In The Heart Of My Heart

there is a small living fluttery thing,
inside me, inside my heart.
in the heart of my heart it dwells turbulently
colored yellow and red and green tufted wings
all hidden in browns and lonesome strange things.

it pummels against the bars of its cage
inside me, inside my heart.
in the heart of my heart it aches and it bleeds
from its rushes and thrashings at bars that won’t break
all the loneliest ache of my soul.
winter_tree5web_by_aloner777-d9pi71b
if i could discover a lost sacred knife
and cut my way into my heart
in the heart of my heart i would slice, i would gash
a bloody doorway rent with one razor slash
so that bird could take wing at long last.

crystal slim blade and dark russet wings
inside me, inside my heart.
in the bosom of my heart twine two holy things
the one who beats at me, the one that cuts free
in the heart of my heart of my heart.
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You Who Accuse…

…you say that I think I can do what I want and pronounce it all forgiven by my belief in my “make-believe god”?  You say that I think I can justify whatever I want and call it a “Road to Damascus” experience?

You think wrong.

You will never know the depth of the pain and sorrow for each and every time that I have fallen short…

…and you also will never know the hurt and pain you caused me with your false accusations of abuse and physical harm, your violent anger and threats of murder…your false memories and placing words in my mouth that I never said or even thought…

You will not have a way of knowing that even in your falseness I see that as my own fault because I did not do a good enough job to birth you into wholeness and understanding of truth…and instead, you go on forever about things that are so insane as to be befuddling to me.

No.  I am blood guilty of sins of commission, and sins of omission as well.

But I place my faith and my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and in His Cross…and I ask Him to see me thru.
I trust Mama to Defend me, Advocate for me, Sustain me, Console me, and Comfort me.
I will do so all of my days, no matter how good or bad I was each day, no matter how deeply I fail or how high I fly.

This will never change, though I hope and pray that I will, continually becoming more like Jesus’ Lovely Heart by the Grace of God poured out liberally.

And there are others too…who read here like Nicodemus…you from the past, who used to come out into my working environment so you could criticise me, call me unsubmitted, tell me how I had no rule over my soul, and basically oppose every thing I attempted…I know you read here and think me tragically deceived, fallen away, or (one dude, you think this) in the clutches of “sexual sin”…

you think that being transgender is an act of sexual fulfillment, which absolutely cracks me up…like, I guffaw when I consider your ignorance and assumption.

You all have missed me in the midst of your judgement.

Here is me:  this song forever, along with the other ones I have posted this morning.

If you want to understand me and be in my heart, you must understand and accept these songs.  Whether or not you adhere to the songs is not my concern…that is up to you and your own convictions and choices.  I seek to love and accept you regardless, from you who say you dreamed of murdering me for years to you who shake your head and waggle your beard because you have judged me outcast and shunned.

Sometimes I need to make these declarations.

Today is one of those days…and I am still here…like Papillon…I am still here…clinging to the precious Bleeding Side of Jesus.

 

This Is My Eversong

There are lots of people who hate me…sounds maudlin and self-pitying, doesn’t it?

It’s true though.

Some hate me because I am transgender.
Some hate me because I stand for stuff.

And some hate me because I love God…

Let it be known:  once and for all and forever:  I love God, and I always will.

Always.  I love Jesus Christ with my whole entire heart, and the distance between His lovely heart and my own broken and evil heart is covered in the sweet Grace of Holy Spirit whom I call Mama…and between the two of Them They take me to the Father in Heaven whom I love too…and They make me Righteous and Clean.

I will never ever quail or turn away.

That is not a boast that I will never deny Them or turn away…oh God no…if given half a chance, I am certain I would fail Them just as I allus have failed everyone whom I love.  I am frail, I am but dust.  But see…They have shown me Their love…and I cannot go anywhere else…I will not go anywhere else, for They have said “Whosoever will…”

and I will.

You who mock me, who jeer and ask “Where is your god?”  You who abandon, who flee me because I am now anathema and unclean, guilty of capital crimes of gender variance…this is my song and will ever be.

 

Jane Siberry – Love Is Everything (Harmony Version) 

Maybe it was to learn how to love
Maybe it was to learn how to leave
Maybe it was for the games we played

Maybe it was to learn how to choose
Maybe it was to learn how to lose
Or maybe it was for the love we made

Oh, love is everything they said it would be
And love made sweet and sad the same
But love forgot to make me too blind to see
You’re chickening out, aren’t you?

You’re bangin’ on the beach like an old tin drum
I can’t wait ’til you make the whole kingdom come
So I’m leaving

Maybe it was to learn how to fight
Maybe it was for the lesson in pride
Maybe it was for the cowboys’ ways

Or maybe it was to learn not to lie
Or maybe it was to learn how to cry
Or maybe it was for the love we made

Oh, love is everything they said it would be
And love did not hold back the reins
But love forgot to make me too blind to see
You’re chickening out, aren’t you?

You’re bangin’ on the beach like an old tin drum
I can’t wait ’til you make the whole kingdom come
So I’m leaving

First he turns to you, then he turns to her
So you try to hurt him back
But it breaks your body down
So you try to love bigger, bigger still
But it, it’s too late

So take a lesson from the strangeness you feel
And know you’ll never be the same
And find it in your heart to kneel down and say
I gave my love, didn’t I?

And I gave it big sometimes
And I gave it in my own sweet time
I am just leaving
I am just leaving

Love is everything
Love is everything
Love is everything
Love is everything
Love is everything
Love is everything

 

Sanctuary– For JD

Remember Litter-Mate…the fact that they other and police you affirms your authenticity!!

