My Savior, A Song About Death

I follow the Primary Music Leaders facebook page. I noticed a few discussions about what to do/sing when someone in the ward passed away (a child or parent especially). I was thinking how it would be so nice to have a song that addressed this situation. Sure, there are songs that brush the topic but it’s such a big part of life I felt it needed it’s own song.

I have had very little experience with death. For that reason I felt I shouldn’t write this song. But the prompting was strong. I told my husband Sunday morning of the October 2018 General Conference about my prompting. I said, “If there is a talk about death, I will know for sure I need to write a song about this.” First talk of that morning was President Ballard’s talk, “The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead.” Heavenly Father blessed me with reassurance.

I started off trying to write about what happens when a person dies. Shortly after doing this I was stumped. I prayed about it. Later I had an impression to focus the song on the Savior. No wonder I wasn’t being inspired. Without the Savior, there would be no hope associated with death. The sting of death would be unbearable. Reading Doctrine & Covenants 138, as suggested by Elder Ballard, I found my chorus in verses 23-24: “And the saint rejoiced in their redemption, and bowed the knee and acknowledged the Son of God as their Redeemer and Deliverer from death and the chains of hell. Their countenances shone, and the radiance from the presence of the Lord rested upon them, and they sang praises unto his holy name.” That was a good place to start.

My first draft was about how people feel sorrow but, there’s Christ, so all will be OK. I felt like it was insensitive. I read articles and listened to people about their experiences. Some people who experienced the death of someone close said people would tell them they must be so grateful for the Savior and not address their grief. I really wanted to rewrite the lyrics to validate that everyone experiences a wide range of sad emotions: grief, sorrow, loneliness, anger, confusion while still manifesting the hope of Christ.

Let’s say to get that idea across took a lot of work. But every times I came up with something that worked, I was elated! I finished the song the week before April 2019 General Conference. At conference President Nelson spoke about people who refuse to receive essential ordinances. He said, “while there is a place for them hereafter–with wonderful men and women who also chose not to make covenants with God–that is not the place where families will be reunited and given the privilege to live and progress forever.”

The second verse to my song says, “While I have time on earth I will keep God’s commands. For I want to return to heaven and be with my loved one again.” Having previously written this line, and hearing President Nelson’s words, I felt the spirit guided me to hit that nail on the head. We must do our part to be with our loved one again and Christ will make up for what we lack. He is risen. He atoned for our sins. Because of Him we can be with our loved ones again but we need to do our part.

My Savior (pdf)

My Savior (A song about death)

When my loved one departs
And on earth I remain
Do I feel loneliness or anger?
Am I wrong to feel so much pain?
If I turn my thoughts to the Savior,
Who knows all my sorrow and grief,
His peace will come as I ask
The spirit to comfort me.

My knee shall bow for my Savior, Redeemer.
My lips shall sing His praise.
He dries my tears and gives me hope
That life goes beyond the grave.

While I have time on earth
I will keep God’s commands.
For I want to return to heaven
And be with my loved one again.
So I’ll turn my thoughts to the Savior,
Atoning for all who would live.
This great vicar’ous gift brings
Deliv’rence from death and sin.

My knee shall bow for my Savior, Redeemer.
My lips shall sing His praise.
He dries my tears and gives me hope
That life goes beyond the grave.

My Covenants

I was reading a talk suggested by a Relief Society instructor: “A Sin Resistant Generation” by Joy D. Jones. One phrase struck me: “There is unusual power in making and keeping covenants with our Heavenly Father. The adversary knows this, so he has obscured the concept of covenant making.”

I thought, “If Satan wants children to be confused about what covenants are then I’m going to write a song about that. A song to help children remember what covenants are. ‘ I Will Not Forget My Covenants’ is what I should call it.”

I came up with the first verse very quickly. When it came time for a chorus I really wanted to be inspired so I took it to the temple. While sitting in the chapel, waiting for a session to start, I opened The Book of Mormon with full belief that I would find my answer. I flipped opened to Alma chapter 31. In verse 36 it mentioned that Alma “clapped his hands upon all them.” He gave these people the Holy Ghost (an ordinance, associated with baptism). Then in verse 38 it says, “And the Lord provided for them…and he also gave them strength, that they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.”

