Monday, May 29, 2006


It worried me when that hen wouldn't let the little guy in.

The chirping drew me down to the hen house last Monday night. The sound drifted through the hen house walls, up over the lawn, and through my open window. I've heard it plenty over the years--a sound that is part confusion, part fear. Usually it means that a newborn chick has jumped her nest. And normally, by the time I can slip on my shoes and run to the rescue, the mama hen has already gone after her baby. Instinct drives her from her nest, even if it still contains just-hatched chicks. She'll leave the rest to save the one.

And that's what happened this time. The barely-here chicks still in the nest hadn't had time yet to understand they were abandoned. They were still looking at each other and all the sudden extra space in their box when I opened the door and stepped inside. I knew they'd stay like that, alone and shivering, if I didn't orchestrate a reunion.

Being as new-to-life as they were, they didn't yet know to question my featherless hand. Picking up each little cotton ball, I said hello and set them down next to their mother. One by one, the babes burrowed under her feathered side. But then I set the last little guy down. He chirped once and then poked his minute little beak beneath one feather. I assume he found a wall of steel beneath that feather, because he backed up and gave the white wall a quizzical look. He tried again, retreated, tried again, and sat down. I scooped him up and set him a little closer to the back. Apparently, the back side was standing room only, because he couldn't get in there, either. At this, he started chirping insistently. His mother ignored the sound, but it caused me to scoop him up again and set him down closer to the front. He tried to burrow there, found just enough space under her wing that his shivering little back was covered, and stopped trying. I worried at the sight of those two toothpick legs sticking out below, but I trusted that he'd eventually find his way to warmer parts.

Tuesday morning, I thought of that chick when I woke, and told myself that as soon as I got dressed, I'd check on him. But then I forgot. It wasn't until sometime after lunch when I felt a very strong urge to get myself down to the hen house. This time, I heeded the nudge.

As I approached the coop, I could see the mama hen out in the yard with little moving bits of fluff around her. She'd already taken her brood out for a meet-and-greet with the other hens. I watched from over the fence and counted babies. When two tries still yielded only five chicks, I knew my little guy was in trouble.

I went into the hen house and checked where I'd last seen him. He wasn't there. I looked in every corner of the house and behind the feed can, but he wasn't there. And then, bending over and leaning out the half door that leads to the yard, I found him. He was lying prone against the dirt, with his legs splayed out behind him and his head turned to one side. Don't be gone, I thought, my heart pounding. I leaned down a bit further and blew as hard as I could. That little breath against his back caused him to open his beach just the tiniest bit. At that, I hit the ground, reached down, and snatched him up.

He was barely there. I cupped my hands and blew a slow stream of warm air inside. He didn't move. I blew again, and again, until finally I felt him stir. All the way to the house, I kept blowing. Once inside, I sat us both in front of a space heater and let its warmth drive the death chill from his little body.

I held him for two hours. His return to life was a slow process. At first, all he could muster was the slow opening and closing of his little beak. After awhile, he turned his head just slightly. Then, I saw one wing tremble. Awhile later, he opened an eye ... kicked his foot ... rolled over. When he started chirping, I started breathing again. He'd live.

We made him a little nest and set a heat lamp over top. Tera wanted him in her room, so we obliged, but he kept her up most of the night with his chirping. The next day, when I reached in to scoop him up, he hopped into my hand as though he'd missed it. I held him and stared at him and thought about his rescue. I'd had to lower myself and lie in the dirt to snatch him up. And even knowing that he'd spend his little life pooping and pecking the other chickens and probably pecking me occasionally, I wanted him to live. It made me appreciate God all over again. He knew all about lowering Himself to the dirt and scooping up we dying critters, and even though He could look ahead and see that we'd each spend our lives making a lot of messes and hurting each other--and hurting Him, too--He wanted us to live.

For three days, my chick stayed inside. He'd drink water if I offered it to him on a spoon, but we never saw him drink from the container in his nest. If I rubbed a bit of chick starter (tiny crumbles of chicken feed) on his beak, he'd try to shake off the particles. If one or two specks slipped in, he'd swallow them, but we never saw him peck. I'd wait with him for a half hour at a time, trying to get him to eat something, but he simply wouldn't--or couldn't. It crossed my mind that he'd never witnessed pecking before. Maybe some things have to be learned.

