Ev’ry Valley… and Jesus

Last December, I had the pleasure of singing in the choir at my university’s annual Christmas concert. Talented faculty sang selected solos from George Frederic Handel’s “Messiah.” On the outset of the solos, the choirs had the privilege to echo choruses straight from the prophet Isaiah. My personal favorite solo was when Dr. Hugo sang “Ev’ry Valley Shall Be Exalted.”

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-11, NIV

The Holy Spirit prompted me to create my own version of “Ev’ry Valley…” based on my reflections from Isaiah 40 and Psalm 139. What came was a solidifying reminder that God is not only in sovereign control over every aspect of my life, but also over every aspect of nature. A new song (or in this case, a new take to an old song) is always exciting! “Every Valley” is no different for me. In the same breath, the words also deeply convict, especially considering the verse composed as “Every shadow…never can hide you.”

As I have given space for the words of this post to develop, my joy to sing a new song intermingles with a conviction that there are areas of my life in which I can try to cast shadows on Christ’s light. Where I could risk being preachy about believers being a light in the world, now more fitting than ever, God helped me realize the words were flowing introspectively, preaching to myself (Matthew 7:5).

“Every Valley” by Gianna Elyse

(Based on “Ev’ry Valley Shall Be Exalted” by G.F. Handel) and selected scriptures:

Isaiah 40:4-5; Psalm 139:7-8, 11-12; Matthew 28:19-20; John 1:1-5; Hebrews 1:12

“Every Valley” Copyright © 2021 by Gianna Elyse Carrasco
Every valley, every valley…shall be exalted
And every rock and mountain made low
For the mouth of the Lord made it so
Should I make my bed in the depths
Should I climb the highest height
I have not escaped you yet
Oh, the mouth of the Lord makes it so
You are with me wherever I go
Every shadow, every shadow never can hide you.
Before the Son of God the earth will fold
Every rock and mountain made low
Oh, the mouth of the Lord made it so

Provision, Protection, & Perseverance

God provides in every valley. No matter what you experience, you can learn to be content and overcome in every situation (Philippians 4:12-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-7; 1 John 4:4; Luke 10:19; John 1:5,16:33).

God is with you and wants to grow you.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:26-31

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christand be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:7-11

It is important to live pursuing holiness, sharing your testimonies. Colossians 1:9-14 implores believers to grow in wisdom and fruits of the spirit continually. May God…

…fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,  being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Colossians 1:9-14

Every valley, every valley…shall be exalted…

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

As Christ illuminates my path, I am learning of His grace, that I am not condemned even as the accuser tries to condemn me (Lamentations 3:22-23; Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Revelation 12:10), God’s provision for me (Psalm 50:10; Mathew 6:32-33; Philippians 4:19;), and His divine purpose for my life (Mathew 5:13-16). Overall, I also see an overarching theme of what it means to exude the light of Christ: humility.


It is so beautiful to me that the brightest star of all was also the most humble one. That starlight is Jesus, who laid His life down in humility, as a human baby, then died on a cross, taking my criminal penalty (Philippians 2:1-8). Furthermore, He was victorious over death and resurrected to life and is exalted (Romans 8:34; Philippians 2:9-11). The same power with which Christ rose from the dead, now lives in me (Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:18-23).

Following Christ requires humility, just as He came humbly to the world (Philippians 3:7-11).

…and every rock and mountain made low…

We can live humbled lives and be empowered by God at the same time.

Two ladies come to mind: Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Hannah, the mother of prophet Samuel. They sang personally about God’s control over the earth, simultaneously, how He pierces each person’s joints and marrow to judge hearts’ thoughts and intentions (Luke 1:46-55; 1 Samuel 2:1-10; Hebrews 4:12).

Just as these women placed faith in God, we do good to come to believe the Gospel and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, as nothing good comes apart from Christ. When we work from our own might, we grow weary, but by faith in Jesus, with His Spirit we live victorious lives (Isaiah 40:30-31; John 15:5; James 1:17; Zechariah 4:6).

