A Conversation With Andy Gullahorn About Our Song “I Will Find A Way”

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Several years ago, I discovered a book called The Ragman And Other Cries Of Faith by Walt Wangerin Jr who is, among other things, a pastor and award-winning novelist. The combination of his pastoral heart and his gift for storytelling are a potent mix that have been a companion and comfort in my journey. I can’t recommend his writing enough.

There is a remarkable chapter from Ragman called “An Advent Monologue” about the mystery of the incarnation that is strange, poignant, and utterly beautiful. It has haunted me ever since the first time I read it with its story of an abused woman whose history and heartbreak have caused her to be suspicious of any kindness and resistant to love. The story is narrated by a Protagonist who is determined to gently break through her best defenses to heal and love her, and ultimately deliver her from the prison of her own misery.

The story has never failed to move me and about 6 years ago I was compelled to write a song inspired by Wangerin’s beautiful vision of the incarnation.

After many starts that never quite felt right, I started to be afraid of failing the material – Wangerin’s prose was so beautiful, I feared ruining it. And since fear is the chief enemy of creativity, I knew early on that I would need some help finishing it.

The idea was pretty precious to me, so I was very guarded with it, bringing it only to a few writers who I felt might be able to help me make the most of it. No one that I shared it with seemed to resonate with it the same way that I did, until years later – when my record company was asking me to write an original Christmas song for a compilation they were putting together – I remembered the song and brought it to my friend Andy Gullahorn.

Andy is one of the most gifted songwriters I know, and his work never fails to move and inspire me. His songs have the magical qualities that mark all the songs I love the most: they surprise, fill me with wonder, and create a quiet place in me where the Holy Spirit can speak. I’m a big fan. That I also get to call him a friend is one of the great blessings of this season of my life.

Sitting in his songwriting room above his garage, grateful for another chance to collaborate with this giant of a songwriter (Andy and I have written a number of songs together, including “Holding The Key” and “How I Ended Up Here” from my last record), I shared Wangerin’s “Advent Monologue” and was encouraged when I saw it hit him much the same way it hit me.

Let me say here how nervous I am to presume to put words in the mouth of the Almighty by doing a song from God’s perspective, but for this particular song, it seemed there was no way around it. But it also seemed fitting to be so bold in a story depicting the boldness of the Incarnation. So with a sense of—I don’t know…God’s approval? Blessing?—we put pen to the paper (or fingers to the laptop) and started writing.

I had written a bunch of verses that we were able to keep much of for the middle two verses in the song (it’s always gratifying to raid the bone yard), but I was having trouble figuring out how to hang the song on a singular idea that could be the chorus.

Years ago, I had arrived at the idea of the Protagonist singing:

How should I come to the one I love
so she will receive me…
or … so she won’t be afraid…

But it just didn’t seem quite right. I liked the vulnerability of the question, “how should I come to the one I love…” but the next line made the Protagonist feel weak and anxious to me.

Andy’s first suggestion was that the next line in the chorus should be “I will find a way,” so that it would be:

How should I come to the one I love
I will find a way, I will find a way…

And that was when the Christmas lights turned on for me and I knew we had a song. The earnest longing of “how should I come to the one I love”, answered by the unrelenting determination to “find a way” – that was when the song began to take the shape I had always hoped it would.

Andy has an amazing knack for getting to the heart of things – and he helped to make sure that every line had heart. In the world of songwriters, Andy is definitely one of my all time favorites. I might even go so far as to say I have a kind of professional crush on him as a writer.

Oh, uh… hi Andy… I didn’t realize you were here… um. Did you hear any of that?

Enter ANDY GULLAHORN:
Yes, I am here. But don’t worry, I didn’t read that last part.

First let me thank you for bringing this song to our writing appointment. I remember having some hesitations when you said you wanted to write a Christmas song. If I have any strengths as a songwriter, writing Christmas songs is not one of them. But as you explained Wangerin’s story to me I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be a typical Christmas song – so I could jump in with you.

It isn’t a secret to anyone who knows me that I am not a well-read individual. Most of my knowledge about books comes from listening to friends talk about the books they are reading. So although I had heard of Walt Wangerin before that day, I am pretty sure I hadn’t read any of his work. I remember when we first started trying to write the song, I didn’t want you to show me the actual story – I was just going to go off of your re-telling of it. But it didn’t take long before I caved in and asked for the book. I was blown away when I read the story. I know I read it at least twice while you were sitting there pretending to think of lyrics but actually checking email or something. I think my first response to you was something like, “Instead of writing a song about this, you should just give a copy of this story to everyone in your audience.” I am grateful that you didn’t listen to me. You have had a vision for a long time of making this story accessible to people in a new way – and I hope we came close to that.

JG: I couldn’t have hoped for it to turn out better than it did! What I loved about the story and had hoped to capture in the song is a sense of the mystery of the incarnation. Because we’re so familiar with the concept of it as a doctrine I suspect that we’ve forgotten how radical it is that God chose to infiltrate humanity this way. Wangerin’s story awakened me again to the messy mystery of it and forced me to reckon with it all over again.

