BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#280 - "Be Born In Me" by Francesca Battistelli
NRT's Kevin Davis gets the inspiration behind the song both from the songwriter, Nichole Nordeman, and singer, Francesca Battistelli.
 


The Bible. It’s the foundation of our faith, filled with amazing tales of bravery and betrayal, romance and redemption. These age-old stories teach us valuable lessons about the God we serve and the way He wants us to live, but how well do we really know them?

For the past five years as a Christian music reviewer, I’ve fallen deeper in love with my Savior by studying His Word in conjunction with my favorite songs in Christian music, including writing these weekly devotionals. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect combination of my loves to intertwine than to have a two disc compilation featuring 24 artists and 18 songs inspired directly from The Bible called Music Inspired by The Story.

I had the great opportunity to interview Nichole Nordeman, who wrote the lyrics to all of the songs on Music from The Story, including Francesca Battistelli’s gorgeous recording of “Be Born In Me.” This is the background Nichole shared with me about writing the song and Francesca’s reaction to recording the song.

Nichole, please describe the writing process and message of "Be Born In Me."

I was unaware of how it would affect me to dust off some of these old stories that I had relegated to Sunday school--instead, looking in the mirror to see myself in them. I thought it would be a project, but I became completely emotionally involved with them. I was so totally overwhelmed by the scope of the project that I didn’t know where to start.

Finally, somebody said, “just start.” I did, and the songs poured out with “MARY (Be Born In Me)” as the album’s first written song. We sing along with Mary, who is a scared teenager trembling in the presence of an angel yet understanding the significance of her calling: “Be born in me…trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me…I’ll hold You in the beginning, You will hold me in the end, every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem…”

Nichole, how can listeners apply that message in their walk with God?

I think one of the goals was to be able to listen to these songs and feel more connected to these people that walked before us and learned lessons that we’re still learning. There’s such a tendency to turn them into superheroes and have these big, takeaway, moral-of-the-story moments. For me it was all about the humanity. These were broken people who were desperate and needed God. They were just like us. I really believe that, and I think we forget.

Nichole, which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

I was really thinking about Mary’s prayer, “The Magnificat” in Luke 1:46-55, the passage that includes the phrases: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”

Francesca, what does the song mean to you personally as a first-time mother?

I have a little boy; he’s 13 months, but he was probably 5 or 6 months the first time I heard this song. And I was just blown away, tears streaming down my face, because it’s such a gorgeous picture of what Mary must have been feeling. It was just amazing for me to be in this dark little control room, singing and thinking about my son, just trying to put myself in Mary’s shoes, and it was really special. It was probably my most favorite recording session of my life and will probably stay there for a while.

Lyrics:
Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why I am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven's eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on it's knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we've waited for the promise
All this time You've waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

I am not brave
I'll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I'm just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

Be born in me, be born in me
I'll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me


Here’s Matthew Henry’s commentary: “Mary's hymn expresses praise to God for his treatment of her, but then extends her praise to how God has treated the righteous throughout the ages and how he will vindicate them fully in the future. Understanding what God is doing, Mary possesses a mood of joy. She speaks for herself and for her community, the people of God throughout time. God is worthy of praise for what he will do in taking care of His own. Understanding God's blessing moves the believer to joy and appreciation, since the Almighty cares personally for us and acts on our behalf.”

The Music Inspired by The Story project was built on the foundation of Zondervan's Bible, The Story, along with Max Lucado's God's Story Your Story and Randy Frazee's The Heart of the Story. Nordeman immersed herself in those books and wrote these songs that all poignantly address the key characteristics of their personalities. Bernie Herms wrote music to match the lyrics and each song is work of art.

The bridge of this amazing song is extremely moving, “I am not brave, I'll never be, the only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy, I'm just a girl, Nothing more, But I am willing, I am Yours.” God gave us the ultimate gift of His only begotten Son Jesus. As Mary so profoundly prayed in Luke 1:48: “For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”

We have all been blessed by Jesus coming to earth and humbling Himself to be born as a baby and die for our sins. We can all pray along with this gorgeous song directly to Him and ask Him to “make my heart Your Bethlehem, be born in me.” That’s what Christmas is all about.

(Check out this incredible video for the song.) 

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.

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