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:5-8

Good News to Carry On!

Please be encouraged that one day Christ is coming back, a new heaven and new earth will be established, and each person will be judged for his deeds on earth, namely, whether or not they placed faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 2:6).

To me, some of the most impactful visuals in the Bible are mentions of God likening the earth as a garment (Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:25-28, 104:1-2, 5-6; Proverbs 30:4; Job 38:8-9, 12; Hebrews 1:10-12). The ease and control with which God destroys the old earth and will usher in the new is just the same as if I were to fold my old bed sheets and replace them with new, clean sheets (Hebrews 1:10-12). God is ironing things out, if you will. Regardless of your eschatological viewpoint on chronology of the events to unfold, what is certain is that Jesus is coming back to judge the people of the earth.

Not all is doomed, however… One must respond to the truth of God’s Word, to be a doer, not simply a hearer of it (James 1:22-25)…surrendering her life to Christ and confessing Him as Lord and Savior, since the only way to be righteous is through Jesus’ penal substitution for our sins, and she will be saved (Exodus 20:1-17; John 14:6; Romans 10:13). Every person has sinned according to God’s holy standard, and that sin requires punishment by death (Romans 3:23, 6:23). No amount of one’s good works or asking for forgiveness will save him, but only repentance from his sins and faith in the good work Jesus did on the cross for him accomplishes salvation.

When someone accepts the gift of salvation, it is then she can be empowered by the Holy Spirit living within her (Zechariah 4:6; John 14:15-17). God is building His kingdom with willing hearts, even those who are the least of the earth (Matthew 5:1-12, 25:40). Therefore, the gospel does not make sense to those wise in their own eyes, but God does choose the seemingly foolish things of this world to confuse human understanding (1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 3:5-8; Isaiah 5:21; Romans 1:22; Romans 12:16; 1 Corinthians 1:27, 3:18-20).

God is close to the broken and contrite heart (Psalm 34:18, 51:17). Is your heart broken or suffering? I hope these words encourage you, and if you have not received Christ’s gift, I pray you do accept it this moment. God has a plan for you to prosper you and not to harm you, even to give you a hope and a future in a wicked and depraved world (Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 2:15).

From the ends of the earth I call to you,

    I call as my heart grows faint;

    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:2, NIV

Hope in Jesus, and soon you will be resurrected; the old will pass away, the new will come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) We hope in Jesus to make everything level. What’s more, nothing can separate us from Christ’s love, through every circumstance. In the meantime, God provides a way for contentment through the process of sanctification (Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:6; Hebrews 13:5). Yes, life is difficult at times, and we groan, yet, all things will work together for our good. God will perfect that which he started in you (Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:18-39).

Chamber Singers November 2021

Let’s seek first God’s kingdom, realizing what we experience day to day and what we are physically involved with will soon pass away (Matthew 6:31-34; Philippians 4:12-13; Hebrews 13:5; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Should I make my bed in the depths…should I climb the highest height… I have not escaped you yet…


One last thought, how can you apply the passages of Isaiah 40 and Psalm 139 to your own life? God wants to comfort us in the shadowy valleys of our lives and level the haughty areas in our hearts (2 Samuel 22:28; Psalm 18:27; Proverbs 3:34; Hebrews 12:11-13). He will straighten out your path, even amidst all that troubles you (Proverbs 3:5-6). The resolution may not always be in your external circumstance, but God always promises His peace and comfort when you cast your cares on Him (John 16:33; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22; Philippians 4:4-9) . After all, remember that your trials are producing for you an eternal treasure, and these trials will soon enough pass away along with everything else that is imperfect and unclear (Matthew 6:19-21, 33; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18; Romans 8:18,37-39)

Consider some lyrics that I have not worked into the song yet (see Isaiah 40:21-22):

“Child, have you heard

Child, don’t you know

He is with you wherever you go.”

