WHEN I’M WITH YOU – CITIZEN WAY
Ben Calhoun, lead vocals of Citizen Way talks about the story behind their recent single, “When I’m With You”:
The story of this song is based on what happened to our family. Last year was the hardest on my wife and me for a few reasons. We were living in Chicago where I am a performing arts professor at Judson University. Back in June we were expecting a baby, and we didn’t even have insurance because we couldn’t afford it. A friend of mine let me know they were an ultrasound technician, and we found out that we lost the baby.
As soon as I learned that, I immediately thought of the things I was thankful for, like playing soccer with my daughter that morning. Meanwhile, I was supposed to write songs for the new album. I had to provide for our family, and I knew if I left for Nashville, it would be bad for our family as there was a strain in our marriage. The Holy Spirit convicted me not to go, and our marriage has really blossomed since then. We decided to pass the baby naturally. We held him in our hands, and I cried like I’ve never cried before. We buried him. I don’t know what people do if they don’t know Jesus. We lifted him up to Heaven and we named him Jeremiah. My wife bled so much she almost died. It was hard.
We’ve grown together as a family, and we decided in September to move to Nashville. It’s better for my family as I was traveling all the time before. It’s been a hard year, and the fruit that has come from that season has been these songs, including this one. This is based on our real story. I love the fact that we can come to Jesus, however we are.
Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?
Psalm 34:18 (NKJV): “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG): “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with Me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Romans 8:28 (NIV): “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
What is the takeaway message?
Psalm 34:18 brought us through the hardest season in our lives. I literally am a living testimony to that verse being 100% true. Jesus wants to hurt and heal with you. That’s true, and I went through it with Jesus. We want to lead people to Jesus. He’s the cure. His mercies are new every morning. All I have is God’s Word. I can’t tell you anything to help you other than that.
The album overall is full of joy. We thought about naming the album “all about joy” or something like that. We kept asking what Citizen Way 2.0 was going to look like, so that title just stuck. 2.0 also represents 2 Corinthians 5:17, about being a new creation in Christ. All of these songs are opportunities to express Scripture. Our hope is to point people to Jesus and tell them that He loves you, and to have fun doing it. That’s what we want to do.
God doesn’t make bad things happen to us. He came to give us life and the chance to live with Him eternally by trusting in Jesus alone for our salvation. God is bigger than any calamity that we experience in this world. His love never fails.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” We can lift up our hands in confidence to God and know that His mercy is unfailing. His love is never-ending. He is our refuge and our strength. God’s ultimate will is not to bring affliction upon people, but to restore us so that we may experience His unfailing love.
This song is catchy and expresses the prayerful yearnings of my heart. All of us are absolutely dependent on God. He is the source of all things, and He works in all of us to bring glory to Him. The lyrics of this song will direct your attention to the One who defeated death to heal your broken heart. There are transparent and vulnerable lyrics like these found throughout this very compelling album.
We all need to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” That is Jesus’s heart for us. He does not want us to worry. He tells us “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” We all deal with some level of fear, worry and anxiety. God knows that about us. He wants us to come to Him as we are and say to Him, “So I’m here just as I am, bruised or broken, I don’t have to pretend.” Whatever you are facing, you can sing to our risen Savior: “Anytime, anywhere, any heartache, I’m never too much for You to take, there’s only love, there’s only grace, when I’m with You.” Amen to that!
— taken and republished from newreleasetoday.com