I've been saved for 15 years now, and I recently studied Revelation again. At first when I would read that book of the Bible, I was confused and even apprehensive about the events described. Now, I read those descriptions of Heaven and know that I have nothing to fear about death, because the one thing that will remain, as this song describes, is the perfect love of the Lord.
"Remain" is from Kim Dexter's album Reaching
, and is a great song celebrating the freedom we have in Christ when we are born again. The song is a perfect bookend to go with the opening track, "Be with You Now." By starting the album praying for the Lord's presence, and celebrating God's goodness and our forgiveness throughout the album, this song caps off that sentiment perfectly.
Kim's musical influences of Sarah McLachlan and Ingrid Michaelson are great comparisons to the indie and ethereal pop sound on this album, and especially drew me to this song, which reminds me of "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan. It takes me to another realm musically, which is a foretaste of Heaven given to us by the Lord. Escaping the weight of sin and experiencing the freedom of new life in Christ allows us to be with Him now. I had the great chance to speak with Kim about her song.
Please tell me the personal story behind writing this song.
This is the last song on the album, and it happened to be one of the later songs written for the album. It was one of those days where I was sitting at the piano. I write in all different ways, I can be in the car, sitting in a group setting with guitars, and I knew we had a lot of high energy songs already finished. I wanted something more subdued, and more personal. I started thinking about what I was feeling and what God was saying to me at that time. I was kind of heavy hearted, in a nostalgic way. I was really close with my Grandma, and she had just passed away a few weeks before. I was really thinking about her, imagining what it was like for her in Heaven, being there with God right now.
I was sitting at the piano here on earth with my usual struggles, battles and limitations and there she is, in total freedom, experiencing total love and seeing God for Who He is, and being embraced by Him. It was so literal to picture all of that, although I know I'm imagining most of it. We don't know what it will be like, but from what we know, it will be amazing. I started singing and writing and let it flow from there. This is a special song for me, and it felt like a personal and quiet song so thank you for noticing it on the album. I would love for people to follow along, and didn't start that way, but ended up flowing out of me, the emotion that here we are on earth and we have so many blessings, but you may also have things that you regret, and that you feel shame for and shamed by others for.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV):
"Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."
Revelation 21:4-5 (NKJV):
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."
My life verse is Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV):
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
What is the takeaway message?
The album deals with the struggles of wanting to be a good parent or spouse and the constant battle of the flesh and allowing to God to rule in my life more. Another theme on the record is my wanting to feel the freedom that we have as Christians. There are so many limitations where we feel bound by our sin and our personalities and not being able to measure up the way we want to. I know that I carry all of those things around with me, and yet I do sense every day that God's mercies are new. I feel when I sit with God and allow His presence to fill me up with His Holy Spirit, that I'm overwhelmed with love and grace and there's no better place to feel acceptance.
He forgives us fully and makes us new every day. I know that's possible on earth but I look forward to the day when in a blink of an eye we'll be with Jesus, see Him and be perfectly new. It won't be this constant struggle and battle. I hope for the song to be a prayer for people and let it sweep them away to remembering that we can be with Jesus every day and one day the skies are going to break open and He's going to hold us in His arms. Just like that, there will be no regrets, no shame, no sorrow, and nothing on Earth that was negative, just resting in His love.
It seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world to be free and to walk with Christ. Still, I'm constantly battling to move past my own insecurities and the sins that bind us. That's a big theme for me. The Philippians 4:13 passage is about forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. The song "Reaching" is more about God reaching to us in the middle of the darkest times when we can't seem to find Him or find the will to go on, God is always there and always reaching for us even if we can just barely hold on. Because of that love, my response is that I will reach for Him. "Remain" alludes to shackles, regrets and sorrows, but every day is a new day and I can reach forward to what lies ahead because God has so much for us. We let each other down every day, but God loves us so perfectly. I hope that resonates with people and that they will know that they are so loved, no matter what they've done. In our weaknesses and imperfections, Jesus is not hard on us. He has perfect grace for us, and it is a sweet life living with the Lord as our God. We have to look to Him, and what He has for us.
Oceans swell beneath this sallow skin
Filling my lungs again
Causing my heart to sing for joyful gratitude
You loved me even through betrayal
When I left my truest lover
I know I'll see You
When the sky breaks open
I will be made new
When you hold me in Your arms
I'll know no sorrow
No regrets, no shame
Perfect love will remain
Sacred solitude, sweet moments drawn into salvation
Seeping through my shattered pieces
Longing deeper than my frailty
Surer than these shackles loosening
As Heaven's nearing
This song addresses Kim's personal longing for Heaven and to see her Grandma again, along with her desire to be in God's presence, which is our blessed hope as followers of Jesus. As we look at the fallen world around us, we all need to lift our eyes up to God and put all of our faith and hope in Him. For the saved In Christ, know that one day "God will wipe away every tear, there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying."
Christians are brand new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives us new life and we are not the same anymore. We are new creations and we can live in freedom from fear and regrets. As believers, we all need to live for Heaven and not get depressed or angry about our fallen world. Pain and suffering point us to God and how much we need Him.
This song is all about trusting in God and confessing to Him and others when you fail or have struggles. Lay those at the feet of Jesus and He'll take them from you and release you from that burden. God wants to hear from you. I love singing this song of faith to Jesus and proclaiming, "I know I'll see You, when the sky breaks open, I will be made new."
There is beautiful biblical language in the chorus, phrased and sung with a gorgeous yearning in Kim's voice. We know from God's Word that one day "will be made new, and we'll know no sorrow, no regrets, and no shame, and Perfect Love will remain." Amen to that!
(Listen to Kim sing "Reaching" here