The first time I heard Plumb's song "God-Shaped Hole," released at the end of the 90s, I immediately connected to the catchy melody and poignant lyrics. Throughout her career, she has continued to entertain and challenge listeners in that way, looking to point us to the One who can fill that "God-shaped hole in all of us."
Plumb's album Need You Now has been one of my favorite albums to savor in years. The combination of Tiffany Arbuckle Lee's incredible vocal range and her compelling and relevant lyrics have never been more perfectly combined than with this stellar and flawless masterpiece, my 2013 Album of the Year. Plumb's longtime producer Matt Bronleewe perfectly describes her unique sound as "raw, lyrically introspective vocals floating across an epic soundscape."
Need You Now (Deluxe Edition) (available everywhere September 16) is an expanded collection of powerful and emotional songs including the four new songs "Starting Over," "Fall Back In," "Faithful" and single "Lord, I'm Ready Now." They are songs about the restoration of her marriage after a separation from her husband Jeremy, also chronicled in her book NEED YOU NOW: A Story of Hope. Having already featured "Need You Now," "Don't Deserve You," "Beautiful" and "One Drop" from the original release as behind the song devotionals, I had the chance to speak with Tiffany (Plumb) about "Lord, I'm Ready Now" from the album's expanded edition.
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
As you know, the album Need You Now was finished, and then my husband and I went through our dark time in our marriage and separated, and then we reconciled. Once the album released, every song took on a completely new meaning. I wrote a book about that experience in my life, and after I finished the book, between touring and writing a book there wasn't a lot of time to write enough songs for an entire new album. So my manager suggested a brilliant, authentic and faithful idea that I could write and record a few songs that speak to where I am now. They continue the conversation from where I left off since the recording and release of the regular edition of the album, and where we are now that we are reconciled.
Between this spring and this fall as I was touring, writing a book and writing new songs, I had conviction about not falling back into the same trap in my marriage as before. My husband and I had a very open conversation about that, and we agreed that this was a different type of busyness.
Right after that, our Pastor preached about being busy versus being hurried. He said "We've heard people say," and I was sure he was referring to me, "that good is the enemy of what is best, and being busy doing good things can compete with what is really best for you and your family." There's a difference between being busy and hurried. Hurried is when you are just flying, and you're not noticing the scenery at all. You become completely unaware of everything else except what is right in front of you. Busy is keeping your calendar full, but individually they are positive and good things, and you can rest in those things and know when you get home you are going to have quality time with your family. You are able to be aware in each of those moments that it is not going to last forever. You don't need to think there's something evil and wrong with being busy, but you need to be aware.
It was the perfect message for me that day. It affirmed that I was supposed to write the book and continue the conversation with the new songs on the deluxe edition of the album. I knew I needed to be intentional with my time, with my husband and with my children. Even in all of the busyness, I was intentional about my time and my family came first.
This is my anthem that I don't want to waste any more time. Lord, I'm ready now. Thanks be to God that He gives me infinite chances, fights for me and wants me so much. The lyrics say it all very literally. The bridge sums it up: there's nothing left to hide.
Which Bible verses connect to the song?
Isaiah 6:8 (NASB): "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'"
Romans 8:28 (NIV): "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Psalm 90:12 (NIV): "Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 108:1-2 (MSG): "I'm ready, God, so ready, ready from head to toe. Ready to sing, ready to raise a God-song: 'Wake, soul! Wake, lute! Wake up, you sleepyhead sun!'"
James 5:16 (VOICE): "So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life."
What is the takeaway message?
With this song, I was reflecting on that day when I was on my knees and praying not if but when God was going to restore my marriage. I trusted Him that it would turn out better than I could do on my own. I had released this to God and knew it would be better, and that excited me and gave me a peace and hope.
