Balm for the broken

Above, Steve Siler

December 2017 – “I always felt like there was a deeper end of the pool we weren’t allowed to play in,” songwriter Steve Siler told AFA Journal. “It was so confining that we had to have a whole song wrapped up in three-and-a-half minutes and put a smiley face on the end of it.”

Real life just doesn’t work like that. After years as a songwriter in the contemporary Christian music world, Siler longed to explore the deeper issues of life through his music.

He had experienced an epiphany that inevitably left him feeling dissatisfied in his songwriting career while working on a project to help sexual abuse survivors, a drama intended for children. Everything changed during the first performance.

“We had almost a thousand adult women show up – many of them clutching teddy bears,” said Siler. “That was when I began to understand the innocent child wounded at a young age. And unless that healing is done, the pain is still in there. It’s still causing all kinds of secondary side effects such as depression, alcohol abuse, choosing poor relationships, etc.

“I had that experience in 1990. And as I felt God calling me to form a new music ministry in 2001, I thought What if we got up every day, and our goal was to do this on purpose from a Christian perspective – to seek out the deeply harmful issues that were either underserved or only superficially understood.”

Siler has since been creating award winning CD and DVD resources through the unique ministry of Music for the Soul – lyrics combined with music, touching lives by healing hearts. God has opened doors and confirmed decisions along the way, often by providing an abundance of supernatural connections and encounters.

“That’s when I know we are doing what we are supposed to be doing,” Siler said. “And that’s why we try hard to identify all the steps along the healing path. Of course, sometimes it starts with anger, denial, shock, rage and all kinds of things. That doesn’t always make for tidy three-and-a-half minute songs.”

He knew the issues were far deeper and more all-encompassing than he was prepared to address. But having seen music’s power to be such a healing agent on many occasions, Siler believed in the mission, and he believed God would provide the means.

Hope after abortion
Siler’s latest full-length project, Mercy Great Enough, consists of 13 songs and two spoken word pieces offering connection, hope, and healing for women and men who have carried secret guilt and shame over past abortion decisions.

The concept was initially sparked when Siler met with a post-abortion ministry leader who simply prayed with women suffering from shame and remorse after abortion. After Siler heard the heart-rending, intimate details of those prayers and the resulting freedom experienced, he and his friend Scotty Krippayne wrote the song “We Forgive You.” The lyrics include:

Every time you hear a child at play
Or see the glowing eyes of a mom to be
Old regrets crash in like tidal waves
As you relive the hidden tragedy

So harsh and so cold
You felt you had no choice
When you can’t believe you’ll find compassion

Just close your eyes and hear my voice

We forgive you
Your child is safe with me
And I’m holding your child close each time you pray
Please surrender
The guilt of your past and be free
We still love you
We forgive you

We forgive you
“That was my first take on this,” he explained. “I asked my assistant to email the song to all the pregnancy care centers she could find. We got some wonderful responses from all over the country. So we got all this wonderful affirmation, and, at that point, it was clear to me that the need was great. But I also knew we weren’t ready to do a project on it. We were working on some other things that were going to take a long time.”

Siler believed God would make it obvious when it was time to take on the full project. And that is exactly what happened. A friend began to press him to move forward, while insisting he remember the men in the equation.

A thorough analysis
“That friend wound up being a key consultant for me on the male perspective,” said Siler. “Naturally, as we do with all our projects, we always want to interview a lot of people who have been through the experience we are talking about. The song, ‘Stain Upon My Heart’ was written based on the actual words of one post-abortion woman.”

In the end, the project took more than three years to incorporate thoughts and feelings of post-abortive women and men, and many professional resources. (See below.)

“That’s what we always do with our projects,” Siler explained. “We send the packet of lyrics out to a consulting team, which usually consists of therapists, pastors, and people who know the issue.”

Siler explained that the consultative team critiques the lyrics at length. And when a consensus is reached, recording begins.

After leaving behind the song writing demands that often left him feeling frustrated and unfulfilled, Siler now thoroughly enjoys the freedom to write without the pressure of solving everything within one short song. Some songs just say I’m hurting – they begin the process of softening and opening the heart in preparation for the Holy Spirit’s healing power.

“My feeling has always been that if we can’t demonstrate we understand the pain, then they’re not going to believe us about the hope,” Siler explained. “That’s really the guiding light for our ministry.”  undefined 

A personal perspective
As a mother who had an abortion 30 years ago, I personally know of the lies, guilt, shame, and miraculous freedom and healing available through the person of Jesus Christ. In addition to my own experience, I’ve become intimately acquainted with the agonizing stories of many other women through 10 years of leading post-abortion Bible studies.

As I first listened to Steve Siler’s collection of songs and spoken word, I was moved to tears. I thought to myself, The writers of this material are post-abortive. Otherwise, they could not possibly understand the mind and heart of the post-abortive woman and man so thoroughly.

Though Siler and his wife have not personally chosen abortion or suffered from its trauma, I learned during our interview they had been strongly advised by a doctor and pressured by family members to abort their in utero child diagnosed with spina bifida over two decades ago. They chose life, and the joys of raising that little boy, now a high school English teacher, have far outweighed the challenges.
Anne Reed

____________________
undefinedmusicforthesoul.org
877-214-7703
Issues addressed by Music for the Soul projects include caregiving, pornography, eating disorders, breast cancer, suicide grief, living with disease, and many others.

___________________
More post-abortion 
resources
Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion by Theresa Burke and David C. Reardon. Available at online and retail bookstores
Rachelsvineyard.org
Saveone.org
Life is a Civil Right with Dr. Alveda King. Available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917