It was that concern that finally made me take him back to the chicken coop. I didn't want to, but I knew he'd die if he didn't start eating like a chicken. In my wanderings down to the coop, I could see how much stronger and more mobile his siblings were. They pecked at everything. If he could just get back in the brood, he'd learn. I knew he'd learn.

I think he was scared when I set him down on the ramp and nudged him in the direction of his mother and siblings, who were pecking at the ground below. He didn't move for several minutes, but he did start chirping. His mother looked up at him once. I prayed she'd recognize that sound, but I've found that mother hens can be a bit capricious with their affection.

He took a step and slid a few inches down the ramp; took another step and slipped off the side. It wasn't a far drop. I held my breath again as he took three tottering steps in the right direction. Mama hen watched his approach. If she didn't take kindly to his return, I'd dive through that half door and reclaim my baby.

But she did. It took him about five minutes to cross four feet and find a good burrowing spot, but I took comfort from watching that massive white wing lift slightly and envelope my little guy. And even when the others wandered under her and away from her, over and over, she stayed put and didn't abandon my chick. All he wanted was the warmth of her body, and she didn't let me down.

But he died. I found him the next morning, lying under the hen house. And this time, no amount of blowing or pleading made a difference. He stayed in that spot, unmoving.
I don't know what happened. Maybe all those days of not eating had stolen his strength. Maybe he couldn't keep up with the others. Maybe he didn't have the energy to burrow to safety when night came.

Spring, for me, is a bittersweet time. Spring brings life ... but it also brings death. Lambs die. Ducklings die. Chicks die. And no matter how insignificant those lives may seem to anyone else, they matter to me.

I have no deep insights today. Today, I'm simply sad.



Monday, May 22, 2006


I read some untruths about myself the other day. A disgruntled leaver (part of a duo) had sent a back-handed last word to my husband and me via my mailman. When the letter came, many months back, Dave kept it from me. "It will just make you mad," he said.

For a long time, though I thought of the letter on occasion, I resisted even asking. I didn't want to be mad. I wanted this chapter of my life to end. I've come to believe that some good byes turn a page with decisive finality, and sometimes, though you might wish it to be different, the ones who leave just aren't part of your story anymore. So for a long time, I didn't ask.

But then I did. I had a sense that all the loose ends had finally been tied, and that all that was left--before I could really put this hurtful scene away for good--was to know the contents of that letter.

When I asked, Dave repeated his warning. "If you feel you need to, go ahead and read it. But I still think it will make you mad."

It made me mad. It made me furious, actually, because the accusations were both harsh and untrue. Things I did say were ignored; things I didn't say were invented. I was made out to be more than what I am; my husband was made out to be less. Motives were twisted. Words were rearranged and taken out of context. Silly comparisons were made between our actions and theirs. Within about five minutes, all the joy I usually carry around with me had drained right out my toes and been replaced with bile.

I fumed all that day, and all the next. And though I stopped thinking about the lies during church (which was wonderful, by the way ... from worship, to Dave's message, to the fellowship afterwards), as soon as I got in my car and pulled out of the parking lot, the whispers started in again. "Who else did they tell this to? Who is out there believing I'd say such a stupid thing? Who has been turned against me because of these lies?"

I came home and meditated on those thoughts while I made lunch for Dave and the kids, and again while I changed into my gardening clothes, and again while I yanked weeds from the spot where green beans are supposed to be growing. I thought about them as I tackled a nettle patch, and dug the earth to brown again, and tossed bucket upon bucket of weeds into the chicken yard.

I pushed myself hard. Bitterness, it turns out, can be invigorating. All that pounding, stabbing, ripping and throwing made me feel a whole lot better on the outside, but inside, a battle raged.

About two hours into my therapy, a gray curtain settled over my garden and fat drops of rain began to kick up the dirt. I ignored the wetness for about five minutes, but when it became clear that it wasn't going to let up any time soon, I took my trough and my cushion into the greenhouse and took to ripping out the weeds among my tomatoes and artichokes.

God drove me to the greenhouse, and then His voice found a way past the pounding rain and my thrashing thoughts. I know the truth, my heart heard.

I know about the audience of One, and I allowed myself the tiniest measure of comfort from remembering that God does know the truth, and that my conscience is clean before Him. But to be slandered ... to have words put in my mouth that I'd never say ... to be completely misrepresented ... I just couldn't let it go.

