Writing a song is difficult, isn’t it?
Not always, Stephanie Greenwald says, if you focus on one thing – listening to God. St. Luke’s Director of Worship has just released her first solo CD – Abide – and her secret to songwriting is simple.
“I remember saying to God, ‘I didn’t think this would happen this easily,’ and He said to me, ‘The songs are already written. You just have to listen.’”
Abide is a beautiful compilation of 10 original songs that Stephanie wrote from the heart. She sings, plays the piano, and delivers a message of hope through God’s grace. The title “just felt right” to her.
“That’s what God wants us to do. He wants us to not just ‘live with’ Him – not just ‘walk alongside’ Him – but to abide. Our whole being, to be in Him.”
The first song is the title track. Its lyrics came to Stephanie as she and her husband, Rev. Phil Greenwald, were driving.
“I looked out across the sky. It was beautiful, and (God) said, ‘I paint the sky with my majesty.’” Her eyes light up as she remembers the moment. “I thought, ‘Oh that’s good, I like that!’ So I typed it in my phone.”
Her daughters also provided inspiration to sing about the beauty of God’s creation.
“I sat down with Tori and as we were thinking about lyrics, she started talking about mountains and different parts of the earth. That’s why she is listed on the CD (credits) as helping me write that song,” Stephanie recalled with a smile. “Kalli helped me write another song. (When they opened the CD) they were like, ‘Look! Our names are in there!’ That was really, really cute.
“There would always be something about a song that God would stir in my heart. If I was reading a scripture passage, all of a sudden there would be one line – there would just be a ‘stirring’ – and I thought, ‘Oh, there’s a song there.’”
Growing still and listening to God is also something Stephanie recently shared in a St. Luke’s Daily Devotional:
“He desires for you to wake up every morning, listening for His unfailing love and seeking His guidance, because you have given yourself FULLY to Him.”
Another song, Father of the Broken, is a plea to God that results in a personal transformation. Stephanie says it’s about acknowledging that we are ‘broken’ and need God’s salvation.
“It’s looking at our brokenness, but when we turn that into ‘praise’ (to God), how that makes us whole. I wrote the song during the sermon series, Running In The Wrong Direction. The lyrics include, ‘We run, we run, we run to your arms.’”
You learn something about yourself when you create something. Abide taught Stephanie Greenwald that God is “…a lot closer than we think.”
“What He wants to do is reveal his nature to us,” she says. “That’s what these songs are all about. It’s about His nature… He wants us to realize He is in the stillness and the small – and the big.
“He’s everywhere. As we listen to hear Him, it’s not going to be ‘in your face’ all the time. It’s going to be more of the still, quiet voice like He tells us in scripture. He gives us that assurance in our spirit and then we become better at recognizing it, the more we do it.”
You can purchase Abide in Threefold right now. The CD is also available on iTunes and Spotify. All proceeds go to the life-changing missions of St. Luke’s.