Released on the Mercy Great Enough project. Words & Music by Miss Hale & Steve Siler
Songs can have a way of demanding your attention when they are ready to be born.
We’d been working on the project that would eventually become Mercy Great Enough: Finding Hope after Abortion. I’d been doing a lot of research, reading up on the issue and doing interviews with several people who had remorse over an abortion in their past.
The stories that I’d read and heard were deeply painful. It’s our conviction at Music for the Soul that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39) I wanted to make sure that whatever we wrote would not seem clinical, but rather would resonate with people who were suffering deep guilt and shame over an abortion decision in their past. Feeling known and understood in this way might open the door to the possibility of people accepting that they could be forgiven and set free.
That was the blueprint that had been simmering in my mind for a few months when I woke up suddenly at 4 a.m. one morning and felt the lyric urgently beginning to take shape. I grabbed a lyric pad from atop my piano and settled into a chair in the living room. Images of hopelessness and desperation began to come fast one after the other.
I’ve been breathing through a blanket
I’ve been walking under water
Every breeze an accusation
Every piece of bread a stone
I’ve been trying to swim through quicksand
I’ve been tangled in a wire
Every sunrise condemnation
Every path a broken road
The sun had still not risen when I got up from the chair with a completed lyric. Since I’d been working with Greg Hasek, a Christian counselor with expertise in abortion trauma counseling, I knew that many men suffer debilitating shame from this issue. However, I was sure the moment I had finished the lyric that a woman needed to write the music. I felt that both male and female sensibilities needed to be represented in the song.
With that in mind the following day I reached out to Missi Hale, an incredibly talented writer, musician, and singer, who had written so eloquently on our Tell Me What You See project for women with eating disorders.
I sent her the lyric and she agreed to write the music for it. The next time I heard from Missy it was with a completed song demo attached to an email. As I listened I was overcome – first by chills and then by tears as she sang:
Wash the stain on my heart
Break the chain I carry
Tell me you know everything
and tell me that you love me
Tell me mercy’s great enough
to see beyond my scars
and wash away the stain upon my heart
I would never have written so poignant and stirring a piece of music as Missy had composed.
Moreover, the vocalizing she had done outside the boundaries of the lyric, with haunting oohs and aahs, imbued the song with depth and meaning beyond words.
The result was a passionate, heart-rending plea.
In Isaiah 1:18 it says,” Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” I believe the plea of this song is one that God will answer with mercy.
Listen to Stain Upon My Heart