Songs for the Seasons

I used to walk 30 minutes to school and back every day – I told myself that I enjoyed it, but most days it just felt so tiring. I was telling this to a friend of mine one day, and before I could finish my sentence, she had her hand in her purse and pulled out her 누비자 bike pass, told me she never used it, and that I could have it! (Changwon has a bike share system, all you do is swipe a card and you can rent a bike for up to 2 hours, the stations are literally everywhere around the city, it’s the best idea!)  The first time I rode my bike home from school, I was thrilled. It was such a great change, more needed than I realized. I remember telling my friend Rache that night that this seems like something so small and mundane, but i felt like it was going to make a huge difference. I’ve always believed in breaking from routine once in a while as a way to refresh yourself, and this was a perfect change that I needed! Not only does it shorten my daily commute to half the time it used to take, it is so much more enjoyable to bike around the city instead of walking, ruining all my shoes, and showing up to work sweaty and tired.

This was a huge, long tangent that probably could have been avoided, but last night as I was riding home from work, I was thinking again about how glad I am to have a bike now. There’s a long stretch of road, about the last half mile before I reach my apartment, and I love it so much. I pedal really fast and then coast the whole way home, under the trees with the cool breeze whipping around me. I don’t know why, but it’s one of my favorite moments of the day. More often than not, I’m so invigorated and glad and at peace on my ride home that sometimes – actually almost all the time – I sing! It’s probably totally dorky of me, but that’s one of the advantages to being a foreigner, anything I do is strange no matter if it is genuinely embarrassing or not.

Last night on my ride home, I had one particular song in my head that I was humming along to. It made me realize how many songs have played through the different seasons of my year here. There are so many songs that have brought me comfort and peace in difficult seasons, songs that have helped shape the joy and gladness of good seasons, and there are a few that have literally pulled me through the most painful seasons. I made a list of some of the most significant ones, and it just didn’t seem right to keep it to myself. As the end of my year approaches quicker than I could have ever anticipated, I feel it’s so important to mark, signify, and gather what has made this year the wild, unpredictable journey it has been. Certainly songs help capture the moments we might soon forget. But since I always want to remember, here they are: the songs of my seasons.

{Fall; September – November} 

Change. Newness. Dependence. Solitude. Hunger. Gifts. Surprises. Thankfulness. 

Called Me Higher — All Sons and Daughters

I first heard this song on Andrew and I’s last road trip before I left – we were driving 100 miles on Skyline drive near the Shenandoah Valley and I just wept at the words being sung over the current moment and what I knew was about to happen to me. They gave me an invigorating sense of hope that moving to Korea was the right choice.

Guide Me Oh Though Great Jehovah — Indelible Grace

This was the theme of my journey here. I listened to it in the airport as soon as I walked away from my family for the last time, I listened to it on repeat on the flights, and I listened to it over and over and over my first week in Korea.

Oh The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus — Sovereign Grace Music

I think I may always cry when I hear this song. This was another one that got me through the transition and my first few weeks in Korea. I’m just so thankful for the current of His love.

Honest Songs – Noah Gundersen

My friend Rache gave me a piece of advice once when I was really homesick, and I didn’t believe her at first. She said you should have some sad songs on hand for when you really miss home/people. At first I thought this was a terrible idea- why would I want to be more sad? But there’s something about this one that hits my heart in just the right place when I’m missing Andrew extra, and in it’s own sad way it makes me feel better.

Faith to Be Strong — Andrew Peterson 

This is our Guam – Korea theme song and maybe it will be our life theme song.

Peace — Rich Mullins 

The words of this song are really special because I was listening to it a lot during a time when God was teaching me so much about peace. My version of peace was obliterated when he started showing me His.

The Color Green — Rich Mullins 

Fall in Korea – I’ll always recall that beautiful time when I hear this song!

Pilot Me — Josh Garrels 

I always loved this song, but during this season of my life it became much more of a prayer for me. God was really showing me how to depend on him, how to be led by him, and how that is the most beautiful place to be!

Rain (Setting Out in the Leaf Boat) – The Innocence Mission

Sunday nights after church, I would come home and light a candle and prepare for the week ahead. This is the perfect song to wind down from the weekend, and it will always remind me of my first few months here.