Within seconds of hearing that quiet reminder, a hankering arrived from out of nowhere and convinced me stop digging and just enjoy the sound of rain. Dropping my trough, I moved to the center of the greenhouse, where one strip of dirt has yet to receive any seeds, and stretched out on my back. With my cushion serving as a pillow, I spent several minutes watching droplets of rain splat against the plastic ceiling above and form themselves into rushing rivulets that tracked off both sides of the roof. There's no other sound that calms me the way pounding rain does. It worked ... but only for a short while. Soon, my tortuous thoughts began to sneak back in.

But God intervened again. Just as the nastiness began to form anew, just as my heart began to quicken and a frown began to settle, He spoke again.

You have such a short time on earth. Is this really what you want to spend your time thinking about?

It wasn't. It isn't. So I asked Him to clear those thoughts from my mind, and He did. In their place, I spent twenty minutes thinking lovely thoughts about the One who tends my life, and surveys all my corners, and knows the gentlest ways to pull the weeds that need to go.

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. --Phil 4:8-9 (TLB)

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

this weekend--part three

As if the morning service and afternoon potluck weren't quite enough to fill a day, we decided to go with Rick and Gina down to Calvary Fellowship for "Father's House," their Sunday night worship service with Brett Williams. Dave and I went a few times a few years ago, but Rick and Gina had never been. We were all eager for a night of great music and the kind of worship that rights your boat and fills your sails.

We arrived early, plopped our stuff down in on chairs in the second row, and went back out to the lobby to grab some coffee. As I was filling a cup for Dave and one for me, a friendly voice said, "How about some cake to go with that?" The voice belonged to a man named Dixon, who not only offered the cake but dished up two pieces for us. I thanked him and took my bounty back to the table, but within just a few minutes, he had reappeared again--this time with two still-wrapped CDs. "I pick these up whenever I find a good deal," he said. "I'd like to bless you with them."

We asked Dixon to join us, and he did. What a gentle man. He talked a bit about his life, and the motorcycle accident that almost ended his life on his 21st birthday, and the five children he supports through Compassion. I loved his heart for those kids--who, it was clear, he thought of as his own--and I loved discovering anew how God can knit strangers together with just a breath of His Spirit. It felt like we'd known Dixon a long time. I wish we had.

It was hard to leave when the time came, but we got Dixon's address and phone number. We're going to see if we can round up a computer for him so he can keep in better touch with his Compassion kids.

We went to our seats in the second row and waited for Brett. But Brett didn't come. Instead, a twenty-something guy opened. Brett's band was all there, but this boy was leading. I started to worry.

He led the next song, too. I noticed that Brett's guitar wasn't in its usual spot, next to the unmanned microphone just in front of us. I had seen Brett walking through a side door while we shared coffee and cake with Dixon, so I knew he was there, but for some reason he was keeping himself under wraps.

Now, don't misunderstand. I'm not a Brett Williams groupie (although I'm quite sure he has a few). It's just that Brett is the kind of worship leader who forgets the rest of you are out there. It's really just him and the Lord, and that sort of scene can't help but move you to your own place of worship. When he's leading, you close your eyes and look at God. It's refreshing and soul-filling to worship with someone so skilled at fading into the background. But I didn't want him to fade so far that he didn't appear at all.

After the boy ended that second song, Brett finally walked to a mic, greeted the crowd, and told us that he wouldn't be singing during the service, but would instead be turning it over to Tonio, the boy who had already been leading. It seemed that Tonio--who came to Calvary Fellowship when he was six months old--would be leaving shortly to rejoin his parents in their church plant in Nice, France. Tonio's father is French. When he came to the Lord at CF twenty-three years ago, he began devouring the Word. As his understanding of God's love grew, so did his angst over his homeland. As Tonio later explained to us, the French are a hard people to reach, and have very little in the way of Bible-teaching fellowship. So Tonio and his parents moved back to France several years ago and began Calvary Chapel Nice.

I was glad for France. But I also felt a few selfish niggles. "Sing a song or two," I thought, "and then let Brett sing."

It wasn't to be. Not only did Tonio lead, he did so mostly in French. I liked it the first song, and it wasn't bad for the second. But a part of me struggled to worship in English while all these exotic, interesting-sounding words kept floating toward me from those massive speakers. After awhile, I was doing much more listening than worshiping.

