Water Need (Michael Ketterer Cover)

Since the last blogpost, my life has changed.

I have a bright-eyed baby son (I recorded the video while I was still pregnant with him) – his name is Isaac John Newton Prescott, and he is my pride and joy.

I can’t walk. The labour was sixty hours long, my little one had somehow shifted from an anterior to posterior position and put his head at an angle. I delivered him without intervention – this is a miracle in itself – but my body is in a state of shock.

“God loves dependence.”

These were my friend Connie’s words as she held me and we rocked back and forth, sobbing. Peter, Isaac and I had just returned home from the hospital after days and days of tests, scans, and powerful pain-killers. I was incapacitated, exhausted, and traumatised.

I am dependent now as I have never been before. I need help to do the simplest things. My incredible husband and kind-hearted mother-in-law attend to me and the baby all day and all night long. I am humbled, and I am brokenly grateful.

“I need you, I need you – I need you like water.”

And so I lean on my Beloved, praying that I will come out of this wilderness unrecognisable, radiant, transformed (Song of Songs 8:5).

More Than Watchmen

The bright lights of Cambridge had finally dimmed. The tottering footsteps of the last homebound partygoer echoed down the angular alleyway of Portugal Place. I sat in the basement of Number 25, peering up through the little window, imagining night watchmen angels striding past, their wings swinging softly behind them in the velvet-black predawn silence. It was about three in the morning, and my heart was full of longings more pressing than sleep the night I wrote this song.

More than watchmen for the morning
Oh, my soul is desperate for You
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits
and in his word I put my trust

The kingdom of God does not operate on one time scale; it is ‘now and not yet’ – we are justified now, we have every spiritual blessing now, and yet there is so much we long for. We wait for Jesus, our Bridegroom, we wait for the Father to reward openly what is done in secret (Matthew 6), we wait for things to be seen as they truly are (Luke 8:17). Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1), but this constant waiting and trusting can be a sweet heartache, almost like a long-distance marriage.

There isn’t space to tell you my whole story, but I can testify to this: the fulfillment is all the sweeter for the waiting, and the fulfillment will come!

Maybe there are longings you have been treasuring in your heart for years. Let not deferred hope make you heartsick in the wrestlings of the now – God knows what you think you want, and He also knows what you would really want if you could see all the options! Dare to hope even more audaciously in the realm of the not yet, for his promises are unbreakable, like a diamond on your finger. The Bridegroom will surely come for you, His beloved. And in that moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he will redeem the sufferings of the long, dark night and make everything new, hallelujah!

O… [my friend!], hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.

Psalm 130:7

 

We Can Walk On Water

This song is one that has brought me much joy. The original home recording, which I first heard on a mixed CD of unidentified artists, contains as much laughter and conversation as actual music. The guitar-strumming singer, affable and lighthearted, begins the song with the injunction, “…and have some fun with it!”

Can you hold me, ‘cuz I’m still shaking
We can walk on water!

Peter walking on the water towards Jesus (Matthew 14:22-34) speaks powerfully to me of what the Christian life feels like. Peter the sea-bronzed fisherman is full of bravado: “tell me to come to you on the water”! Peter the wholehearted worshipper is, as always, vying for the spot closest to the One he loves. Peter the mere human, however, falters: “…when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!'” Many theologians of more wisdom and insight than me have gone into the implications of Peter’s apparent lack of faith. All I want to say today is that Jesus caught him.

As you step out on the water in bumbling but genuine love for the Saviour, know this: even if you fail, Jesus will catch you. It matters more that you love Him than that you do this perfectly. This is for those of you who overthink the walk of faith, as I often do: “…have some fun with it!” There is space out on these open seas – we can walk on water!

Shepherd Of My Soul

Shepherd of my soul, you’ve hovered over me so tenderly
Leading me by still waters
Nothing shall I want, no, nothing gives me hope or comforts me
Like your sweet company
Crevasse of thorns,
Valley of death
Doubting, I falter, stubborn, I wander astray
Again

Shepherd of my soul, you come after me like a blazing fire
Light incarnate, light my darkness
Roaring out my name, you prise the very jaws of death apart
And hold me close to your heart
You bind up my wounds
With oil and wine
Rain falls like tears of joy as you carry me home
Again

The Shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to go after the one because she is irreplaceable to him. Oh, that I could fully grasp the trembling tenderness and red-hot fierceness of the Saviour’s love this Easter season! All its waves and billows overcome me when all I wanted was to dip my toes in its cooling stream. What manner of love is this?

