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#499 - "Write Your Story" by Francesca Battistelli
Francesca shares about how she wants to give God full access to her life, and in doing so, let Him tell His story to the world.

Francesca Battistelli: "I want to be an open book, and I want my life to be available to Him for any turn that He wants it to take, and write any story that He wants to write."

My testimony is that the biblical messages behind the songs I heard on the debut album by Jars of Clay in 1995 prompted me to seek out the biblical connection to the words of songs like "Liquid," "Love Song for a Savior," and "Worlds Apart." That led me to dive deeper into God's Word for the first time, in my mid-twenties having grown up with more of a works based faith, and not relying on Jesus alone for my salvation.

The transformation process included listening to every type of Christian music, and I was saved in 1999 when I said the sinner's prayer after listening to an artist testimony at the end of a Christian album where the artist invited me to join him, for which I'm eternally grateful. It's my prayer that my "behind the song" devotionals will encourage readers and be an influence to peoples' individual walks with Christ, or maybe to even lead people to Christ if they haven't yet made the decision.

Here's how it all started: The story is my pastor, J.R. Briggs, challenged me to consider "fasting" from music during the Lenten season leading up to Easter, 2008 and he knew my testimony that I credit my salvation due to the biblical messages "behind the songs" in Christian music leading me to seek Jesus. My pastor suggested that I needed to give up my idol (music) and focus on God's Word and perhaps write about the biblical messages behind my favorite songs in Christian music.
I approached NRT Founder Kevin McNeese with the idea and he graciously agreed to post my original article. Six years later almost to the day, this is my 499th devotional.  I had the great opportunity to interview Francesca Battistelli about her great new song "Write Your Story" The song is the lead single from her forthcoming album If We're Honest. This is my tenth "behind the song" devotional interview with Francesca, making her my most featured female artist in my series over the past six years.

Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.

The process of making this album has been really fun for me. For the last two albums including the Christmas album, we didn't live in Nashville and I was driving back and forth from Atlanta, Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee and there was kind of a forced creativity, like I had four days to write ten songs, and be awesome, go. That's fine, and I enjoyed that, too. There's something about being able to take the time to write, and I started writing last summer and it felt really relaxing this time around. You know the best orange juicer is very popular in the world.

This was one of the later songs written, towards the end of the process, and I wrote this song with Ben Glover and David Garcia. I hadn't written with David before, but I had written a few times with Ben. I knew we'd come up with something great. David has a pop music background, and they told me they had a great melody for the song.  We really liked the music, and wanted to come up with a special song.

The concept of "Write Your Story" hit me later after the writing session when I played the song for A&R guy Josh, and he said it was like an answer to "My Paper Heart." I hadn't even thought of that, but it made sense as I sing in that song, "I'll never be the same since You wrote Your name on my paper heart." The idea behind this song is that I want to be a vessel for God, I want to be an open book, and I want my life to be available to Him for any turn that He wants it to take, and write any story that He wants to write. This is a really joyful song that to me is about being a blank slate and letting your life be open to whatever it is that God wants to do. For so many of us, it is easy to feel like we need to come up with a great plan for how God is going to use our gifts.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song? 

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV): "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

John 3:30 (NKJV): "He must increase, but I must decrease."

Matthew 26:13 (The Voice): I tell you this: the good news of the kingdom of God will be spread all over the world, and wherever the good news travels, people will tell the story of this woman and her good discipleship. And people will remember her.

What is the takeaway message?

I think the song will speak to so many people. To the girl who is waiting for her husband, and has said God, write my love story. To anyone who is saying Lord, I want to be available for You to use me. I don't know what that looks like, but I want it to be whatever You need, and whatever You can use. God just wants our willingness to be used however He sees fit. I hope this song speaks to people to let God write His unique story on your heart. In my life, I have this sort of expectation that I'll be making music forever. I'd love that, because I love what I'm doing, and I feel called to it. If God said He wanted me to stop everything and go live in Kenya and feed kids then I would say, okay let's do it. My husband and I have always had a hands-open stance with God when it comes to our family and touring and the timing of how He wants everything to look. We want to give it all to Him.

It's a very fun song, but it is also a very connected to God song to me. Every time I sing it, it reminds me that God is King of everything, not me. Take the pen out of my hands, and You write the story. I'll be here and I'll act it out. Although the concerts have been great, and we get to make music for a living, they days have been hard on the road on a bus for our family and two young children.

I used to think as long as the ministry of the concert is great, that's all that matters. If I'm not able to find my joy and my peace and contentment and be able to love those around me when we are on the bus and things aren't going well, but I can find it for the concert, I want to be able to do everything for the glory of God, not just when the spotlight is on. That's not all God has called me to do, not just making music, but everything I do needs to be for His glory. That's everybody. That goes for every mom and dad, and every kid going to school, dreaming big dreams. We need to trust God with our stories. As I sing in the song, "I want my history to be Your legacy." I don't want people to remember my name, but to remember His name.

They say
You're the King of everything
The One who taught the wind to sing
The Source of the rhythm my heart keeps beating

They say
You can give the blind their sight
And You can bring the dead to life
You can be the hope my soul's been seekin'

I wanna tell You now that I believe it
I wanna tell You now that I believe it
I do, that You can make me new, oh

I'm an empty page
I'm an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won't You write Your story on my heart

Write Your story, write Your story
Come on and write Your story, write Your story
Won't You write Your story on my heart

My Life
I know it's never really been mine
So do with it whatever You like
I don't know what Your plan is
But I know it's good, yeah

I wanna tell You now that I believe in
I wanna tell You now that I believe in
In You, so do what You do, oh

I want my history
To be Your legacy
Go ahead and show this world
What You've done in me
And when the music fades
I want my life to say

I let You write your story, write Your story
Write Your story, write Your story

Each of Francesca's songs has allowed us as listeners to eavesdrop on her prayers to God. This song is no exception. My favorite aspect of Christian music is hearing how someone else words their thoughts and prayers into a sing-able melody that draws me closer to God. That ties in with my testimony of being led to Christ, and how God wrote His story on my heart to share the biblical messages behind the songs to draw people closer to His heart. That has led to me wanting to share my passion for Jesus and edifying music with each of my three young daughters, and have the truth of God's Word and His heart seep into their hearts.

Like Francesca shared, this song is an expression of faith in God's promise to finish His good work in each of us who have submitted to His Son Jesus for our salvation. Praying to God to reveal His story in our lives and asking Him to write His story on our hearts is the ultimate act of submission in faith to trusting in the power of Jesus with our lives, and not in our own works, lest we should boast. Whatever your story, whatever your ministry or your calling, do it for the glory of God.

The ministry of Christian music is not about these great singers whom God has blessed with amazing talent, or about media coverage. The whole purpose of these devotionals is to praise our Lord and Savior, Jesus. He provides us this opportunity to point people to Him. As we approach Easter, we need to all remember John 3:30 (NKJV): "He must increase, but I must decrease." Amen to that!

(Listen to the song 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.

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