Being OK With It All  

As I have been blessed to have God open doors to share my testimony and music, I have found myself struggling with a part of my life I share.  This was especially true for me after a recent national tv appearance that has a large Christian audience.  A part of my life and my testimony is the fact that my parents wrote a huge #1 Bestselling self help book "I'm OK You're OK."  Talking about this book can be a bit of a tightrope walk for me (I love my parents and want to honor them but have found my hope and healing in Christ alone,) and especially when time is short and I fail to put it all in context.  I know the book is not highly thought of by many Christians and I do understand why.  But it is a part of my life and testimony so I do share it.

It all can be so confusing because I saw my parents growing up speaking at some churches and occasionally they would get a letter from a priest or clergy member who was helped by the book.  Yet for me it didn't offer the hope and healing I so needed.  I had every bit of knowledge, expert advice, insight in my home and in my head, yet I had absolutely no peace.  I realize that being so close to it all had a different affect on me than a person just buying the book.  But, this was my reality. 

And the truth is, it is a humanistic book based on Transactional Analysis.  It is about relating to other people.  And describing our transactions in the terms Parent, Adult and Child.  I wanted to follow this and I was a very nice person, but was extremely self analytical, self absorbed, and struggled to find value in myself. I heard a lot growing up about "strokes."  My mom would say:  "you need some strokes" when I was down. But going out and looking for a thumbs up from people is a recipe for disaster and deep hurt. I struggled for years to get that. And I was depressed and walking on very shaky ground.  I love this translation of Proverbs 29:25 (The fear of man is a snare) from The Message: "Fear of human opinion disables, but trusting God protects you from that."  What a truth. 

Everything that was missing in my life was found in Jesus Christ.  When I wrote, "Then I Met Jesus," I wrote:  "He gave me value and righteousness too, when I met Jesus, He made me brand new."   The value I found in Christ is why I can do what I am doing today.  When I lived in Hollywood, I was still looking for my value from people.  Try doing that in Hollywood!  I was a wreck and I am so thankful Jesus saved me from that life. 

Jesus Christ also gives us all we need to have good relationships with people. I don't have to be concerned about overanalyzing things because His love covers it all.  I can be kind and not expect anything in return. I don't have to be hurt or offended. Christ is my advocate. I can walk in confidence no matter my circumstances.  He is enough, His grace is enough.  In Christ we have permanent transformation and change and what I cherish: rest and peace for our souls. A peace which passes understanding.

I love my parents dearly and never would want to say anything negative about them or their work. I'm extremely proud of my dad, especially for His service in the US Military. He was a Pearl Harbor Veteran and was the Chief Psychiatrist of the Navy Dept. in Washington DC.  And he was a kind and gentle soul.  And my dear loving mother is who at just the right moment, spoke to me about Jesus and it changed my life.  She grew up in the church and she knew that I needed more help than any person could give me.

But before this happened, we did attend church during my childhood, but what I saw was more of a social emphasis.  It seemed it was the people who were important more than the spiritual aspect.  And I believe this is a mistake so many make and why they get burned out and indifferent towards church. The people in the church we should care about, encourage, walk beside,  but Jesus Christ is who we honor, worship and adore.  

When I looked to Christ alone, that truly is when my hope was found.  My peace was found.  My joy was found.  My life has been found.  Through His love and His Word, my fearful and tormented mind was healed and transformed.  No more self analysis- just rest.  

I admire the fact that my parents had a heart to help people. But in their later lives and even through some of their own deep struggles they came to see that Jesus Christ truly is the one and only answer.  And they gave their lives fully to Him.  I saw that in my dad's later years.  He loved going to church and singing the hymns.  He had a beautiful whistle that he would often use to "sing" them at home.  He was so precious and at peace when he passed in 1995. We had a beautiful last day together and when I was walking out the door, he said (he had dementia, but this was clear as a bell,) "there's something good out there," as he looked to the sky.  He died later that day. 

And my sweet mother who is still with us, blesses our family and so many others with her beautiful and touching piano.  She loves the hymns and can play anything you ask.  I think she literally knows them all.

I want to always honor my father and mother as the bible instructs, but remain true to my testimony.  And the truth is, they are not that book.  They are God's children.

I am so grateful Jesus has worked everything out for the good, just as He promises He will do for us all.  Yes, He is more than enough.  My deepest prayer is that everyone who is searching will find the treasure of Jesus Christ.  He has everything, He is everything.  Praise His Holy Name. 

