The wintry morning air felt crisp and the birds above me were chirping along as if they knew the whispered rhythms of the wind in the trees above. A familiar screech jolted my wandering thoughts back on course; the 7:35 am bus was waiting.
It was September of 2009, the final year of my high school journey and I was neck-deep in exam preparation. To say I was feeling anxious would be an understatement. In Australia, university acceptance is based on an entrance ranking and for the majority of my subjects, 50 percent of that grade was being determined in the space of a few hours in a musty classroom. It felt like the success of my life was hanging in the balance as I navigated the last three weeks of intense cramming. I’m sure you’ve felt this kind of pressure before in an area of your life where for a moment, peace feels like a distant relative.
Grades and future study ambitions aside, I was also really worried about my family. As I looked out of the scratched bus window, my 16-year-old mind was trying to wrap itself around the reality of the past few months. Life had very much deviated from the perfect plan I’d constructed in my head years ago. Everything I thought I knew about God, my parents, and our family was being challenged; and I was struggling to make sense of it all.
Psalm 119 gives us an insight into David’s perspective when the pressures of life got to him.
“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands … I rise early before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in your words. I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise.” – Psalm 119:143-148 (The Passion Translation)
It’s nice to know that even David experienced his fair share of sleepless nights. The key here is perspective. He fixed his mind on God’s Word in these difficult seasons.
Scribbling in my journal on one of those bus rides, I wrote a declaration that I hoped would make the trip from my head to my heart. I knew it was true, but I needed to remind myself of God’s sovereignty in simple song form.
Fast forward to 2017. That declaration was still ringing in my spirit. And, in the eight years that had gone by since writing it, God had shown himself faithful and true along the journey. Nothing worked out the way I thought it would, yet God had been in control the whole time and I knew it in my heart this time. Hindsight is always 20/20 and it’s often “after the fact” that we see God’s goodness reflected throughout our lives. If you’re reading this and you need some perspective, I hope you’re encouraged today that He is steadfast, gracious, and always good, no matter what your present situation may look like right now!
I sat down at a piano in my dad’s basement and started to sing about my favorite things; sunsets and shorelines, a Creator who holds the stars and my heart in his hands. I knew there was a song in there somewhere and a few voice memos later I went to bed with excitement about the words and melodies I’d discovered.
That week, I had a vivid dream of two acquaintances talking to me about their life. They were both going through difficult seasons: a family breakdown and the loss of a loved one. I sat on a stool in their kitchen, listening as one of them explained, “I think I just need to believe again.” I woke up from that dream with a conviction to write a song that reminded people of God’s life-giving power, a song to sing for every season, but especially when you need to believe again.
I got together with my friend (and brilliant Influencers Worship songwriter in his own right) Misha and we began to unpack this idea as we talked about who God is and how we’ve seen Him work in our lives against all hope. I recalled the chorus I’d written in 2009 and we decided to rework it in this new context, with a renewed perspective and a fresh melody. This time, I was sure of it. It felt honest and right to start the chorus with the same confident declarations. There’s great power in reminding ourselves that nothing is too hard for God, no matter the impossibilities we’re facing.
“But your forgiving love is what makes you so wonderful. No wonder you are loved and worshiped! This is why I wait upon you, expecting your breakthrough, for your Word brings me hope.” – Psalm 130:5 (The Passion Translation)
Sunsets, shorelines, and star-filled skies are all signs to me of a creator God, the great I Am who commands the winds and the waves, but still wants our heart. To me, “Believe Again” represents the cool air of a spring sunset, the peaceful rhythms of an ocean tide. There is always a hope that lies in the early morning hours as dark makes way for dawn.
Maybe you find yourself in a season of discouragement or disappointment right now. Maybe it’s hard to imagine the God-dreams of your heart ever actually happening. Maybe life has taken a turn for the worst and you’re struggling to see how God’s promises can come to pass. I’m praying today that as you listen to this song you’re reminded that He is high above it all, calling the dreams in your heart back to life today.
What dream is God restoring in you today? Share your thoughts below.
*This blog was written by Danae Leslie, songwriter and keyboardist for Influencers Worship. Follow Danae Leslie on Instagram to stay in touch!