My brothers are strumming their guitars in my sister’s living room and I’m thinking of the miracle of it all, how our mother loved to sing and each of these men taught themselves to play beautiful music because of that gift and their love for words and song.

The miracle is I’m here to witness it, when I think of our collective pasts, the five of us siblings bereft of parents at an early age, fatherless as teenagers, motherless soon after.  We ultimately raised ourselves, me as the big sister and chief Bossy Person and always in charge. My mother worked, we were left alone a lot. Our father gambled, we were poor……the list goes on and on.  Alcoholism affected us all.

I thought it was all on me, this care and concern, but listening to the stories we shared last weekend as we were together, it’s clear there was a hand larger than our own keeping us all these years.

I heard a song right before I left on our trip to see my family for this wedding weekend occasion–a recording by Amy Grant and my all-time, from way-back-in-the-past favorite vocalist–James Taylor.

Just hearing his voice takes me back to my teenage years and the memories flood in of life in that landscape of wandering….God was with me through it all.

Some online friends and I have been discussing the fact that many of us grew up feeling unworthy–of having any joy, of feeling important or valued or loved. Is it okay to want my dreams? Do my needs really matter? It is an area in my life Jesus is beginning to deal with and heal little by little.

The words of this song (Don’t try So Hard–Amy Grant, with James Taylor) brought the tears streaming down my face as I stood in our kitchen, thinking about God’s great love for me, right there, right then, through the words and music.

We’re lovely even with our scars.

Don’t Try So Hard-Amy Grant, Benjamin Glover, Capitol Christian Music
Another Monday comes and I just wanna breathe
‘Cause it’s a long, long week for someone wired to please
I keep taking my aim
Pushing it higher
Wanna shine bright
Even brighter now
Wish I could tell myself
Don’t try so hard
God gives you grace and you can’t earn it
Don’t think that you’re not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
You’re lovely even with your scars
Don’t try so hardDo you remember how the summers felt when we were kids?
Ah, we didn’t think much about it, we just lived
Taking our time
Beautiful leisure
When did we start
Trying to measure up
When all this time
Love has been trying to tell usDon’t try so hard
God gives you grace and you can’t earn it
Don’t think that you’re not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
You’re lovely even with your scars
Don’t try so hardDon’t try so hardDon’t try so hard
God gives you grace
You can’t earn it
Stop thinking you’re not worth it
Because you are
He gave you His love and He’s not leaving
Gave you His Son so you’d believe it
You’re lovely even with your scars
Don’t try so hard

19 thoughts on “Songs/Life

  1. So beautiful, Jody. God is so good to us – He never stops working in our lives to redeem our past and heal our hurts and all we have to do is receive it. To God be the glory, great things He has done. xox

  2. ahh…the whisper of “don't try so hard” that is the lesson I am learning these days…which is hard for me (another big sister, who has occasionally been known to be bossy 🙂 Thanks for the uplifting testimony and song, Jody!

  3. Marlece, thanks for your kind comments. I hope to share with you–maybe in person some time. This summer? Let's do it.

  4. This is so good! I'd love to hear more of your testimony, it always amazes me when people grew up in not so great of circumstances yet you can always look back and see that He still had his hand in it all. POWERFUL message.

    Love this song!

  5. What a glorious picture of redemption in this story Jody. And the words of that song? No wonder it brought tears. Sending a big hug and lots of love and a thankful heart for the way you continually encourage me.

  6. I had to fight back the tears as I read your story, Jody. Would that every child could grow up in a loving, supportive, nurturing home! Praise God that he redeemed your childhood, and brought you into his forever family that IS loving, supportive, and nurturing. I also praise him for the graces he has given you–to see with insight, to respond with tenderness, to write with creativity and clarity. Thank you for including the words to Don't Try So Hard. They, too, ministered to my heart.

  7. Hey, Jody, whether you got it “right” or not, God bless you for being that chief Bossy Person! (aka Committed Person) What a beautiful, blessed outcome! God is with us, fully involved, so many times when we don't see it. So good… (And hearing James Taylor takes me back, too.)

  8. This just gave me chills, seeing the picture, reading your words, knowing that a hand greater than ours orchestrates our days.

    And I've heard just a short clip of this song–didn't realize Amy Grant and James Taylor had teamed up. What a pair!

  9. A sweet hug from Netherlands. You are precious in the eyes of God. He will fill our weaknesses with his love and support and teach us how to walk with Him and the people around us.


  10. Jody, I'm a big fan of James Taylor too. I'm sorry for your difficult past, but enjoyed reading how you discovered God was always there with you. My youngest son is a musician…it's such a delight to have the beautiful sounds of his music always playing in our home.
    Blessings to you,

  11. Jen, Jesus is beginning to show me my story is worth telling. I think I'm just beginning to understand it. Thanks for your encouragement.

  12. Jody, I just want to wrap you up in my arms. Because I am so grateful for you and now, knowing this piece of your story, and I just pray for open arms and that you hear “yes, you are so worthy.” So thankful for you.

  13. What a beautiful picture of God's grace in all of your lives. Thank you for sharing this moment with us.

  14. Dear Jody Lee
    It makes me so sad to hear of your hard childhood!! But I know that your Pappa God never for one moment left you alone. This world loves teaching us that we are unworthy and unlovable!
    Much love XX

  15. God's love is easier to understand when you look at it from a parent's point of view. We want our kids to grow up godly and successful, BECAUSE we love them. Not as a prerequisite to EARN our love.
    And He feels that way about us.
    I'm so very glad you got to hear the stories that revealed God's gentle fathering of you all.

  16. My brothers were/are (one is deceased) musicians, too. This is starting to get scary…

  17. This touches me, Jody. It's hard for me to imagine a little girl feeling so much responsibility. 🙁 I'm glad you were being taken care of by our Heavenly Father even when you weren't aware of it.

    I love that your family is so musical. My dad's family was that way. Most all of them played an instrument (or several) and sang. Our extended family now still loves to sing together. It's a blessing, as you know.

I'd love to hear your thoughts

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