One

“…you have been the helper of the fatherless.”

Psalm 10:14

This song makes me want to dance, even though I don’t know how.

Across the world, an estimated 143 million children face each and every day without the love or presence of their mommies or daddies. 143 million orphans–It seems an overwhelming number. As individuals, we stagger at the thought of making a difference in the lives of so many, but as Matthew West so beautifully reminds us in his song, “One Less,” we may not be able to reach every child, but we can reach one.

One day in the future, Lord willing, I’m going to dance to this song with my own little ones brought home from halfway around the world. They won’t care that I can’t dance.  =)

Here’s the story behind the song… 

How do you feel about adoption? Do you have an adoption story to share?

The Story of Your Life is available on iTunes for $9.99.

One Less

There’s a child
Been abandoned out on the street
Now she’s waiting for someone to be her miracle
There’s a wife
Somewhere halfway around the world
Begging God for a little girl she can call her own
Well, worlds collide, and colors fade
And a man and wife brought their little girl home today

And there’s one less
One less
One less broken heart in the world tonight
Yeah, there’s one less
One less
There’s one less broken heart in the world tonight

We are called
To the widows and the orphans
But it’s easy to ignore their silent cries
Oh, but every single time
Somebody reaches into the darkness
Makes a choice to help the helpless
They let mercy save a life

Well the truth is we are all the orphans
But love has left the ninety-nine
Just to find the one
One less night alone
One less child without a home
One less birthday gone forgotten
One more soul rising from the bottom

One less
One less
There’s one less broken heart in the world tonight

Written by Matthew West
Photo: Joseph Hoban

Grafted into a New Family Tree

“…the generation of the upright will be blessed.”

Psalm 112:2

Are you a leaf dangling from a twisted family tree? Who’s not, right? Descending from a tree gnarled in past generations by spousal and child abuse, adultery, divorce, remarriage, estrangement, and more divorce, I can wholeheartedly relate to Matthew West’s beautiful song, “Family Tree.” I’ve been listening to the new album for the past couple of days at the gym, and when “Family Tree” plays, I have to restrain myself from breaking out with a Charismatic, hand-raising kind of response. By God’s grace and for His glory, the past is not my legacy–that’s a truth worth rejoicing about.

Here’s the story behind the song:

The Story of Your Life is available on iTunes for $9.99.

Family Tree

You didn’t ask for this
Nobody ever would
Caught in the middle of this dysfunction
It’s your sad reality
It’s your messed up family tree
Now you’re left with all these questions
Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was?
Do you have to carry what they’ve handed down?

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your Legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

I have a dream for you
It’s better than where you’ve been
It’s bigger than your imagination
You’re gonna find real love
And you’re gonna hold your kids
You’ll change the course of generations

‘Cause you’re my child, you’re my chosen
You are loved, you are loved
And I will restore all that was broken
You are loved, you are loved

And just like the seasons change Winter into Spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now
Yes you are, you are

 Oh, this will be your legacy
This will be your destiny
Yesterday did not define you
Oh, this will be your legacy
This will be your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

 And just like the seasons change Winter into Spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now

Related Post: Breaking Out of “My Own Little World” 

Written by Matthew West and Jason Houser

Photo: Chris Hurtado

Breaking out of “My Own Little World”

I told you recently about my excitement over the release of Matthew West’s latest album, The Story of Your Life. Honestly, I can’t remember looking forward to a new project like I did this one; the songs are so powerful. Last week on Twitter (my sister now refers to me as a Twitter nerd), I posted the silly tweet, “5 days til release of new Matthew West album The Story of Your Life. Can’t wait. Sitting on the edge of my seat is getting uncomfortable.” I cracked up when Matthew West replied, “BiblicalBeauty, you should try sitting on the edge of a sofa, or maybe a beanbag chair. =) Maybe we will do a cd promo-buy Story of Your Life, get a seat cushion.”

Thankfully, the sofa, beanbag chair, and seat cushion are no longer necessary. The Story of Your Life was released yesterday and is now enjoying a comfortable spot on my iPod. Over the coming days, I’m going to share some of the stories behind Matthew’s songs with you. I think you’re going to enjoy them.

Here’s the video for “My Own Little World.” 

The Story of Your Life is available on iTunes for $9.99.

My Own Little World

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket shoes on my feet
In my own little world
Population: me

I try to stay awake through the Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts
and I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
it’s easy to do when it’s
Population: me

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign, said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above this sign was the face of a human
I thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”
So I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there’s
Population: two

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

Will You Give This Christmas Away?

“…remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Acts 20:35

Christmas is in the air! Well, it is for those of us preparing for Operation Christmas Child anyway. If you’ve never participated in this terrific project, this year is your year. Operation Christmas Child provides you and your family with a terrific opportunity to remember that it is indeed more blessed to give than to receive as you prepare a simple shoebox full of gifts that a child on the other side of the world will never forget.

Matthew West and Amy Grant team up in this video to encourage us to “Give This Christmas Away.” I love watching the video footage of children receiving their shoeboxes. If you take part in OCC, you could be the reason for one of these precious smiles! 

National Collection Week is coming soon–November 15-22. Please plan on being a part of blessing needy children around the world this Christmas.

You can learn how to pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox and print out instructions and labels HERE.

Find the nearest Shoebox Drop-Off Location in your area HEREor you can send your shoebox year-round to Samaritan’s Purse headquarters:

Operation Christmas Child
Samaritan’s Purse
P.O. Box 3000
801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607

Photo: Samaritan’s Purse

Hear the Story of Your Life!

Matthew West was in town for a free concert last night, and yippee for me, I got to go see it. I’ve been a fan of his music for several years now, but this was the first chance I had to hear him in person, and I must say, his live performance did not disappoint. On October 5th, Matthew will release a new album, The Story of Your Life, which is unlike any of his previous work. Here, he explains the inspiration behind this unique project… 

The new songs are personal and powerful. Matthew sings about several difficult topics including abortion, divorce, dysfunctional families, sexual abuse, and cancer among others. Although his lyrics convey the raw pain of suffering, Matthew also highlights God’s redemptive purposes for the trials that shape our life stories. Through repeated messages of hope, forgiveness, and victory in Christ, Matthew makes it clear that there will be a purpose for every pain. I can’t help but think that this album is going to resonate with many listeners.

My friend, Amy, and I before the concert

Meeting Mr. Matthew West

The Story of Your Life includes a beautiful tribute to adoption entitled “One Less.” I absolutely love this song and the message behind it! Matthew explains the story in the video below (I had to cut the song off due to my little camera’s inability to handle loud noise, but you can hear the entire song in Matthew’s interview on K-LOVE Radio HERE.)

I highly recommend catching Matthew in concert during this incredible tour. Check his tour schedule HERE.