 

30 Years Previous (For JD)

UPDATE:  I have edited this a little…because I always had to force it to make the other one a part of it…truthfully, he ghosted, present by proxy but I never ever saw him walking in the crucible…he was an outside lurker, a skulker, and too shamed and hangdog to enter in…and skert too.  Skert that he was so bad that there would be nuffin’ left of him once the cleansing fires got their way…and maybe even more skert that there WOULD be sumfin left…
*****

Dearest Litter-Mate:

I think of you…nearly every moment of the day while I am fully functioning, doing other things…I can smell the burning singing smell that is so acrid to the natural nose, and is the sweet incense of devotion unto the One who walks the Heavens and searches the earth.

“Precious in the Eyes of the Lord is the Death of Their Saints” said the prophet of old…he knew his shit, that dude…

But you are there…deep inside me, in those lonely caverns that I have wandered, those places of the soul that the force and floods of horror, of rage, of desolation, and of utter defeat have worn so smooth over such a long time.tumblr_ntxz2cvGXA1s5neh1o1_500
You are there…and it may seem so utterly dislocated and strange to you that you sometimes are bewildered, sometimes bemused, and always befuddled that the failure of humanity and the fucked-upness of specific humans can simultaneously be so powerless and so crushing.

I have not seen anyone else in these places.  I say this to you to encourage you…and also to disabuse you of the notion that there is any exit except death…there isn’t.  And that is such a good thing.  I am dead-living proof!!  No, you do NOT want to have come this far only to have some small parts of yourself left alive to be like “trichinosis of the heart”, just parasitically causing you to vomit up the food that God gives, the bread from heaven.

There is a company that forms in each generation…it is the company of the dead-living and it is the opposite of the living-dead.  There are not a lot of beings in it at any one time?  And yet there are whole halls of heaven that are full of nuffin but these royal noble cavaliers!  Hebrews 11 is the way they are described in the bible, but I prefer to see them for what they are:  anti-zombies.
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You have figured out why zombies are such an attractive modern myth, have you not?  I mean, think about it:  dead people, who ambulate, and are compelled to bite other people and infect them with the exact death they shamble in…or, given whatever mythos you subscribe to, they may even eat the brains, or consume the flesh, whatever…the point is, they take other healthy people and reproduce their death in those people and enslave them to the same doom.tumblr_nq5vc0hxpU1qz9v0to5_1280

Well “anti-zombies” do just the opposite.

But how is it that the dead-living can accomplish this work?

You know…now.  You know.

We must die…die the death of the One who has gone before, and be resurrected in that One now dead to ourselves and alive in the Living One’s life…and there is nothing that can come thru that except thru the gate of death…thru the Eye of the Needle…nothing else but you can get thru.

Thus the layers…thus the experience of getting burned, thinking okay this is the last level…then a new level of sorrow, thinking okay that was it…and a new level…and so on and so one.

My love…do not lose hope or feel sorry for yourself.  Behold what manner of Love the Father has given unto you!  Turn!  Look around, see who is remaining, and look into their eyes, deep!  LOOK!!!

*Charissa stops typing, waits*

Who else do you really want?  You have been thru the fires!  You have seen the worst, and the best thing about that is it is so ridiculously benign and dorky…it is now ready to become lovable and precious and your absolute best asset.  We are promised that Their Perfect Strength is perfected in our weakness, and thus it is that we begin to literally and honestly boast in weakness so that Their strength may be made perfect!18c3032daf033968d7ebd9cd091f3a2e
Anyway, as I was saying, I am aware that myriads of our company has been formed in a manner like unto the same one as I have endured…but I have never seen anyone else wandering the particular halls that have been mine to both haunt and inhabit in grace…and there you are.

I think perhaps it is because Mama has given me to be the “Virgil” to your “Dante”?  Weak Metaphor, but the notion of one who has been in the crucible, died a few times in the crucible, and been raised/risen after these deaths and now ready, willing, and able to encourage, exhort and edify you as you make your way along the path of losing all to gain Hearts Like Theirs.

I wish I could do more…I wish I could give you sumfin, grant sumfin, wave my wand and holler out some magic word that would “get er dun” and release you into the freedom found only under the mercy…but that would leave the work incomplete, and your faith and trust would be in me rather than in the only One who can grant that very thing but in the form which lasts eternally and transforms wholly other into that New Creation of which Immanuel is the first fruits and older brother.

What I can do is leave you lil packs of food…leave you canteens…make my slash marks on the barren tree-trunks and scratch my hieroglyphics on the walls of limestone so smooth, so implacable…they look a bit like bones, don’t they?  Cool to the touch, smooth, lacking flesh or any hint that there was ever any life in them…and yet…barcelona_above___revisited_by_coigach-d9h3eeg
…and yet, place your fingertips upon their surface…see how they shimmer when you do!!  See how they pulse with promise and throb with anticipation of the coming flames that are the Phoenix-Flames.wg441_ghost_1This morning, I was remembering a particularly difficult stretch, waaaay back in the 80s…it was so strange back then, to be so young and feel so old and weary…and there were the oddest collection of souls that came my way in various places and times and ways and means.  One of the best was the New Wave groups that became somewhat popular during these days…Talking Heads, The Clash (yes, I call them New Wave and Not Punk), Joy Division, Public Image LTD (the implosion of the Sex Pistols birthed that group)…and one of my very faves Echo and the Bunnymen.  Their music got me thru so much.

Take a listen to these tunes…and you can turn the music up and SCREAM THE LYRICS AT THE TOP OF YOUR FRIKKIN LUNGS!!!  Giggles…it is soooo freaking freeing.  And as you listen, think about young Charissa, wandering the halls even back then, and now a topsider who walks among zombies uninfected tho not unbitten.
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When your head pop out of the ground, it will be to spring, for you will see no shadows.

In the meantime, know that you are never alone…not for a moment, because I am thinking of you, carrying you like a beloved book-bag, holding you like a precious journal that must be written in everyday, and scrawling my prayers onto the Face of God like I desperately scratched my thoughts onto the livres of that long ago tome.

