I became a songwriter about ten years ago. I had written a few songs in the decade before that, but they were few and far between, and for the most part, I wasn't very impressed with them. Then around 2001-2002 I began to be bombarded with tunes and words as I went through my days. This went on for several months before I actually began to write them down and sing them. It was around this same time that I became our worship leader at Christian Life Center, in my hometown, Kellogg, Idaho. What a wonderful perk to have a built-in band and a built-in audience where I could try out new material weekly.
For me, songwriting is primarily a mystical, supernatural, God-inspired experience. The majority of my songs have shown up in my head with tune and words, not necessarily fully formed, but often with a full chorus that arrives and stays with me. Once I get a chance to sit down at the piano--to write out the words and play the part of the song I can already hear so clearly--the best songs usually come together pretty easily. I am absolutely convinced that God Himself ordains most of those compositions, and for reasons I can't begin to comprehend or explain, He allows me to be the channel of that music.
Until recently, my songwriting experiences always began with melody. Sometimes the words and the melody showed up simultaneously, but never, ever had the words come first. And then, about a year ago, one Sunday morning during our prayer time before service, a member of my church, Jon Parrott, began to encourage us and to pray about our service that morning. As he spoke, he reminded us that God is "walk-on-water good." I was captured by his phrasing, by its truth and its poetry. It struck me like an epithet from the ancient poet Homer, who described "swift-footed Achilles" and "Hera of the white arms." I am absolutely convinced that Jon's words that morning were as God-inspired as any song I have ever written.
Over the next several months, we quoted Jon's phrase on occasion, and I continued to marvel at how inspiring I found these words. (I absolutely believe in a good God, an unfailingly good God.) And then, during Thanksgiving week, that phrase, along with a melody, began to repeatedly go through my head. It was amazingly (at times almost annoyingly) persistent. Slowly, the song began to grow, to form in my head, and I had an experience with it that I have only had a few other times. As the phrase became a song, it sounded so familiar to me, that I was nearly convinced I wasn't writing it at all, but merely remembering it. On top of that, this song, especially the way it sounds in my head, has a country music feel to it. Ladies and gentlemen, I am not a writer of country music, but I'll tell you what. I am convinced that, at least in this instance, God is a country music fan!