Mercy Tree (Sturm)

Mercy Tree

For Music Monday today, I wanted to point out a song that’s been a blessing to me for my Christian walk: “Mercy Tree.” I’m familiar with Lacey Sturm’s rendition of it on the album “My Hope”. This song is a brief and straightforward proclamation of Christ’s death and resurrection – and the hope we have in this gospel. It’s also worth mentioning that as a teenager Lacey was a committed atheist. Her life was quite dark and full of pain to the point that she had planned to commit suicide. But God – through her grandma! – had other plans for her life. Long story short: now Lacey is sharing the hope of the gospel through music. Speaking of, here’s the song “Mercy Tree”:

On a hill called Calvary
Stands an endless mercy tree
Every broken weary soul
Find your rest and be made whole
Stripes of blood that stain its frame
Shed to wash away our shame
From the scars pure love released
Salvation by the mercy tree

In the spot between two thieves
Hung the blameless Prince of Peace
Bruised and battered, scarred and scorned
Sacred head pierced by our thorns
It is finished was His cry
The perfect lamb was crucified
His sacrifice, our victory
Our Savior chose the mercy tree

Hope went dark that violent day
The whole earth quaked at love’s display
Three days silent in the ground
This body born for heaven’s crown
On that bright and glorious day
When heaven opened up the grave
He’s alive and risen indeed!
Praise Him for the mercy tree!

Death has died, love has won
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome
He has risen from the dead

Death has died, love has won
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome
He has risen from the dead

One day soon, we’ll see His face
And every tear, He’ll wipe away
No more pain or suffering
Praise Him for the mercy tree

Death has died, love has won
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome
He has risen from the dead

Death has died, love has won
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome
He has risen from the dead

On a hill called Calvary
Stands an endless mercy tree

Amen!

(Lacey Sturm, “Mercy Tree”)

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

The Reason (Sturm)

The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living by [Sturm, Lacey] I enjoy reading autobiographies, so when I saw Lacey Sturm’s autobiography on sale awhile back, I picked it up.  I admit I didn’t know much about her, but I have listened to Flyleaf before and the book summary sounded good, so I was interested in checking it out.  After reading it, I’m glad that I did!  I don’t agree with it all, and there are some spots of the book I didn’t really like, but I thought it was worth the time and effort.  This book is a bit different from others I point out here on the blog, but it is worth pointing out (despite my caveats).

The entire book is dominated by this theme: “The Reason” (hence the title).  It’s a helpful layout.  For example, here are some of the chapters: 3) The Reason I Became an Atheist, 4) The Reason I Fell in Love with Sadness, 8) The Reason I Wanted to Die, 10) The Reason I’m Alive, 13) The Reason I Sing, and 18) The Reason God Will Always Love Us.  As you might be able to tell from these chapter titles, Sturm has quite a story to tell – and I’m glad she told it!

One gripping aspect of this book is how Sturm described her loneliness, sorrow, and desire to die.  I could feel the emotion and was brought to tears by the darkness she went through.  Living in an abusive household and facing other difficulties in youth led her to become “addicted at a very young age, to feeling sad and sorry for myself.  …I thought about suicide all the time.”   She followed Kurt Cobain’s views on darkness:

“…There is a comfort in being sad.  It’s dark and hauntingly true, at least when you’re a young girl looking for something to cling to.  Crying myself to sleep began to feel familiar, like a kind of home.  Darkness can feel honest, and honesty can be beautiful and feel so inspiring.  But darkness stops short of resolution.  It’s deceptive.  You can’t see all that lurks within darkness.  The things that inhabit darkness live there because you can’t see them; that way they can deceive you, pervert you, and ultimately destroy you from the inside out” (p. 54).

If you’ve gone through the darkness like that, you know what she means (and you should read this book if you’re personally familiar with this theme!).  Later Sturm writes,

“It is not brave to kill yourself when things are difficult; it is brave to live anyway.  It is brave to find ways to lay down your life to serve the people around you.  It is brave to forgive and choose to love those who hurt you even though they don’t deserve it.  It is brave to trust that the God who gave you life in the first place has a good plan in mind, even when everything around you looks like hell.  It is brave to live” (p. 62).

The gospel freed Sturm from the darkness, sadness,  and from the idolatry of trying to be god to other people:

“Because I stand forgiven I am always beautiful to God.  I could finally see myself through his love (p. 115).”

God’s love in Christ was the light and truth that captured Sturm’s heart, and led her to write the song “The Reason” (which you can find online):

All my life I’ve searched
For something to satisfy the longing in my heart
And every time I’d come away
Emptier than before.

And now I found the Reason
I was made to be Yours alone.

…Thank you for never giving up, on me
When I looked to everything else
And lived, so selfishly
You bled, you died
To be with me
Why would you do
Something like that?
For someone like me?

The above book quotes are found in Lacey Sturm, The Reason (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2014).

Shane Lems