I have just re-read this…there are whole outlines inside each sentence…if you want them, they fall vertically from the words, and are hyperlinked to your shut eyes and open inner vision as you think, as you listen, as you weep…and know that the tears shall be sweet and cleansing, and you will be glad in the Lord for every single ounce of suffering.tumblr_llz2o0zzP51qisir0o1_500
I am not blowing smoke…I am not giving you platitudes.  This shit is real, and you are gonna lose all things…except for the things that are you and are the flesh and blood gifts of the Goodness of God.  But all the things that need to go because they keep you allergic to zombie-venom and thus vulnerable to becoming one of them?  They are gonna go…up in flames, thru your fingers, gone.

And you will find yourself still here.  And pretty soon, it will be time for the gathering of stones (now is the time for casting them away).  And it will be time to light the grill, and cook some fish, some turkey, whatever…and beyond that?  I don’t see anything.

Wanna know why?  Because there is no beyond that!!  That is the whole point!  It is then that the what-you-do’s and the things-you-say’s are so ordinary to you, and so extra-ordinary to those who need medicine in the soul!

In the meantime…here are a couple of songs from one of the cadre that kept me alive in the 80s, and the knowledge that other feet have trod the paths of the dead…and emerged laffing our fool heads off!tumblr_nyhozchyuh1qat5pio1_400
I love you…and JD…what can I say to you that we did not already say before we knew we knew one another?

 

When Your Violin is Supposed to Be a Cello | Let’s Queer Things Up!

“In a single scale, I broke my own heart.”

Ohhh SAM!!!  This.

THIS!!

This article captures it so very well.  In a single article, he made me weep!

Source: When Your Violin is Supposed to Be a Cello | Let’s Queer Things Up!

“Clea” by Matrix 9

So…I used to be a jazz player waaay back in high school…trombone.

One year, we brought in this odd group as a fund raiser so we could go to the Reno Jazz Festival.

They played a bunch of songs, but the only one I remember and will never EVER forget is this one, “Clea”.

There is a sung line or two in the song…but the only part I remember is this:

“One with myself, one with myself, finally I am one”.

When I first heard that I burst into tears and wanted to explode in the instant…and it haunted me ever since…years and years and years that line haunted me and I knew not why.

I do now, though…know why.  Thank God I am closer…day by day.

 

SO WHAT!!!!!

Well now,
everything you got is in excess
and it goes without sayin’s got to be the best
from your swimming pool to your daddy’s racing car
to that defenseless useless bomb shelter in your back yard
well I guess there ain’t too much you haven’t got
well all I can say to you about that is
SO WHAT!

Hey that house you’re living in is really nice
Now that I been shown all around it once or twice
I been raced around it on a guided tour
try not to miss any of the handmade rugs or fancy furniture
you got a electric typewriter so you don’t haffa work alot
All I can say to you about that is
SO WHAT!

To My Children, Thanksgiving 2015

I won’t take clothes that are hand me downs,
I won’t smile cus I wear a frown
Once I get going, you can’t hold me down
Cus once I get started I go to town.

I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else.

Cus I don’t want to walk like everybody else,
And I don’t want to live my life like everybody else,
I don’t wanna sit and cry like everybody else
Cus I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else.

Darling, you know that I love you true,
Confess all my sins if you want me to,
But there’s one thing I wanna say to you,
If you want to love me my whole life thru

I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else.
I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else

I don’t want to walk like everybody else,
I don’t want to live my life like everybody else,
I don’t wanna sit and cry like everybody else
I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else.

Like everybody else,
Like everybody else,
Like everybody else,
Like everybody else.

Darling, you know that I love you true,
Confess all my sins if you want me to,
But there’s one thing I wanna say to you,
If you want to love me my whole life thru

I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else.
I’m not like everybody else,
No I’m not like everybody else

I SAY IT!!!!!
I don’t want to walk like everybody else,
I don’t want to live my life like everybody else,
I don’t wanna sit and cry like everybody else
I’m not like everybody else,
I’m not like everybody else.

Like everybody else (like everybody else),
Like everybody else (like everybody else),
Like everybody else (like everybody else),
Like everybody else (like everybody else).
Like everybody else (like everybody else),

LIKE EVERYBODY ELSEEEEEEEEEEE

Kyrie Eleison

Just ran across the most beautiful and sad song that catches the essence of my heart right now
 
“”In a long forgotten book I read,
something that Augustine said,
in his deepest wound he found God’s Glory,
 
but I’m afraid that I’m too sick,
to conjure up that magic trick,
can I write myself into that story,
 
kyrie eleison…
kyrie eleison…
once had faith
but now it’s gone
kyrie eleison…
kyrie eleison…
 
I cut myself with stones and cry,
pretend, I’m not alone when I
fear that all along it’s only me,
 
kyrie, do you care?
eleison…”
 
Now…of course I have not “lost” faith…how could I? They found me and will never lose me…but it is poignant and haunting, this song, and I often lose hope that I will ever not feel outside and apart rather than a part.
 
Transgender Remembrance day draws close…it is so ironic to me that this day is so close to Veteran’s Day…one honors all…and one simply remembers those who died, and yet how impossible to remember anyone you never really knew, and then back to business as usual and the murder/violence rate continues to grow.
 
Sometimes the worst is that there are so many days thruout the year that I feel so utterly distant and forlorn that it feels like being erased from a day by others…a metaphorical murder…

…and other days I in essence commit spiritual suicide, the way that the dysphoria and my own failure conspire together.

Then there is the irony of the term…”Remembrance Day”…

Not a day goes by that I have forgotten or even could forget.6fc85792c7aa0ac7bcd8e961963b8650

A Song For Autumn Without Music

Could I leave the bright waves
and take to the blue skies?
Could I leave my cold skin
and sail into your eyes?