And then Tonio started singing "The Famous One." In case you don't know Chris Tomlin's masterpiece, here are the words:

You are the Lord
The famous One, famous One
Great is Your name in all the earth
The heavens declare
You're glorious, glorious
Great is Your fame beyond the earth

For all You've done and yet to do
With every breath I'm praising You
Desire of the nations and every heart
You alone are God
You alone are God

The morning star is shining through
And every eye is watching You
Revealed by nature and miracles
You are beautiful
You are beautiful

It's a definite favorite. Despite the intermingling of French and English syllables, I tried to concentrate and worship. And in the midst of my eye-scrinching, forehead-wrinkling determination, the words broke through and stole all my self-centered thoughts. Great is Your name in all the earth ... desire of nations ... every eye is watching You ...

And I suddenly saw the vastness of God, and remembered all over again that He's not just my God. He's the One that every heart--every English heart, every German heart, every heart in Sudan and India and France--longs for at its deepest, most silent level. He's the God of all.

I'm sorry, I told Him. And then the worshiping began in earnest.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

this weekend--part two

The Bride at Calvary Chapel Marysville is happy, and beautiful ... and noisy. In fact, they're probably the noisiest people I've ever met. But it's the best kind of sound.

On the first Sunday of every month, shortly after church ends, we load up the bounty and meet at the church office for a potluck. As I'm not one of the plan-aheaders, those pre-potluck Saturday nights often find me standing in front of the open freezer, staring down and praying that a delicious option will rise from the heap. This weekend, still tired from the writers' conference, I needed something easy. And there it was--the last bag of crockpot stroganoff. It's not the best-tasting stuff all on its own; if you want to like it, you have to add cream cheese and sour cream and a bunch of seasoning. But it will do in a pinch.

I got up early on Sunday and started the stroganoff. By the time I landed back home with two loaves of French bread, the house already smelled wonderful. Fran, Jon, and their four children arrived just as I was mixing up my not-so-secret bread spread and slathering it on the loaves. (I know you're going to ask ... mix up an enormous glob of mayonnaise with several handfuls of shredded cheese (any kind or combination will do). Add a little cayenne, some garlic powder, salt and pepper, and spread it over the two halves of a cut loaf of French bread. Broil until bubbly. Try not to eat the whole thing yourself.)

While we waited for the bubbly, Fran whipped up a fruit salad. What is it about simple fruit cubes and Cool Whip that causes such rapturous anticipation? It's so simple, we could have it every day, but for some silly reason, we make ourselves wait for Thanksgiving and church potlucks.

The timer dinged and I pulled four cheesy delights from the oven. As I could see that "Don't you think we ought to test it?" expression on every face in the house, we did. Just little pieces, mind you, but it was enough to silence growly stomachs, if only long enough to get down to the church office.

When we pulled in, a tummy-tugging aroma met us in the foyer--that rare combination of baked chicken, tater casserole, saucy penne, chicken pot pie, and still-warm brownies that you find only at church potlucks. The line for food had already formed. We scooched to the back of the line and prayed there'd still be brownies. And there were.

If you could hover in a corner of the room and take it all in at once, I think you'd be most impressed by our ability to eat while simultaneously conducting multiple conversations. The noise level rides on laughter and teasing and instructions to "Bring me back some of that, will you? Just a tiny piece!"

Kids are everywhere--needing juice, needing a bite off your plate, needing a lap. I must confess that those little ones are my favorite part of every potluck. I held Mark and Taryn's twins--first Duncan, then Amber--until I saw ominous looks in the eyes of the other women--looks which told me I had to share. Noelle came to talk and play a bit. Gracie crawled under the table and reached up for me to take her in my lap. Rachel stopped chasing Brady over the chair long enough to give me a kiss. Joel poked me in the head with a Cheetoh.

When we'd sampled every offering and couldn't pull ourselves from the table, we sat and solved the world's problems. Chris and Dave talked about their new and shared passion--beekeeping (I will most definitely have to post about that at another time). Elaina D. brought her knitting over and showed us her work-in-progress. Merrylue brought me a chunk of chocolate cake and a sliver of carrot cake, which I nibbled while Sylvia and I discussed global economics (Ha! Gotcha, didn't I?) at the same time that Hannah and Cora discussed paint color (Cinnamon and Butternut) over our heads.

