I can’t think of a better way to share this story with you than to simply copy and paste this conversation as it unfolded.
The first email arrived on January 11. The sender’s name was unfamiliar to me. The subject line simply said, “song.”
I opened it and read these words:
I just wanted to thank you for your insightful, convicting words that were featured on Ann Voskamp’s “Holy Experience” devotional last week. I was very touched and moved by what you wrote. It presented the familiar account of the “Good Samaritan” in a new light to me.
I’m a stay-at-home mom, but also a singer/songwriter, and, as so often happens when the Spirit stirs something within me, I went to the piano right after reading your article, and a song called “Mercy Calls” immediately came to me. Most of it was written within an hour. I will share the lyrics here with you and hope to record it soon. I will send that to you as well, whenever I get it done.
So, much appreciation for your ministry, and for sharing what God put on your heart. I will continue sharing that message in this song.
Mercy calls, will I listen?
Mercy calls, will I hear?
Mercy calls, will I answer?
Will I serve or will I fear
When mercy calls?
There are so many needs
If I open up my eyes to see
Where should the light that’s in me shine
For it’s in the darkest place
That we need God’s gift of grace
To live the Truth and make it come alive
Like the Good Samaritan
Mercy had a cost for him
But he paid it anyway
What’s done for the least of men
We are doing unto Him
Is the price too high for us to pay?
If we would receive God’s mercy, mercy we must give
Blessed are the merciful, that’s how we’re called to live
Dying to ourselves and laying down our lives
Sharing the love of Jesus Christ
Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God
Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God
© Cyndi Aarrestad, January 8, 2016
Immediately after reading devo about mercy by Jeanne Damoff
I wrote back the same day:
Oh, Cyndi! Wow! This is absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to hear the recorded version.
I can’t begin to express how humbled and encouraged I am that God used those words to quicken this gift in you. I’m bowed low in awe and gratitude to Him, and THANK YOU so much for sharing it with me!
Really. I’m speechless. Just thank you again and again.
Cyndi: Thank YOU so much, Jeanne. It always amazes, humbles and encourages ME how God uses the members of His body to minister to one another in a beautiful, ripple effect. As we faithfully give what God pours into our hearts, He uses it to create an ever-widening circle of blessing.
I’m in the middle of having to upgrade some of my recording programs, so I’d appreciate your prayers that I can get past all the “technical difficulties” and on with sharing the songs! Thanks!
Me: Amen! I too am amazed by God’s kind, beautiful, interwoven ways. Praying for you, Cyndi, that the Lord will bless your ministry through song and give you grace, patience, and insight as you navigate the “wonders” of technology.
I visited your website. You have a lovely voice and delightful style, and I’m more excited than ever to hear Mercy Calls once you’ve recorded it!
Thank you again for being His instrument and a gift to me.
Cyndi (mid-February): I FINALLY was able to get my system all working and have time to record “Mercy Calls.” (I still have some glitches to work out, but I’m so thankful to the Lord for His help, wisdom and strength!)
So…I’ve attached the song here for you. You’re the first one to hear the finished product!
I hope and pray it will be a blessing to all who listen to it, and encourage them to show mercy!
Thanks again for the inspiration!
(Friends, listen to this! Yes, I mean right now. You’re welcome.)
Me: Oh, Cyndi. I have no words. And by “no words,” I mean I’ve started typing several sentences and then deleted them, because I honestly can’t express the wonder of hearing this beautiful gift God gave you, knowing He used my words to inspire you, and feeling this humbling sense of His kindness to His body, giving us to each other that we might speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, spurring each other on to love and good deeds and a holy urgency to love Him and all people well–especially the least of these.
Thank you for the honor of hearing this first. Please let me know if I have permission to share it. I would love to put it on my blog, tell this story, and direct people to you and your music, but I don’t want to run ahead of what you have in mind for the song.
I’m so grateful to our good, gracious God that He has crossed our paths in this way. You are a blessing to me, and I pray He takes this song and makes it a blessing to many.
Cyndi: Thank you for your beautiful reply! It is so precious how God is working in and through each of His vessels for His purpose.
By all means, you can feel free to share this song. It would bless me to know it is reaching a new audience. I have been praying about what God wants me to do with it….and am thinking of somehow making it available as a download connected to some kind of outreach donation. I’m just not sure exactly how to go about doing that. Maybe you have some ideas?
For now…rejoice with me in God’s goodness! I too am grateful for the way He has orchestrated the meeting of two hearts seeking to do His will.
(Then in a separate email):
I almost a forgot about this….
Several days after writing “Mercy Calls,” I was looking at your site, and read the blog article on the clay pots. This song came from that inspiration! It’s just a little chorus, but it kind of sums up what I think you were expressing. I’ve been singing it quite often.
So…thank you twice over for your insightful writing!
Humility, not I but Christ
Dying to self, Christ magnified
Humility, my pride dethroned
All glory given, to Christ alone
Let Him increase, let Him be seen
And let there be less and less of me
A servant’s heart, a willing mind
Till Christ in me, alone is glorified
© Cyndi Aarrestad, January 18, 2016
After reading Jeanne Damoff’s writing on her blog
Me: I love this! What a blessing you are! Thank you for your beautiful and encouraging ministry. I’d love to hear this one, too!
Cyndi (mid-March): Hello again, dear sister!
Our God is so awesome and amazing! I just wanted to share what has happened with Mercy Calls lately. As I mentioned to you, I have been thinking of perhaps using it as a download connected with donating to a charity. Well, God had other plans first! I guess He was reminding me that charity/mercy are needed just as much close to home as across the globe! Very sadly, several weeks ago, our dear friends and neighbours (a family of 6), lost their home and belongings in a fire. Thankfully no one was home and so they were all unharmed. Our surrounding community has come together in amazing ways to support and help them, and God is already working the situation out to bring blessings.
They are a musically talented family, and Darryl, the husband, has been a huge part of the recordings I have done for many years. It seemed only natural to have a benefit concert for them, which we are in the process of preparing for. But then, the one day I just felt that familiar nudge of the Spirit, prompting me to compile some songs for a benefit CD for them. Guess what the title is?!? Mercy Calls, of course! All the songs center around the theme of helping/caring/serving others, and being instruments of God’s compassion. I can already see how God is using this…many people whom I wouldn’t have expected (and who don’t usually listen to Gospel music)…are buying it (to support the family of course), but I am praying that God will really speak to their hearts through the messages of the songs. It’s just created a really neat opportunity to minister!
Anyways…I just thought I’d let you know how the ripple effect from your writing has touched us here.
Me: Oh my goodness! Cyndi, you are such a blessing and encouragement to me! THANK YOU for sharing these ripples, and thank you for listening to the Lord and for using your gifts to serve others and magnify Him. You inspire me.
I plan to post Mercy Calls and the story behind it on my blog, and I’d love to include a link to the benefit CD if that’s okay with you. Could you send that to me?
Cyndi (April): The “Mercy Calls” CD is now available on iTunes and here is the link:
I appreciate your offer to share this, and I truly hope it blesses and inspires all who hear it.
Me (mid-May—not in an email to her, but right now to you):
Most of the time we never know what our small offerings stir in others — the kind, supportive word to the frazzled mom of three children wrestling her way through the grocery store aisle; the plate of fresh cookies to a neighbor; a handwritten note to a friend; a bold act of sacrificial faith that quietly emboldens others to do the same.
And maybe we think our voice doesn’t matter. What difference will it make if I add more words to the cacophony of noise clattering around in the cybersphere?
It makes a difference. Your offering matters. Share your words — your small, brave, healing, selfless words.
And don’t be surprised if God answers with a song.