AG: I have been playing this song most nights on this Christmas tour. Every night that I play it, at least one person finds me after the show to ask me about it. The standard comment I get is “I really like the song but can’t figure out what it means.” The funny thing is that in some ways I feel the same way about the original Wangerin story as well as the song – and that is part of why I think it is special. I mean, on one hand I can easily say what the song is about – the Incarnation. On the other hand, none of the metaphors in the story tie up neatly. It is about a battered woman – but it isn’t. It refers to Mary – but it doesn’t. All I know is that when I read the story I am deeply moved – but it isn’t a movement I can easily explain. It is like the truth in the story completely bypassed my brain and my reasoning to take up residence somewhere deeper. So although I can’t really explain it, it feels more true to me than some things that are more easily explained.

JG: What I like about it is that it refuses to be reduced, categorized, and then shelved. Something about the messiness of it forces me to engage it (and therefore the mystery of the incarnation) every time.

AG: Ok. I have to say this feels a little weird talking about a song I “wrote” in this way. I am not saying it is one of the most powerful songs ever written. I can say, however, that it speaks to me as much or more than any other song that I have had a part of. I think I can say this because the most powerful part of the song (the story) is something that neither one of us can take credit for. That is all Mr. Wangerin. So even as I play the song, I am still moved by the story – every time. And I don’t say that to take away from the work that we put into making this song come to life – it was just as challenging (if not more) than writing something from scratch. But I have to say it is fun to sing a song that always feels like someone else is telling me a story.

JG: I suppose it doesn’t hurt that it’s the greatest story ever told.
________

I Will Find A Way
JGray & Andrew Gullahorn
At the end of this run down tenement hall
Is the room of a girl I know
She cowers behind all the dead bolt locks
Afraid of the outside world

So how should I come to the one I love
I will find a way

Many thieves and collectors have used that door
But they only brought her shame
So she won’t even open it anymore
Still I will find a way

I could call out her name with love through the walls
But condemnation is all she hears
I could break down the door and take her into my arms
But she might die from the fear

So how should I come to the one I love
I will find a way, I will find a way
How should I come to the one I love
I will find a way

No hiding place ever kept her safe
So she hides inside herself
Now to reach her heart the only way
Is to hide in there as well
I will hide in there as well

She gave up on love waiting for a change
But a change is coming soon
Cause how could she not love the helpless babe
Who is waking in her womb

I found a way

She’ll know I am coming before I am here
When she hangs her head she’ll see me there
And then when I come she won’t turn away
All the beauty and joy will return to her face
And what of the loneliness? Now it is gone
Lost in the bond of the mother and son
Every sin that she suffered at the hands of men
Every single disgrace will be washed clean again
I will love her completely and when I am grown
I will carry her out of that tenement room
I am doing a new thing and soon you will see
I am coming among you and my name shall be
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

________

After writing the song, it felt like it wouldn’t fit very well on a compilation record that included Christmas classics recorded by other artists in various styles, so I wrote another song for that project. I hope to record “I Will Find A Way” in the future, but in the meantime I couldn’t have been happier to learn that Andy included the song on the Christmas record he made with his wife Jill Phillips (he sings and plays it better than me anyway). I hope you’ll check it out! You can buy the record here in the rabbit room store or on iTunes.

Click here to buy Walt Wangerin’s book that includes “An Advent Monologue” from the Rabbit Room Store

And here’s a recent live performance of “I Will Find A Way” from this year’s Behold The Lamb of God tour.


52 Comments

  1. lefthand30

    Thank you for this post. I saw people commenting on this song and didn’t have a clue what it was all about. I ordered the Christmas CD of Jill Phillips and Andy Gullahorn. As I listened to the song the first time through, I kept thinking, “Is it talking about Mary. . . no, it couldn’t be. . . well, maybe.” Then you get to the last word of the song and I was awestruck. I understood the song a little bit more but didn’t fully get it. Then I read this post and I understood just a little bit more and that’s okay. Each time I listen to the song, another layer is peeled back and something more is revealed.

  2. Jenn

    Thank you so much for posting this. This is one of my favorite songs on Jill & Andy’s Christmas album, but I was puzzled just like everyone else. My husband came down this morning and told me I needed to come and read the Rabbit Room today because they were talking about I Will Find A Way today. I’m going to have to get my hands on Walt Wangerin’s book now.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Laura Peterson

    Jason and Andy – thank you, thank you for this song. Jason, I heard you play it at a concert in March and nearly jumped out of my chair when one of you (Andy?) played it at Hutchmoot. I was so glad to find it on Andy & Jill’s CD. It makes me think of Romans 8:38–nothing will separate us from the love of God, He will find a way. Whew. At first listen, I was in a place where I was expecting that the girl in the song would have to get up her courage and go open the door all by herself, with no one beside her – and I was incredibly relieved to be reminded that no, that’s not how this works. It seems a little trite to say that this is my new “favorite song,” so I’ll just say that I am deeply grateful for it and the story/Story that it speaks to.

