Story Behind The Song: He Has Time
He Has Time
Writing He Has Time took some guts. This was my first writing camp, and first co-writing experience. I drove eight hours by myself from Kansas City to Nashville, the whole way telling myself and Jesus “I CAN DO THIS!” with all the faith I could muster.
For years, I had felt like an outsider looking in when it comes to music. I would isolate myself out of fear, still bound in many ways by the pain from my past. I was a high school dropout, and left my parents house at a young age. That led to a lot of bad situations and memories that hurt my identity. Although I gave my life to Jesus at 21 years old, I’ve still struggled to feel like I fit in anywhere. That lack of community really stifled my growth as person and artist. I spent years terrified to sing, and terrified to share my ideas. People would never guess that about me, as I come across very social, energetic, and friendly. I am those things, just with a hefty side dish of self-doubt. :)
I was extremely anxious about how I would fit in at this camp and contribute in a meaningful way among such talented and experienced writers. Ben Hardesty was the first person I met that night when I walked in the Airbnb cabin around 10pm. What a bro. I felt right at home around his silly self, and we all hung out at the fire till the wee hours that night laughing and getting to know each other. Instant family. I know now, that Common Hymnal is very special in that way. There’s a kind of love there that makes it easy and fun to be yourself. That welcome home feeling. I know that’s the big reason why I was able to open up so quickly. As the night went on, the conversation got more serious, as it usually does staring at fire too long after midnight. :) Ben let me know we would be in the same writing group the next day, and God put the writing topic on His heart months ago. Sexual abuse.
My eyes got big, and I felt a pit in my stomach.
I had some unresolved issues from my past that I never had the guts to face. I took a deep breath, and told Ben a little bit of my story. That was one of my first times sharing it publicly. The next day we invited Brittney Spencer and her team to join us, not knowing that she had some unresolved issues as well. Her and I learned that we had a lot in common with the way we grew up, and some of our coping mechanisms were the same. That day, we took off our masks that strong girls wear and came boldly and humbly before God together. We shared our stories with the team, and through tear filled eyes we looked fear and shame in the face, and exposed the lies we had held onto for so long. Then Jesus did the rest! The melody and lyrics just started to come out of thin air without any instruments in hand. God met us with so much freedom and revelation as we worked out the lyrics together. My heart for this song is that God would duplicate this experience of healing for many others who have suffered abuse. That song wasn’t easy to write, but the healing that’s happening to us through singing and sharing it, is incomparable. That’s the kind of music we want to be writing.
This song is such a miracle that it sometimes feels like it probably wasn’t supposed to happen. Every time we sing this song out somewhere, people sing it just as loud and sometimes cry just as much as we do. And while I typically hate the idea of saying a person or thing transcends another, this song, that was written specifically about sexual abuse, actually transcends that deeply significant wound and encompasses an ability to emote the palpable embodiment of all sorts of pain. While everyone may not know or understand sexual abuse, everyone does in fact know pain and what it feels like to need someone to rush to their aid. We’ve all been a little bit (or a lot) broken and know all too well the hurtful sting of mistreatment. “He Has Time” speaks to the reliable and compassionate nature of a God that makes time for us and see’s our process, our healing as a priority. Healing isn’t fast, instant or without weakening moments that can make you feel like you’ll never get better. But knowing that God is sitting with us in the darkest and most tragic parts of our stories makes survival and wholeness feel all the more attainable. This reality became more real than ever to me that day in the basement when three friends took a page out of God’s book and made time for two women who needed it more than they thought.
I don’t know what to write but my fingers and mind seem to be moving on ahead of me somehow. This song, He Has Time, is very special to me.lm The original idea to write it was sparked by a conversation I had with my father about the #metoo movement. We were trying to imagine where Jesus would be in the midst of all of it and how He would react. This lead to months of prayer and wrestling with my own views as I tried to understand what it meant to be a an ally in the #metoo era. All that being said, I couldn’t for the life of me come up with a starting point, partially because I had so many thoughts running through my mind, and mostly because I knew writing a song as a man about harassment and assault towards women, and the shame that comes with experiencing that was something I had no business writing about alone. Essentially I knew it would be morally and culturally irresponsible for me to tackle this by my self. I knew I had to be with women I cared about and in a trusting and gracious environment where healing and conversation could take place at their own pace. I can only assume the months of prayerfulness were favored, because the environment I described in the previous sentence is exactly where my dear friends, Brittney, Jamie, Orlando, Art and I ended up. I will spare you the details but it was very serendipitous that we all ended up in the same room writing. As the morning started to unfold it became clear that we each had a roll to play, Art helped us realize these roles early on. He told me that I needed to do my best to create an atmosphere of trust that facilitated open conversation and healing; no pressure right. So, with some grace, that’s what I tried my best to do. I don’t know where I would have been without Orlando who through it all was graciously moving the song writing aspects forward, as we all talked and proceeded as a group. The true hero’s though are Brittney and Jamie. They both opened up in major ways they had never done before and poetically and beautifully navigated their pain and were slowly able to surrender their shame and leave it at the foot of the cross. It took nearly 10 hours of digging down,healing, and wrestling for the right words to express the thoughts and hurts and realizations that were being revealed to us. But when it was all said and done we knew that wether or not the song was ever heard by anyone else, something holy and special had taken place.
“He Has Time” is a specific song for a specific purpose. Yet, at the same time, it’s a song that can be sang by all. Whether it’s coming from a place of vulnerability in experiencing abuse or coming from the place of standing with the broken and supporting their voices. “He Has Time” brings us together hear our sisters and shed light on anything that opposes the unconditional love and compassion of God. It’s my hope that women that has been abused will hear this and know that they’re not alone.