You know that feeling you get when you have a Christmas present that is just right for someone you love? That happy excitement you have as they pop through that first piece of tape? That’s how I feel right now.
I feel like you’re opening present that you are going to LOVE.
Today I’m introducing you to the gorgeous music of Erin and Caleb Paxton and their band Eine Blume. Erin is a friend from college days. Recently when she and Caleb released (and I fell in love with) their new album, I knew I had to invite Erin here to share with all of you. I knew that her music and story would resonate deeply.
Erin, thanks so much for being here. There are so many parts of your story that I want you to share with us. Why don’t you start by telling us about your time in Norway.
Caleb and I were involved in a community of learners and artists in Norway from 2007-2009. It was one of the best experiences of our lives. Everyday we ache to go back, to see our friends and live in such close community, to be inspired by such intense natural beauty! The moment we got off the plane onto Norwegian soil, we felt as though we could breath. It felt like home.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying our time there was perfect or without hardship (Our first year there, we found out that Caleb’s parents were separated over Christmas. Our second year there began without a home to live in and not enough money to find a place and without much help for finding one) or annoyances (it costs how much for canned pumpkin??), but we received confirmation over and over that we were right where we were supposed to be and that God was providing.
The beauty we experienced daily in people, culture, and in nature fed my hungry soul. Out of that time together grew a concept album about hope in the midst of life and relationship, even when it seems hopeless. It’s called Ennå Er Det Håp, Fru Ahlgren (Yet there is Hope, Mrs. Ahlgren).
And now you’ve recently released your new album, Farewell to Shadowlands. Can you tell us the story of this music came to be?
It’s true that creativity inspires creativity, and that is what The Chronicles of Narnia did for us! We were especially drawn into The Magician’s Nephew. It is about the brokenness of this world, how it is everywhere. It is about the creation of Narnia and the goodness of Aslan and how his goodness comes up through the cracks of that brokenness we know so well. We see this album as a joyful lament.
The Chronicles of Narnia are very much a retelling of ancient stories and stories we are living in now. We found that life and the experiences that come with leaving a land you love, the birth of children, the massive lost of a town due to natural disaster, watching loved ones battle cancer, daily life, and various losses coupled with the gain that comes with knowing and loving such a one as Jesus; all of these tied into the inspiration of Narnia.
All of the songs are deep and beautiful, but when I heard “Song for Spring,” tears welled. I think it’s a powerful song for anyone, but I think it will strike a tender cord with all of us here at Velvet Ashes, since we know well the pain of goodbyes. Tell us about this song.
Talk about an achy, emotional song! Caleb wrote that song for me as we were moving from Norway back “home”, couch surfing, just longing to have a door so we could fight and make up! I did not want to leave Norway. I wanted to stay, but I knew Caleb was heartbroken for his family that had separated over Christmas our first year there.
So, I made the decision to move back. It was one of the hardest things I have done. Song for Spring is a song about good-byes, but it is also a song about how we find comfort in one another. How we are home to one another and when I feel pain, he feels it too, because we are one. What a picture of Jesus and the church. In our marriage I am Caleb’s dwelling place and he is mine. We abide in God and he makes his home in us. It’s a continual circle of abiding.
When we sing this song at concerts, it is usually toward the end when we have interacted with the audience, they have heard our stories, and we have shared this experience, some healing, some heartfelt affection for one another, it is how we, when we open up ourselves to one another and become vulnerable, we experience life and everything that goes with it. We all sing the line together “So you see, my friend, I hold your heart inside my heart.”
Really, the church – we all belong to one another. I sing those lines with all of my dear ones, geographically far and near in mind. They are always in my heart though. We sing it over and over. It is comforting and sweet and achy.
Erin, when I asked if you would share your music and your story with us this week, on our theme of “Rejoice,” I had no idea that a few years ago a woman spoke a prophetic word over you, that the word she had for you was … “Rejoice.” This all feels rather anointed, doesn’t it?
So, what would you say today to those who are in the middle of their own Shadowlands, who are struggling to rejoice this Christmas season?
Yes, God has been speaking to me so much about this very word, and so I would like to say this: There is so much grace for you, and you are filled with His glory. And glory is not all prim and proper. Think of Jesus starting tiny as a seed, a swirl of cells taking shape and forming a baby. That baby grows inside his mom until she can’t hold him in there any longer. Then, comes labor. At the peak of pain, when she can go no further, she pushes. Jesus is born.
What looked like a mess, what was experienced as pain, ended in glory. Baby Jesus, vulnerable and small. He grows. Jesus, fully grown, has a following. He is planting seeds of the Kingdom. When the world can no longer hold him, He goes to the cross. It is messy and it is painful to the point of death.
From the grave, He is resurrected to glory, new life. The church, starting out tiny, and vulnerable. Receiving the outpouring of His Spirit, the food that causes growing – there is a pattern here. We are in the midst of birthing His glory! There is much pain, sometimes, unbearable and intense labor before glory is birthed and revealed. Oh, but the joy when it is revealed!
There is new life.
So, hang on. Your labor and pain will not last forever. Our current circumstances will pale in comparison to the great glory that will be revealed in us. He is taking us from one degree of glory to the next. This is not the first time and it may not be the last. The glory planted in you will produce so much life giving life! You can trust God with your pain, your struggling, your circumstances, your attitudes. Look to him and do not give up!
Rejoicing does not mean that we cannot or should not ever be sad or have hardship. There is a time for it. But there is also a time to lay that aside.
Just a few weeks ago, God, in His mercy said something to me, and I want to say here. If it strikes a chord with you, take these words for your own. I walked into the church building one Sunday, and God said, ” You are hanging onto a spirit of sadness, and it is becoming sin. Haven’t I made you glad?” Whoa. In just a few sentences, He shared the gospel with me.
I am His dwelling place. How can my heart truly be sad if God is living inside of me?! I repented and my faith is restored. I treat my family differently. Circumstances still are not perfect, but the atmosphere has shifted in our home because the Kingdom is coming and it is here!! He is taking me from one degree of glory to the next.
Friends, know that seasons are seasons. May your seasons of shadows, whatever they are, draw you to Him. May he fill you with His Spirit. May He give you peace and comfort. May your faith be made strong. May you delight in His delicious words that feed your hungry soul. May you marvel at His beauty displayed everywhere and also hidden in places for His royalty to find. May you seek and find.
And when you are too tired to seek, may Your father run after you, kiss you, and nurture you to full strength.
Thank you so much, Erin. There truly is a sense of anointing on your words, your story, and your music.
I want you all to see the video that Erin and Caleb used to kickstart their album release. Because there’s something about seeing them…
And they have graciously given us song their song “I’ll Hold On” to listen to for free here:
Plus, Caleb and Erin are giving away three copies of Farewell to Shadowlands and one copy of their Christmas album O, Come. Enter to win below. Merry Christmas to you! Or what a great item to add to your Christmas wish-list?! Or to gift to someone this season?
You can find Eine Blume on Facebook and their music here:
O, Come — (Christmas album)
If you want to order a hard copy, message them on Facebook, and they will ship you a hard copy with a personal note! They ship internationally.
If you’re reading in email, click here to enter the giveaway.
Are you in a season of shadows, struggling to rejoice this Christmas season?
What part of the Paxton’s story and music resonates with you?
This is what we call The Grove. It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt. So join us in the comments. Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt. Click here for details and instructions.