This past week my husband Jonathan and I released our first album, Heartbeat as Ashes & Heirs. (It has been almost 2 years in the making.) In all honestly, I feel a great lack of words at the moment. Our family is in the midst of great sadness, loss and thankfulness for the preservation of life. One family member almost lost their life, a cousin was shot and killed, and my grandfather will meet Jesus very soon. As Jonathan's uncle underwent emergency heart-surgery Monday night, I was hit yet again with the title of our album - Heartbeat. The heart is such a fragile thing. To think that it simply stops beating and we are suddenly lifeless. One moment is all it takes. Here one second. Gone another.
Thinking about such moments last summer is what brought the song to my heart. A friend had recently told me of some wounds, and how that in grief God showed that He was pulling the heart that had been torn open back together. Another hard circumstance hit me personally last summer, and I was reminded of just how easily we bleed. One phone call. One text. Life is never the same. We may be healed but the scars are still there. That place is where the chorus lyrics found life:
"Let it be Your love beating in my chest
Taking in Your grace with my every breath
With my arms spread wide so the world can see that
You have all of me
God Your mercy runs through my every vein
I would fall apart but I'm help by grace
Open my heart wide so the world can see that
You are my heartbeat"
God is the one who gave us our first breath of life. Through Christ He also breathes life into our souls. We were dead in our sins and now we find new life by the life-blood of Jesus Christ. He is the reason our physical and spiritual heart is beating. When things are hard. When things are good too. When loved ones are gone. When tragedy comes. When our hearts have wounds too deep for words. Even then, especially then, it is HIS love - not our own strength - that keeps our hearts beating. His power is made manifest in weakness. This is the essence of the gospel. We were dead, and now we are alive. Our brokenness is too much, our wounds too deep, our weakness too great, and on and on it goes...BUT GOD. In Him all things are held together. At salvation He holds us together and He continues to hold us for whatever is to come.
Because of this truth we can open our arms and say "SEE! Look what He has done! This is His love beating when I don't think I have any love left. This is HIS grace I'm breathing. It has nothing to do with myself. This is His mercy that sustains me. He is holding me together. Without Jesus I am nothing. See these scars? Come closer and look. I will gladly boast in how weak I am because Christ is my strength. He is my heartbeat." If He can bring me from death to life, there is nothing that He cannot do through me. There is no hurt. There is no shame. There is no weakness. There is no joy or sorrow. No mistake or triumph. No ridicule or acclaim. No, there is nothing that removes His heartbeat from my chest. Forever. This is the love of God that surpasses all understanding.
And so, my heart is heavy today, yes. But the reason I am writing these words is the reason we felt led to record and share the album in the first place. It is the vast LOVE and GRACE and MERCY of God that has taken hold of us. He is our source hope; He gives us peace. This life is temporary. Loss shows us that more than anything else. Another song, "Before Me" is about that very thing - and an anthem reminding our hearts to stay fixed on the prize in Jesus. Eternity is a mere heartbeat away. This is why we poured our heart into this project. After many years of wanting to do music, perhaps with some selfish motives, we know God has cleared that away and left us with only the desire to be His vessel. He continues to humble us, and though that is not an enjoyable process I am thankful for it. Our prayer is simply that God will use this offering as an encouragement to His people, and a light shining out saying "This is the love of Jesus" into the hearts of those who don't know Him. This is our heartbeat, for this album, and for our lives. With everything we are, we just want to tell of the gospel, of God's glory, and to give over our lives in every way possible to show that He is worthy of our worship. If you are at all interested in our music, you can find it here to download for free. And if you'd like a hard copy, just get in touch with us and we'll mail one.
God's grace and peace to you friends,
Jonathan & Jennifer
(Image of us by my friend Laura Nelson