amy courts: en route

My Anthem
May 6, 2009, 3:56 pm
Filed under: Activate, africa, Humanitarianism, Music, Uncategorized

I decided to go ahead and make a little home video of it. Not sure why, since that’s not something I typically do. Usually, I just say “Catch it at a live show.” But this song is special. Not just because it’s been waiting to be written for over a year, but because of where it comes from in my own heart.

So I’m going to break my own rules and tell you the story behind it. It begins with the simple fact that , for reasons totally beyond me, God has chosen to graciously (and I mean that) surround me lately with women who have suffered abuse that I can’t fathom. Two of them are particularly close to me; close enough to get under my skin and break my heart in a very personal way. Abuse has always been something I’ve know about. But now I think I’m truly aware. Not just of what happens, but the aftermath. The shame and fear and perfectionism and fear of rejection so many of them live their lives with. This song is as much about them as it is about the two girls I’ve named.

And these two girls are real. Though separated by thousands of miles and twenty years, their stories are the same, and have both changed me.

The first girl is one a friend, Mark, blogged about after returning from a trip to Africa. Hers is actually the story by which God initially broke my heart for those people. She was a five year old who attended the Compassion school in her community. But, as Mark told it, she was unlike any of the other kids in that she rarely smiled and almost never spoke. He learned that it was most likely because, at her young age, she’d already been raped many times, often multiple times each day, on her way to and from school. Five years old.

So, during his week there, Mark took it upon himself to try and earn her trust enough to tell him her name. He spent the week holding her, loving her, smiling and playing with her, and showing her the kind of righteous love Christ meant…the kind that defeats the darkness. And at the end of the week, just before he left, Mark picked her up and asked her once more if she’d tell him her name.

She leaned in and whispered in his ear, “Mercy.”

The second girl is Dusty, a neighbor of mine who was the first to ever earn the title “Amy’s Best Friend.” We played around the neighborhood all the time. From everything I can remember – though, granted, I was five when we moved away, so my memories of her are only so clear – she was one of my only friends. She was always nice. And she always came over to my house. After we moved away, I didn’t see her again until 7th grade. And even then, our reunion only lasted a few months, until she unexpectedly left.

Anyway, I learned a couple weeks ago that she was repeatedly and violently abused by her father. As it turns out, the reason she left school in 7th grade was because she was pregnant. With his child.

When I heard that not two weeks ago, I fell apart. I was angry. At myself for not knowing better (though, at five years old, I couldn’t – and shouldn’t – have known better). At my parents for not kidnapping and then adopting her, and letting her live with good parents. At the system, whose cracks she fell through.

And I started wondering where she is today. Is she still a victim? Has she ever known her true value? Or is shame the only thing she’s ever been able to own? I don’t know.

Stories like these make me want to throw away my guitar, go back to school, and become a human rights activist or a lawyer for Amnesty International or simply a full-time social worker in the States or missionary in Africa.

But God has made abundantly clear that I am most effective operating within the gifts He’s given me. Using the stage and my voice to speak for those who have no stage and won’t be heard.

And so I sing.

“I Wanna Know”
(c)&(p) 2009 Amy Courts (amalia musica, SESAC)

Dusty lived right down the street
With her brother and a dad who beat him blue
And I know he hurt her too

But I couldn’t see the haunting in her eyes
I was too young to recognize
And much too young to do anything
And so I sing

I wanna know where she lays her head tonight
Does she sleep in peace beside
Someone who knows to love her right
I wanna know can the damage be undone
Given freedom would she run
Can the past be overcome
I wanna know

Mercy won’t tell you anything she knows
She keeps her secrets close beneath her skin
I know it’s crawling from within

She’s just a child, but carries sordid memories
Of things that I cannot conceive
Or in my darkest nightmares dream

And so I sing, I sing.

I wanna know where she lays her head tonight
Does she sleep in peace beside
Someone who knows to love her right
I wanna know can the damage be undone
Given freedom would she run
Can the past be overcome
I wanna know

And now it burns beneath my skin
And I don’t want to let it in
I wish I’d been a better friend
I wish I could go back again
Cause I would fight
I would carry her away
Or I would find the means to stay
Help bear the burden and the shame

It wouldn’t end this way
I wouldn’t let it end this way

For some the sun shines,
We’re the lucky ones
For them the rain fall
Seems like an endless flood

I wanna know where she lays her head tonight
Does she sleep in peace beside
Someone who knows to love her right
I wanna know can the damage be undone
Given freedom would she run
Can the past be overcome
I wanna know

**please forgive the homemade and new-out-of-the-box-utterly-unpolished nature of this song. it’s still becoming. just like me.**


7 Comments so far
Leave a comment


Comment by Cassandra Louise

it was beautiful and raw. I always love your songs when they are fresh.

Comment by Alyssa Burns

[…] graciously allowed me to share the song with you.  You can read the full story behind the song at Amy’s Blog.  I’m certain that Amy would also like me to mention the Mocha Club, an organization that […]

Pingback by Tuned Out:: Amy Courts’ New Song “I Wanna Know” « Backseat Writer

I wept. The stories are heart breaking, thank you for sharing

Comment by L B Reed

WOW Amy…that one brought tears to my eyes…Great Work thanks for sharing

Comment by Melissa Clark


Comment by leanna jackson

[…] through my artist partnership with Mocha Club. It seems that what began as a small seed planted by Mercy’s tragic story and my never-quite-enough involvement with Invisible Children has grown inconceivably bigger. This […]

Pingback by I’M FINALLY GOING TO AFRICA!!! « amy courts: en route

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