I gave my bread recipe to John and Laurie, and a few others who had asked. Jeff flitted from table to table, meeting people he hadn't met before and howdy-ing up the ones had already had. Another not-to-be-named man who found himself seated next to a new boy warded off comments about his body. "What's that long thing hanging out of your nose?" the boy asked, before adding, "Oh. I guess it's just your nose."

We're a funny, quirky bunch. I think you'd like us ... if you could handle the noise.

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Monday, May 08, 2006

this weekend--part one

There's so much to tell, I can't get it all in one post.

First, I spent two wild, whirlish days scampering all over Seattle Pacific University, talking with writers and reconnecting with old friends. The annual Writers' Recharge is an "efficient" conference, which means there's not a lot of strolling or time-killing. What you'd normally pack into three days, or four, has been shaken, stamped, condensed and squeezed into a tidy, 32-hour nugget.

I'm exhausted.

But I'm also invigorated, for I've been in rooms packed with creative minds and God-focused hearts. This year, because a counterpart at one of the publishing houses I freelance for couldn't make it, I took his place on "that" side of the table. With a stack of guidelines and business cards, I waited for groups of six to enter my small conference room and pitch their book ideas. They came in with big eyes and rapid heartbeats and high hopes. I knew exactly what each person was feeling, for I'd been on "that other" side of the table myself. Wanting to sweep the uneasiness from the room and get down to the sharing of bright ideas, I tried to convey the we-ness I felt. "I'm a writer--just like you," I told them.

It gave me great delight to watch passion strengthen their voices and strip their fear. As the spotlight circled the room and each person felt its warmth, trepidation turned to persuasion. Collectively, we witnessed the distillation of months--or maybe years--of thinking, planning, meditating and creating into a single drop of urgency: "This is what I've written. This is why it needs an audience."

I don't know what my counterpart from Colorado Springs will do when the manuscripts start trickling in. I'd been given the go-ahead to say yes to whichever ideas I liked--and I liked a lot. Though at times I felt like a child who had stumbled upon the keys to my father's candy shop, and stood now, waving my friends in with frantic urgency, I wasn't indiscriminate. Some ideas weren't ready. A few needed a tighter focus. One was so unique I knew it wouldn't find a place on a bookstore shelf, so I encouraged self-publishing. But I did say yes to many. Some, I can't wait to read.

It's a brave thing to package your heart on paper and lay it at the feet of a stranger. You step back, catch your breath, and pray no stomping will occur. But if you don't try, you never get to hear another say, "This has God written all over it."

Aside from those four hours of editor meetings, I also taught three workshops. As much as I enjoyed the first process, my real delight is teaching. We talked about fear, and writing with excellence, and blogging. We shared ideas. We cried a little. And over all, we reminded one another that what we do, we do for the One who loves us. We write because He's worth writing about, and because our world needs to hear His heartbeat.

I'm encouraged by what I experienced this weekend. I saw a vast sea of pen-holders ready to take dictation; a group ready to lay their talents on the altar and let God have His way.

It's what I want too.



Wednesday, May 03, 2006

writers' conference

I'll be teaching three workshops this Friday and Saturday at Seattle Pacific University's Writers' Recharge conference--In Fear and Trembling (on overcoming fear as a writer), Four-Legged Writing (on writing with excellence), and Harness the Power of Blogging (on ... well ... blogging :). I'm also representing Cook Communications and will be taking editor appointments.

Ginger (of Joyful Woman) wrote to tell me she'd see me there. I am so looking forward to meeting her in person! That got me to thinking ... is anyone else planning to be at the conference? If so, please let me know. It would be nice to connect names and faces.


Monday, May 01, 2006


Two weekends, two women's retreats.

I spent the first with the women of Trinity Baptist Church. We gathered in Leavenworth, Washington (home of Bavarian-styled storefronts, lots of sausage, and a man who climbs a second-story balcony railing each morning in his lederhosen and blows a ten-foot alphhorn to serenade the town) and discussed what it means to walk "Hand in Hand" with one another. Though I'd only met three of the women before I arrived (and then only briefly), the bunch welcomed me warmly, treated me as though I were one of their own, listened attentively to my teaching, and hugged me on my way when it came time to say good bye. A truly lovely group of women. Before it was all over, my sister, Nancy, (who is my assistant and a wonderful traveling companion) and I spent several hours fingering yarn and talking patterns with the shop owner of Wooly Bully, Leavenworth's finest yarn shop. We also consumed far too much passionfruit gelato from Viadolce ... but I'm not apologizing.

