WALK WITH ME
The second song on my EP, Love Letters, is called “Walk With Me,” and it features my friend Payton Epperson on the lead vocal. This is probably the most significant song on this album, and sitting down to write about the story behind it feels sobering. Words might not do this one justice.
Payton was one of my classmates in RSW last year. Despite our vastly different personalities, we somehow became BEST friends over the course of the school year, and when it came time to write a song for our songwriting class final project, we both felt led to co-write together.
A few months prior, I had gotten a prophetic word over my life about the stillness of evergreen trees. I was told that I’m like an evergreen tree, and the Lord’s presence and care and affection are like a steady soft falling snow - the tree doesn’t have to do anything to receive that. Since Payton and I had never co-written with anyone before and didn’t know where to start, I suggested that we write a song about evergreen trees.
We got together a few times to work on the song, and we just weren’t feeling it. Writing a second verse felt impossible. We kept trying to push through the lack of clarity and inspiration, but weeks went by and we just could not figure out what to do. We ultimately decided to scrap our song and start from scratch, even though we only had a couple weeks left until the due date.
We were very intentional about inviting the Holy Spirit into the writing process and getting out of his way this time. We prayed and surrendered our striving right off the bat. I then sat at my keyboard in the corner, took a deep breath, and started softly playing in the key of A flat as Payton got up and began pacing back and forth at the other end of my living room. I recorded a loop of a chord progression that was hittin’ me in the FEELS and just let it play. I took a deep breath and played a melody (which ultimately became the verse melody), and almost immediately, Payton started writing in her notebook on the other end of the room as I played various melodies over the chord progression loop.
After a few minutes of me playing a few different melodies and Payton prayerfully pacing and writing, she came back over to me and said “Can we talk about what just happened?” She showed me what she had written down. We sang through what she had, rearranged and refined a couple of lines, decided on a melody for the choruses, and the song was basically done. When we put it all together and sang through it all for the first time, we were FLOORED; literally, we couldn’t help but get down on the floor and lay there as we read the lyrics over and over. It felt like a love letter written straight from God to us… a letter that painted a clear picture of the Father walking with us through a beautiful scene with evergreen trees, rivers, blue skies.
If you’re interested, here’s a voice memo of the whole process. You can hear me playing different melodies at the beginning, and we discuss it and begin shaping the song in the second half of the recording:
We had no idea the impact that this song would have on our own lives over the coming months. Here are just a few of the many stories:
A week before our song presentation, we recorded a voice memo of the song to turn in for school. That same day, within a matter of hours, I started breaking out in hives so bad that I ended up in the ER. Payton sat with me in the waiting room and tried to distract me from the nerves. She pulled out her phone and we listened to the voice memo of our song, and it calmed us both down instantly. We both talked about how the song felt like a gift from the Lord to help us through the whole ER experience, and it was PERFECT timing that we happened to record it right before all the scary stuff started happening.
A few days after that, some crazy unexpected life changes happened all of a sudden in my life, and this song was what kept reminding me of the Lord’s steady presence and love during all of the craziness, uncertainty, and grief.
I listened to this song on repeat on the day I got baptized, which was by far the most significant moment of my life. (You can read about my baptism here)
The first line of this song is “there’s joy in waiting.” This summer was a time of painful waiting for both me and for Payton, and we both shared with each other multiple times that this song was a much-needed source of comfort through it all. It helped me to remember that the Lord was intentional and had something good in store for us during the waiting season.
“Walk With Me” continues to be extremely meaningful for both Payton and me as we go forward into new adventures this fall. It keeps speaking into our circumstances strangely specifically and providing comfort and peace exactly where we need it. This song is truly a gift from the Lord.
Love Letters is a 3-song EP consisting of songs I wrote during my time in the Radiant School of Worship. Each song is written from the perspective of God.