Of Simon Cowell and Sturdy Faith - The story behind 'My Saviours Cross'

Me and my fear of young people.

It's no secret to those who know me that I am not really a 'kids' person. And if I am being honest, teenagers especially scare me. Like, really scare me. At the time of writing 'My Saviours Cross' I was still a teen myself and living in Atlanta GA. I had been roped into being a leader for a youth camp called 'Walking Wisely' a two night retreat for teens. What I didn't realise about this 'camp' was that I and six 12-13 year olds would be billeted out to a home, without the support of other leaders or any idea what I was meant to be doing. Just me and six young girls. These girls, though four years my junior, were much more fashion conscious than I, and had been wearing makeup many years longer than I had. They were cool. I was.. not. However, I resolved to put my own insecurities aside and do the task set before me. Encourage them in the word, take them through the devotionals I had been handed on my way out the church doors, and to be friendly. I was determined that regardless of how 'uncool' I might have been, I wasn't going to give them a reason not to like me. I would not be the reason these girls left camp without encountering Jesus in some shape or form.

Simon Cowell and my undoing.

During the allotted free time, one of the girls suggested we play "American Idol". They set up a stage, got dressed up and practiced acts for their 'auditions'. I, being a New Zealander and having what they considered to be an "almost British" accent, would of course be given the role of judge, Simon Cowell. Now, I had seen American Idol a time or two and if I knew anything about Simon Cowell, it was that he is thoroughly unimpressed with everything. Good, this I can do. So after much preparation, they got the auditions underway. The first girl sang, I sat blank faced through her song and then declared her to be "tolerable at best". The other two judges put her through to the next round. Similar scenarios played out til all the girls had been through round one, and all been passed through to round two. Round two came, and I was asked to be more 'Simon like'. In retrospect, they probably wanted me to put on a British accent and talk like a man. The first act of round two began. She sang. Determined not to let them down, I put on my best Simon voice and responded "That was thee single… worst thing… I have ever heard… in my entire life". She burst out crying. Instant, uncontrollable tears. Then, one by one the rest of the six started crying, some because they were sad for the initial cryer, others because they couldn't believe I could be "that mean". I tried, to little avail, for the following hours, to convince them I was just acting as Simon Cowell, I didn't mean what I'd said at all, I was just being Simon-like. But while the tears subsided, the trust did not return and for all my efforts, these girls were not having me. Nothing that came out of my mouth, was worth a grain of salt. I was completely undone.

Walking Wisely and Words to live by.

That evening once all six were settled into their beds, I went to my room and thought about what I would tell them if I could. The things that have held me in good stead through my teen years. The first thing that came to my mind was often we walk out of hard times into harder times, but the light of Christ is enough to illuminate the darkest of nights. Follow the light. And anything that is done through Christ will not be wasted. It's rewards are deposited into the banks of eternity. Don't be discouraged. Jesus is the master of a sacred exchange. He takes our death and gives us life. He takes fear and hands us courage. He takes your brokenness in exchange for beauty. But it wasn't free. It cost him everything. Walk in a manner worthy of the calling. This, THIS is what I wanted them to know. Then to surround themselves with the people of God. There is power in praises of His people. Words I would never be able to tell them in person. I prayed somehow they would know. I grabbed a notebook and a pen, and in about 5mins had written every word of 'My Saviours Cross'.

Girls without Names

So this one's for you. The six girls whose names I can not remember, from the camp you'll likely never forget. I hope you found truth, secure footing and the love of Saviour in whose footsteps you can not help but walk wisely. May God be with you, I pray you still walk with him.

The music of My Saviours Cross was written for my Grandfather, who believed that hymns were the only songs worth singing… and who lived out the message I tried to capture in this song til the day he passed into eternity.


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