Is the moon high above
just reflecting to me
all the love that you hold
in your heart?

If the leaves on the trees
can turn red, yellow, gold
why can’t I find a heart
that will tenderly hold

my body, my spirit,
my mind and my soul
while the tale of my true
love is told?

Mount up!  Mount up!
Take courage on the wind!
Lift your sails up like hands on the waters!

Rise up!  Rise up!
Leave the surface behind
Let your bow of your ship carve the clouds on your way!

I will sail all the seas
I will follow the stars
I will listen behind the beauty
beyond what mars

And someday I shall come
to my sea-harbour home
I will finally rest
deep in you.

Yes I will finally rest
deep in you.

Jokerman

Standing on the waters casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing
Freedom just around the corner for you
But with the truth so far off, what good will it do?

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

So swiftly the sun sets in the sky
You rise up and say goodbye to no one
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Both of their futures, so full of dread, you don’t show one
Shedding off one more layer of skin
Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

You’re a man of the mountains, you can walk on the clouds
Manipulator of crowds, you’re a dream twister
You’re going to Sodom and Gomorrah
But what do you care? Ain’t nobody there would want to marry your sister
Friend to the martyr, a friend to the woman of shame
You look into the fiery furnace, see the rich man without any name

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Well, the Book of Leviticus and Deuteronomy
The law of the jungle and the sea are your only teachers
In the smoke of the twilight on a milk-white steed
Michelangelo indeed could’ve carved out your features
Resting in the fields, far from the turbulent space
Half asleep near the stars with a small dog licking your face

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Well, the rifleman’s stalking the sick and the lame
Preacherman seeks the same, who’ll get there first is uncertain
Nightsticks and water cannons, tear gas, padlocks
Molotov cocktails and rocks behind every curtain
False-hearted judges dying in the webs that they spin
Only a matter of time ’til night comes steppin’ in

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

It’s a shadowy world, skies are slippery grey
A woman just gave birth to a prince today and dressed him in scarlet
He’ll put the priest in his pocket, put the blade to the heat
Take the motherless children off the street
And place them at the feet of a harlot
Oh, Jokerman, you know what he wants
Oh, Jokerman, you don’t show any response

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird fly high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh, Jokerman

Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music

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Neighborhood Bully (Apologies to Bob Dylan for the Adjustments)

Well, the neighborhood bully, she’s a woman
Her enemies say she’s on their land
They got her outnumbered about a million to one
She got no place to escape to, no place to run
She’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive
She’s criticized and condemned for being alive
She’s not supposed to fight back, she’s supposed to have thick skin
She’s supposed to lay down and die when her door is kicked in
She’s the neighborhood bully

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land
She’s wandered the earth an exiled man
Seen her family scattered, her people hounded and torn
She’s always on trial for just being born
She’s the neighborhood bully

Well, she knocked out a lynch mob, she was criticized
Old women condemned her, said she should apologize.
Then she destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
The bombs were meant for her. She was supposed to feel bad
She’s the neighborhood bully

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That she’ll live by the rules that the world makes for her
’Cause there’s a noose at her neck and a gun at her back
And a license to kill her is given out to every maniac
She’s the neighborhood bully

She got no allies to really speak of
What she gets she must pay for, she don’t get it out of love
She buys obsolete weapons and she won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by her side
She’s the neighborhood bully

Well, she’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly. To hurt one they would weep
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep
She’s the neighborhood bully

Every empire that’s enslaved her is gone
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon
She’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command
She’s the neighborhood bully

Now her holiest books have been trampled upon
No contract she signed was worth what it was written on
She took the crumbs of the world and she turned it into wealth
Took sickness and disease and she turned it into health
She’s the neighborhood bully

What’s anybody indebted to her for?
Nothin’, they say. She just likes to cause war
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
She’s the neighborhood bully

What has she done to wear so many scars?
Does she change the course of rivers? Does she pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill
Running out the clock, time standing still
Neighborhood bully
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Copyright © 1983 by Special Rider Music
Lyrical adaptations by Charissa, in honor of courageous women everywhere, especially transwomen

Mama With Me, Near Today

Constance…

How I wish that you could know…know…the Love of God…the Presence of Them in your core essence.

God has been so polluted and trashed by the low things that oppose Them.  God has been so misrepresented by complete morons who spin out of their corrupted souls a god made in their own image, and it is ugly, it is gross, it is cruel and it is crude…and most of all it is blind, dumb, and deaf, just like them.

God is Humble.  They pounce thru every single crack in human perception that shows the least openness to Them, and They shine…oh how They shine.

They have loved me.

And that is a wonder that breaks me open again and again and again and again and…

Holy Spirit of God…Holy Spirit is Their Presence here in this creation.  Jesus has ascended and is in heaven in this time and making all things ready.  So Their presence is Holy Spirit…and oh the honor of Her drawing me near Her, opening the Word to me to see Her…

She is like one of my poems…layers, hints, indirection, inference, and sometimes subtle in its baldfaced straightforwardness…this is Her.

And She is altogether good, and I love Her.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Reader:  I will never not love Her.

Never.

Your statements and judgments of Her are dust and lower than irrelevance.

Why do you fulminate and foam at the mouth because I love Her?  If indeed She was just a myth, why would you even care? I love Her, and it is to Her that I have surrendered, and willingly laid down control.

Our Wedding Song

Okay, the last of blasts from the past today…Pam Mark Hall, sort of a Jesus People Joni Mitchell…she is another person that I bonded on when I was new in the life of Mama and walking towards healing.  Her song “Flying” was my favorite, and I listened to it incessantly, weeping and longing…for what I didn’t know at the time…seems pretty obvious now, eh?  Giggles…

Well, her song “Holy Union” was sung at our wedding, and just now as I was posting this I was listening and just bawling my eyes out, with memories and joy!

