Arise Our God (song from Psalm 44: 23-26, 1992)

Around the same time as “This Desperate Prisoner” was written, this song came to me.  I think it precedes Desperate Prisoner, and carries the same desperate cry.


Why do You hide Your face, and forget our affliction, our oppression?
Our soul is bowed down to the dust, and so we cling to the ground, arise for our help,
And redeem us for Your mercy’s sake, for Your mercies sake!

Chorus:  Arise our God, hear Your people cry! (2x)

As the purifying fire consumes all the stubble and ambition,
Our heart will not turn back, for we have chosen the flame, the Cross and Your Name,
so redeem us for your mercies’ sake, for Your mercies sake!

Chorus:  Arise our God, hear Your people cry! (2x)


This Desperate Prisoner Song from Psalm 69 July 1992

I remember the season that I wrote this…one of the worst of my life.  A parent of 4 marvelous children, married to an amazing and wonderful woman, successful, respected…and absolutely terrified constantly inside, haunted by feelings of suicide and alienation, and carrying the deep shame that I was not really a man at all.  And what I was I had not been allowed to think of since I was 6 years old.

The pressure would build, to almost intolerable levels, and then somehow They would give me grace, carry me, and another period would pass where I could tolerate the pain and sorrow.

I didn’t think I was gonna make it thru this one.  I thought for sure that I was gonna lose heart and kill myself, and there was no one to talk to about it, for I was ashamed that I was not “strong enough!”  And then I ran into Psalm 69, and this song was born.

Looking at it now, I can hear that I, Charissa, was beginning to shout…I was the desperate prisoner.  In many ways, we are all that desperate prisoner…and He is always the Liberator…for I was set free, and never have I known such peace and contentment.

Thank You Father…thank You Jesus…thank You my Mama Lady Grace.

I love You all!



Save me oh God, the flood o’er whelms my broken heart, my throat is parched!
I’m weary, Lord, from crying, my burning eyes fail while I wait for Thee!

Oh God You see my every folly, and all my wrongs are know to Thee.
May they who seek Thee be not dishonoured, because of me, because of me!

Reproach has broken me, and I am sick and shame covers my face.
I look for sympathy, but there’s no comfort there, no life for me.

Answer me Lord, and have compassion, and do not hide Your face from me!
Deliver me from the deep waters, draw near to me, please draw near to me!

O ransom me, my God, set me on high and I will sing Your song.
Zeal for Thy House consumes my soul and I will ever seek Your face.

The humble see, and they are filled with gladness, and those who seek Him, He will  revive.
For Jesus sees our every trouble, and sets the desperate prisoner free…
Oh Set This Desperate Prisoner Free!


Open My Heart (October 1997, a song of desperation)

(Often I mistook the existential agony I was in due to feeling null, as a sinful and hard heart.  I have always wanted God from my earliest memories…and have always felt so puny and wanting in His sight.  Now, I have learned that what I was feeling mostly was the horror of dysphoria, and “not belonging” in either gender.  But those feelings drove me to Them…I mean, when it gets down to it, where else was there for me to go??

Anyway, I am thankful for Their love, Their unending compassion and tender mercies…and above all for Their unending grace.  They brought me thru the fires and floods)


Open my heart dear Lord,
Open my heart dear Lord.
For I am hungry Lord
for Your living Word.

But my heart is hard, oh Lord!
Tattered and Scarred, oh Lord!
Spirit please soften me,
let Your Love set me free, to love You in purity.

Capture my heart, dear Lord!
Capture my heart, dear Lord!
So when my race is run,
my heart would be found in Your Son!

Just one thing I desire,
the baptism of Your Fire!
Come set my heart aflame!
With passion for Jesus’ Name, forever Amen.


The Black of Night: A modern psalm after David

Sometimes, in the black of night, haunts and ghosts of long ago
return and bite me…in the heart.


Their teeth, no form or body, sound slashy and ugly dull discord
and pierce me, hurt me, haunt me and my soul runs panicked and stampeded.

Their corpusant claws, red wreathed and skin-ister
slash my gut and leave their venom of panic and despair.

I groan, under decades of their torment, and futiley
stopper my ears with torn fingers and tears.


“Miscreant!  Blight!  Dark Blemish on dark night!
You are nothing!  You should die!  You are ridiculous and alone!”

And they also say other things much worse.

I writhe, squirm, and cry out in desperate agony,
and have never known anything else but to stand and endure.


Even when it is poison-pitch-black, I remember You Mama,
Your promises and Your comfort, which has preserved me.

And in the morning I rise, exhausted, defeated, and torn
but still, my “no-matter-what” is intact and strong.

Jaws aching from grinding anxiety and heart  dripping
the blood of wounds and the sweat of grim life, I tremulously sing

You are my refuge and my strength, and as the troubadour sang
I will follow you…and see Your goodness in the land of the living!