BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#861 - "Bruises" by Holly Starr
Holly Starr talks about the difficult stories that inspired this redemptive new song.
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #861 -
Posted: September 28, 2017 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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One of my intangible "it factors" that I listen for in selecting my favorite songs and albums is whether I'm moved emotionally. From previous albums by Holly Starr, her songs "Don't Have Love," "Through My Father's Eyes," "God Is" and "Grace for All" all fit that category for me. Lead single "Run the Race" from her new album Human has resonated with me since I first heard it. If you like catchy songs that are scripturally based with relatable lyrics and edifying messages, then you are in for a treat with Human.

The EP was available early by supporting her Kickstarter campaign. It features standout songs about the ups and downs of being human in our Christian walks as followers of Jesus. The cohesiveness of this album is one of the highlights for me, as the thesis statement of the album could be "you were made to run the race," inspired by 2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV): "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

The songs all connect to finishing the race as they run in a track order that flows seamlessly from one song to the next. The upbeat synth-tinged opener invites listeners into Holly's story and her positive grace-filled messages of hope, starting with the reminder that "bruises aren't what make you who you are." I had the chance to speak with Holly about her follow-up single "Bruises."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

I've always had a heart for people who have been handed a hard situation in life. I sat down to write this song thinking of people who have been dealt a blow in their life or gone through a traumatic situation, whether a divorce or a health issue or homelessness. There's stuff in life that happens to people, and it's heartbreaking to me. I had a couple of people in my life that were going through those types of situations, and I was thinking about them when I wrote this song. 

The message of the song is that although we have struggles that we face, don't feel like you have to hide behind them, and know that the things that you've passed through can be used by God in incredible ways if you are vulnerable and open with your story. You don't need to share every detail, and my hope is that through my music in general, it creates an ability for people to say "I've been there and I know what she's talking about." I hope it is something people can relate to. I want to encourage people in the middle of those situations that God has great and incredibly beautiful things in store for you. Don't lose hope from what you've been through.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Romans 8:28 (NKJV): "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV): "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Philippians 4:7 (ESV): "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.

What is the takeaway message?

The true message of the song is that life is more than just what we experience. We have to set our eyes on the eternal things and know that God is good despite the struggles and difficulties that we face. As we trust Him, we get to see those things more and more in our lives. 

I wrote a few of the songs for this project before we titled it Human. I feel like it was one of those artistic inspirations that came from the Holy Spirit. I was sitting down one day, and I felt like I knew the title of the album needed to be Human, and I hadn't even written the title track yet. It was a vision for the rest of the project, and it captured where I had been already, and this was one of the songs I'd already written. I feel like "Bruises" fits into that well, because it is a story based on real people going through real issues in life and trying to not let those struggles overwhelm their mindset in their current moments. It's one of the songs on the project that sheds light on the fact that we all go through stuff, but the stuff that we've been through doesn't define who we are. 

"Through My Father's Eyes" is about my struggle with body image. Part B of that story is this song. My struggle with identity is also a thread in this song. I also need to remember that my past struggles don't make me who I am. God is still working on that with me today.

Lyrics:
When you're feeling like a lost cause
And your voice cannot be heard
When your heart takes a beating
From the fist of heartless words
Don't you give up on the world now
'Cause there will be brighter days

You're hiding all the bruises on your heart
But bruises aren't what make you who you are

You're a treasure in a broken world
Who you are, who you are
You shine brighter than a billion stars
Who you are, who you are
In a world where the truth is confusing
You are more than your scars and your bruises

In the middle of a hurricane
When you're feeling black and blue
I can see why you would want to
Run away when life is cruel
Don't you give up on the world now
There's a life ahead of you

You're hiding all the bruises on your heart
But bruises aren't what make you who you are

You're a treasure in a broken world
Who you are, who you are
You shine brighter than a billion stars
Who you are, who you are
In a world where the truth is confusing
You are more than your scars and your bruises

Who you are, who you are
Who you are, who you are

You're a treasure in a broken world
Who you are
You shine brighter than a billion stars
Who you are
In a world where the truth is confusing
You are more than your scars and your bruises

You're a treasure in a broken world
Who you are, who you are
You shine brighter than a billion stars
Who you are, who you are
In a world where the truth is confusing
You are more than your scars and your bruises

Who you are, who you are
Who you are, who you are

In a world where the truth is confusing
You are more than your scars and your bruises


This song and album celebrates the freedom we are promised in God's Holy Word: "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians are new creations on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives us new life, and we don't have to live anymore with our guilt, fears or worries. We are born again, and we need to live as children of God. We all have freedom to be ourselves, and He has great plans for us. We need to live each day knowing that despite circumstances, God has a plan for "those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

This song has strong theological messages like Holly's song "Through My Father's Eyes," which proclaims "you'll be a slave to nothing" based on Romans 6:22-23. That is something I want my daughters to know, that after we are saved and redeemed, we are never going back to being a slave to sin. Instead, we are bondservants of God. That's an example of something we are never going back to as children of God. Celebrate that "whatever's in the past is covered in love.

My daughters have been very blessed by Holly's excellent new album. We were discussing the meaning of Holly's song "Bruises." I explained to my daughters that rather than focusing on the way they see themselves and being upset about mistakes they have made, it's about knowing the way God thinks of them. I'm crazy in love with all of my girls, but God loves all of us even more than we can imagine.

No matter where you are, no matter what you've done, God will find you if you call out to Him sincerely and ask Him for His grace. Even once we are saved, we sometimes beat ourselves up about failure and feel unworthy of God's love. That's the point: we aren't worthy. We can't earn grace. It is a gift of unmerited favor from God for His children. This song is a great way to affirm to ourselves and each other that "in a world where the truth is confusing, you are more than your scars and your bruises." Amen to that!

Listen to the song below.
 


 

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.

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