There have been many songs about Christ but none where I heard that phrase, “joy of Christ.” It is so beautiful. I almost felt that the phrase was written just for me. In further searching, it is the only place in all scriptures where that exact phrase is used.

When I took this song to an editor, my heart was elated when he told me when I sang the part of this song where there is a pause between the lyrics, “I will not forget” and “my covenants” he thought, “Wait, what am I not supposed to forget? Oh, my covenants.” That is exactly what I wanted! Hopefully children will pause to wonder (and always remember) the same thing.

The 2nd and 3rd verse came so easily I knew I had heaven’s help.

Thus, this song was born.

My Covenants (pdf)

A cov’nant is a promise, a promise that I make
With my Heav’nly Father on my baptism day
I promise to serve and keep God’s commands.
Great blessings await on the covenant path.

Chours:
I’ll feel the joy of Christ enter into my life.
Eternity’s real. My cup is filled
When I don’t forget my covenants.

Sometimes I stray from the path
But true repentance brings
Sins that wash away and leave my hands pure and clean.
As I take the bread and water each week
I’ll cleave to the Savior and he’ll strengthen me.

Chorus

When I enter the temple I’ll find myself prepared
To keep greater cov’nants that I’ll be making there.
The light I receive will give me great strength
To make righteous choices and reach up with faith.

Chorus

One Little Sheep

I wanted to write a primary song that was good for nursery/junior primary: repetitive lyrics and actions that easily go with the lyrics. This tune and these lyrics came to my head one day. I have always loved the imagery of Jesus as the Good Shephard so it made sense that this is what I came up with 🙂

I love that while the music is simple, the message is inspiring. Making it applicable for senior primary too!

Sheet music: One Little Sheep

The Spirit Speaks to Me

I originally started writing this song intending it to be a primary song. However, the more I got into it, the more I felt like it was a youth song. I think it’s actually a tween song but no one really categorizes songs that way 🙂

After this last general conference, and noticing how much emphasis was on following the promptings of the spirit, I thought the timing of this song was perfect.

The Spirit Speaks to me (pdf)

Crashed

I can’t express how excited I am to put this song out there! I have had it done for over a year now but have been stuck on one measure. I couldn’t figure out what I was playing. I finally found an awesome friend to help me and now my song is complete! My husband loves this song and always asks me to play it. It starts out slow but picks up intensity.

Crashed: Sheet Music

I wrote this song because I was so inspired by the woman in this video, who has now become pretty famous. I’ve seen her story in a few different places. I took the things she talked about in this video and put music to those feelings.

Here’s the song broken down with the measures and feelings and/or circumstances I was writing about:

Measure 1-5 Laying on the ground right after crash. Measure 6-9 Feeling that things would be ok right before she went into coma. Measure 10-16 Waking up in hospital: “coming out of the coma was really hard and painful.” Measure 17-27 I imagined how she would feel coming to a realization of her new body. Measure 28 and beyond is the confirmation that her new life is good despite the new challenge. I also just did what sounded good from there on out 🙂

Rising Temperature

This is the first song that got me started on my song writing journey. At a piano recital one year I heard a song performed that I wanted to play. My teacher told me the boy wrote it. I think that is what gave me motivation to do my own song writing.

The funny thing about this song is that I don’t remember the name I gave it originally. When deciding what to call it I saw a thermometer I just used on my sick little boy and thought of the name. Here it is:

Rising Temperature

Messages

Believe it or not, I was in a band. Yep, me an my friends jamming away to our heart’s content. This song was written on an acoustic guitar by my friend Weston Gardner. You can check out his current band, Cavalist, here.

I took his version, wrote piano to it, and this is it! When we performed this song at an open mic night one person told me they would buy our album just for this song. I thought that was such a nice complement!

Caution: this song is tricky/fast toward the end…don’t give up you can do it!

Messages