I am especially proud of the origin of this song. As you may or may not know, I have spent most of the last seven years serving on staff at various churches working with teenagers and college students. My ministry in the local church has never been a separated area from my music. "Who You Are" is a great example of this.
In June of 2010, I took a group of students and adults to Birmingham, Alabama for a week of mission work at an M-Fuge student camp. Early on in the week, I encouraged my group to write down what God was showing them each day and I would take these thoughts and put them in a song. Each night, I would recieve little slips of paper with various thoughts, verses, and phrases. Some people actually wrote rhyming lyrics and poetry. It blew me away to be reminded of how big and creative our God is. Each idea submitted was unique to that person and completely different from the others.
At first, I was overwhelmed with the task of making all of these individual parts come together in one song. In fact, it seemed impossible to do so. And that was when it hit me...that this was the point. God reminded me that He knows each of us intimately and is moving in each of our lives personally. From this thought came the idea for the chorus that is repeated over and over throughout this song..."Who You are is making me who I am." My identity is tied up in who God is in me. I am literally defined by Who He is! I am not just a number to Him. Instead I am His child...fearfully and wonderfully made for His pleasure.
Even though the individual written responses were different for all thirty-something of us, we all could identify with this truth. We are who we are...because of who He is.
A few days, after returning from camp, I wrote this song using as much of their material as possible in the verses. It is basically a list of who God is in our lives: Healer, Forgiver, Savior, Friend... All of this was ultimately tied together with the "who You are/who I am" theme.
Within a few weeks of returning from camp, I was joined onstage by my youth group to share this song with our church. It was a very cool thing!
- written on July 8th 2010
- features a killer guitar solo by the legendary Will McFarlane (http://www.willmcfarlane.com/bio.html)
- written with the help & support of the ONEWAY Student Ministry of Central Baptist Church in Henderson, NC
This song has a history for sure. It was actually one of the first couple of songs I ever wrote. In fact, there was a version of it completed back in 1999 when I recorded my first demo of original stuff. If you go back and listen to that version of the song, you would probably agree with me that something was missing. Looking back, I think the missing element was "experiencing life."
I was around 18 when I began writing this song and I wound up completing it over 10 years later. Over that period of time, so much happened. I went to college, worked student camps, got married, had kids, worked on staff at churches, and went through all kinds of joys and sorrows that come with the ups and downs of life. It was after years of just living life that I was able to really complete this song...and actually begin to understand the message within it better.
The whole idea behind "Though I Can't See" is that God is here among us moving and working in our lives even when it feels like He is light years away. We have to learn to trust that He is here and that His ways are always better than our own. We come to a point where we echo the line that says, "I'll trust Your heart...and not my eyes." It is surely a step of faith that always pays off when we put everything in His hands.
At the time of this writing I am nearing my 32nd birthday and I can say that this song is true for my life over the last decade. It is my prayer that I will live these lyrics as I continue on the journey that He has placed before me.
- Began writing this as a teenager in the late 90's...completed it over 10 years later.
- Features the vocal talent of my sister, Audra Hartley (who also sings on "Be Near Me.")
- Came close to including it on my first album, "Lead On..." but felt it still lacked something.
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