Open Hand EP

by Terry Stokes

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released June 16, 2015

Vocals, guitars, bass, and drums by TJ Stokes
Produced by TJ Stokes
Recorded at Duotone Studios
Engineered by Daryl Youngblood

Album Art: Evelyn B.

Santo guitars (

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Terry Stokes Charlottesville, Virginia

Songwriter & Producer


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Track Name: The Valley
Deuteronomy 1:6-8

You’ve stayed long enough at this mountain
It’s time for you to move
Remember this moment when you’re down there
You know I’ve got promises to prove

A newly grafted branch in My family tree
Rooted in Me and abiding in the Vine
Apart from Me you can do no good
So don’t be the 1 out of the 99*

In the valley
Get down in the trenches, you’ve got work to do
Sift the noise to hear My voice while I carry you

In the valley
The harvest is plenty, I know you’re weary but you can’t stop
Life isn’t lived on the mountaintop
It’s in the valley

You think it’s not real when My presence you can’t feel
Troubles all around but My face you can’t see
That’s when I consolidate the real change
When I guard your heart like a vigilante

At the extent of your understanding
I surpass it all so peacefully
But I still want you to tell Me about it
Because My yoke is easy

Seek My face, then go down and radiate it
See the lowlyness of this world and then elevate it
Find the need for Living Water, then satiate it
There’s potential for salvation, go and activate it

*Of course, we are all frequently the one that goes astray. But we shouldn’t aim for it (Romans 6:1-2)
Track Name: Heaven
I draw near to Your throne by Your invitation
I join the angels and all saints in their adoration
I get a glimpse of where I’ll be when my work is done
The door’s open to everyone

All is illuminated by Your perpetual light
No more pain, tears, confusion, not even night
The war inside me is over, righteousness has won
I owe it all to Your Son

I lift You, I lift You up
I’m empty, come fill my cup
I’ll be that empty vessel, let the miracles flow
You’re here right now, that’s all I need to know

Your presence is heaven

No high could ever come close
Glorifying the One who loves me most
Now we see just a dim reflection
Clear away what distracts me from Your perfection

Your presence is heaven

I’d rather be uncomfortable in Your presence
Than comfortable away from You
The radiance of Your glory may hurt my eyes
Or is that the pain of my pride burning away as Your love cuts through?

When the music fades away
When the emotion subsides
My heaven is still not out of reach
In You I abide
Track Name: Drop Me A Line
We’re so broken and so far apart
I don’t see how to get to where you are
Hurting you was never my intent
What we said was often not what we meant

Oh, don’t run, don’t run away from me
Don’t assume that I know just what you need
Drop me a line, I can’t read your mind
I’ll do anything to reach you, but it’s an uphill climb

The blessing and the curse are one and the same
Two different people trying to align their games
The way we want love expressed to us is intuitively the way we give it
I’ll believe in your heart even when I don’t understand the way you show and the way you live it

So much just gets lost- lost in translation
So much healing comes with communication
I want to study you and be inside your head
Learn the way you think and why you say the things you said

Show me the best way to show you love
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be- it’s already so tough
I’m just working with the mind of a simple man- please be patient
I’ll go to the ends of the earth and back for you, but I need your location
Track Name: Open Hand
My microcosmic world
My precious sons and my baby girls
Such a beautiful design
I can’t wait until you’re mine

Like a gardener and the seeds he grows
Your deepest mysteries I may never know
But I get to cultivate
Your soul as your love livens my heart rate

Game over when I meet you
You already stole my heart- I need you
7 ounces of flesh I’m holding*
A lifetime of love unfolding

Of course, I’ve got your names picked out
And I’ve got the minivan tricked out
Smothering affection won’t be rare
Through the joy and the pain, I’ll be there

My spirit pours out into yours
You’re the love of my life, there’s nothing I want more

You’re the music that makes my heart dance
My family, I hold you with an open hand

I want to provide
In every way that you should be edified
And teach you all I know
You’ll teach me so much more as I watch you grow

You see I’ve got these plans
But I know that so many things are out of my hands
My love is what I control
I give you my heart, my mind, my soul

As I stumble my way through
I’ll make mistakes, I may hurt you
But I’ll listen and right my wrongs
There’s no escape, this is where we belong

I won’t claim to know it all
But I claim that I’m the first there when you fall
Hold you close, and then set you free
To be a better person than I could ever be

*Tbh, I meant to say 7 pounds. Maybe 7 ounces is a finger?
Track Name: You Understand Me
What’s the point? I’m living jaded
The light of my eyes has faded
She misinterpreted my heart’s intentions
It’s almost worse than hatred

So many things left unspoken
Relationships can be so broken
The benefit of the doubt used to be a voucher
My past love always a token

He thought that she didn’t love him still
And she lost sight of his good will
I look around- it’s a universal narrative
So much pain- we’ve had our fill

Will the confusion ever be made clear?
Emotional justice that dispels the fear?
The fear of never being understood
The fear of unknowingly causing tears

I know that conflict is not the end
We can emerge and remain as friends
But there’s One who always understands
He holds my world in His hands

I want to flee from love, but I’m not running
Cause I know there is a day coming
When all that’s in the dark will be brought to light
I’ll be fully understood in His might

You never misunderstand me

When I feel misunderstood and lonely
You know me better than I know me
You see the dirt, the wrong, the scars
Yet You still want my heart

In You I found praiseworthiness
You’re who I call in my distress
By knowing You I’m nothing but blessed
My worth is in Your righteousness

You understand me