  4. Karen

    Let me be the next to say thank you Jason & Andy for this song. We were at BtLOG last Friday and heard it for the first time. Wow. Blew me away, and now sitting here listening again, I am just as moved. I think maybe it gets to the heart of the matter more than anything else. It is so easy to gloss over the story of Christ’s coming. This song forces me to realize how, as you said, God entered into our messiness.

    I recently completed a lengthy RC Sproul study “From Dust to Glory” in which we read & studied the bible from start to finish. One thing that struck me more than ever before, was the holiness of God. To put those two thoughts together, my messiness and God’s holiness is….crazy? unfathomable? mysterious? I can’t even wrap my head around it. Your song forces me once again to see the depth of God’s love for his people. There aren’t words to describe that kind of love. But your song is a beautiful reminder.

  5. Brian

    Thank you for this song, guys. I saw the video posted on youtube just last night and quickly fell in love with the song – I’m interested in the story that inspired the song and I may have to look into Wangerin’s work.

  6. Sam

    Jason, Andy, and all you Rabbit Roomers, I haven’t taken the time to properly thank you before, but this song so moved me that I felt compelled to share with you how thankful I am for the part you are playing in revealing the heart of God. Recently I have found myself focussed on my (and others) inadequacy to live righteously and therefore our need of a Savior. Understanding our need is a good thing, but I’ve been kind of stuck on the inadequacy side of the story. The result has been chronic frustration and disappointment which make it really difficult to love well.

    The honesty, humor and beauty that pervade your art are helping to shift my focus from my failure to the overwhelmingly beautiful heart of God. The pursuing heart of God revealed in “I Will Find A Way” just wrecked me this morning. I resonated deeply with the line:
    No hiding place ever kept her safe
    So she hides inside herself
    Now to reach her heart the only way
    Is to hide in there as well
    I will hide in there as well

    Wow! Jesus hiding within to reach our fearful hearts! I couldn’t help but think of Colossians 3 and how our lives are now “hid with Christ” because Christ has hid himself in us. How wonderful!

    But it isn’t just the content of your art that has struck a chord with me; it is also the beauty of the way you relate to one another. The comments section on Rabbit Room posts are unlike any other blogs I follow. I love reading the comments after your posts and seeing the way you genuinely and playfully interact. Your community is a wonderful demonstration of Christ’s love.

    So, Merry Christmas and thank you!

  7. kelli

    This song stirs deep every time I hear it. I first heard it at Hutchmoot, after WW’s talk, and I was in tears. Every time I hear it now on the CD, a different part of the story seems to impact me. It’s rare to find a song that can continually take you to unexpected places.

    Thank you both for your dedication to the truth of WW’s story…and really, THE story.

    Hoping to hear it tonight at the BTLOG concert in Houston!!!

  8. Breann

    Thank you, Jason and Andy for laboring to give this song life. I agree that the strength and beauty lie in its messiness. “It’s an abused girl…No, it’s Mary…Then, the realization, “No, it’s me.” The conclusion builds like the sound of footsteps growing ever nearer, and by the time the last Word is breathed, my eyes are brimming with tears. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

  9. S.D. Smith

    Yes, yes, yes.

    I agree with Laura, that the song inhabits “how it works” so beautifully. I also cherish so much how the girl doesn’t leave on her own, or overcome her circumstances. She. Is. Rescued.

    I resonate with her vulnerability and the magic absurdity of how she is saved. It’s the story of my life. (And everyone who is In Christ by grace.)

    I love the song and appreciate this look inside. One more reason to love the RR. Hearing Andy sing this at Hutchmoot and then at BtLoG was very special.

    Thanks Andy and Jason. And Andy, I’m sending Jill a Christmas card with my only kids on it. I haven’t made it yet, but I will find a way.

  10. Dan Foster

    Andy G provided some of my favorite lines at Hutchmoot during that concert. #1 was “well, that was OK, Ron” after Ron Block’s awe-inspiring rendition of This is My Father’s World. #2 was “Man, I’m glad Walt’s not here to hear how we destroyed his story. Jason should just read his story at the concert instead of writing a song” followed by a tremendously beautiful song (the story must be REALLY good).

    I’ve also been enchanted by this song on the new album. I’m encouraged to find out that I wasn’t missing something (thought maybe I was), and I think I don’t mind that it doesn’t all add up. I’m an engineer analyzer type and we often like everything to be neat, tidy, and logical. But the more I get into song and story and art, I find that looking for the logical solution is answering the wrong question. Like a haiku: if you complain that it’s not a complete sentence, or a thought is left out or a word does not accurately depcit the scene, then you’ve missed it. It captures in 17 syllables a fleeting vision in the mind. This song captures the miracle of the incarnation in a way that doesn’t boil down to a logical resolution.

