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Blog  /  General  /  Tattered Pages

06
Jan
2009

Tattered Pages

Written by: shannon  |  Found in: General  |  1 Comment »

This is my very first journal entry on my new website!  And I am embarrassed to see that my last one was dated June 20th!  Oh my…

Well, thankfully, there is such a thing as a “new beginning” or a “fresh start” and it is my hope that I will be better at “blogging” this coming year.

It’s been quite a year – full of glimpses of God’s great faithfulness everywhere I look. Even in the painful chapters of this year, ones I wouldn’t care to re-live, I can see His touch as He carefully worked it all according to the good of this child who loves Him.

One life-changing thing that happened this year was the fact that I had the privilege of visiting a federal prison several times down in Canon City, CO with another friend of mine from Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs.  We went, along with the Chaplain there (who is also an incredible bass player at our church!), and spent time with the prisoners, many who have been set free by Jesus Christ.  They have several guys who form their worship team, and you should hear those guys rock the house for Jesus!  That room swells with so much praise, you think the walls are going to fall down.

One afternoon when we were down there, we asked one of the guys to share his story with us, as we all sat eating lunch.  He said he had no desire to ever share his story again, because every time he had it was in front of a judge who rejected him and threw him back into the system. His story represented shame, rejection, denial & bondage.  But between that visit and the next, God began to work on Hop’s heart (that’s his name).  He began to realize that his story belongs to the Lord and that maybe it was time he shared it, for whatever purpose God might have for him to do so.  And he shared his story with us that day…it goes like this.

Hop was a teenager when it all happened.  He and his brother got into a huge fight with a gang.  No one was killed, but many were badly injured. Because the gang they were fighting with was of another race, Hop was charged with a hate crime and multiple felonies, resulting in about a 60 year sentence.  (Hop is now in his mid-thirties)

Upon arriving at the Denver County Jail, he was thrown down into the “hole” for 40 days and nights.  All that was down there was a filthy toilet, a bed frame (no mattress) and behind the toilet was a dirty, torn up, tattered Bible.  Well, not having a whole lot else to do, Hop began to read it.  He read that Bible from cover to cover, who knows how many times, while he was down there.  And while he did, the Living Word came and impacted him in ways that absolutely transformed His life.  The Word came to life while he was down in the dark place.  While he was in that hole, Hop gave his life to the Lord in a dramatic way, and simply can not get enough of the Word of God ever since.  He is now fluent in Hebrew and Greek and teaches the Word of God to the inmates every week.

Needless to say, my friend Cindy and I were in tears.  The power of one person’s story should not be diminished.  Sometimes the most painful parts of that story are the parts that God can most use to heal another life.  We experienced the power of “story” that day.

A few of us, including our Pastor (Matt Heard), planned to head down to do a special Christmas program for the inmates in December.  The theme was going to be “the gift of words.”  Cindy mentioned that it might be neat if I wrote a song for the guys.  So, I tucked that idea in my pocket and planned to try to do so later.  In November, it came time to think about it again and try to write a song.  As I began to pray and process, that picture of Hop in the bottom of that “hole” came to me. And in an instant the words “tattered pages” came across my mind’s eye.  I emailed what I was thinking to Cindy and she said…”girl, that is SO the title of the song!”  I said, “ya think?”  And so, I began to write. And like all “creations” that the Holy Spirit gives, the song was finished that evening and I truly felt so aware that He had deposited it into my heart and I was simply His vessel pouring out the words and music on paper.

Well, to try to abbreviate the rest of this story…we ended up singing this song at the prison on December 16th and it was such a special time with the inmates.  And it was so special to see Hop’s story come to life now in a song.  It was fun to bring a bunch of food and decorations in and throw them a big Christmas party!  The big “hit” of the party were the creme puffs bought from Sam’s Club!

Well, it didn’t end there.  My church decided that perhaps we should use the song “Tattered Pages” for our Christmas Eve services!  I was so excited.  Then, Cindy had the idea that we should record the song and give it away to everyone that comes that day/night.  And so I did!

The reason I’m sharing this story isn’t at ALL to say…”isn’t that cool how they used my song?”  Oh, no…not at all.  It is cool and as a songwriter, it is so neat to see a song get wings.  But, what is amazing to me is the power of our story.  Hop is a prisoner.  (not on the inside, but in the natural) For all intents and purposes, he feels like his story is worthless.  Or he DID feel that say.  But because he was willing to say, “hey, my story belongs to God,” a heart was touched, then a song was birthed.  And because a song was birthed, we were able to sing it at the prison for many hearts.  And then, as a result, his story got recorded through song to be given to the thousands of people who walked through that door to attend Christmas Eve services.  Those people took his story home with him.  They are sharing his story with other people who need to hear the story.

 

And you, my friend, you have a story.  I have a story.  Some of it is stuff we’d rather not anyone know about.  Some of it is painful.  And, of course, there is a time and place for all things.  But, please, don’t diminish your story and stuff it down thinking only the pretty, shiny parts of you are what God can use.  I find as we look through the Scripture that God tends to used tarnished, tattered stories quite often, don’t you?  God is the author and finisher of our faith.  He is the Potter. He is the Great Composer.  And somehow, in His amazing grace, He has a way of weaving our stories together in a tapestry and impacting one another.  It’s like a domino effect.  I find it incredible and I stand amazed at how our Awesome God works.

 

So, if you find yourself looking at the “tattered pages” of your life wondering how on earth God could ever use this or that chapter.  Oh, our God is full of all kinds of surprises and miracles.  Nothing is wasted in His book.  No one is without purpose.  Give Him your story.  Trust Him with it.  For He is good…and there is a world in need of hearing the miracle He has written upon the pages of your life.

 

I just finished reading the book “The Shack.”  it impacted me greatly and I’m still processing. But one quote toward the end stood out to me with regard to the significance of our lives.  It is as follows:

(The Holy Spirit is speaking to Mack, the main character, about whether or not his story is significant) “Mack, if anything matters then everything matters.  Because you are important, everything you do is important.  Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes: with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again…”

Download the song “Tattered Pages” for free here.

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