And my baby?  More beautiful than ever…more courageous and faithful…stronger and brilliant.  I love her to bits.

And there are people who seriously plead with her to leave me!  The last time this happened?  She rolled her eyes and said “Mmmm…F**K THEM!”.

Jane means “God’s Gracious Gift”…and that she is…gracious, a gift, and God’s.  Me?  I am just the blessed recipient of a person who gets commitment, sacrifice, love and devotion, and who for God only knows what reasons, actually loves me.

Anyway…please enjoy Pam Mark Hall, and the beautiful simplicity of early Jesus People music.

 

 

The First “Contemporary Christian Music” I Ever Heard

I didn’t even know there was this genre of music, and shortly after Mama did some miraculous things in my life, I heard about this concert of these dudes called “Lamb”…and I was like “what the heck, let’s go”.

Well, I started to cry about 2 minutes in and wept the entire time, just so moved by their down to earth love of God and love of humans.

If you put this on and let it play, I think you will be glad you did…

 

Bird In A Golden Sky

Constance…in spite of the betrayal, in spite of the abandonment, the lies and distortions…this.

Just.  This.

This is how I feel, like I just learned how to fly.

I am Charissa Grace, and I finally got here.  I really did.

 

Apologies to Jim Croce…

…but somehow, this seemed to fit the last 6 months, his song “Lover’s Cross”, with the word gender substituted in.  Not a perfect substitution but it gets the point across.

It is NOT my final or even best answer…but it is a color, an element that I want to introduce to those who think “It’s all in your mind” or any other number of illusory and totally mistaken things about me (which are also called judging in some worlds)…

I guess that it was bound to happen
Was just a matter of time
Now I’ve come to my decision
And it’s a one of the painful kind
‘Cause now it seems that you wanted a martyr
Just a regular gal wouldn’t do
But baby, I can’t hang upon no gender cross for you

You really gotta hand it to ya
‘Cause wow you really tried
But for every time that we spent laughin’
There were two times that I cried
And you were tryin’ to make me your martyr
And that’s the one thing I just couldn’t do
‘Cause baby, I can’t hang upon no gender cross for you

‘Cause tables are meant for turnin’
And people are bound to change
And bridges are meant for burnin’
When the people and memories
They join aren’t the same

Still I hope that you can find another
Who can take what I could not
He’ll have to be a super guy
Or maybe a super god
‘Cause I never was much of a martyr before
And I ain’t ’bout to start nothin’ new
And baby, I can’t hang upon no gender cross for you

‘Cause tables are meant for turnin’
And people are bound to change
And bridges are meant for burnin’
When the people and memories
They join aren’t the same

But I hope that you can find another
Who can take what I could not
He’ll have to be a super guy
Or maybe a super god
‘Cause I never was much of a martyr before
And I ain’t ’bout to start nothin’ new
And baby, I can’t hang upon no gender cross for youtumblr_nm7ikrNGZJ1sg3ziao1_1280

Fly Away Home

Constance…if you have not ever seen this movie, and you have longings for something…beyond?  Something lost?Something that was meant to be yours and yet somehow missed you?  Something that died and should have lived forever?

If that is you, then you simply must stop what you are doing, track down the movie “Fly Away Home”, and settle in with a box of tissues.  I watch this movie when I am particularly melancholy and aching inside…it provides such release and affirmation of a true and shining core that lays somewhere just beyond what I can touch, and yet strangely affirms the very fact that such a place exists or I wouldn’t know it to miss it, long for it, yearn for it with my very soul.

In the meantime, I post the theme here for you, performed by the inestimable Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Blessings, this night before Palm Sunday…you know that Sunday, right?  When every soul in the area recognized Who was amongst them and waved their palm fronds…oh right, I almost forgot…those fronds from last year made their appearance at the beginning of Lent in the form of ashes…I have written a bit about dust and ashes this season.

But this?  Ah, Constance…this is Beyond Dust and Ashes!

Purity Ring

I am very grateful for what I have just read…posted below.

I think I will…take another breath, of another day, in another week, buried in a month, building in a year.

In the falling of one tear worlds can be reborn…

Purity Ring – “Bodyache”

No one writes about the body like Megan James. On Shrines she wielded lyrics like barbed spears, slashing through our psyches, and on Another Eternity she continues mercilessly drawing blood. A body is a vessel. Merely that. A body isn’t us, it isn’t our being. When you know someone, when you know them, you know their being and their state of physical manifestation — but those two things are separate. The exquisite pain and pleasure of corporeality lies in this separation, in the space between our bodies and our selves. James inserts herself into that gap in “Bodyache,” trying to find the place in someone else where the self fuses with the body. On the heady chorus, James’ spun-sugar voice hiccups into a near-cry, spattered across pealing synths and Corin Rodick’s wobbly, water-bed bass line, but imagine all that as the body of the song. In the song’s being, a dysmorphia is sounding forth. You don’t know how a body can ache until you know someone who has been assigned the wrong one; the alienation of self from form. “Bodyache” is a surrogate sorrow, pain encased in amber pop empathy. It’s a sad, gorgeous song so spectacular that it makes you happy to inhabit your own grief, aches and all. –Caitlin

[Verse 1]
You said, you said
“Turn the lights down, I wanna be alone”
I ran your head away
I couldn’t stand how it pleaded
I needed to take

[Pre-Chorus]
Take a break, take me down, take me down there
I wanna stare at the tears, how they water your years
Take a break, take me down, take me down there
I wanna stare at your tears, how they

[Chorus]
I, I, I lied, now I’m lying awake
I, I, I cried ’til my body ache
I, I, I lied, now I’m lying awake
I, I, I cried ’til my body ache

