I will never forget the night of our last live album recording. The room was electric as we gathered with our team and church community to sing our hearts out to songs that have been poured over and prayed over for months. Our latest album, “Graves Into Gardens” is a diverse and unique collection of songs and anthems that have impacted our church in ways we could not have even imagined. These songs have brought us to moments of shout-at-the-top-of-your-lungs praise and also to moments of reverent stillness, where we can just sit in awe of the presence of God. That night felt like a bunch of friends worshipping together and giving a genuine offering of praise to God, and we are so humbled that He would allow our ministry to be a home for these anthems.
While being part of a night like that with the lights and crowd and creativity is exciting, it’s the behind the scenes writing, rewriting, and journey that each song takes that keeps me in awe of the hidden beauty of the process. Each and every song on this album has found a special place in my heart. The song “Graves Into Gardens” was inspired by a sermon from our pastor, Steven Furtick. One of my favorite songs, “There Is A King,” was written on a day of mourning after our church had lost a very special man and friend. “Never Lost” was written in just a few hours while having fun with some chords on an electric guitar. One of our newest songs, “The Blessing,” was written in one day and then sung in church less than 48 hours later. I could go on and on to tell you about how each song was written, but if I’m honest it feels as though these songs were, in a way, writing me. These melodies and lyrics have gone deeper than something you just encounter with your senses. They have become memories and experiences of different encounters with God and revelations about who He is.
I had the privilege to sing the song “Available” on the album. This is one of those costly songs. It’s the kind of song you can’t just sing with your lips; you have to embrace it with your heart. I can remember the first time I sang the lyrics, ‘Here I am, You can have it all,’ in a room with our pastor and a couple other people. I whispered to myself, “Do I really mean what I’m singing?” I kept asking myself if I actually understood the cost of singing these lyrics. But these questions prompted me to take a look at my heart and do deep soul work with the Lord. You know, the kind of work where you get on your face before God, and He begins to reveal the deepest places of your soul. As I allowed the Holy Spirit to truly search my heart, I began to surrender the different motives and things that I have idolized that have kept me from truly making myself available to God. With God’s tender mercy ever so present in that moment, I began to give Him the pieces of my heart that I had learned to hold dearly, and surrender the will I had for my life for His perfect will.
What I’ve learned about surrendering to God is that it’s not just a one-time decision. Surrender is not a once and done act, but it’s a daily, sometimes moment-by-moment decision to embrace the beauty of letting go and making myself available to whatever God has for me.
1 Samuel 3:4, says “Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’” It’s as simple as that. God calls, we respond. I’ve found there’s nothing more beautiful and fulfilling than saying YES to God. There is no higher calling than being available to whatever God has for us. Psalm 27:8 says, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” I love the simplicity of saying yes to Jesus and to making ourselves available to Him. Sometimes it looks like a grand gesture of surrender, and sometimes it’s as simple as letting your heart respond to the still, small voice, “Lord, I am coming.”
My prayer for you is that through these songs, you’d be willing to go past the sensory level, and be led to a place of surrender. I’m believing that the lyrics we have prayed and poured over would interrupt your spirit and cause you to get to know the Lord in a deeper way. Much like the process the Lord has been doing in me, I hope you have the courage to allow the Holy Spirit to search and know your heart while you learn to simply say “YES.”
Elevation Worship is the worship ministry of Elevation Church, a multisite church based in Charlotte, N.C. led by Pastor Steven Furtick. Elevation Worship has produced multiple albums that include the RIAA-Certified Gold “Here As In Heaven,” RIAA Platinum Certified and American Christian radio Top 5 song “O Come to The Altar,” and the RIAA Gold Certified song “Do It Again.” The group currently has nine songs in the CCLI Top 100 list and just released their latest album, “Graves Into Gardens” on May 1, 2020. This ministry is passionate about producing songs for the local church that connect others to God. Their main priority is to create an atmosphere of worship so people can encounter Jesus in a real and personal way.