Here is:  "Then I Met Jesus" - my testimony in song

It's In Your Hands  

When I read of an unthinkable tragedy, one like the 2 year old who was killed by an alligator at Disney World, or a child who is kidnapped and never to be found, my mind often goes to the parents.  I wonder, “how on earth can they go on?”  “How can they survive such pain?” 
That was one of the thoughts I had when I wrote, “It’s In Your Hands.”  I thought back to times in my life I was inconsolable. When nothing would relieve the pain.  I couldn’t sleep, could not find any peace or enjoyment in life. 
I have been at that place as the first line of the song says:  “There is no peace, there is no sleep, this heavy heart is hurting deep.  I toss and turn in my bed at night, trying hard to make it right, oh Lord, I need relief.”   I’m sure all of us have experienced that kind of pain. Maybe not the grief of losing a child, which has to be immeasurable.  But, we have had our heart broken.  It is a horrible pain.  It feels like it will never end.  Eternal sleep at that point sounds like a nice option. 
But, God has something better for us than the things we so often use to give us relief:  medication, isolation, overeating or drinking, shopping. numbing out.   He has His peace which passes understanding.  We have the hope that He does care for us and our situation. That we WILL find relief in Him. That He is the God of the Universe and more powerful to help us than anything or anyone else. 

This song, “It’s In Your Hands” is my song of surrender.  To completely give my deepest cares to Christ.   To place them in His mighty hands while I bow at His feet humbly knowing I can't do it anymore.  I can't hold onto it. I can't try to fix it. I can't think it right.  I'm done.  He can have it all. 
And THAT is when the healing begins.  He asks us to cast our cares to Him.  1 Peter 5:7: "Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you."  And yes, sometimes the load we cast is a heavy one.  One that is so deep in our heart that we wonder, “can He be trusted with this?!”  “This is so deep and so painful, it is my very life, how can I let it go?!”  

In a line from the song it says: “There is no safer place, than when I trust in faith.”  - Yes.  With our very lives. Jesus Christ is a safe confidant, He is a safe friend.  He is a safe place to rest our head.  When we are grieving or just in fear of what might be, there is no better place to be than in the most loving and most compassionate hands.  He will take the immense pain or fear and turn it to peace and eventually to joy.  We will find as the bible promises in Nehemiah 8:10: “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”   We can mourn what was lost, but rest in the protection and peace He brings.  
Whatever your pain or worry or regret – He CAN be trusted.  He DOES know us better than we do.  He DOES have a plan that will work things for the good when we trust in Him and ask for His will. 
Some pain in this lifetime may forever be remembered, but we don’t have to hold onto it as a memorial.  We can place it in the most sacred and protected place.  In the beautiful hands of Jesus Christ.  We can rest knowing He cares for those we love more than even we could.  How wonderful we will have an eternity, where we are promised that all pain will be completely wiped away, to worship at His feet. 

Walking In The Spirit 

For years, the first line of the song:  “Looking for an answer, looking for some help,” was so true for me.  I was searching.  I had heard so many well-meaning people say:  “find yourself” “take care of yourself” “put yourself first.”  But it was an endless hole that was never filled.  The more I thought of myself, the emptier my life became.   

And for me, this idea of finding myself as a young person took on a whole new meaning.  I am the daughter of the writer of self help books.   In my late father's obituary, Life Magazine gave him the title of:  “The father of pop psychology."  

We are all born with that "God shaped hole it needs filling it's my soul!"  I had every bit of insight, knowledge, expert help one could find, but none of that could help me find the one thing I longed for:  peace and joy.  I bought books. I did every kind of self improvement.  I saw a therapist.  (Try doing that when everyone knows your father is a psychiatrist! Talk about a head trip!)  I remember getting a list of affirmations that I was supposed to read in front of the mirror each morning.  I would try to believe what I was reading.  “I am assertive!”  “I am confident!” etc, but  I was the problem!   There was no power in "I" (me.)  I had nothing to hold on to! 

Everything changed when I met Jesus and His Word and His power came into my life.  "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  - 2 Timothy 1:7  

As I began to look to Jesus Christ, I became stronger every day!  Just as the songs says:
“I am walking in the Spirit, I am walking in love. Getting stronger every day, as I seek you as I pray, keep on walking with you Jesus, walking this way!”