I committed to give God all the glory, all the praise and honor for the restoration of my marriage. I owned what I had done wrong in our marriage, what had made me difficult to live with and had caused a disconnection. I had been selfish and was putting my career first. Although fame and fortune are fleeting, and making a difference in someone's life is eternal, I kind of wanted to be rich and famous. That heart and my agenda was a weak and empty place, spiritually. I had fallen victim to loving myself more than Jesus. I cared more about my status than about my spiritual health. I was distracted and disconnected, and there was room for darkness to climb in.
That day when I prayed for my marriage, I heard "My Hope is In You" sung by Aaron Shust. I couldn't get enough of Christian music from that day forward. Christian music was like oxygen in my lungs. I had spent so much of my career thinking I was cooler than Christian music, almost ashamed of it. I wanted so badly to be considered mainstream.
But I had hit rock bottom, our marriage was falling apart, we had health issues, and it was so heavy, overwhelming and dark. I say in the book that hope shines brightest there. God pierced through that and showed me a little bit of hope. Everything changed. For the first time, I realized that the hope I was getting was from the Christian music industry I was part of, which gives hope to listeners.
I knew I would be praising God for the rest of my life, and I have a completely new view of my role as an artist. Christian music has a purpose, and it is music that pushes us in the direction of peace, hope, being positive, opposite of the world. I have felt hopeless, and I'm part of something that gives hope when you feel hopeless. I'm part of something that connects with people where I was. There is hope. You are not alone. God is good.
Loving God and loving and serving people are what really matter. Because we are Christians, we need to give our best. We are singing about Jesus, the Creator of the universe. For every time I've been false and sinful, I'm grateful that God has forgiven me, and that He makes beauty from ashes. He redeems all of that, and we don't need to have regrets. He can use everything, and nothing is wasted. He doesn't need us. He wants us.
For anyone listening to this song, you don't have to have regrets. God can use you. With God, it's never too late, never, to start over. It's being able to live in the now that my Jesus has forgiven and forgotten my past, and that He can use me and wants me, and He wants me to want Him back. All of that is beautiful, and I've truly fallen in love with Jesus for the first time. I am hungry for God's Word. This song is birthed out of all of that. Give it all to Jesus. Live for Him.
I just let go
And I feel exposed
But it's so beautiful
Cause this is who I am
I've been such a mess
But now I can't care less
I could bleed to death
Oh Lord I'm ready now
All the walls are down
Time is running out
And I wanna make this count
I ran away from You
And did what I wanted to
But I don't wanna let You down
Oh Lord I'm ready now
Lord I'm ready now
You called my name
I turned away
But now I
I was so caught up
In who I'm not
Can You please forgive me?
I've nothing left to hide
No reasons left to lie
Give me another chance
As a Christian father and husband, I can really relate to Plumb's songs about anxiety, marriage and parenthood. Tiffany Arbuckle Lee is one of my favorite writers in all of Christian music because her songs are so emotional, vulnerable and authentic. Plumb is an anointed songwriter and singer, and she has a profound way of piercing my soul with her poignant words, tender singing and inspirational truths.
"Lord, I'm Ready Now" has a catchy melody and reflects how I feel as a believer. Like "Need You Now" and "I Don't Deserve You," it is a wonderful song of encouragement and a prayer to ask God to break your pride, live redemption's story and move closer to who we're meant to be in Christ. This song is based on my favorite passage of the Bible and my life verse, Isaiah 6:8. This verse stirs me to answer my calling as a Christian to do God's will.
I'm consistently praying that I have the courage to say, "Here I am, Lord send me" when God calls me. This song is a great prayer and answer to that call. What is one area in your life that you feel God may be calling you to exercise faith, even though you doubt your strength?
The song also celebrates restoration with the lyrics "You called my name, I turned away / But now I am listening / I was so caught up in who I'm not / Can You please forgive me?" God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what's He's started in all of us who have put our hope and trust in Jesus. This song convicts me that I don't want to waste any more time. Sing along with Plumb "Lord, I'm ready now / All the walls are down / Time is running out / I want to make this count." Amen to that!
(Watch the lyric video here.)
NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.