Christian Songwriting: For the Billboard or for the Lord?

My dear friend and coach, Mark Cawley, asked an important question in his most recent blog: “What keeps you going as a songwriter when you feel like packing it in?"

Like most Nashville songwriters, I keep the sidewalks of Music Row polished with my shoe leather! As much time as I spend in Music Row pitch sessions, it is often easy to forget that I write for the Lord, and not for the Billboard. It is His decision how He will use any of my songs.

Take for example, my very first song, "Blessed by the Master's Hands". I often have felt that it is my weakest song, due to it being written very early in my songwriting career. However, 
that little song (my very first song) is just like a Timex watch; it just keeps on ticking! I often get letters telling of blessings that song has brought.

 Carolana receiving an award for the song “Blessed by the Master’s Hands” from Sue C. and John Smith at the Write About Jesus Conference 2011.

Carolana receiving an award for the song “Blessed by the Master’s Hands” from Sue C. and John Smith at the Write About Jesus Conference 2011.

Here is a striking example of such a letter:

Two years ago, I was at the Write About Jesus Conference, when a lady slipped a note in my hand. The lady wrote that she was about to commit suicide. Her husband and she had both lost their jobs, and their home had been foreclosed. She had $10 to feed her three kids for the next week. She had decided to end it all in her hotel room. Then, she read in the program that “Blessed by the Master’s Hands” was up for a panel evaluation. She wrote that the Lord spoke to her just by the song title. She put the pills down, and came to hear "Blessed by the Master's Hands" during the panel evaluation. Afterwards, she planned to go back to her room and take the pills. When she heard the words: "Tiny can be mighty,” she knew God was telling her to trust Him—she did—and she decided to live!

I cherish that letter. When I am discouraged, I remind myself that God has called me to write, and only He knows the plan for each song!

Please share with me your song stories.  How have they been used?  Do you have songs that “keep on ticking?” How do you define the “success” of your song?

Suggested Reading:

Write About Jesus
Mark Cawley’s Blog - iDoCoach.com