Monday, December 23, 2013

Album Review: The House You're Building

Title: The House You're Building
Author: Audrey Assad
Genre: Catholic, Inspirational
My Rating *****
Official Rating: all, a few songs teen
Age Group: 6+, 14+

Audrey Assad is a Catholic singer with a beautiful voice. In this album she addresses some of the challenges people have every day and puts them into the proper context. The quote from St. Augustine, "My heart is restless until it rests in you, Oh Lord" would be a great way to sum up her approach to a solution. And yet, it's not a cheesy solution. It's a very heartfelt solution filled with beautiful metaphors pointing to the only solution that ever succeeds: God.

"For Love of You"
Summary: This is a reflection on God's great power and existance everywhere. It is because of Him that the singer does anything. She goes through various metaphors, describing just how great God is and what He does with her life and how she responds to that. Quite simply, "For love of You, I'm a sky on fire. And because of you, I come alive. It's Your Sacred Heart within me beating, Your voice within me singing out, for love of You."

"The House You're Building"
Summary: The singer is weary of wandering the world and has "been lookin' for a place to lay my head. All this time, like a vagabond, a homeless stranger, I've been wanderin'." And she finds home in God's house. He is her shelter from the struggles she has encountered, holding her up when she is no longer able to stand alone. And yet, she has a hard time turning to Him for help--and God keeps calling. "In You I find my meaning."

"Breaking Through"
Summary: Still wandering the world, the singer is searching but struggling to listen to the call. She notes that everything around her is pointing toward God and if she just takes a moment to observe the little things, she'll see, "Heaven is breaking through. And it's You." Even though she struggles at times to see this, she knows God is there in everything.

"Everything Is Yours"
Summary: We all know the feeling: "When all the world is on fire. When skies are threatening to thunder and rain. And I am overcome by fears that I can't see." The singer takes a step back, comforting herself with a simple fact, "Everything is Yours, and I'm letting it go. It was never mine at all." She the goes on to observe God's great power not only in protection but also in creating beauty, bringing home the notion that God really does have it all under control and she really can let go. Because "It was never mine at all."

Summary: St. Augustine is very well known for that one quote, "My heart is restless until it rests in You, Oh Lord." The singer observes that God dwells in everything we do, good and bad, and we are constantly searching for an answer. "You are the keeper of my heart. And I'm restless, oh I'm restless, til I rest in You, til I rest in You." Just an absolutely beautiful illustration of St. Augustine's words. She longs to surrender her love to God and let Him touch every aspect of her life.

"Carry Me"
Summery: "Pain is a forest, we all get lost in. Between the branches, it can be so hard to see. And in the darkness, we've all got questions. We're all just trying to make sense out of suffering.....As I carry this cross, You carry me." The singer admits fear and pain can be overwhelming and it is hard to see the way out, or the purpose, of suffering. So she turns to God, who has not left her alone in her pain. "I know Your promises are faithful. And God, I've seen, Your purpose in my life. You're mercy is a river. Your love is an ocean wide."

"Ought To Be"
Summary: The singer begins by trying to describe her great love for God through metaphors, then slows and admits that her love isn't as great as it should be. She comforts herself with "love planted deeply becomes what it ought to be" and continues on to describe God's love for her, far greater than her own. She longs to rise up and meet that love but knows full well that it's not what it could be yet but "love given freely becomes what it ought to be."

Summary: The singer meditates on God's great knowledge of her, using various metaphors including one which may be uncomfortable for younger children "as the lover knows his beloved's heart, all the shapes and curves of her even in the dark." There is contentment, a feeling of safety and freedom to be oneself and nothing else, when one is aware God knows all, "Savior You have known me as I am. Healer You have known me as I was, as I will be, in the morning, in the evening, You will know me."

"Come Clean"
Summary: Stunned by the mess of her soul, the singer wonders how she got here. She realizes that things just added on bit by bit and that she needs to come clean, face the facts, and move on. She admits that it's hard and she struggles with figuring out just what to do with the pieces but perseveres, seeking God's help to make progress little by little. This is a song about Confession if there ever was one.

"Run Forward"
Summary: This one is incredibly hard to interpret, but I'll do my best. Hurt by rejection,the singer turns to the Lord, seeking strength where she knows she should have looked for it all along. She confesses she is desperately in love with Him but not deeply. Heart is shutting down thanks to lack of communication, she seeks support from the Lord. She says it simply, "I'll run forward, and you fall back, and grace will come and clear our path." Finally, she thanks the person who rejected her for bringing her closer to the Lord, then begs the person to come back to her once more and offers forgiveness.

"Show Me"
Summary: The singer is content to do whatever the Lord asks of her--in the future. She feels unprepared to fulfill God's plan for her, seeing her own brokenness, and requests He set the plan into motion "but not before you show me how to die." Indeed, she struggles, just as we all do, with following God's will and seeing the beauty in it and needs His help so that she might make her will one with His. She finishes with the humble request, "but for now, just stay with me."

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