I found that these things I was longing for were found in Christ.  "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19.  Looking to anything other than God to fill us up is not walking in the Spirit, but in the flesh.  There is no peace in that.  It’s an unstable road that leads nowhere.   Walking in the Spirit gives life!   And my dear father who wrote those books found that life too in his later years when he gave his life to Christ.  We sometimes went to church as I was growing up, but there really was no "walking in the Spirit."  It is when we are seeking Him with all our hearts, making Him a priority and surrendering all our wants, needs and desires to Christ is when life really begins.  

When our purpose is to give glory to God, to rest in His will, we can truly live the abundant life He promises!   It is a life full of possibility, full of purpose and extreme joy.  Walking in the Spirit is a walk without heavy burdens.  It is a walk with hope.  Not done in our own energy but in the hope of the gospel.  And a walk with a happy ending!  From the song:  “When you walk with God, you never tire.  And as you walk each day, it gets brighter and brighter!”  

I am so glad  "Walking in the Spirit" is the title of my album. This song is all about the joy of the Lord.  I had that joy writing it and singing it and now sharing it with you!  

At Night In The Garden 

   I wrote "At Night in the Garden" at this time two years ago. I had been reminiscing about a trip to Israel I took as a teenager with my family. How wonderful it was to visit the many places that Christ walked. And I remembered the Garden of Gethsemane. It was full of olive trees and a lovely place. As I thought about the Garden, I wanted to read again about Christ’s experience there. As I spent time in the Word reading about that night, I was overcome by how much our precious Jesus had to endure and as the tears flowed, the words and music to this song did too. 
The word Gethsemane literally means oil press. This is how olives are pressed and ground up and their oil is produced. As with everything in the Bible, the fact that this night of suffering took place at Gethsemane is no accident. Oil is scripturally symbolic of the Holy Spirit. There must be a grinding, a crushing, a breaking of the olives to make oil. And before the Holy Spirit could be given, someone had to be crushed or broken. And that someone was Jesus Christ.  
So great was His suffering that He could have died that night in the garden. "So sorrowful a place that the blood sweat from his face." This is an actual medical event called hematohidrosis that can occur during the most extreme stress. Capillaries break and blood is mixed with sweat. Jesus knew not only that He would face the most excruciating physical pain, but even worse, He would be separated from the Father. For a moment, He asked God: Is there any other way?  In our terms that question might be: Is there any other way we can be made right with God? Join the right church? Feed the homeless? Pray the right way?  No, there is only one way. 


"Because of His love at Gethsemane He made His way onto Calvary, each step He made removed the weight of sin around our neck."  The only way for us is through the blood of Jesus Christ. And for Jesus, there was only one way: For Him to be the sacrificial Lamb who died for us. 
And because He said, Not my will Father, but Yours be done, we can call the most horrible, terrifying, cruel, unfair, dark days – Good Friday.   And God can do that in our lives. We may not understand why things are happening. They may seem so unfair, so cruel, so hurtful. But, we can know that Jesus understands. Oh how He does. He was there. He was at the feet of the Father asking for mercy, but then ultimately knowing that Thy Kingdom come,Thy will be done is what will bring the ultimate good. God can be trusted in whatever your trial is. He sees the big picture.  
And the big picture from that sorrowful night in the Garden, is a day of joyous praise as we celebrate Easter. "The night He spent at Gethsemane, ends in a place of great victory, when the stone was rolled away, our Lord no longer there, no longer there. He’s with us."  Yes, that’s what Easter is all about: He’s with us! Thank you Jesus!