Weekend two was spent with my own women at our annual retreat. As we've done for the past four years, we gathered out at The Homestead, a family-run retreat center between Snohomish and Monroe. I saw no lederhosen-clad men, heard no horns, tasted no passionfruit gelato. But here's what we did experience:

• The full gamut of emotions: much laughter, many tears, gratitude, and joy
• The kind of unity that only comes when you're all on the same page
• The releasing of a few hurts
• The birthing of many new friendships
• An openness like none we've shared before
• Shackles ... and a lot of dancing

That last one calls for an explanation. We had two fabulous singers in our midst: Patty Estrada (my good friend and the wife of my longest-standing friend, Andy. Patty has led worship for four of our retreats, and I can't even begin to describe what it's like when she takes the piano and starts worshiping. God has anointed that girl) and Sonya Kaye (also a beloved friend. She made the trip from Tacoma simply because she wanted to attend a retreat, but ended up blessing us with her amazing voice and spirit).

Every part of this retreat was ordained by God. It's always that way. It doesn't matter if you start planning in October (which I don't) or you wait on Him right up to the last few weeks (which I do), He's the originator of retreats, the knitter of details, the opener of hearts. We couldn't possibly have planned the blessing that came upon us. Though Tarri, Fran and I met a few months back to discuss our theme, I have to be honest ... we had lunch, talked about the retreat for a half an hour or so, and then spent the rest of the afternoon learning how to knit an I-cord. After that, our huddles went something like this:

"Are you ready?"
"No. Are you ready?"

I wasn't worried. I'm never worried. Because I've been doing this long enough that I know God will reveal His plan in His own time, and will bring together details we couldn't possibly orchestrate. It's His retreat, after all.

We had no idea what the three of us were planning to teach (other than that it all revolved around our theme). Nor did we know what Kari would say in her devotional. Nor did we know what Sylvia would share in her testimony. Nor did we know the songs Patty had planned, or the songs Sonya would share Friday night. And it's a blessing we didn't know, because we walked around with big eyes and awed hearts as the thread began to show itself. God planned it all. Without knowing I was going to teach about Hosea's forgiving love toward Gomer, Sonya chose a song by Scott Kripayne about forgiveness, entitled, "I Can't Believe You Still Love Me"--a song she sang for the women just before my teaching. The three sessions echoed, confirmed, or elaborated on the points of each other. Kari's devotional and Sylvia's testimony served as exclamation points on a sentence we didn't know we were writing. And over all, God's presence hovered.

The joy we felt, collectively, was so intense it needed release. Even though there was plenty of blowing-off-steam time (the women participated in our first ever "Amazing Race" competition, complete with ladder ball, hoola-hoops, gingerbread houses, popping balloons, and a trip across the pond via swing or scooching bottoms), we had such a welling need to proclaim the release God had wrought that we pushed back all the chairs and danced to Patty, Sonya and Sylvia's rendition of "Shackles" (Mary, Mary)--not once, but twice.

When I think of our retreat, I will remember the tears, and the stomach-tightening laughter, and the numerous times women told me, "This is the best retreat we've ever had." But I think the overriding picture I'll carry with me is the sight of my beloved sisters dancing to the sound of their own freedom, with clapping hands, shining faces, and eyes closed in pure delight.

Enjoy the lyrics.

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise You
I'm gonna praise You

In the corners of my mind
I just can't seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
Cause you see I have been down for so long
Feel like all hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise You through my circumstance

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise You
I'm gonna praise You

Everything that could go wrong
All went wrong at one time
So much pressure fell on me
I thought I was going to lose my mind
But I know You wanna see
If I will hold on through these trials
But I need You to lift this load
Cause I can't take it no more

Take the shackles off my feet so i can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise You
I'm gonna praise You

Been through the fire and the rain
Bound in every kind of way
But God has broken every chain
So let me go right now

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise You
I'm gonna praise You