Amy Winehouse’s song rehab tells the story of her life, how Christ can fill that void

 

Drama: Members of the press and local residents watch as Winehouse's body is taken to the vanDrama: Members of the press and local residents watch as Winehouse’s body is taken to the van

I read this article in Christianity Today about Amy Winehouse a couple of years ago and it rings more true today than ever.

How to share your faith using Amy Winehouse‘s ‘Rehab’ 

by Jane Dratz, Guest ColumnistPosted: Monday, February 25, 2008, 10:14 (GMT)

In the midst of her success as a singer, Amy Winehouse was a tortured soul. Riding the crest of a highly successful album and recent winner of five Grammy awards, her music career stands in stark contrast to her personal challenges that get splashed across the headlines. Personal battles with drug and alcohol addiction, a husband in prison awaiting trail for assault and for attempted trial fixing, paint a picture of a life spiraling out of control.

Before Amy finally headed for rehab, her husband, Blake Fielder-Civic, acknowledged from prison that

“Every day I fear the prison chaplain is going to walk into my cell and break the news that Amy is dead [from a drug overdose].”

Fielder-Civic admitted that he and Winehouse were blowing $1000 a day on heroin and cocaine before he was arrested and put behind bars.

Fortunately Winehouse recently entered rehab, a definite positive first step toward pulling herself out of her downward spiral, even though ironically her biggest hit song is about refusing to go into rehab. Check out these lyrics in her song that recently won Record of the Year.

They tried to make me go to rehab
I said no, no, no.
Yes I been black, but when I come back
You won’t know, know, know.

I ain’t got the time
And if my daddy thinks I’m fine
He’s tried to make me go to rehab
I won’t go, go, go…

I don’t ever wanna drink again
I just, ooo, I just need a friend
Im not gonna spend 10 weeks
Have everyone think im on the mend

It’s not just my pride
It’s just til these tears have dried.

Can you hear the pain, hurt, defiance and desperation shouting through? Substance abuse or any form of self-harm, from cutting to harming, are symptoms of deeper problems. Self-harming behaviors reflect hurting individuals’ desperate efforts to fill the God-shaped hole every human has deep in the soul. When God isn’t invited in to fill that hole, many individuals try to fill the emptiness with other things…alcohol, drugs, sex, cutting, material things. The list is as varied as the hurts crying to be stifled.

In the end, the only real answer to filling the God-shaped hole in the human soul is GOD. Without Him in our lives we will bounce from one attempt to another to mask the hurt or pain that life will eventually dish out to us. But the Good News is that Jesus extends his offer of grace and love and rescue to all with His words:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Do you have friends who are either dabbling in or trapped by addictive behaviors? Friends who need to experience the reality of God pouring Himself into their souls and filling their God-shaped hole? If you do, try prayfully using Amy Winehouse’s song Rehab as an opportunity to turn the conversation toward God-talk. Here are a few ideas to help you:

The lyrics to Amy Winehouse’s song Rehab communicate both pain and defiance. Which do you think comes through louder?

Have you ever been in a place were you identified with the lyrics to this song? Or do you know someone who’s in that place now?

Why do you think people sometimes find themselves struggling with substance abuse? Do you think it’s a symptom of a deeper problem? Listen and then share what you believe about God creating us with a God-shaped hole in our souls that only He can fill.

Find out if your friends are familiar with Jesus words in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Explain what those words mean to you in your personal experience.

If you or a friend are struggling with self-harming behaviors, you need to know that God’s love and grace extend to the darkest places. You also need to be aware that many, many people have found that they need outside help and accountability in order to overcome addictive behaviors. It helps to know you’re not alone, so prayfully bring God’s light, love and truth to the darkness.

Jane Dratz works for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit http://www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to jane@dare2share.org.

Contrast the life of Shawn McDonald:

Redemption Songs: The Music and the Journey of Shawn McDonald

By Jennifer E. Jones
CBN.com Producer

CBN.com – It’s easy for a guy to feel insecure sometimes. You wouldn’t know it by looking at his album sales and nationwide tours, but soft-spoken Shawn McDonald is not entirely comfortable in the spotlight. “I’m not a person who likes attention and likes being up in front of others. I’m kind of quiet,” he tells CBN.com

It’s an odd description for the Sparrow Records artist who recently released Live in Seattle, a concert album where he plays many of the hits from his debut record Simply Nothing. Strange indeed but nothing about this Oregon native’s life is typical. Shawn is a walking, breathing testimony of how far God is willing to go to rescue one of His own.

It’s been almost seven years since Shawn saw rock bottom. “I can’t communicate how crazy I was,” Shawn says. “Who I was then and who I am now is like night and day. You name the drug and I was selling it and doing it. I was a confused kid, and my confusion boiled up into bitterness and anger. My life had become a hard, closed shell. I was extremely rebellious, miserable, and lost.”

No one would have picked him to be successful at life, let alone at music. He didn’t sing or play an instrument. Raised by his grandparents, Shawn was constantly in and out of jail, and his extreme party lifestyle was driving him over the edge. At one point, police rang up nine felony charges against him for drug abuse. Although he’d tried to mix his deadly habits with the spirituality of Hinduism and Rastafarianism, like his idol Bob Marley, he realized that there had to be something more to life. With the help of his college roommate, Shawn found Christ.

“What God has done in my life is amazing,” he says.

In spite of his inability to play, Shawn always loved music. After getting saved, he found the easiest way to express his feelings for God was through song. “I was sitting in my room. I had this old, beat-up guitar that I would learn worship songs on – just in the quiet of my own house,” he recalls. “That’s where it started, and it was very simple — just chords. I never expected it to go anywhere else.”

Unbeknownst to him, those simple songs were the humble beginnings of Shawn’s remarkable music career. “It’s really fun and exciting,” he says. “It’s almost like you plant a seed. The seed sprouts, it begins to grow and out comes this bud. When you finish a song, it’s like that bud finally decides to bloom, and you see this beautiful flower. It doesn’t always happen that way but that’s the way I look at it. I think our goal is to make something bloom.”

Shawn still doesn’t consider himself a guitarist although his smooth urban-folk style of music would beg to differ. Shawn is among a growing genre of singer/songwriters (such as Paul Wright and Mat Kearney) who play hip-hop rhythms on guitars and sing with an honesty and vulnerability that’s almost uncomfortable. And yet, it’s a quality that’s clicking with fans.

“People never cease to amaze me. It blows me away when people come up and say, ‘God uses you to draw me closer to Him’ or ‘God saved me through one of your songs’. I hear that kind of stuff, and it’s crazy [to think] God’s at work and using me,” he says. “I’m just an average joe like everyone else. I’m just this kid that somehow, for some reason, God decided to instill some songs in.”

Today, Shawn is one of CCM Magazine‘s “Artists You Should Know”. With a solid debut that unleashed radio hits “Gravity” and “All I Need”, a brand new live album, and a new studio record slated to hit stores in the summer, Shawn is one “Sparrow” that’s flying high. However, staying grounded doesn’t seem to be a problem.

“It’s very humbling. Who am I to write something that someone else enjoys? How is it different from another? It’s random. I think it’s easy to want to take the credit for that [but] it’s a gift. It’s a miracle.”

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