Oh, Light of the World, thank you for mercy, thank you for mercy.

For the Love of You

I wrote this song on one of those days I was panicking at the thought of becoming a ‘full-time missionary’ with YWAM. What about my troubled family history with the organisation? What about starting a career? What about security, a ‘normal life’? I picked up my guitar and sang one of my favourite verses to myself, like a lullaby.

“Greater love has no man than this
that he would lay down his life for his friends”

Something in my heart went *click*. There’s no other way to explain it.

So here I am, a missionary. Listen to the song, it explains all! Sort of.

Medley from ’07 (Coldplay Cover)

Right at the bottom of the pile of rubble that is the folder entitled “Delhi 07” is this gem, imaginatively entitled ‘video 248’. What makes the 7:36 minutes of this video so very epic? Well, it’s a Coldplay medley, and everyone knows Coldplays lyrics give you that warm, fuzzy, but slightly aching feeling in the pit your stomach: “I know exactly what you’re saying, Chris Martin! And I kind of wish I didn’t.”

Oh, what good is it to live with nothing left to give,
forget but not forgive, not loving all you see?

However, what’s really special about about this video for me is the people. I have my trusty buddies Andy and Tenzing beside me, our hands moving in perfect synchrony up and down the fretboards, as though we are one three-headed musical insect with six comically bobbing feet. There’s a moment when we’re singing in three-part harmony, and the many-voiced crowd joins in:

Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

I treasure that moment.

I know my smile at the end was tight-lipped and self-conscious, and I forgot to say “Thank you” before I fled from the stage, but I think this was one of the highlights of my college existence. For a few fleeting moments I wasn’t just one lonely, slightly awkward undergraduate student – as we all sang together, I was part of something bigger, and it felt amazing. Oh, to live a life caught up in something bigger than myself!

Sick but Rejoicing

Dear Ones,

There will be no video this week, because I seem to have caught chicken pox, and am slowly being overtaken by little red spots, but oh, God is so good to me! Of all the weeks I have ever spent at YWAM Harpenden, this is the best one for chickenpox, because our schedule is still flexible, we have a flat (so I don’t infect other people), and it’s that time of year when the sun is shining jubilantly, late into the evening. Best of all, I have the Joy of my Heart, my Jesus, to meditate on, whisper my feverish thoughts to, and sing croaky hymns to from my sickbed. Glorious!

Love, Taryn

Revenge (Switchfoot Cover)

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. The crowds he had healed and loved cried out in a bloodthirsty frenzy, “Crucify him!” Even thieves hanging on either side of him joined in the cruel mockery of the innocent one. And me? I drew first blood.

Jesus hung there on the cross, hatred hitting him like nails through his flesh, with the power to call down all the angels in Heaven to wipe out his persecutors. That would have been a fitting revenge. You could walk away from that feeling like all the loose ends of that nice, feel-good Jesus story were tied up neatly. Instead, He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” You can’t walk away from that.

That’s when the irony hit me
That this was revenge
That love had descended and stolen my pain away

Not Alone, Not Afraid

I have made epic journeys, competed in marathon races, battled and conquered fierce enemies, swum the oceans of the world – in my mind. Yes, like all of you who grew up reading under the covers, reading on the front of your dad’s motorbike, reading in the shower (did no one else try that?), I often see real life through the lenses of an epic story. This song is about an epic journey – well, actually, I wrote it in high school, it was about teenage struggles, which are always more interesting if you imagine them in terms of an epic story – a heroine setting her face like flint, “though the shadows grow so tall”, though adversaries “press her hard on every side”, for she knows this is true, in the present tense, no less: “the light has shone in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

If I Ain’t Got You (Alicia Keys Cover)

The first time I performed this song was in 2005, with a friend from school. We were two teenagers dwarfed by a gleaming wooden stage, gravitating to the familiarity of the lone Klavinova piano waiting in the spotlight. The previous user of the piano had played havoc with the transpose button. The song started ridiculously low, ground to a halt, and was recommenced when the piano was de-transposed. Alicia Keys would have rolled over in her grave, if she had been in a grave – as it was, maybe she rolled over in her bed, many timezones away.

False starts notwithstanding, the wise men with the funny hair were right: “All you need is love.”

Thanks for listening!
Taryn