The Writing Of
Rachel: Last year, a couple of months before my mom’s birthday, I knew I wanted to give her a song. While the idea swirled nebulous, I hoped for a theme to surface, something to declare over her coming year…over the coming year. The year’s end and the next one’s beginning are only two weeks from her birthday.
I prayed that the words would raise a banner of hope. And each time I came back to rewrite lyrics, the more evident Hope became. Hope framing past brokenness, knowing the Lord does indeed work all things together for good. It became evident too that the song was for both my mom and dad. It was an anthem for what my mom calls Book II, her title for the Lord’s new thing He’s birthing in their lives.
Book I, the part where Hope strained toward a better country, was filled with the gritty repercussions from ruts of cyclical sin and dysfunction. When my parents got married, compounded hurt made even the wedding day itself hard. But Christ’s joy overcame. Early on, battles with cancer came against my parents’ Hope. My mama had breast cancer right after having my brother and received treatment while my dad was stationed out of town during Desert Storm for a couple of months. Four years later doctors warned her not to have me, at the risk of great complications or death. But she knew her Anchor, and so she had hope.
He kept overcoming even when too many surgeries cut and untreated soul wounds from the past kept worsening, beating heavy strain on the covenant my parents had made. Christ persisted with them even when they received little encouragement from others speaking into their marriage. When the year of Jubilee wasn’t even a prospect and Hope looked captive to despair, the Lord championed them and they kept running.
So in 2014, seven years from an especially heavy year (and a little over seven times seven years of birthdays for my mom), the theme “Liberty” surfaced. In 2013 my dad named his real estate company “Liberty Homes,” the company’s mission stating “freedom begins at home.”
When those lessons coalesced, I remembered a picture my brother and dad had sent back from Philadelphia. The Liberty Bell hung behind them, smaller than your memory reminds you, but still as famously cracked. That pronounced crack actually came from the repairs made to a less noticeable fissure winding through the metal. The thought rung inside me: no matter how small the hope and how many breaks threaten to weaken it, those same cracks yield it all the more enduring, all the more precious. Its breaking making its impact resound longer and louder in your memory than its actual sound ever could have. And on that bell? Leviticus 25:10 is inscribed:
“And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.”
Freedom for the captives. Healing mercies given. Hope rebirthed in returning. All this joy, this Jubilee, beginning at home through the cracks of a world that beats us hard like a long used bell. And because Christ has overcome that world, overcome our individual worlds bearing fissures from sin and despair, we let Liberty ring like loud, clear praise to everyone who hears. May it break all of our bells.
The Making Of
Rachel wanted to be sure and have a recording of this song before Christmas last year, so we did a simple version that involved one microphone, a closet in the Smith’s house 1, a fender-bender that ended the service of Rachel’s former car2 named Arthur, Chik-fil-A3 to recover from said fender-bender, and a time delay to finish a wonderfully cheesy Christmas movie starring Harry Connick Jr. and Willie Nelson4. It was a gorgeous, life-giving gift of a song, so it was hard to go wrong. However, there were several artistic elements that we didn’t have time to incorporate, so the opportunity to give it another crack was a lot of fun!
If you’re the type who notices such things, you might hear a group singing along to a few of the tracks on “Headed for My Home.” These amazing friends and family were singing in one of the most beautiful acoustic spaces we’ve ever heard—a historic chapel5 in our hometown. For “Time To Move On”, we got to camp out in this same sanctuary for a few days and capture songs in all of its natural essence and reverb. It was a unique transitional time from one chapter to another for the chapel itself, and in the Lord’s providence, we were essentially able to have it to ourselves during the recording. Liberty’s reference to bells ringing and the old church bells hanging in the steeple were a timely match. On the last night, in a poignant moment after all else was recorded, we rang the bells as the last exclamation mark of the project, and the close of an era for the building. On the record, you’ll hear Meleah and Jency ringing them proudly at the end of this song6.
1. ‘Cause that’s how real rock n’ roll hits happen, kids. – Rachel
2. In aforementioned wreck scenario…Zach was gratefully going the same direction since we had all just come from church. He was able to pull over and help scope out the situation which was a much needed grace. Kristian was actually passing the other direction and thought the bent-up Volvo in the line-up and the intact Jeep on the side of the road looked familiar. He was right. – Rachel
3. After realizing that I wasn’t with Jesus yet and that the people in front of and behind my car weren’t injured either, I remember breathing a shaky praise and a shaky thanks that the promise of a chicken sandwich still stood. Chik-Fil-A is like a beacon of hope anyway. Then you add five crunched cars. And boom. It’s the Promised Land. – Rachel
4. Angels Sing, everything a heartwarming family Christmas movie should be. – Meleah
5. This chapel we recorded “Time To Move On” in is not the same one pictured here or in the music video. There are several lovely sanctuaries nestled in these hills. – Meleah