[Verse 2]
You sweat, and you bled
I couldn’t look cause your body, your body would shake
And you feared a lonely death
Like a lake leaves you alone in her depths

[Pre-Chorus] + [Chorus]

[Bridge]
I wanna know what’s your
I wanna know what’s your quietest feeling
I saw you break out, I saw you break out
Saw you unreeling
I lied, now I’m lying awake
I cried until my body ache
I lie, now I’m lying awake
Now I’m lying awake, now I’m lying awake

[Chorus]

[Outro]
Now I’m lying awake, now I’m lying awake
Until my body ache, until my body ache
I, I, I cried ’til my body…

“I Will Call The Pebble Death”

Constance, I stumbled over a singer of deep soul.  The other day, when I wrote about dysphoria and wanted a version of “On the Willows”…I had just youtubed for On the Willows, and that one intrigued me.  It is now the one that is my go to version.

In his youtube video playlist there are several fabulous covers…this one is of By My Side, from Godspell.

I invite any and all who would have the courage, and count the cost, to join me…

…by my side.

Underneath the Mask

Underneath the make-up, powders, paints, colors bright
there beneath the pretty words and funny sayings light
the blood pools red, the bruises throb beneath my cheery grin
and ruin overflows, and spreads its pain and hurt within

Mama heals, but often heals with pain’s sweet overthrow
She will let the woundings come to deepen healing’s glow
Still, it really breaks my heart to walk alone so long
I must dig still deeper, be brave, and just sing my song.

i get lonely sometimes…

What I Wish People Understood About Dysphoria…

…that this coming to terms is not a one time, one way journey that once arrived in destination full is done and there to be on vacation forever…

…it is a daily choice, a moment by moment meeting with sanity, with choosing life and not death…

it takes courage to continue when the feelings fail to follow through and you are left alone with nothing but your own resolve to live and not die, especially when all around you is declaring that you either are dead already or should have the good graces to lay down and stop moving.

people in my life get discouraged and frustrated with me because the next day is sometimes worse than the day before after 3 days of steadily increasing life and hope…

…i don’t think they really get it that my brain/body disconnect is a really big deal existentially and that it isolates me terribly, a stranger in a strange land…

“how shall we sing, sing the Lord’s song, in a foreign land?”

that is from the psalms, and it is also a lyric from Godspell…the first time I heard this song I cried for days.  Literally.

I am crying now.

Oh Mama…how long!!????!!!!

“When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God?” Song by Van Morrison

Constance, this morning I am thinking of this song…cus yesterday 2 jobs I applied for replied that I was not what they were looking for…that I “didn’t have the experience/education or applied too late”.

They politely left off the part about that I was a transgender woman who freaked them out.

Van Morrison is one of my favorite artists of all time…he often has spoken for me, spoken to me…solitary comfort in solitary times.

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“When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God?”

The sun was setting over Avalon
The last time we stood in the west
Suffering long time angels enraptured by Blake
Burn out the dross innocence captured again

Standing on the beach at sunset all the boats
All the boats keep moving slow
In the glory of the flashing light in the evenings glow

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

You brought it to my attention everything that was made in God
Down through centuries of great writings and paintings
Everything lives in God
Seen through architecture of great cathedrals
Down through the history of time
Is and was in the beginning and evermore shall be

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

Whatever it takes to fulfill his mission
That is the way we must go
But you’ve got to do it your own way
Tear down the old, bring up the new

And up on the hillside its quiet
Where the shepherd is tending his sheep
And over the mountains and the valleys
The countryside is so green
Standing on the highest hill with a sense of wonder
You can see everything is made in God
Head back down the roadside and give thanks for it all

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

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Only 500?

Constance…I am going to beg you.  For real.

I am on my knees right now…literally I have the laptop on the floor in front of me so I can kneel as I type:

Would you please, for real, click on this play button and listen to Archie Fisher sing his song “River Like You”?

I think he is the greatest living folk singer.  Period.

Oh no…not the purest voice, not the most fantastical poetic lyrics (Van Morrison has that corner well occupied lol), not the greatest guitar playing.  No…it is nothing like that with Archie Fisher.  It’s deeper, ineffable…let me tell you a story…

A few years back, I was working on the Pacific Coast in a very historic town, and I saw a poster appear in the window of a small record shop there which probably sold more “medicinal herb” than it did records!  But the poster…it advertised that a man named Archie Fisher was going to come and play a concert and tickets were like $12…well I was mildly interested, as I was separated during the week from my darling and the kids, so I was always searching for something to fill the void in my life left by their absence in body.

I read the poster bemusedly, and then ran across this quote:  “Archie Fisher is the greatest folk singer of our time.  If I heard he was playing any venue anywhere within 500 miles of me, I would go hear him and figure the rest out later.”  Now Constance…I am somewhat of a folk music aficionado, and I love this form of music far more than any other, finding it deeper and more connected to our humanity than any other music (which, by the way, has its own excellencies and sublimity)…and having cut my teeth on the more esoteric ravings of Van Morrison and from there quickly diving in to Celtic Folk music and the seedbed from which Van sprang, well let’s just say that 1500 or so recordings later, I am very familiar with folk music…and yet somehow this Archie Fisher had escaped my notice!!  Grrr…the nerve of him!  lol

Anyway, I was skeptical but as I had nothing else to do, I bought a ticket, showed up, only to see a man who looked exactly like he does in this video…in fact, he was wearing the exact same shirt, for real!  He sat down in a chair, and tuned his guitar (not very well, actually)…and when it was “close enough”, he took off picking it and on its surface, it sounded like a million other songs…but something was different…

Only God knows what, and why…but I began to weep, literally, within about 5 seconds of his beginning, and he rendered magic there before me as he sang “Borderlands”.

