Tag Archives: true love

The Work of His Hands

Potter and Clay verse

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To the Broken and Shamed

Come to the waters
You who thirst and you’ll thirst no more
Come to the Father
You who work and you’ll work no more
And all you who labor in vain
And to the broken and shamed

Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands, from His brow
Love is near, it satisfies

Streams of mercy flowing from His side
‘Cause Love is here

Come to the treasure
You who search and you’ll search no more
Come to the lover
You who want and you’ll want no more, no
And all you who labor in vain
And to the broken and shamed, yeah

Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands, from His brow
Love is near it satisfies
Streams of mercy flowing from His side, yeah

And to the bruised and fallen
Captives bound and brokenhearted
He is the Lord, He is the Lord, yeah
By His stripes He’s paid our ransom
From His wounds we drink salvation
He is the Lord, He is the Lord

Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands, from His brow
Love is near it satisfies
Streams of mercy flowing from His side
Streams of mercy flowing from His side
‘Cause Love is here
Love is here

Behind the Song: What Love Really Means

love[Reposted from “NewReleaseTuesday, by Kevin Davis”]

The first thing you notice about JJ Heller is a wide grin that stretches across her face and welcomes you in as a friend, whether you’ve known her for years or are shaking her hand for the very first time. These days especially, the twenty-nine year old west coast native has a lot to be happy about.
“We’re definitely two halves of a whole,” she explains. “I write the bulk of the lyrics and Dave is the editor and arranger, making the songs more effective. He also does everything on the business side, which is great because it frees me up to be creative.”

In writing material for the new release, JJ poured her every day observations into her songbook: stories she heard while traveling, and those nearer to her heart.

“This album is all about redemption,” observes JJ. “Looking back on the songs, there’s a lot of struggle written into them because that’s life. Everyone has different problems to face, but in the end, the outcome hinges on how you deal with those struggles– if you allow them to destroy you or make you stronger.”

A song that will stop you in your tracks is the first single “What Love Really Means.” I have been married for 16 years and have 3 young daughters and everyone can really relate to the sincerity and sensitivity of this amazing song. The song addresses the broken cry of all of us, especially women who struggle with finding their true identity in Christ. All believers know that Christ is the only answer to the question in the extremely moving chorus “Who will love me for me?, Not for what I have done or what I will become, Who will love me for me?, ‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means.”

Perhaps it’s her insight and sensitivity that consistently draw a female audience to JJ’s music. She touches on issues of self-image and worry, questions of faith, and feelings of loneliness; her songs resonate with women and offer encouragement.

“For some reason, Christians, including myself, think that if they are following the Lord and doing the best they can, that life will be easy, and it’s not. That’s where grace comes in, and that’s where we grow. We have the choice to live in fear, or to live in the hope that God is in every moment with us. That’s one of the major themes of this season in my life.”

I got the opportunity to interview JJ and her husband David Heller about “What Love Really Means,” the current single from her brand new album When I’m With You. This is what they shared with me.

Please share the background that led you to write the song “What Love Really Means.”

This song is unique in the sense that I had no idea what I was going to write about when I started writing this song. The first line came out of my mouth “He cries in the corner where nobody sees” and I was disappointed because it sounded like another sad song and I didn’t want to write another sad song. Then the rest of the song flowed out onto the page. The song took about 30-45 minutes to write. Normally it takes me days or weeks to write a song but this was completely different. I think God was moving through the song. It didn’t have much to do with me. I don’t really know where the song came from, it kind of wrote itself. It’s been really amazing to see how God has used the song over the years. I wrote the song 5 years ago and originally called it “Love Me.” This song more than any other song has really connected with our listeners. God has used it in ways we didn’t know were possible. We heard someone with an eating disorder used it as her theme song. We’ve heard people in prison ministries and halfway houses have used the song. At the same time, we sing the song at every performance we’ve ever done in the last 5 years.

Please tell me about the Bible verses you used in writing the song?

Psalm 139:17-18How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.

How can listeners apply that message when they listen to the song?

The Lord knit us together when we were still in the womb. God loves us despite what we do. Even when we sin against Him, He loves us because He made us. We as performers don’t have the time to hear every story of our listeners. We know we would hear stories of great joy and stories of great pain. In spite of that, God is present and expressing His love to us through our joy and our pain. That’s why we think the song connects to people, because it speaks to everyone. I am a perfectionist and I want to be the best at everything. I am disappointed in myself when I fail. Everybody has a little bit of that in themselves. We want to be faithful. We feel like failures. None of that matters to God. He loves us the way that we are. We are loved because we are God’s children. It helps me to rest and stop striving. It helps me be okay with who God wants me to be and that my identity is in Him.

Here are the lyrics:

He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t You please
Could You send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would’ve stayed
And she says…

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said “I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I…”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew

A Heart that is Loved

Her sisters were always described with words like smart, talented, talkative, beautiful. She remembered very different descriptive words used on hers … sticks and stones kind of words.

She often looked in the mirror and tried to picture how she would look without the glasses. Was she pretty behind the gaudy frames and thick lenses? Would anyone care?

Make-up soon became her good friend. For years no one would see her until she had first applied foundation and then layered the perfect blend of colors on top of it. The thick specs had given way to contacts and she felt almost normal … but only with the mask.

Then she met him. He told her that she was beautiful.

Still she kept the makeup on and he never saw her without it. But one day he did, and she felt worse than naked. But he still said she was beautiful.

One day, he saw her in glasses. He said they were cute. It took a while for her to believe it … but finally she did.