    (and just to give credance to my analyzer brain, the wonder of God is that we can grow in our understanding of him in a fully logical way too – there’s no right brain left brain dichotomy with God)

  11. Ashley Elizabeth

    “What I like about it is that it refuses to be reduced, categorized, and then shelved. Something about the messiness of it forces me to engage it (and therefore the mystery of the incarnation) every time.”

    How guilty am I for trying to reduce the Mysteries of the Almighty! Thank you Jason Gray and Andy Gullahorn for words that crawl into my soul and sit there, making uncomfortable room until I acknowledge their beauty, ugliness, and hope.

  12. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    I usually cringe when I notice a billboard with a message from “God.” “HAVE YOU SEEN ME THIS WEEK?” or, “WHAT PART OF THOU SHALT NOT DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?” Similarly, I usually want to cringe when a songwriter presumes to speak for God. Not so with “I Will Find a Way.”

    “I Will Find a Way” is not a song that elicits cringes because we don’t realize what’s going on in the song until it’s over. When Jason Gray and his songwriting partner M. Night Gullahorn surreptitiously reveal it, it’s goose bump time.

    At first, it sounds like a beautiful love story. Turns out, it is a beautiful love story, but so much more sublime than we could have imagined. The best of my love is like a school boy crush compared to the persistent love of God.

    The majestic layered beauty of this song comes from the realization that in some measure, we are all playing the part of the broken Mary.

    Thanks Walt, Jason, and M. Night Gullahorn.

  13. Ron Block

    @ronblock

    Beautiful song – I sure had fun getting to be with you guys last night at the Ryman.

    Curt, nothing like an Old Covenant mindset presuming to speak for God. I occasionally get those “Letter from Jesus” emails that sound like Woody Allen’s mother in one of his movies. “You never write. You never call.” “I watched as you walked right by your dusty Bible, and I cried when you forgot to pray.” I’ve often rewritten them from a New Covenant mindset and sent them back to the sender.

    That said, it is possible for someone with a New Covenant mindset to write from God’s perspective; it just has to remain biblical and centered in the covenant of grace, mercy, love. I’ve only done it once myself, but with a good result.

  14. Lorelei Simons

    While listening to you sing this song in Lincoln, it seemed you were singing about a great friend who was in need of the Lord. You were going to help her by introducing her to Jesus. She would turn to Him and He would save her. Then you sang *I found a way* and I literally gasped….It’s CHRIST speaking! This song made me *wipe away my tears* cry~
    Christ loves us that much!

  15. Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    I don’t have a lot to add to this, but I’ll echo what Ben Shive said the other day when we were all talking about how this song is in our top 5 of all time list: “I’ll never hear the word ‘Emmanuel’ the same again.”

    Thank you, Jason and Andy, for telling this story so well. I have a feeling Uncle Walt (Wangerin) would be proud.

  16. Aaron Roughton

    I listen to this song a lot. A LOT. It’s one of my favorites on the new album. And I’m not an idiot. I know the ending. I’ve heard it many times. But I still cry. Thanks for making me cry Jason and Andy.

  17. Carlee Lingerfelt

    I heard this song performed at BTLOG in Charlotte for the first time, this past Wednesday. I guess it was the Spirit speaking to me or something through this song because I was crying almost the whole time. It was so clear what the heart of the song was. Messed. me. up. (in a good way.) Afterward AP said, “One of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard,” or something, and I just nodded to myself. I can’t even tell somebody else about it without almost falling apart.
    Thank you.

  18. Dieta

    When we met last night, one of the first things you said to me was that you had a speech problem. I think not, Jason Gray. I think God is speaking perfectly through you. Thank you.

  19. Chris Yokel

    Wow. I love Christmas music, and this has to be one of the best new Christmas songs I’ve heard in a long time. And I agree with everyone else–the way the song works just amazingly reflects the mind-bending mystery of the Incarnation, which I have spent most of this Advent season once again trying to wrap my head around.

    And Curt, you are brilliant. M. Night Gullahorn. Let’s just hope he doesn’t write a song called “The Happening”. Then we’ll know it’s over.

  20. Rachel

    I went to your concert in Lincoln, Ne, under duress. My sisters and brother were convinced I had to go. I even joked on the way in that perhaps you would play loud enough that I could sit in the car and listen from there.

    When you played this song, I cringed and clinched my husband’s hand. At the intermission, I said to him, “I like these guys, but I wish they would stop saying things that hurt so much!” Perhaps I can explain…

    My husband and I met in college. We were “friends”. We did not date, despite the protests of both families and most of our friends. I was interested in others. I ran away. I left the state. But I could not leave him behind. And patiently, he waited. For 8 years, he waited. And finally, God sent him to me, to bring me home from my wandering. When he proposed, I said yes out of a conviction of faith. I did not believe I loved him. I believed God wanted me to say yes, and I did. I was terrified. And I was convinced that God simply had chosen to remove romantic love from my life. And so we got married.

