BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#587 - "Little Bird" by Misty Edwards
Misty Edwards offers some words of wisdom about life's brevity to her past self and present listeners.
 


While the name Misty Edwards may be immediately associated with artistically-minded worship leadership, when it comes to the brand new release Little Bird (which comes on the heels of critically lauded Only a Shadow), there's a decidedly different slant towards the singer/songwriter side of this immensely talented artist. Misty aims to create songs that inspire listeners and refresh the soul.

I can't get enough of title track "Little Bird," which has an incredible musical hook including hand claps. Misty trusts in the Lord throughout this brilliant song, offering her younger self advice based on the biblical phrasing "His eye is on the sparrow, His eye is on you." The song is a sacrifice of praise as she prays "little girl, little girl, with the big round eyes... life is a vapor, but the brevity is what makes it a treasure, so feel it all, like a love letter to the One who you'll live with forever." I had the chance to speak with Misty about the song.
 
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

The whole album was written very differently from my previous albums. I wrote several of these songs as poetry. There is a lot more lyrical content, less chorus driven and with less repetition compared to my corporate worship songs. This song started out as a poem reflecting over my life. The song is written from my perspective now to me as a little girl, basically wondering "if I could talk to myself as a little girl, what would I say?"
 
That's how the song was developed, from a short poem I had written. I started singing it in an almost nursery rhyme style, with a "patty cake" groove. It's almost a song that could be sung on a playground, with a childlike and easy-to-learn melody.
 
Throughout the song, I talk about the frailty of life, but also the fact that the spirit lives on and our body will rise from the dead someday. It's a song about resurrection and the fact that this life is not the end. Life's important, especially because it's so short, but it's not the end, and I just went for that concept. It also takes a very fun musical approach with the xylophone and marimba.  I like the paradox of really intense theological realities with the simplicities of a nursery rhyme. I love to combine those two together, and that's how this song came to be.
 
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
 
Matthew 10:28-30 (NKJV): And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
 
James 4:14 (NKJV): Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
 
Ecclesiastes 1:2 (VOICE): Teacher: Life is fleeting, like a passing mist. It is like trying to catch hold of a breath; All vanishes like a vapor; everything is a great vanity.
 
1 Corinthians 15:52-58 (VOICE): It will all happen so fast, in a blink, a mere flutter of the eye. The last trumpet will call, and the dead will be raised from their graves with a body that does not, cannot decay. All of us will be changed! We'll step out of our mortal clothes and slide into immortal bodies, replacing everything that is subject to death with eternal life. And, when we are all redressed with bodies that do not, cannot decay, when we put immortality over our mortal frames, then it will be as Scripture says: Life everlasting has victoriously swallowed death. Hey, Death! What happened to your big win? Hey, Death! What happened to your sting? Sin came into this world, and death's sting followed. Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law. Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave. My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God.
 
2 Corinthians 3:1-3 (MSG): Does it sound like we're patting ourselves on the back, insisting on our credentials, asserting our authority? Well, we're not. Neither do we need letters of endorsement, either to you or from you. You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it.
 
What is the takeaway message?
 
In the song I'm pulling in a lot of different Bible passages, like from the Psalms, and the "life is a vapor" language. Mostly the song is based on 1st Corinthians 15, and that's the real theological significance of this song. Some may have missed that I'm talking about the resurrection in the song, that when we die our spirit keeps living, and when Jesus comes back our bodies are going to rise from the dirt, our bones are going to rise. I did it in such a poetic way that some may miss that point. My hope is that people get that I'm singing about the physical resurrection of the dead that Paul the Apostle speaks about in 1st Corinthians 15.
 
I've used the phrasing and concept of "life is a vapor" in many of my songs. That's one of my life messages. As long as I can remember, I've been captivated by the fragility of life. That used to lead me to despair, and that was vain. The phrase in the song, "it's the brevity that makes it a treasure" struck me even this past year. Life is so quick, like a vapor, and it's so valuable. We need to make every minute count.
 
It really helps my perspective, to feel it all like a love letter— pain and glory, and everything else, as if God Himself is writing a love letter to us, and we're writing a love letter back to Him. Embrace it. Feel it, every aspect of life, because life is a vapor.
 
Lyrics:
Little girl, little girl with the big round eyes
Little bird, little bird, one day you'll fly
A breathtaking flight of life you'll fly
Then little bird, little bird, you will die

Because life, life is a vapor
But the brevity is what makes it a treasure
So feel it all like a love letter
To the One you will live with forever
His eye is on the sparrow
His eye is on you

What then, what then when it's all over?
Little bones, little bones the dust will cover
Little spirit, little spirit you'll live on
With the soul of the bird that goes on and on
Then little bones, little bones
You will rise and little, little girl
You will fly, Fly

 
 
Every song on this album is a great reminder for followers of Jesus trying to live out their faith and looking for creative expressions of worship. If you are looking for the words to express your feelings to God, these songs are a wonderful companion. This entire album is loaded with relatable lyrics, incredible singing and prayerful themes about what it means to be a child of God.
 
Musically, the album features a great mix of laid-back indie-pop and singer-songwriter folk style music. I hang on every single word and the stirring vocals, prayerful lyrics and musical arrangements are breath-taking. This is a great new collection of very heartfelt and introspective songs, in essence Misty's love letters to God.
 
This album causes me to think about what kind of a "love letter" my life story is writing for Jesus. I am challenged to live out my love letter to God with these words along with Misty when I sing along: "Because life, life is a vapor, but the brevity is what makes it a treasure, so feel it all like a love letter." This album really captures what it means to be loved unconditionally by Jesus. I love knowing that in my brokenness, I am actually closer to God. It is so wonderful to know that failing by the world's standards is what we are called to be as devoted followers of Jesus.

We need to truly be free in Christ and be happy and filled with joy. We are in a fallen world, and if you take the Truth of what it means to follow Christ, you know you weren't made for this world.  We all need to remember that earth isn't our permanent home, and as expressed in God's Word, "life is a vapor." Our freedom from the restlessness of this world will come when we enter the true rest that can only come from living eternally with Jesus Christ. As we soon begin this Lenten season, this song has become a personal anthem for me to sing daily: "To the One you will live with forever, His eye is on the sparrow, His eye is on you." Amen to that!
 
(Watch the music 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.

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