I first heard Ellie Holcomb sing with her husband's band Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors when they opened for NEEDTOBREATHE. Music has always been a family business for Ellie, who is the daughter of legendary Christian music producer Brown Bannister. After two EPs, Magnolia and With You Now, Holcomb's debut full-length album As Sure As the Sun featured the hit songs "The Broken Beautiful" and "Marvelous Light," earning Ellie the GMA Dove Award for Best New Artist. After a three year wait, she has returned with her thirteen song album Red Sea Road.
Opening track "Find You Here" is an engaging song, with Ellie's passionate vocals setting the tone for this exceptional album. The song is an unashamed declaration of faith based on Philippians 4:4-7, which reminds us that "the peace of God transcends all understanding." Ellie hooked me with the lyrics "but You're asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead," which is essentially the thesis statement of this redemptive, biblical and catchy album. I had the chance to speak with Ellie about "Find You Here."
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
I wrote this song in the wake of a cancer diagnosis for my dad. I had the privilege of watching my mom and dad a year ago, the night they learned the diagnosis. Their response was that they didn't know what would happen, but they knew the end of the story because of what Jesus has done for us on the Cross. I got to watch them have a praise and worship night at their house. I got to watch my mom and dad run into the darkness of the unknown and all that was ahead of them, and they ran into that with their hands raised in the air praising God.
It felt like one of the most unnatural responses. I mean, nobody is ready for a cancer diagnosis. It felt unnatural and, in the same breath, so irresistible. I couldn't resist following their lead. That night at their house, January of last year, we encountered the peace and presence of God in a way that will mark me for the rest of my life.
I wrote this song really meditating on that promise of Philippians 4:4-7. "Rejoice in the Lord, always, again I say rejoice" seems like a hard command in light of a cancer diagnosis, and in light of all of the things we face in life that are gut-wrenching and hard. I love the way the Scripture is laid out: "let your gentleness be evident to all, the Lord is near." This song is about the peace we experienced from really knowing the nearness of God as we rejoiced in who He was and what He has done for us, even when we didn't know the answers or healing yet. I'm so grateful to get to sing of His faithfulness, and His nearness and the peace that we experienced when we lift our eyes to look at His face in the midst of whatever we are facing.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Philippians 4:6(VOICE): Don't be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.
Philippians 4:7(NKJV): "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Matthew 6:31-34(VOICE): So do not consume yourselves with questions: What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? Outsiders make themselves frantic over such questions; they don't realize that your heavenly Father knows exactly what you need. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.
Exodus 14:14 (NIV): "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Deuteronomy 31:6(NIV): "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you."
Psalm 121:1-2(NKJV): "I will lift up my eyes to the hills--From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth."
What is the takeaway message?
I'm grateful to be able to sing and to remind my own soul of His faithfulness. My dad is in remission, and we know that's not the end of every cancer story. We know there are no guarantees with our health, and with our bodies, but there is the guarantee of the love and faithfulness of Jesus and of death being undone because of what He did for us when He walked out of the grave.
We recorded the scratch vocals for this song the day that my dad went in for surgery. I took a recording of the song to my dad that night, and my mom has a picture of me and my dad with our hands raised just crying tears of gratitude for the way we were experiencing Jesus draw near to us. We kept the scratch vocal, and the vocals I recorded that day is the one on the album.
It's a very personal song for my family and me. We are grateful, and we love that we get to tell this story of God drawing near and bringing comfort in the middle of chaos and covering our fears with His faithfulness. We are putting our hope in Him and looking at Him.
I wrote the songs for this album over two years of an intense season, not just the experience with my dad, but we had dear friends from our beautiful community who have walked through so much loss. I think this whole album was me laying down worry, and fear and anxiety and picking up the promises of God and singing them to my own soul.
Lyrics: It's not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear
It's not the road we would have chosen, no.
The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead
But you're asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead
And I didn't know I'd find You here,
In the middle of my deepest fear
But You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me with peace
So I'll lift my voice and sing
You're gonna carry us through everything
And You are drawing near
You're overwhelming all my fears with peace
You say that I should come to you with everything I need
You're asking me to thank You even when the pain is deep
You promise that You'll come and meet us on the road ahead
And no matter what the fear says, You give me a reason to be glad
Here in the middle of the lonely night
Here in the middle of the losing fight
You're here in the middle of the deep regret
Here when the healing hasn't happened yet
Here in the middle of the desert place
Here in the middle when I cannot see Your face
Here in the middle with Your outstretched arms
You can see my pain and it breaks Your heart
Don't have to worry about a single thing
Cause You are overwhelming me with peace
Don't have to worry about a single thing
You're gonna carry us through everything
Ellie expresses her prayers to God, allowing listeners to eavesdrop on her vertical offerings and captivating ballads, one of Ellie's strengths. Ellie is an anointed songwriter, and she has a profound way of bringing me closer to God with her poignant words, tender singing and inspirational truths. I get welled up singing along with several of the emotion-laden songs, especially "Find You Here," "Red Sea Road," "You Love Me Best" and "Man of Sorrows."
For me, the most encouraging part of this song is the message that I don't have to be perfect, but that God knows me and loves me just as I am. That is cause for celebration as we all have freedom to be ourselves, knowing that He has great plans for us as His children. A blessing I've received from this song is listening to my daughters sing these words with all of their hearts. These are the thoughts I want them to know to point them to the unconditional love of their Heavenly Father.
Ellie has consistently impressed me with her mature faith and sincere desire to serve Jesus. Being a Christian father of three young daughters, these songs all reflect the yearning for Jesus to make us brave that I pray for my daughters to feel in their hearts as well. The eternal Love of Jesus is beautifully expressed in these compelling songs that seep into your heart, soul and mind. This song is all about submitting all of your worries, anxieties and stress to God and letting Him be your guide.
I have found that by being washed by the water of the Word, I am strengthened with the Truth that God wants us to know that fear, worry and being anxious is not His plan for our lives. By reading the Bible every day, God wants us to have a daily reminder not to be afraid. God wants to walk beside you, and He wants us to be bold and unafraid. The Lord tells us all throughout Scripture to lift up our eyes to Him, and this song celebrates that truth. What a wonderful, loving and gracious God that we serve. I am so thankful to Jesus for saving me and showing us how to live. Remember and celebrate that when you sing this song, "rejoice, rejoice, don't have to worry about a single thing." As this song reminds us, "You're asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead." Amen to that!
Watch the music video 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.
NEW!BEHIND THE SONG
#1066 - Big Daddy Weave The group talks about the inspiration behind their hit song
"I'm A Belieber" We talk about mainstream artists making Christian music
NEW! THE CHH DROP
#45 - Wande, NXTMIKE... We report on what's new in Christian Hip Hop and Urban
NEW!CHRISTIAN ROCK REPORT
#10 - Fight The Fade... We report on what's new in Christian Rock and Metal
NEW! WORSHIP WEDNESDAY
Steph Macleod Our weekly pause for worship brings us to some this artist's newest music