    Backtrack 15 years… you will see a little girl cringing and hiding as she begins to understand the fear she has felt, begins to see that it is not something she has imagined, not something that she was horribly making up. It was truth. Undeniable. And painfully close. I questioned love and my own self worth. If someone who was supposed to love me… who, I believed, was under obligation to love me, could hurt me… in unspeakable ways… then who could really love me. How could anyone else dare to love me? And I believed that not only was I not loved, but I was “un-lovable”. It was no one else’s fault. I was simply beyond the ability of human love.

    Fast forward… When we got married, my faithful friend and I, I was afraid. I couldn’t even hold his hand, much less show my growing affection for him. If I wanted to reach out, I would pat him on the head (true story), because I didn’t know how else to do it. Four months into our marriage, we discovered that I was pregnant.

    And God began to teach me about love.

    My husband, ever so gently, broke into my cold, hard heart. In gentle ways, he came to me… He came to me. Little things… he cooked, making sure to use ingredients that didn’t upset my delicate balance. He gave me daily foot massages. He showered me with kindness. And as our son grew inside me, my heart grew warm. He was born 2 days before Thanksgiving. At Christmas, I took my one-month old son to the Christmas Eve service, and sitting there holding my son and leaning against this incredible man that God had made just for me… the one to heal my heart… I wept. And I told a friend later, “I thought I knew. I thought I knew, growing up, about how Christ loved me. But I had no idea. I can’t even comprehend it now. But it is so much more than I thought.”

    We will celebrate our 13th Wedding Anniversary (and 21 years of friendship) on December 27th. And I am more blessed than I can say. More than I can understand. I have often tried to figure out why this man should love me the way that he does, and I have no answer to that. That used to bother me. Now, I’m just glad that he does.

    I have often said to my husband, “You are Christ’s representative on earth to me.” He has broken down the walls that separated. And He continues to speak His love to me. And He continues to heal and to abide with those He loves.

    I may be presumptuous… but I believe this is what this song is about.

  21. luaphacim

    I heard this at BtLoG in Topeka last week. Like many of the commenters here, I was deeply moved — it’s probably my favorite new Christmas song in the last ten years.

    My appreciation of the song didn’t come right away. Underneath the surface of the narrator’s tender affection, something bothered me about this story. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was. Then I realized that I was bothered by the fact that he was so… invasive, I guess. Not only did he not leave her in peace, but he was so insistent on coming to her that he implanted a living being in her uterus to do it! Some might call this a pretty severe breach of her privacy.

    And, really, that’s what bothers me when I read the story of Christ’s advent in the first chapter of Luke, as well. Does this God have no respect for people’s reproductive freedom? What gives Him the right to go around using His divine family planning techniques on everyone in sight? (First Elizabeth, then Mary — WHO’S NEXT?!)

    Yes, I realize my hangups come from a twenty-first century perspective. I realize my perceptions are still colored by the feminist thinking I swallowed by the hogshead in graduate school. I realize that God is God and He certainly doesn’t answer to me. But it still bothered me.

    As I wrestled with these thoughts, I was struck with our Lord’s persistent pursuit of his people. While we were still His enemies, separated by sin’s great gulf, He lavishly poured His love out upon us.

    No, the incarnation isn’t how I would go about fixing the sin problem. But that’s because I am selfish and impatient and would be more inclined to “fix” the situation by saying, “To hell with these suckas; I’ma make me some new ones.”

    To reach us — not just mankind as a whole, but each individual among us — required something we might consider a little bit invasive. But His love for us is greater than our comprehension, and His methods are a direct reflection of His love.

    All that to say: I found the song a little disturbing at first. Ultimately, though, I realized I found it disturbing because it is such a good reflection of God’s unceasing, overpowering, never-ending love for me.

    Thank the Lord that He didn’t — and doesn’t — take the laissez-faire approach to the salvation of us who languished in sin’s dark dungeon!

  22. Kalen

    Thanks for posting this! I have been trying to remember what that song was called since I first heard it at your concert in Lincoln. I think God wants me to read this book…I have heard about it on probably ten different occasions in the last month. Beautiful song, and beautiful story of redemption!

  23. Rachel

    Was just listening to this again and was struck by the simplicity of the instrumentation, and how you all wove the story through the music. The sound of the Tonic playing persistently, quietly, throughout the whole piece. A single note portraying the persistence of our God, slowly, gently working His way throughout our lives. And then the subtle changes around that, as the heart begins to come alive. And then the beautiful melodic sounds of the piano as He “found the way”. A beautiful gift.

    By the way… just a clarification… my story (above) is merely a reflection of how I relate God’s love in my life. More to the point, as I read the words and listened to the song, I was struck with the way it mirrors Christ’s redemption and sanctification of this humble heart. In my life, he used my husband’s love to demonstrate His love for me… persistent, patient, faithful… He waited patiently… He came to me and brought me home from my wandering… The walls of my heart were not toppled like Jericho, though I know He does that for some. They were gently peeled away with kindness and His refusal to let my heart remain locked away. I think that is often the way He works His love. Faithfully, persistently coming to us, even when we don’t yet realize how much we need Him. Refusing to leave, refusing to turn away, knowing how much we need Him.

