21-year-old Riley Clemmons’ songs are loaded with positive grace-filled messages of hope. Her lyrics address the pressures of life and Riley understands that true happiness and her identity only come from her relationship with God.
Besides her messages of hope, Riley's seemingly effortless, rich, and pure vocal tone exhibits the passion and confidence of a seasoned artist. Her songwriting is real, honest, and vulnerable, and she is positive, determined, and confident.
Riley, in the past couple of years, has become quite the success story. Her self-titled debut album charted well with hits “Broken Prayers” and “Better For It.” I named Riley's debut as one of my Top 10 Albums of the Decade. Subsequently, she released other hit singles, including “Fighting For Me” and “Over and Over.” I had the chance to speak with the artist about her catchy new single, “Healing.”
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
Whenever I go into a songwriting session, my goals are, to be honest, to write about something I know about and something I’ve experienced. "Healing" is based on a very personal experience.
I started writing the song a little over two years ago (I had the song title on my phone). At the time, my sister was lost and stuck in a hopeless place. She was in a challenging season. The song title so closely mirrored what I wanted for my sister: healing.
I wrote the song as a letter of what I wished, hoped, and prayed for her to have. This was the intention: to write a song for my sister from my perspective. I played the song for her. And, it became an outlet for me, personally, and for her. I’ve always been told to write the song you need to hear.
Two years later, "Healing" has taken on a new meaning. My label heard the song and reached out to me about releasing it. The message of hope and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel seems to really resonate at this difficult time.
I felt like the time had come to give this song to the world. It’s no secret that this past year has been full of hurt and loss. A lack of hope for so many people. And, I think, more so than anything, we all need some healing after a chaotic year.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Psalm 147:3(NKJV): "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Romans 8:11(VOICE): "If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you."
Romans 8:38-39(VOICE): "For I have every confidence that nothing--not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing--can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord."
2 Corinthians 12:9(NKJV): "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 10:4-5(NIV): “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Matthew 11:28(NIV): “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
What is the takeaway message?
God’s promise of healing has never been as close as it is now. It turned from writing a song that I needed to hear to share it with others who needed to hear that same message. For me, the ultimate hope is the gospel, and the gospel is the ultimate story of healing.
God is our source of healing. He's also our source of hope. That’s how I was able to write this song for my sister. To get that affirmation from Him.
My sister and I are two years apart. We're super close. The privilege of getting to know somebody inside out is to get to know their struggles as well. The idea of this song is to take something broke that we all have and wounds that we can’t cover with a band-aid, then look inside and ask for healing from God (you can also find healing from doctors and therapists).
I hope more than anything, that listeners are reminded that there is hope. Even when it feels like the end. Even when you feel broken. I hope "Healing" reminds you that there's a way to find strength through pain, that what was broken can stand again, and that after the hurting comes healing. God is the ultimate source of grace. Jesus paid it all so that we can have grace freely.
Saw the end of the tunnel Didn't think that I could make it out
Got so used to the dark I was scared of what The light would do now
I couldn't piece me back together With some band-aids and a roll of tape Sitting ‘round wishing it all away Believing there was Something better, better Just took a leap of faith
Now I'm healing Now I'm healing I’m here unashamed I found strength through the pain What was broken is standing again And I’m healing Now I’m healing
Gave myself some grace
And my soul began to feel the change I let love flood my heart Like the sun upon a tear-stained face
I’m slowly learning to be grateful Found some purpose in all the hurt Now I’m rediscovering what I’m worth Just takes one step to turn the tables But I had to take it first
Now I'm healing
Now I'm healing I’m here unashamed I found strength through the pain What was broken is standing again And I’m healing Now I’m healing
I keep getting stronger Won’t stay down no longer Starting to breathe again Learn to believe again, oh
Now I'm healing Now I'm healing Now I'm healing Now I'm healing I’m here unashamed I found strength through the pain What was broken is standing again And I’m healing Now I’m healing Now I'm healing Now I'm healing
As His sons and daughters, we need to take God's love with us everywhere we go. Know that His love goes with us. I have spent time reflecting on and singing this song to God. It always gives me comfort. He is speaking to us in His still small voice. And, as believers, we need to take time to be still and know that He is God.
Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life? Are you spending time listening to Him? He'll make you free. God wants to hear from you. With everything going on in our world, we need the encouragement that God is with us and we're not alone. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our Lord Jesus is not present.
Whatever struggle or depression you are facing, know that God is with you, always. I can perfectly relate to every word Riley passionately sings in this song. Once you adopt the song's words into your heart, you'll remember the truth that Jesus is today, always will be, and has always been the one who makes a way for us, even when it seems impossible. That's something to remember and rest upon. In any situation, God will make a way for His children.
As you look at the fallen world around you, lift your eyes up to God. Put all our faith and hope in Him. It's in your weakness that God is made strong. "Healing" represents the victory that we have over our battles before we even know the earthly outcome by trusting that God is going before us and He wins.
As followers of Jesus, we know that we can trust God's Word. We're all a work in progress. Have faith and let God work all things together for good. Spend time with God and let Him redeem and restore you.
God wants us to know that He's faithful to complete what He's started in all of us who've put our hope and trust in Jesus for salvation. God is bigger than any calamity that we experience in this world.
Bring your struggles into the light of life. As you sing these lyrics, “Got so used to the dark/I was scared of what/The light would do now,” remember Jesus wants to give you Himself, so you can bask in His light of life and not walk in darkness.
My daughters are 21, 17, and 14 years old. This song is perfect for them. It has been one of my missions in sharing the biblical truth behind songs by Christians to help women who are bombarded with negative messages from the world regarding body image and identity to know that their true identity is found in the person of Jesus. We're all made in the image and likeness of God. I am just my daughters' earthly father.
They ultimately belong to our heavenly Father, God. I want them to know their eternal destiny. God desperately wants to fill us with His light and His mercy to make us new. The Lord's glory, His strength, is found in our weakness. This song celebrates that truth. These lyrics are totally encouraging: “Gave myself some grace/And my soul began to feel the change/I let love flood my heart/Like the sun upon a tear-stained face.”
If you're struggling with depression, especially now with our social distancing due to COVID-19, please know with certainty these life-giving words. Among the darkness and pain that this past year has brought to so many, “Healing” is a reminder that we can overcome the hardships and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
God’s love is never-ending, and He is our refuge and our strength. God’s resurrection power from The Holy Spirit, that same power that defeated death and raised Jesus from the grave, is available to followers of Jesus.
Allow the Holy Spirit to "cast the light of life into your mortal bodies." If you are struggling with depression, please know with certainty these life-giving words: “Now I'm healing/I’m here unashamed/I found strength through the pain/What was broken is standing again/And I’m healing.” Amen to that.
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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