“You Are Safe” is the first song on my new EP “Love Letters,” and it is also the first song that I wrote while I was a student at the Radiant School of Worship.
Sometime within the first month of school, we had a 2-day retreat where our leaders taught us how to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit, write down what we heard, and make sure it lines up with scripture. They worked with us individually and guided us through it so well. By the end of the 2 days, I had heard the loving voice of God for the first time, and had a whole journal page to show for it. It changed the way I prayed, journaled, and spent time with God in general, which ultimately was a game-changer in my daily life.
One day, about a week after this retreat, I was spending time with the Lord in my loft early in the morning, and he clearly spoke words of love and identity over me. I wrote them all down in my journal. I remember crying a lot because I had never thought of God as a kind & attentive Father before, but the words he said were so full of gentleness and kindness.
I closed my journal and began to go about my day. While I was folding laundry and listening to instrumental music, a new melody popped into my head, and I found myself singing the words I had written down. I thought, “whoa, I think God is giving me a song.” I rushed to my guitar, opened my journal to the words I had just written down, and began to sing the words out loud.
Within an hour or two, the majority of “You Are Safe” was written. It happened SO naturally that I almost don’t remember the process I went through to write it. I jokingly tell people that I blacked out while writing it, and in a way I think that’s kind of true, haha. I quickly recorded it into a voice memo on my phone, and then spent a few hours that afternoon recording a real demo of the song. It was important to me to have a recording of the song so I could go listen to it whenever I struggled with identity or insecurity.
The song became a monument that I continually went back to, for months after I wrote it. I listened to the recording constantly, sometimes just having it on repeat in my car whenever I drove anywhere. It put me at ease every time I was anxious. Besides a few exceptions, I didn’t show it to anyone because it felt like a special gift from God to me, and I told myself I’d never release it publicly unless God told me to (which he later did; I’ll explain that in a second). But once in a while, he’d put it on my heart to share with specific individual people. I fondly remember one particular instance where my friend Audrey and I laid on the floor in her living room on a rainy fall day as I played the recording of the song for her, and it was such a wonderful peaceful moment.
On Thanksgiving, Cory Asbury and his wife Anna invited me and a couple other RSW students over to eat dinner with them (which is SO KIND and I still can’t get over that). After we ate, Cory took us to his piano and showed us a song he was working on. I ended up showing him and Anna my song, You Are Safe. Cory made some really great suggestions that I ended up using, like adding the word “here” in the last lines of the choruses and using that same line in the bridge. So, of course, I sometimes take advantage of the opportunity to tell people “I co-wrote with Cory Asbury once.” :)
The final stage of developing this song was recording it for real, which I did sometime in March or April. I made the decision to change the instrumentation to just piano, unlike the guitar-based demo. The soft felt piano sound that I used in the final recording was almost exactly the way Cory’s piano sounded when I played the song for him and Anna.
Deciding to publicly release this song was surprisingly difficult for me. At the time, it was the most intimate song I had ever written, and it truly did feel like a sweet little secret that the Lord and I got to share together. But after about 5 or 6 months of enjoying the secret, I felt the Lord start to put on my heart that a time is coming when the words of this song are meant to be shared. The thing that finally convinced me to do it was seeing the positive impact it had on every friend I showed it to. The song already had a few testimonies attached to it by the time I even considered releasing it - God was already using the song to speak to my friends on a deep level, which is so cool. It makes me excited to see how it might speak to others too.
You Are Safe will always remind me of those first few months of RSW - a time when my whole life was being turned upside down and I was experiencing the very real love of God for the first time. It’ll always remind me of the special moments with friends when I shared the song with them, and the moment with Cory and Anna when I played it for them. Most of all, it’ll always remind me of the first few times that I heard the voice of God, and how much it changed my life.