    Christmas was never so real to me as the first time I held my infant son and thought of Christ’s gentle coming into the world to do what I could not imagine doing, giving what I could not bear to give… not just His own life, but the life of His Son. All because He would not abandon us and leave us locked away. It is incredibly humbling.

  24. carrie luke

    thanks fellas. I’ve been longing to have a window into the writing and inspiration of this song since the first moment I heard it. I sat there profoundly dumbfounded and awestruck thinking, “Andy, how did you know?”

    Even after listening to it many, many times, i am still amazed by how spot on it is…how every word was obviously carefully, thoughtfully, and purposefully crafted to communicate the abused person’s struggle/battle to believe and participate in the gospel story in their most secret, desolate, shame ridden places.

    jason, you thanked me the other night for recognizing how special a song it was and for supporting it so passionately. Now, after reading this I know I should be thanking you….For your sensitive awareness, for being moved by a woman’s pain and irretrievable losses, and for your patience in waiting for the right time to give life to a song that has the potential to if not change lives…then to at least reorient them back to believing that the Father’s heart is one that pursues and finds us in our lost places. And He never slumbers nor grows weary in such pursuits. praise be.

    andy, what can I say? Thank you for being faithful with your gift. You’ve done a great work here as well. Your ability to speak profound volumes with simple words and phrases is astounding and never gets old.

    This song reminds me of Zechariah’s words when his tongue was finally loosened.
    “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”

    Merry Christmas and Emmanuel, Rabbit Room.

  25. Jen

    What a story…. the song is even more meaningful knowing all the passion and waiting behind it. (six years?) I love knowing how it all came together at just the right time.

    I just got Andy & Jill’s album a few weeks ago specifically for this song (well, and to hear their take on “Baby it’s Cold Outside” which made me laugh out loud in my car), and it was all I could do to not skip straight to Track 6. So I listened to it. And when I got to the “plot twist” I thought, “wait. what? did that just happen?” So I listened again. And again. I’m really glad the first time I heard it I had no idea what it was about or what to expect. You’ve made art here. 🙂

    I admit the logical, orthodox part of me was trying to figure the story out, but when I stopped thinking and felt the heart of the story, that’s when it all came together and made sense. That last section gives me chills every time. Thank you for seeing this vision through to completion and sharing this beautiful song with the world.

    And now I totally have “Ragman” on hold at my library. I have to read this story now! Oh no, something else on my “to read” list…. I need like a month off from life to get through all these books.

    PS: Um, Jason… are you taking requests for your day-after-Christmas shows in FL? 😀

  26. Beth

    I had the pleasure of hearing this song two nights ago at the Ryman. My husband and I were mesmerized by the whole Behold the Lamb show, even though we have seen it multiple times. We had never seen you, Jason, and we became instant fans. (We have loved Andy for years.) Thank you for writing this song, it puts the incomprehensible idea of God coming to earth as a baby, into a form that we can ponder anew. We are excited that we will get to hear you again in the Spring when you come to our church to play. We will be eagerly awaiting hearing more of your insights.

  27. Bald Headed Brian

    I just heard this song live at the Houston Behold the Lamb of God Concert. What a a wonderful, song. I found myself singing it this morning. I’m excited to spend some more time internalizing it’s beautiful lyrics.

    Now a word on the concert. (Because I couldn’t find anywhere else to post on it)

    Several years ago I walked into the Rave theatre for my very first experience with The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Rings. The hype was high and so were my expectations. I’ll never forget the moment at the end of that movie when Frodo and Samwise were looking over the rough road ahead. I thought to myself, “I have just experienced something magical, something special, something unforgettable.” There are so few stories that good told that well. I knew it would be one of those once in a lifetime experiences.

    Friday night at the Behold the Lamb of God concert was another one of those once in a lifetime experiences. A story so good, so true, so hopeful…and told so well. I wanted to sit in the dead center of the stage, point all the speakers towards me and have the music and truth engulf my being. My whole family came away knowing we had just been a part of something very special. To all the artists involved I want to thank you for doing what you do.

  28. Paula Shaw

    This has turned out to be my favorite serious song on “Christmas”. It’s also turned out to be in my top 5 all-time favorite songs ever. Thank you guys for the gift that it is! And Merry Christmas!

  29. Laura Ward

    “All I know is that when I read the story I am deeply moved – but it isn’t a movement I can easily explain. It is like the truth in the story completely bypassed my brain and my reasoning to take up residence somewhere deeper. So although I can’t really explain it, it feels more true to me than some things that are more easily explained.”

    Andy, you’ve summed up my response to the song. Every time I hear it, I feel the truth within me, even though I can’t put words to it. Many thanks to you & Jason for beautifully embodying this story and reminding us all of God’s relentless love. I agree with Ben Shive that this is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard!

  30. Peter Br

    Jason, thank you for pointing me back to this post — and it was great to meet you in the flesh last night! My wife and daughters thoroughly enjoyed the depth and joy of all the artists, and the quirkiness of that “last night of the tour” made it even more fun.

