Who Can I Run To?

The year was 1995; I was nine and naive. I was one year removed from my pain and still learning how to cope with the changes that surrounded me. My dad was gone and my brother had been sent to the juvenile detention facility. My mom worked tirelessly to not only provide for me tangibly, but also as best as she could spiritually and emotionally. Yet and still, I needed, well, wanted more. After school on any given day, I would disappear into the safety of my room to do the things that my mother did not approve of: talk on the phone with Amy for hours at a time, watch Jerry Springer, and listen to “grown” music. She believed that I should be doing homework, even if there was none for the day, and that free time was best spent with God. She wasn’t wrong with that last part, but I was too young to see that then. I didn’t know at the time but music was the way that I communicated. It offered an escape from reality and allowed me to drift into the mind of the lyrical composer and travel along distant paths into their world. Music was love.

Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Prince, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Biggie Smalls, 112, Jagged Edge, Aalyiah, Tupac, NWA, Bone Thugs, Tevin Campbell, Mary J. Blige, TLC, Babyface, and so many more… artists that I loved to listen to when my mother wasn’t around. My mother believed in Shirley, Donnie, CeCe and Bebe, and Mahalia- anything else was blasphemous to her ears. Maybe it’s because of what happened to me or maybe it’s because I was just rebellious, but I loved the music that my mother loved to keep me away from.

To be honest, I heard songs back then that I am just now as a 33 year old woman learning their true meaning. Just last week Tevin Campbell admitted that his acclaimed song, “Can we talk?” is a song about stalking a person. I mean, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised (watch the video below)… One thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve aged is that songs hit differently now. Songs that I either didn’t know the true meaning of back then or undervalued, mean so much more to me now. For example, “Mary Jane” by Rick James sounded like a funky, little love song back in my youth. Now as an adult I can totally appreciate how Rick James felt about a drug (marijuana/ weed) that took him out of the chaos of life into a serene state of bliss. I sought similar relief in food, alcohol, men, and even weed in my youth. When I hear that song now I don’t even think of that mysterious woman that I once envisioned. Instead I think about how much of a lyrical genius Rick James was to create such a dope (get it?) personification of drugs. I close my eyes now and I can see him coming home from a tiring day at work, pulling out his paraphernalia, and indulging in the numbing tactic of his choice. Right at this point I’m sure you are wondering why of all of the songs I could have referenced, I chose that song… well, I was nine and naive when I first heard it and it changed my mind about the effects of songs on a person’s life. Simply put: songs hit differently as my life hits differently.

Ok, the stalker-ness makes so much sense now…
I love you, Mary Jane…

Truthfully, I think that happens to all of us. We hear and view things through our current experiences and as our lives ebb and flow, our understanding of it all does, too. I love music. I have ADHD and music helps to calm the ever-moving-ness of my mind and allows me to focus on the immediate task ahead of me. On their own, my thoughts move faster than my body can accommodate. My poor body is always trying to play catch-up and my mind is always leaving everything else in its dust. Everyday is another adventure in the life of Michelle’s Mind and I never know what’s going to happen on a given day. In the randomness that is my mind, I recalled a 90s RnB song as I sat on the Corporate Prayer Line Friday evening. With everything going on in the country, my church has decided to host weekly prayer calls so that we can continuously go before God with our prayers of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (ACTS). So, here I am on this call as others are praying and “Who Can I Run To” by Xscape pops into my head. In all fairness, I think someone referenced their inability to hide from God and that’s what linked me to the song… but there’s also the possibility that my mind just heard what it wanted to hear. In either case, I heard that song and I want to share it with you today. Close your eyes and listen to the words (listed below) of the song.

Classic 90s style…

Who Can I Run To?
As I stand here contemplating,
On the right thing to decide.
Will I take the wrong direction,
All my life, where will I go,
What lies ahead of me?

I have strong determination,
And I’m not afraid of change.
I have yet to find that someone,
Who would care to satisfy me,
To stay right by me.
Who can I run to,
To share this empty space?
Who can I run to,
When I need love?
Who can I run to,
To fill this empty space with laughter?
Who can I run to,
When I need love?

And my mind is so confusing,
Who would be that special one?
Everyday I’m trying to find you,
All along, I’ve got to know,
Is there a place for me?

I know love has many names,
And a message very clear.
All it takes is time and patience,
To bring you near,
But look at me, tell me
Who can I run to,
To share this empty space?
Who can I run to,
When I need love?
Who can I run to,
To fill this empty space with laughter?
Who can I run to,
When I need love?

Naturally, when I first heard this song and watched the video, I felt what the women wanted me to feel- deep love for a romantic partner. However, when I listened again on Friday night after the prayer call, I heard something different- a desire to seek God.

Who can I run to, to share this empty space?
Who can I run to when I need love?
Who can I run to, to fill this empty space with laughter?
Who can I run to when I need love?

You see, for so many years I answered each one of those questions by filling in the name of my latest romantic quest. I turned to him to fill voids in my life, I turned to him for laughter, and I turned to him for love. At that time in my life I never could have imagined that the greatest love of my life was actually my Lord God. From Genesis to Revelation, God stops at nothing to be reunited with me and to share His never-ending love with me. And just when sin had me separated from Him, He sent His only Son to pull me back into His arms.


Who can I run to to share this empty space?
Romans 5:5 “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Who can I run to when I need love?
1 John 4:16 “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

Who can I run to to fill this empty space with laughter?
Job 8:21 “He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”

Who can I run to when I need love?
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Here’s the deal, Beloved, the answers to these questions and more can be found within the pages of the greatest love story ever told- the Holy Bible. We can always run to our Lord God, our Abba, our first and greatest Love to fill us and to love us like no other.

Who can I run to?
I can run to God.

Be blessed.

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