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I love hymns. I grew up singing them in church. There’s something incredibly authentic about hymns that speaks to a place in me that stirs and mends and moves me.

I have the very unpopular opinion that most Christian music today doesn’t connect with me the same way. There’s a depth that’s missing sometimes. There’s pretty music, and rhyming words- sometimes that’s it though. That’s all I can see in it. Nothing speaks to those places the way weighted and sincere words do.

I love hymn stories. Seriously, if you’ve never looked up the story behind your favorite hymns, do it. They are filled with suffering and loss and pain, but a clinging to Jesus in those times that wrecks me. In our culture today those things make us throw up our hands and walk away. These writers pressed even harder into Christ. They loved and trusted Him so much that searing pain could be well with their souls.

This weekend my husband and I saw Switchfoot play at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It is a storied place that was a real stunner. Gorgeous. Amazing sound. It was a bucket list moment for us.

As I sang the words to every song in their set, I realized that I’ve been singing their songs for half my life. I realized the depth in them. I realized what they have done for me. When I was broken, they dared me to pick myself up. They reminded me of the strength in surrender. They sang over me that love is worth fighting for. They inspired me to live my life well. That in our darkest moments, there’s still sunshine.

These songs may never be bound in a hymnal, but I realized that in lyric in melody, they have connected with me in a deep, deep place. These songs have been used to minister to my heart. I’m thankful for the tension and meaning I’m every word. I’m thankful for this new generation of hymns.