    Maybe this is colored by my tendency to associate/label/categorize things, but when I heard this song, I immediately thought “Wow, it’s about Mary — but it’s about the Church”. This combined (or maybe shifting) focus adds to the mysterious beauty of the narrative.

    All guesswork aside, you get me every time with the second half of the “change” verse. The buildup is so thorough, so patient — like love that will not be awakened until its time. Such a powerful, gentle expression of the Almighty — it’s a personification of meekness, and it speaks volumes of his love for us.

  31. Ben

    Any chance this video might form part of a BtLoG DVD for those of us who live in parts of the country (or world) where the tour doesn’t reach?

  32. Katie Haseltine

    I love this song and I thank you for writing it for me! So many different things hit me about it but the thing I’m hanging onto today is that all things will be made right. If Jesus kept His word and came as Emmanuel then He will return and make it all right again. I don’t think I cared about this when I was younger or more naive or when things were going better. Now that I see the brokenness and sin in my own life and others and the world around me this is of supreme importance to my sanity and ability to just breathe. I weep with gratitude for a Savior that will find a way to bring the world He made back to rightness and wholeness. It is too wonderful. Merry Christmas.

  33. PaulH

    I am about as well read as Andy, and am not familiar with the writing. (I would like to thank the RR for helping in my literacy problem and Andy, I love your dry Texas humor)

    My first impression of the song/story is unique and I believe the” messiness” may be due to the fact the average listener is trying to fit the “Mary” peg in a hole that is not it’s shape. The only similarity is there is a Babe sent to show love.

    Again, permit me freedom of my first impression and I mean no offense or hope I am not stepping on bigger toes than mine.

    The story reminds me more of Hosea and Gomer.With Hosea going to a broken, sin-laden wife who doesn’t deserve his love and forgiveness, he finds a way to reach her.

    Also, the girl locked away in fear and brokeness is not a girl per se but she is all of us, the world, mankind as a whole and God sent his son to find a way to love us and change us from the inside.

    A beautiful story and song, thank so much.

  34. Rachel

    Paul… I appreciate the analogy to Hosea & Gomer. And you’re right. The song touches us because it is, in fact, about all of us. In our own ways and for our own reasons, we are broken and hide in fear. But God finds a way to love us.

    Have you listened yet to “That’s How I Ended Up Here”… another collaboration between Jason and Andy? I was half-listening in the car and heard “live lobster tank”. I had to hit the Back button and start over to find out what was going on. And then I kept replaying it until I had it memorized. I won’t spoil it, but the last stanza is so poignant to me and goes straight at this issue. I’ve made it my theme song, and it seems to run through my head 24×7!

  35. PaulH

    Yes Rachel, “How I ended up here” I would like to believe was written with me in mind. I actually have done something like that (confession)
    I first heard that song an Jason’s “Acoustic Storytime” and actually laughed out loud whilst walking my dogs near the library – people stared and pulled their kids closer that day with this crazy man laughing to himself in the park.

  36. Rachel from NE

    Don’t sweat it, Paul. That happens to me all the time! I’ve had this joke w/ my husband that whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by people, I ask for a rock. Not to throw. To hide under. We have revised the joke since hearing this song. I now require a lobster tank. Tough to carry with you, tho!

  37. Drew Zahn

    Rachel,

    Thank you for sharing your story, though I imagine it brings up the pain again to do so.

    Speaking of pain, I’ve heard this song twice – Once at Hutchmoot and once at (also) the Lincoln BtLOG concert. Cannot listen to it without weeping. Simply impossible. And I’m OK with that.

    When I hear it, however, I’ve never thought of Mary, but of the world itself, personified as this fearful woman. Has not sin beaten and abused creation itself? Is not the world afraid, as Adam and Eve hid, of coming face to face with God? Then how could almighty God come to earth to face creation again?

    The answer the song gives me is, of course, the Incarnation. For Christ was born of a woman of dust, so I can see the woman in the song as creation itself. “All creation groans,” I believe the Bible says.

    Wish I had the words right now to put these thoughts into pictures, but then, if I had the words, perhaps I wouldn’t have to weep so at the beauty of it. Thank you for posting the video, that I might weep and be washed again.

  38. Rachel from NE

    I was thinking, Drew, about the images you suggest and trying to think of something profound to say. (This isn’t that… in case you wondered!) It got me thinking again about what it would have been like to have been Mary, and I asked myself… “What would it be like to look on the face of God?”

    Terrifying. Awe-inspiring. Frightening. Overwhelming. Breath-taking. Exhilerating. Humbling. Undoing. Touching. Consuming. Longing. Penetrating. Hopeful. Peace.

    Such contradictions in my thoughts… the image of GOD and the emotions that swell whenever I hold a newborn. Speechless. Consumed. Undone. It’s mystifying.

