I’m ashamed to say that, sometimes, I forget all that God has done.
Not that I ever truly forget, really. I am always aware of it. I see it in His continued provision for my little family, here in this little home that we have come to love–a true shelter in every sense of that word.
I hear what He has done, when I see my crew sitting around the living room, enjoying being together, and laughing joyfully and loving deeply.
I sense what He has done, when I approach Him in prayer each morning, and remember a time when I was suffocated by the crushing hopelessness that weighed dark and heavy upon my mind and soul.
So it’s not that I forget, per se, but rather it is this, maybe: When I take a rare moment to fully recall all that He has done in our lives, it is nearly so overwhelming that I can not dwell on it for very long. The very weight of His love and mercy and grace, both at once sends my soul soaring and nearly causes me to come undone.
I can not think on it too long.
This morning was one of those times, when the very presence of God and the intense reality of what He has done for me and my crew, was so immense that, truly, I could hardly withstand it.
I had the privilege and honor of getting to sing with my youngest girl this morning, at our church. Any time that I’m able to do this, is a gift and responsibility that I do not take lightly. It’s a gift, because were I to tell you how much God has changed the soul and mind of my girl in the past 3 years, it would take far more space than what an average blog post should be. Suffice it to say, she is different. Where there was confusion and pain, there is now clarity of mind and a joyful soul. Where there was sin and brokenness, there is the realization of freedom and a sense of peace. (And, so you know, I share this with her permission and knowledge that I am writing this.)
So, it is a gift–one that I was uncertain I would ever be able to witness, let alone be a part of: that of worshiping alongside by girl, in song.
And, it is a responsibility to be able to share gospel enriched words with people in need of hope and a reminder of what God has done and is doing.
This morning, we sang “Mercy Tree”, a song with lyrics written by Krissy Nordhoff and Michael Neale. And, as we sang, I was profoundly reminded that the reason I was standing there singing with my girl, is because of the very meaning behind the words of this song.
In the purest, most pared down explanation, it is this: salvation.
I don’t think about salvation as often as I should–probably because I don’t understand it as deeply as I would like to. I wish I were able to figure out how it “works”. There is just enough “God-ordained” mystery to it, that–try as I might (and believe me, I have tried), I can not wrap my mind around how the God of all creation would love me so much as to send His son to die for me, and how in the death of resurrection of Jesus, my horrific sins are paid for, thus bringing me into His family as an adopted daughter. And how His resurrection points to the truth that this is not my home; someday, I will be truly home at the feet of the one who loves me with perfect love, where there will be no more tears and no more sorrow. No more pain.
There will be a day.
Today, as I sang with my girl, the words of this beautiful song (included below), I remembered once again the tremendous beauty and gift of salvation, and that this salvation was bought upon The Mercy Tree……the very Cross upon which our Savior died.
And, oh my soul, how I love that the writers refer to the mercy tree as “endless.”
His mercy is endless. There is much hope in that.
I did a little bit of research into the song, and landed at the Brentwood/Brenson blog, where they write about the background of songs. I read this and found it too beautiful to miss sharing with you, dear reader:
Writer Krissy Nordhoff describes this tree that she envisioned in the dream, “It was very large and spanned as far as you could see. Underneath the tree there was safety. It was almost like the cross…with the roots of that tree reached back to Calvary.”
She explains the significance and relevance this tree has in each of our lives, “I felt like if everyone could understand what it meant to be under that covering, everyone would be saved. There’s safety, there’s healing, there’s freedom, there’s all the things we need under this big, beautiful tree.” From this idea, a song started to take shape.
Nordhoff went on to write a complete song based on this dream. However, she still felt like something was missing, so she brought it to longtime writing partner, Michael Neale. Neale revealed to Nordhoff that the tree in the dream was the cross.
From this revelation, Nordhoff and Neale worked together over email, cutting, pasting, rewriting, and adding a new chorus. The final result was a touching story that shares the hope in knowing there’s always a place that we can find life and rest — under the mercy tree.
That’s it, exactly.
Safety. Healing. Freedom.
Because, not only do I see this in my girl’s life, I know this truth in my own life, too. He has taken my cynical, angry, hurting, grieving, hard-hearted soul, and, on The Mercy Tree, has saved me.
Death has died.
Love has won.
On a hill called Calvary
Stands an endless mercy tree
Every broken weary soul
Find your rest and be made whole
Stripes of blood that stain its frame
Shed to wash away our shame
From the scars pure love released
Salvation by the mercy tree
In the sky between two thieves
Hung the blameless Prince of Peace
Beaten, battered, scarred, and scorned
Sacred head pierced by our thorns
It is finished was his cry
The perfect lamb was crucified
His sacrifice, our victory
Our Savior chose the mercy tree
Hope went dark that violent day
The whole earth quaked at love’s display
Three days silent in the ground
This body born for heaven’s crown
On that bright and glorious day
When heaven opened up the grave
He’s alive and risen indeed!
Praise him for the mercy tree!
Death has died, love has won
Jesus Christ has overcome
He has risen from the dead
One day soon, we’ll see his face
And every tear, he’ll wipe away
No more pain or suffering
Praise him for the mercy tree
On a hill called Calvary
Stands an endless mercy tree