Prince of Peace 

If you have ever truly been without peace, you know that when you have it back, it is the most cherished, most wonderful thing imaginable. Without peace and a sound mind, this life is unbearable. 
That was me.  As a young adult, I was plagued with severe anxiety.  It was so bad that I would grind my teeth at night as I slept.  I was in bondage to rituals of counting and checking and washing.  I tried to keep this very secret, and that just caused more stress.  I had panic attacks that caused me to dread any kind of public gathering.  Leaving the house was a huge event for me that would take every ounce of energy I had.  
Why I had all this fear, I cannot say for sure.  But, even as a very young child, they called me “worry wart.”  I just had that tendency.  But, some things did rock my world in my young life that caused me to have deep insecurity and fear about my life.  This fear took over and grew and grew.  Much of it had to do with what people thought.  The bible calls that a trap and it was. I was truly trapped in darkness.  Not that I wanted that.  I had a love for God.  I knew about God since childhood.  I loved to sing hymns.  We had a placard in our home that read:  “God is Love.”  I knew God was good.  But, I didn’t know him. 
All this fear and torment was getting to be more than I could bear.  I would just start crying out of nowhere.  I couldn’t even smile, let alone laugh. I never laughed.  My mother knew something was deeply wrong with me.  But I was afraid to even try to explain it.  My late father was a well known psychiatrist, and I literally thought they would have me locked up if they knew how crazy my mind seemed.  I couldn’t think straight because of the fear.  I was really spiraling down and very afraid. 
My dear mother Amy, who was raised by a mother who had a deep faith, knew Jesus Christ.  We didn’t have much of a “faith filled” home, but we did go to church somewhat regularly.  But, church to me also caused anxiety.  It was just more people to be afraid of.   

Thank you Jesus that my dear mother saw I needed more help than any therapist, or person could give me.  I believe Christ put on her heart the fact that only His love could help and save me.  She came to me in my room, where I had been for many hours crying and read to me:  Matthew 11:28-29:   “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls”. 
After I heard that scripture, something happened to me.  Jesus touched me. For the first time in many years I had hope.  I felt that finally someone could really understand my heart.  My heart that I so feared would be misunderstood by people.  Jesus Christ understood. That day changed my life.  This was the beginning of my heart and mind being healed and transformed. No doctor or medication.  Just Jesus Christ.  My mind began thinking clearly. His love replaced my fear, just as He promises in scripture: 

1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”   And His beautiful peace filled my heart as He promises in John 14:27:  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  

This song, “Prince of Peace,” was written out of this place of the deepest most profound gratitude for the peace Jesus gave me and gives me still.  I cherish it.   And I cherish Jesus.  Because I know as long as I am His, I will have this peace.  And peace for an eternity! I praise you Jesus!!!  Thank you!!!  Thank you!!! Thank you!!!  
You can read more about my story and testimony and my journey with the Lord in my Bio.  He transformed my mind from one of torment to one of peace and joy.  I could literally laugh again.  And my joy has only increased over the years as my walk with Christ grows deeper.  I truly enjoy this life He has given me.  And He promises that for us all.  To give us life abundantly!  And yes, He did.  He keeps all of His promises!    

Standing on the Word Of God  

“I have a source who tells me He will finish what He starts!” – from my new song "Standing On The Word Of God." 
When I wrote that line inspired by scripture: “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” - Phil 1:6, I had no idea how true it would be in my life.  I recently released my first album, "Walking in the Spirit!"
This journey began back in the summer of 2014.  I had been going through a time of discouragement.  On this particular day, instead of trying to push away the negative feelings or distract myself with something else, I decided to read the Bible.  And what I read that day changed the course of my life.  I love God’s Word because it is living and speaks to us fresh each time.  I read that the discouragement I had been feeling was not of God.  I read that day that by standing on God’s promises I could move out the mockers of my mind and know that God is for me, has a plan for me, and as He says in Isaiah 41:10, "He will strengthen me and help me."  And help me he did! 

I was so encouraged and inspired that I sat down at the piano and started playing and as my heart was freed and lifted, several songs poured out.  “Standing On The Word of God” was the first one.   And singing it made my heart almost burst with thanks and joy!  In many ways it is a foundation for the rest of the album because all of the ten songs come from a place of needing and seeking the Lord, spending time with Him, and looking to and trusting His Word.  And that standing on His promises means nothing is impossible with God, that He will work things out for our good, guide our way and give us a peace that is not found in this world.  That even during these troubled times, He is victorious over the darkness! 
We can walk in confidence that God has a wonderful plan for us!  And like the last line of the last verse says:  “His sacrifice upon the cross gave righteousness to me.  I have no fear but only hope, I have true victory!”

YES!  Only Jesus Christ can do that!  He has that hope for us all!  God’s Word (The Holy Bible) has everything we need to know Christ, to understand and live His promises, to rest in His assurance of forgiveness and salvation and to give us strength as we live each day Standing On The Word Of God!”

Gretchen Keskeys has a unique and powerful speaking and music ministry to bless your conference, church service or event.  
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