I bawled thru the entire first set, barely recovered at intermission, and then cried even harder during the last set, having to excuse myself a couple of times to go outside where I could sob audibly.  Constance, I thought I was going to die.  It was so beautiful that it killed me somehow, while simultaneously resurrecting me only to slay me again.  I wanted to die on the spot so the moment would never be diminished by the passage of time…I wanted to live forever so I could laud and pay tribute to this lightening rod of meaning and wonder released thru melody and music.

The song that I am posting here is the one that broke me open once and for all…it describes for me my darling, who she is to me…

…but lately, it also is so apropos in describing the one known as ddh.  In ddh’s realm, this is descriptive of my gratefulness and wonder and joy at having a friend…like one closer than a relative!  One who shares my joys and sorrows, and I share alike those same things…

I post this in honor of my baby of course…but the fresh application, and the one for which I bring it to Grace Notes and to you, is in honor of the ddh…and on that day at 643 I will be hearing this song in my heart and sitting in wonder at a river there, and always different and always there and always different.

Happy Birthday, and wow did They ever outdo Themselves when They thought of you.

As far as that quote, on the poster?  About Archie Fisher?  Well, now I sniff in disdain, and raise my chin and ask archly

“Only 500?”

“Let It Go” from Frozen: It fits!

Constance, you know the movie Frozen, yes?  Well, these lyrics are amazing in how they depict what life is like so often for me…on the inside.

“Let It Go”

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried!

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry!

Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

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Give Ear to My Words…

…oh Lord, consider my meditation.
Hearken unto the voice of my cry,
My King and my God.

For unto Thee do I talk each day,
it is my voice You hear in the mornings…

Oh Lady Grace, in the mornings will I direct my prayers
and heartsongs and meditations sweet, unto You, and
I will look up.

For Your lovingkindness is better than life
My heart sings, sweet and silent and ever grateful
so thus I will Bless Thee, and lift up my hands unto Your Goodness.

For it is Your grace that sustains me and Your mercy that
endures forever…

But Your steadfast Love…it never ceases…it never comes to an end.
It is new every morning!!  Literally, new every morning!
Oh Mama!  Great is the Wonder of it!

THE FREEDOM OF IT!

Great is Your faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.

And so accept me this day, my Lovely King and Lord
your daughter true, born of blood, and blooming with love
and receive my life for Your purpose in today.

Those I meet, those I pass by, and those whose hearts are breaking.

In the precious and wonderful Name of Immanuel, God with Us…

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A writer I recommend

Good morning Constance.  🙂  I hope this post finds your day going well.

There is a young music writer whom I follow, and she is amazing.  Thoughtful, passionate, informed, and best of all a point of view uniquely hers that she writes from, so the music she reviews has a larger context than just music.  She pulls all things that she writes of into that point of view and it results in my learning something new with every article she writes…about music…about society…about myself.

Check out just a sample of her writing below, and enjoy…savor this young talent who writes with a strength far beyond her years.  She keeps this up, she stands to be one of her generations’ awake voices.

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THINKING TO PIECES

Sharon Van Etten Takes Triumphant Risks on ‘Are We There’

By Caitlin White • May 28, 2014

On her fourth record, the singer-songwriter lets the wounds of her past heal. But the process doesn’t come without pain, and it’s ultimately her willingness to journey those experiences that makes her victorious.

Listening to Sharon Van Etten will empty you out. I can’t make it through her fourth album Are We There without crying. Her initial forays into recording on 2009’s Because I Was In Love and the follow up Epic in 2010 felt like they issued from a woman still wounded, open and raw. Their salve was in their burn—the wound still bleeding. Tramp in 2012 and now her latest, Are We There (Jagjaguwar), feel more subdued, but just because the skin closes over the gaping flesh doesn’t mean that the pain is done. Are We There explores this territory—it’s a finger running over an old scar, wondering how healing can still feel so sore.

There’s a tendency in our culture to keep the broken female artist in a protective case. If they lose their pain, they lose our fascination. Our culture has built an empire of fascination with brokenness while simultaneously pushing the idea that happiness is the constant barometer we should measure ourselves against. That might be the biggest farce of late capitalism, actually—that happiness is the standard instead of a spontaneous, often fleeting state. So, excavating the depths of sadness doesn’t have to be about depression, or some sort of imbalance, as it’s often portrayed. In our current iteration of emotional “health” there’s very little room for the anguishes that life throws at us every day. How are we supposed to process the death, loss, pollution, abuse and violence that develop like wrinkles in our perfect world’s skin? Van Etten helps us cope with the wrinkles.

What would it take for Sharon Van Etten to be afraid of nothing? The album opener “Afraid of Nothing,” arguably the record’s strongest tracks, ponders this. It whirrs through orchestral backing like a carousel, now faster, now slower, as she croons her fears and desires into the ether. There’s no world without fear, but maybe there is one where we’re less afraid to talk to each other about our own terrors. Van Etten is an artist who emerged from an abusive relationship almost because of her art. She tells stories of a former lover from whom she hid her music because he would deride her, and the sense of this is part of what makes her earlier work so engaging: the tentativeness, the hiding, the uncertainty.

On this record, more than ever, we get a sense of her strength—that she sings because she has to—that the songs emerge from her out of necessity. That’s how Are We There differs from her previous work; while Tramp had confidence, it didn’t have quite as much purpose as this release does. It goes gleefully heavy at times like early single “Taking Chances.” The slinky, click-snap beat is a departure from her usual, sparer arrangements, and an electric guitar growls through her decision to vulnerable again. Still, the songs churn with the inconsistencies of human love. We fail at compassion, we’re not empathetic, we can’t change our flaws. The hopeful anguish of “Nothing Will Change” illustrates this: Sharon stretches out the vowel so long on “change,” capturing our desire to be better. Later numbers like “I Know” reveal the inevitable resignation: that we probably won’t be able to.

