Sunday, September 27, 2009

One of the Good Things

Some time in these past few crazy months I had a birthday. It was sorta a biggie--the 3-0. We celebrated over a weekend with Texas Sheet Cake, a steak dinner prepared by my hubby, and a beautiful pearl necklace from Rita Creech's Galleria.

My other birthday present was Jill Phillip's latest CD, The Good Things. Jill is a perennial favorite in our house; at least one of her albums is in a CD player in the house or car at all times. I was first introduced to her music through Andrew Peterson's project Behold the Lamb of God on which she sings the hauntingly beautiful "Labor of Love" and then hearing her in concert where we heard some of her own music. I was hooked.

From last Christmas until our road trip to Texas in May, Kingdom Come, an album of hymns, played nonstop in the minivan. "Praise to the Lord the Almighty" became our "good morning" song as we drove to school. I practically wept out "Have Thine Own Way Lord" each time it played as I struggled with our impending move and drastic change in our life. Sang with joyful smiles "Hosanna" and "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" around Easter.

I switched out Kingdom Come for Nobody's Got It All Together on the drive out to Houston and needed to remind myself of that very fact as I faced my insecurities in a new place, new neighborhood, and new church. I listened to Writing on the Wall and affirmed that no matter what came my way "Still Is My Soul." There was a song, a phrase, a melody for all the events in my life and thoughts in my mind. Her songs ring of truth worked out by a wrestling heart, just like mine.

Which brings me to The Good Things. This album, more than her others, is deeply personal. The conversational songs are written out of life experiences in friendships, marriage, and parenting. And the sound is a bit of a departure from her other more folky albums. There is a tension musically in many of the song that reflects the both the messiness and reality of the lyrics. While still highly crafted, complex, and interesting, the songs aren't neat or simple. There's a bit of roughness to them.

"I can’t explain how weak my conviction is/How I can make up my mind but it won’t make a difference/It’s like I am allergic to solutions that would make any sense/Just a moth around a fire
But You’re reaching out your arms of forgiveness/Its your usual response I’m afraid/After all the things I’ve done you love me anyways
I heard Jill sing "All the Good Things" in person at last winter's BTLOG concert, sitting in a row with friends who were walking their own rough roads and knowing that these were good things in our lives because these days are ordained by a good God who does all things for our good and His glory. Again and again, I come back to "Forgive me for my shortsighted look at this world/Where you keep proving that you know what you’re doing" and "I wouldn't have it any other way" from a song about the ups and downs of marriage. One of my favorite aspects of Jill Phillip's music is that she writes songs from and about a woman journeying with God through life, marriage, kids, work. Because, as she closes out the album, "If you look real close you’ll find you’re a lot like me." And those are the kind of songs I need.
And if that sounds at all like you, you'll want to listen to her music too.


April said...

I am going to check her out on Itunes. Sounds wonderful! Oh...and Happy Birthday!

Goes On Runs said...

i miss you!

patti said...

Me too!
Ladies, maybe we could do a triple line chat soon.

Amy, you did not just turn 3-0.
Now i feel REALLY old....seriously...