Words & Music by Steve Siler
In the wake of producing our DVD/CD Somebody’s Daughter: A journey to Freedom from Pornography we started receiving orders from various Salvation Army offices around the United States. I was curious how they were learning about our ministry.
I called the national office and came to speak with Lisa Thompson. At the time she was the Director of the Initiative against Sex trafficking for the DC office of the Salvation Army. She told me the Somebody’s Daughter DVD was “the best resource I’ve ever seen for telling a prostituted woman who she is in the Lord.” Obviously I was deeply moved by her remarks and grateful that she was finding additional use for the piece within their organization.
One thing led to another and Lisa wound up providing me with the stories of several sex-trafficked persons. I spent a lot of time reading through these painful accounts. Each one of them was more heart breaking than the next.
I’ve come to understand that when a songwriter is percolating on an idea some part of the subconscious brain is always at work on the song even when one id not aware of it. That explains why one day while I was waiting in the drive through line at the bank the following lyric suddenly began to come.
I paint on the face, I strap on the heels
Shut down my heart so it won’t have to feel
the hands that don’t know me all over my skin
and the eyes that don’t love me drinking me in
With those four lines in my head I raced to the nearest church where I knew there was a piano. Often the unfolding lyric will inspire a musical direction. I wanted to capture the emotion that was happening in the lyric.
I raced to the nearest church I knew that had a piano in their sanctuary. Fortunately the building hosts an elder care ministry during the week and I knew the building would be open. Once I sat down the song poured out – both the music and the rest of the lyric.
Later that afternoon I excitedly shared it with Lisa. When I called and read it to her she responded by saying, “It’s like you’ve walked in the shoes of a prostituted woman.”
That was the most unusual compliment I have ever received but was a deep blessing since the song had achieved its goal.
I called the manager of Ocean Way studio in Nashville on music row who immediately offered their beautiful facility free of charge for the recording. After reading the lyric to my friend Bonnie Pritchard, who was doing good work in the fight against trafficking, she shared the lyric with Pat Boone. A few minutes later he called and offered to pay for the musicians and remaining costs for recording the song.
Ocean Way’s large room used to be a sanctuary, so when we recorded the choir for Child of God we were actually singing…
You’re a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful Child of God
…in a church!
Once the song was completed, Lisa shared it by email with hundreds of those from all over the globe working to free trafficked persons.
In the days that followed we heard from people in Chile, Canada, Sweden, China, Trinidad, India, and the United States, just to name a few.
Months later, when interviewing a professional caregiver for our upcoming Dignity project she happened to mention to me that she had heard Child of God. It turns out that many years earlier she had escaped a life of prostitution. She said the lyric was spot on. Then she added, “Yeah, I had high heels. But I always had a pair of tennis shoes in my bag…in case I needed to run.”