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Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Songwriting Inspiration

Today I’d like to talk a little about the source of inspiration for writers. Nearly all writers like to think that their inspiration comes from some sort of mystical muse. For Christian authors, we hope that muse is the Holy Spirit whispering in our ears. With each of my books, I had that clear moment when I sensed Him speaking a theme, a premise, or even a plot line to my heart.

But never in my writing have I felt the Holy Spirit step down and take the reins like I have in the area of songwriting. Allow me to share the story. My husband produces Christian television programming for the Arabic speaking world. Almost two years ago now, he decided there was a real need for songs in English that would help Americans to understand more about Islam and the Muslim people. He searched for a musician to undertake the project, but every time he asked, the answer came back the same. “I just don’t know enough about the subject.”

Well, having lived with my husband for 14 years at that point, I knew a lot about the subject. I mean a whole lot--like could have earned an honorary doctorate in Islam lot. So finally I said, “I write poetry, and I can play a little piano. Maybe God would give me a song.”

A few days later a line popped into my head. “They cry peace, peace, but there is no peace.” Hmm. It sounded like the perfect cry for the Muslim people. And it sounded oddly scriptural, so I looked it up. I found it in Jeremiah 8:11. From there God began to fill my heart with stories of Muslim people and their struggles. I wanted Americans to understand the beautiful hearts of these people and to catch a glimpse of God’s love for them. I wrote the song over a few hours time. Then a sat down at the piano, and surprisingly, my very rusty fingers stumbled their way onto the tune in my head. I tried to transcribe it onto paper, but at that point my neglected skills failed me completely.

I played it for my husband, and he videotaped it. I almost forgot about the song. I knew one of his friends had sent it to a composer, but I was busy writing novels, and it was far from my mind. Until, one day I went to a conference with my husband in Europe, and he turned on the completed song in a room of about 200 people. I was moved to tears along with everyone else. When it was over, I couldn’t help but clap.

I felt like Balaam’s donkey.

I have no real musical ability. But my husband had a song in his heart, and the Holy Spirit birthed it through me. I was just an instrument. A conduit. A clay pitcher. I hardly felt involved in the process at all. Since then I’ve written four songs about Islam— each in under a day. And each has been turned by composers and musicians into a stirring, emotional work of beauty. Only the Holy Spirit can do a work like that.

Here is the first one titled, “A Cry for Peace.” You can learn more about the songs, the stories behind them, and where to purchase them at

Click here for Song #2, Please See Me.


  1. Fabulous post. While I wouldn't call myself a musician, I can still relate to this piece. It's wonderful how God works through us.

  2. Hi Lynda. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, it is wonderful. I'm still amazed when I think about it.