{Winter: December – March} 

Traditions. Comfort. Anticipation. Love. Loneliness. Sorrow. Hope. 

Don’t You Want to Thank Someone — Andrew Peterson 

Thanksgiving day was a little easier because of this song.

Labor of Love — Andrew Peterson

My favorite Christmas song this year!

Shadowfeet – Brooke Fraser 

Brooke Fraser’s music always makes me  good kind of nostalgic. Her old albums kept me company during my countless grading hours this past winter.

[The entire Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Soundtrack! = Christmastime]

Time is Dancing — Ben Howard

I’m always reminded of the HUGE anticipation and excitement for Andrew’s visit to Korea when I hear this song!

When I’m With You — Ben Rector

ANDREW

Dreams – Jenny and Tyler

ANDREW pt. II

Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For — Jenny & Tyler feat. Sara Groves

For those of you who haven’t heard our full engagement story, A$ used some of these words when he proposed… then we came back to my apartment and listened to this exact song and I bawled my eyes out (normal). :) :)

Broken Vessels — Hillsong United

We sang this one a lot at Redeemer this winter, aka I cried a lot at Redeemer this winter.

You Make Me Brave — Bethel Music

One Sunday in February, my friend Traylor preached a sermon and mentioned this song. That was my friend Emma’s last Sunday at Redeemer Changwon and it is always so hard to send people off – especially if they have touched your life the way Emma touched mine. I came home that night and listened to this one over and over and over and thought about how unexpected and undeserving I am of the relationships and community I have in Korea. He made me brave, called me from the shore into the waves, and overwhelmed me with goodness.

The Love of God – Rich Mullins
Hold me Jesus – Rich Mullins

These two songs taught me so much about one thing, one thing that I was just beginning to learn the summer before Korea, but that God started to deepen my knowledge of and my experience in: The simple but profound reality that He is for me.

Ulysses – Josh Garrels

One word: Homesick.

Wyoming- Family and Friends

I discovered this band really out of the blue. Their sound helped lift my spirits for much of the dark, awful winter months.

Ever Be — Bethel Music

This song. These words. Literally pulled me through March.

{Spring: April – May} 

Revival. Refreshment. Routine. Growth. Strength. Depth. 

Oh the Blood — Kari Jobe 

I can say without a doubt, Easter 2015 at Redeemer International Community Church was the best Easter Sunday of my life. Winter was over, my season of depression had ended, and we got to celebrate the defeat of winter and depression forever. I got to sing this song with the worship pastor from the Redeemer Busan church, it was such a privilege.

Reckless Forgiver – Jars of Clay

A throwback, a favorite, and a good one to get me through all the grading I have to do.

Oceans — Hillsong United 

The words to this song have never meant so much as they did when I literally was led deeper than my feet could wander. Singing it at Redeemer always stirs up a plethora of emotions, between rejoicing for His faithfulness and fear for what truly singing these words might lead me to next.

Morning Light — Josh Garrels

This whole album, and this song in particular signifies spring, the start of my best days in Korea.

Garden – The Collection

I love this song because it reminds me of the incredible journey Andrew and I have been on since we got engaged. A journey that started with the question: “What next?” that led to a spirit of anticipation over anxiety as we started praying towards what we would do after we got married. It reminds me that whatever we seek to do in the future is futile unless it is an act of serving God and serving people. “the only thing in life worth doing is that one thing that you’re made for/ well, am I made for myself anymore?”

Shepherd — Bethel Music

Evening bike rides, singing to myself.

Every single one of my days has been a narrative of His faithfulness. 

P.S. For a more whole gathering of these songs, I made a spotify playlist. They’re all there, mostly in order, give or take a few changes. Enjoy!

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One thought on “Songs for the Seasons

  1. I love the fact that so much of what we experience is in the Bible. Paul and Silas were in jail, they had been beaten, and the Bible lets us know they were singing. I imagine it was OT poetry. Sometimes we take these facts for granted when we hear these stories from such a young age. Then when we need them, their reality strikes us freshly. BTW, you said “Andrew and I’s” It’s “Andrew’s and my”. Only because you’re an English major! :-) I think I shall listen to your playlist while I sew.

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