    As to the pain… Most find it hard to believe, but it does not pain me in that way anymore. God, in His grace, has freed me from that, but that’s another story! He has given me a story and used the circumstances of my life to teach me compassion for those who still feel the pain. Truly… it is the absence of pain that leaves me speechless. God is good and gracious to His children. Peace to you and Happy New Year!

  39. Tom Murphy

    I somehow missed this video and posting before Christmas. Thanks Andy for reposting on AndyGullahorn.com. Love the fact that the blog entry is in community. Christ has come to bind His Bride together through His body and blood and Jason/Andy you’ve shown what art in community can be through the Walt’s take on the Incarnation. Love you guys! Grace and Peace…

    BTW, this will be a song of the topic of our discussion at this week’s Rabbit Room meeting in Dallas. Deep waters my friends…Thanks for the plumbing the depths! There is much more to be explored together! Love Andy P’s latest quote,

    “I am convinced that poets are toddlers in a cathedral, slobbering on wooden blocks and piling them up in the light of the stained glass. We can hardly make anything beautiful that wasn’t beautiful in the first place. We aren’t writers, but gleeful rearrangers of words whose meanings we can’t begin to know. When we manage to make something pretty, it’s only so because we are ourselves a flourish on a greater canvas. That means there’s no end to the discovery. We may crawl around the cathedral floor for ages before we grow up enough to reach the doorknob and walk outside into a garden of delights.”

    http://www.rabbitroom.com/?p=11448#more-11448

  40. Peter Br

    There’s a Rabbit Room meeting in Dallas? How did I not know about this?

    FYI, Andy and Jill will be in the metroplex on Friday evening.

  41. Tom Murphy

    Hey Peter, we’ve just been meeting for the past few weeks since the 2nd week of January. Our first meeting had a bit of worship and we watched the Indelible Grace documentary “Roots and Wings”.

    We are meeting at Crooked Tree Coffeehouse in Uptown on Thursday nights at 7PM, except for the last Thursday of each month when we head over to Art House Dallas’s Art House Exchange over at Molly McGuire’s. If you are interested in joining, would love to have you. Discussion has been pretty sweet…

    It’s been quite a whirlwind of activity. Blogging soon on the past several weeks. All I can say is that God seems to be moving!

  42. Peter Br

    Thanks, Tom; I don’t know how tight my schedule will be (the kids are usually still up around 7PM and this year’s winter has been busier than usual) but I’d love to join you at some point.

  43. Mere enthusiasm - He Found a Way

    […] Today I bring you a much better treat than any I could offer, a beautifully told (very) short story by masterful writer Walter Wangerin, Jr. Read it and then listen to Jason Gray and Andy Gullahorn’s amazing adaptation of the story into song. (For details about how these guys did it, visit the Rabbit Room.) […]

  44. angel

    I got lost in this song a couple days ago at your concert in Austin. It was hands down my favorite part of the concert. Jesus spoke to me so specifically in this song. And I sensed His presence so deeply that I didn’t want to open my eyes at the close of the song. I didn’t want to leave that place.

    So that evening, I listened to it again via YouTube and wrote a poetry response to Jesus. If it is ok, I will attach my poem here.

    Thank you.

    I heard you in a song today

    Not unlike I usually do

    You caught me hiding before I realize

    And out I come when I hear a voice

    that speaks your name

    better than I know how to explain

    In the smooth sweetness of rocking notes

    I find my body relaxing, willfully responding

    to the current that fills me up so completely

    Gently erasing all evil, if only for a moment

    and it’s freedom I feel then, and freedom that

    moves me to lean into the words of a song

    that really means what it says

    Come in

    I find myself trusting you, even though

    You seem too good to be true

    and I, I too unworthy to be any good of you

    Music is an antidote you gently use,

    an elixir that rewrites the shame I feel

    And when it seems I’m lost again

    You come in a folk song

    I know, Your voice is much more powerful

    Your music, I don’t quite understand

    So, you come in a folk song and you dance

    at a pace that I can try to follow

    You sing me into a language I never knew

    into Love that I can grow into

  45. Tom Murphy

    AndyJason, my sister was saved somewhere around this Dec 23rd. Just thought that you should know the Lord used a conversation after hearing “I Will Find a Way” this year to highlight her need for confession and forgiveness. I’ve been praying for the past 7 years that fire would descend. Thanks for being instruments in the Redeemer’s hands to extend grace towards a broken young lady (like us all). Love y’all…He found a way!

    So how should I come to the one I love
    I will find a way, I will find a way
    How should I come to the one I love
    I will find a way

    No hiding place ever kept her safe
    So she hides inside herself
    Now to reach her heart the only way
    Is to hide in there as well
    I will hide in there as well

  46. Sheila

    Beautiful. I was tipped off to the twist before I heard it for the first time. So I knew it was from the perspective of The Almighty from the start. I also knew the song was about Christmas so after first listening I held that Mary is the object of His love. But upon a second hearing, I’ve come to understand, as several have already written, that the scared, shamed girl is all of us who have come to accept the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Collectively, she is the Church, the bride of Christ. What a beautiful, Biblical metaphor. Thank you.

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