Christian music fans—particularly rock enthusiasts—are familiar with rock band Fireflight and their string of hit songs, such as "You Decide," "Unbreakable," "For Those Who Wait" and "Stay Close." Let’s not forget “Resuscitate,” "Lightning," and "We Are Alive.
In 2020, the band released their latest full-length album, Who We Are: The Head And The Heart, which features the standout songs, “Who We Are” and “Keep Your Head Up.” Many of the album’s songs are driven by the empowering truth that our actions, however small they might feel, truly do have the ability to carry eternal weight as we stand in the power we’ve inherited as sons and daughters of God.
On the encouraging and melodic new single “Keep Your Head Up,” the chorus casts the truth of God’s presence with us into a reassuring reminder: “Through it all you’re never going to walk alone, I’ll take every step, every fall, by your side.” I had the chance to speak with lead singer Dawn Michele about the stirring song.
Please tell me the personal story behind this song.
We’ve written about several different themes in our career. Many times, we write songs about connecting emotionally, painting a picture of our relationship with God.
I co-wrote “Keep Your Head Up” with Josiah Prince, a guitarist and vocalist from the rock band Disciple. Me, I wrote my part with my friends, children, loved ones, and our fans, as well as myself as God’s child in mind.
I hope people listening to this song hear God’s voice speaking to them about a situation they may feel is too great to overcome. I’ve been blessed to mentor women—to be a support system—for many years. And I’ve faced mental health struggles in my own life. As a result, these struggles have created a memory bank of emotions, feelings, and experiences that led to the inspiration behind this song.
Anxiety, depression, illness, loss, death, abuse, anger, fear, confusion, and frustration are all things that we are all currently dealing with on some level. These are also things that humanity has always dealt with since sin entered the world.
Hope has, is, and will always be needed on this side of heaven. I hope this song is something people can turn to during times of struggle to hear how God feels about them.
What Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Psalm 46:1(NIV): "The Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble."
Isaiah 43:19(VOICE): "Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it's happening now, even as I speak, and you're about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none."
Jeremiah 33:3(VOICE): "Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known."
Psalm 40:17(VOICE): "Meanwhile, I am empty and need so much, but I know the Lord is thinking of me. You are my help; only You can save me, my True God. Please hurry."
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 8:28(VOICE): "We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan."
Philippians 4:13(NKJV): "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
1 John 3:1(NLT): "See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don't recognize that we are God's children because they don't know Him."
1 John 4:18-19(NKJV): "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us."
What is the takeaway message?
We hope people feel seen. We hope they draw strength from the song’s message to keep moving forward. Our identity as God’s child is the most important aspect of who we are. Moving that from head knowledge to heart knowledge is our hope for people who hear this song.
As God’s children, we must show love to others. We’re the ones that are here to be a healing power for broken systems, the things that are built around man’s ideas.
We have an opportunity to step up and show what God’s love is made of: something that’s here for us after every disaster. It’s also here for us when we have nothing left to give. All we have is God’s love to give because we ran out of what we could do on our own power a long time ago.
The messages we put into our songs feel like confessions of our own heart. We hope that the pain, suffering, and struggle that we’ve experienced in our own lives are congruent with the lives of other people. In doing that, we hope it’s a window into their own heart, as well as their own suffering, pain, victory, and joy.
I hear you say you’re broken I hear you say you’re barely holding on Holding on
I can see you’ve fallen I can feel you’ve started letting go Letting go
I can't say it's gonna get easier
Every day fighting to keep hope alive Keep your head up, my child Through it all you’re never gonna walk alone I’ll take every step, every fall by your side Keep your head up, my child
As the road gets harder It only makes you stronger Pushing on Pushing on
And in your darkest hour When life beats you down I’ll carry you I’ll carry you
When you’re on the edge I will hold you tight When you’re all alone I can help you fight I will hold the torch In the blackest night for you
There’s no shame in letting go I’ll hold on to you I’ll never stop holding on to you
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.
I love the Voice translation of Romans 8:11: "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."
We can all make the choice to ask the Holy Spirit to indwell us with His supernatural ability to overcome what the enemy wants us to think about ourselves. God is love. We love because He first loved us. Have joy and worship loudly about the love of the Lord in your life. His grace takes away anxiety, guilt, and shame. Know that being His is enough.
“Keep Your Head Up” challenges me to think about what I'm allowing to rule in my heart instead of giving myself completely to God. This song’s about trusting and confessing your stuff to Him and others when you fail or have struggles. God knows what we need. He also loves and cares for each of us deeply.
Don’t be ashamed to sing of your dependence on God and to show Him reverence. What are those things in your life that are beyond you that you can turn over to God?
If you're struggling with depression—especially now with social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic—please know He’ll comfort you and guide you. Allow Him and His supernatural ability to take you to places that you can't handle on your own.
Have faith and let God work everything in your life for good. So, spend time with Him and let Him redeem and restore you. Remember, you’re not at the end of our story. He’s still writing your story of redemption.
Join Dawn and sing along, “I can’t say it’s gonna get easier/Every day fighting to keep hope alive/Keep your head up, my child/Through it all you’re never gonna walk alone/I’ll take every step, every fall by your side/Keep your head up, my child.” Amen to that.
NRT lead contributor Kevin Davis is a long-time 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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