Finally she realized that love isn’t blind. It sees more than meets the eye. It sees beyond to the heart. And a heart that is loved creates a life that is beautiful.

The Mirror of the Mind

scalesSome of us are very good at math, good with numbers. Too good, I think. We use a mental set of measurements and scales for everything. In every social setting, in every personal project, in every conversation or meeting, we pull out our measuring tools.

And we always come up short.

Not good enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. Not conversant enough. Not efficient enough. Throughout the day, we keep measuring, weighing, and at the end of the day, we add it all up. Our sum total.

And it’s never enough.

We fall far short of everything we want to do and be. When all the while, we’re using the wrong set of scales. Someone has slipped in and messed with our mental measuring tools, so that everything we try to weigh up always turns out wrong. We look around and see what society considers beautiful, or successful, or happy. When we adopt those false standards, it’s no wonder that at the end of the day, we’re no closer in our pursuit of happiness than we were the day before. Or the day before that.

There is another scale though. It’s unit of measurement I think we rarely use. Perhaps we’re afraid to use it. Maybe because, like the average woman standing on a weighing scale, we’ve got to strip down to step on the scale.

And that’s scary.

When we take off the coverings, we feel exposed. Vulnerable. And all we see are the blemishes, the parts of ourselves and our nature that we don’t like. But the way the scale reads is this:

You on one side, with everything you don’t like about yourself — faults and fears, mistakes and mess-ups — magnified in the mirror of your mind.

Jesus on the other side, with everything perfect and good — forgiveness and friendship, grace and guidance, light and love — which he offers freely to everyone.

It balances perfectly. Because you are more than what you see and know and feel and fear. You are loved. You are forgiven. You are beautiful.

Lose your set of measurements.

And take on His.

In The Eye of the Beholder

MakeupOn Sunday I posted the video of the song “Beautiful” by MercyMe, along with the story of when I first heard the song. But I felt just that wasn’t enough. Because there was more to the story than hearing a song one day and crying because of the words.

Tears are a little bit of mystery, and when we notice them — in ourselves or others — we should take notice, because they’re telling a secret about something deep in our heart. Maybe so deep we don’t even realize it’s there.

So here’s a little bit of that heart … and why the song that stated, “You’re Beautiful” meant so much to me.

What is “beautiful”? Synonyms are: lovely, attractive, good-looking, gorgeous, stunning, striking, fine-looking, and handsome. Who wouldn’t want to be called beautiful? To have all those synonyms used to describe them?

I know I always wanted to hear someone tell that to me. But when I was growing up, it never happened — except by relatives, and IMHO that didn’t count. I think that only once throughout my childhood and teenage years was I called beautiful by someone who wasn’t a direct relation. It was from my sister’s boyfriend, who told me, “You know, you really could be beautiful if you stood up straight.” Okay, so he wasn’t calling me beautiful, but it was close enough for me. Since it occurred so seldom (a.k.a never), I’d take what I could get.

I always felt awkward among Spanish-speaking people. When I told them my name, they would usually smile and ask, “You know what that means?” I’d often say something like, “Yeah, maybe I was cute when I was born or something.”

A conversation between me and a couple acquaintances when I was 12 pretty much summed up the whole “beautiful” situation for me. I had a friend named Angel and she was what many would consider beautiful: wavy, strawberry-blonde hair, light green eyes, winning smile. A few of us were together one afternoon and I got everyone something to eat or drink (can’t even remember). “You’re an angel,” one of them said to me.

Someone else said, “You and Angel should switch names, because you’re so sweet and she’s …” he stopped mid-sentence. There was an awkward silence. No one finished the sentence for him, but I think we all understood the intent. She was the beautiful one. I was “sweet” but definitely not pretty. At that time, I really wished my parents had given me a different name.

When I was 17 and had started to figure out the whole makeup thing, I met up with a friend of my family, whom I had known since I was ten. He took one look at me and said, “Not bad.” He held up his hands as imaginary scales; one hand was way lower than the other. “Still nowhere near your sisters, but getting there.” I smiled, and swallowed hard, pretending not to care, but his comment hurt.

I came to the obvious conclusion that I wasn’t beautiful, and I never would be. Oh, of course I had heard those quotes like, “Beauty is only skin deep” and “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Well, if no “beholder” around “beheld” me as beautiful, that didn’t really help much, did it?

And in regards to beauty being only skin deep, that’s inaccurate as well, but it took me a long time to figure out what true beauty is, and why it matters more than the “skin deep” form.

Years passed. I met someone who loved me and thought I was beautiful. We got married and more years passed. It took many of those years for me to finally feel comfortable in my own skin. Somehow becoming a mother and realizing a part of me is in my amazing children helped me understand a little more about my own worth.

But at the same time, there was a little girl inside who felt unlovely. Not good enough. The little girl who defined herself with labels like “four-eyes” and “chicken legs” and “flat chest,” but never “beautiful.” The little girl who still tears up at writing these words. I think that was the little girl who began to cry when hearing the song, the words that claimed,
“You’re Beautiful.”

I think there’s something of that person hidden away in all of us. Hoping for recognition. A sense of worth. To know that we are loved. To know that someone thinks we’re beautiful.

You are.

You’re Beautiful.

You’re treasured. You’re sacred. Your heart is known, understood, and cherished.

You were made for so much more than what you see and know and understand right now.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in God’s eyes, you are beautiful. And so am I.

And the end of the story? I’ve become reconciled to my name, and finally realized it wasn’t a misnomer. No, not because I’m beautiful, but because, like a dear friend recently told me, I’m God’s Beautiful Jewel.

And so are you.