As Sharon turns her mistakes into songs, the inevitable universality of fucking up, especially in love, hits all of us. For this album she mostly chose to self-produce, ditching the able, incisive production of Aaron Dessner (who worked on Tramp), and the style of the record reflects that. It’s fresher and richer, and the textures of her vocals are highlighted in different ways. Before, Sharon stitched her notes together, spare, but strong like a thread. Here, her vocals feel embroidered, colorful and filled out, creating more intricate images than she’s ever sang before with increased richness. Tracks like “Break Me” are an acknowledgement that the horrors of the past could happen again, and agreement to risk that. That’s why Are We There feels like a victory, it’s the work of a woman who has agreed to the riskiness to love again. She’s not defined by her abuse. Instead, her bravery to engage with that experience and turn it into part of her story has become a better, bolder storyline. This is how you leave victimhood—be willing to risk your full self again, no strings attached, no nagging holdovers

We heard the strength of this woman before—timid tendrils of defiance over the pain—but the focus felt like it was still fixed on the other. Here, even when she’s scathing, she’s the subject. The heartbreaker is song fodder, sure, but it’s Sharon’s emotions that trumpet through tracks like “Your Love Is Killing Me,” the song is about her pain, not her abuser. That difference may seem like minutia, but for those of us who have felt the crippling losses she’s singing of, the power it takes to make that slight shift in focus is endlessly palpable. By singing about her fears Sharon offers the rest of us a sanctuary, respite from the lonely thought that no one else hurts like us, no one else doubts themselves so deeply and completely. “I Love You But I’m Lost” gives rebuttal to the eternal myth of love as identity; you can’t find your center in the other, you never could.

Love, relationships, romance—none of these are a destination, even if they seem to be when we don’t have them. With Van Etten, the journey is more important than the moment you get there. The will to fight is more important than the actual victory. Sharon Van Etten will empty you out, but she won’t leave you empty. Her music fills the listener with a strange dignity, the pride and inevitable strength that comes in acknowledging weaknesses, and soldiering through to the next sunrise anyway. With the dawn, maybe something will change. Or maybe we’re not there yet.

Beautiful King (Zephaniah 3:8-20, song from March 1992)

This song comes next here, for though I had written it a year earlier, I had not done it publicly, but rather worshiped it in private.  You see, some men in our congregation, influential and controlling guys who ran the congregation, got very uncomfortable with my songs…they were either too tender, or too tough, or too sappy, or too sharp edged.  Whatever.

It was very painful, and also confusing, for the sweet Holy Spirit would hover and draw so close, and when I did the songs with the downtrodden, they loved them!

So I had been holding out…but in the same meeting that Arise our God was played, this one was the song that led us upward again, and out of the trough of despondence and repentance and back to a place of hope and confidence in the Lord.

Later in the night (and after the obligatory drawing aside by the “leaders: to rebuke me for my over-emotional songs), Lady Grace drew near me, and as I cried myself to sleep She nestled over me and I knew that They were pleased, and that was enough.  (I never could figure it out…why they criticized virtually every single thing…and yet continually asked me to lead worship.  Go figure.  I guess it is evidence of the verses in Psalm 27

Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”)…yeah…YES LORD.

PS:  there are 7 lines in each verse on purpose lol!

All ye who weep with hearts that are broken, lift up your eyes to your King
All who desire Holy Devotion, Bow you down, and call on His Name.
And He will give to you purified lips.
And you will give to Him purified lives.
And He will remove from you dullness of heart.
Pour out your lives to Him,
Your Beautiful King.

Shout for Joy, Oh Ye Daughter of Zion!  Shout in triumph, Oh Israel!
He has taken away all His judgements against you!  And He dwells in your midst, let not your hands fall limp!
He sings over you in joy, mighty and tender!
Victorious Warrior, gaze on His Splendour!
He turns all your shame to song, He brings us together!
Pour out your live to Him…
Your Beautiful King.

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Arise our God! (Ps 44: 23-26. A song from July 1993)

Constance…I truly think this:  if you enjoy being in a good worship service, where there is freedom to sing and not a strict order to the service, but more a chorus oriented service, basically with the purpose of fostering devotion to God, then you would have loved being in a song service with me.  For years, that was my “thing”…leading worship.  And while I was deft in leading Sunday morning services, and setting the stage for the sermon and teaching, my forte was the Friday night devotional times, where there was one agenda…sing and worship the Lord freely and intimately.

These songs…oh wow…how they bring back times to me…I have tears right now as I remember this song, written during a time of intense trouble in our congregation as one of our leaders had fallen into deep trouble in ways I won’t even mention.  But we were hurting.  And that day I had been reading in Psalms, and the song erupted from me with tears…and oh how surprised I was as LG gave me the 2nd verse, and imparted to us a sense of mission, and determination to continue to follow, and press in.

Oh Dear Reader…if you have never been in a true worship situation, I am soo sorry to you.  You deserve the chance to taste and see that the Lord is good and only good.  I am so sorry that so many services are considered a success only if you leave more sour than you arrived, so many think that holiness is not holy if it isn’t severe and stark and flavorless.  That is a lie, but unfortunately that heresy has taken control in so many churches and it ends up inoculating people against God instead of infecting them!

Anyway…Arise Our God

Why do You hide Your Face, and forget our affliction, our oppresion?
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 mercy’s sake!

Chorus:
Arise our God!
Arise our God!
Arise our God!
Hear Your people cry!

As the purifying fire consumes all our stubble and ambition,
Our hearts will not turn back, for we have chosen the Flame,
The Cross, and Your Name, so redeem us!  For Your mercy’s sake!
For Your mercy’s sake!

Chorus:

(intercessory prayer as Spirit leads)

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