❤️️ Gianna Elyse

Community “Co-write

Chords for “Come Again” by Gianna Elyse

When I opened my computer to record “Every Valley,” I found an old recording time-stamped 8/28/2021 8:11pm! At first I did not know which song for which I was playing the chords or if I was improvising. Now, I  recognize the chord patterns are for a song I wrote, titled, “Come Again.” While listening to the audio for “Come Again,” take a moment to pray and meditate on the Lord, inviting the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then, please comment in the discussion below whichever scripture, lyrics, words/phrases, or any ideas that come to mind for this audio. After I receive a few responses, I will record the original lyrics over this audio to share with you soon, and it will be interesting to reflect and compare with your comments. Perhaps a new song will come out of this too!
P.S. Do not hesitate to post anything, from serious to goofy. God has a sensible sense of humor, after all, and perhaps he is ministering in that way to you now. Maybe you wanna be more ambitious and post your own demo version… Hey, by all means! All things considered, please do not be crass, as the goal of anything we write should be to glorify God.

attacked by a snowball last winter

Talent & Testimony (TNT)

Talent & Testimony October 1, 2021

Bloganuary Prompt

How are you changing the world?

I’ll risk a cliché here… changing the world begins with changing within myself first (Matthew 7:3). There are seasons in my life where God puts a pause on what I thought was good, so that I could pursue His work in my life, no matter how menial and looked down upon it seems to me or to others (1 Corinthians 10:23). God is teaching me more and more not to rely on what I see, as the situations we face are intensely spiritual (Isaiah 55:8-9; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 6:10-20: Colossians 3:2; 1 Peter 5:5-11).

Christians are exhorted to put on spiritual armor, to pray constantly… (Job 1:4-2:10; Ephesians 6:10-20; 1 Peter 5:5-11) gives insight into this more. Those who are successful leading their life, and that in humility and submission to God’s plan, those are exalted (Matthew 6:33, 23:12; Luke 14:11). Though they are tried through fire circumstances, they have the militant training under the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, that they make it out refined (Romans 5:1-5).

I am encouraged that not only did Jesus go through the same struggles to be able to relate and help me, but Christians around the world are also multiplying that testimony of God’s grace and power through their weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Peter 5:9; Hebrews 4:15). Our enemy is real and prowls around to seek who he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). If he is intentionally seeking our destruction, we need to hold fast to God now more than ever (Psalm 51:10; James 4:8).

Talent & Testimony (TNT)

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: 

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
Revelation 12:10-12

I want to share about Talent & Testimony, an event I coordinate each month, and how I came to be a part of it. I felt it more easy-flowing to speak it rather than type it:


Gianna Elyse


Ben Shive: Studio Piano and Producing

“I see it, I see it

I swear I do

I see extraordinary magic in you”

Ben Shive/Ben Rector

Bloganuary Challenge

What is your favorite part about yourself?

Perhaps, you have the following dilemma as an artist, or even as an individual discovering your purpose…that you have come to the point where there are bits and puzzles pieces of things you are passionate about, or a cacophony of skill-sets you have, or want to have, to the point that you are not sure how to hone in on your thing. Here’s the thing, there is something extraordinary within you, and me, and God knows exactly what that is. He placed it there, after all.

Ben Shive is one of those guys that has honed into his marketable skill as a producer and studio musician, yet, he also has some other notable skillsets that are not obsolete, and actually enhance his primary role, such as a poetic gifting he utilized to write one of the popular songs sung by Ben Rector (quoted above, “Extraordinary Magic”). Ben Shive did not say all of that, but I gathered it as a personal lesson from a talk he gave to my school on October 18th, 2021.

As I observe people who are successful at what they do, I imagine what it must have been like to be just starting out, unsure of where God will lead them, and then I am encouraged. One day, even today, I will be walking out a purpose for which only I was designed. When you decide to take the dive and market one specific thing you are passionate about, you are not giving up the other passions, at least not completely. There are creative ways you will utilize all of what you are passionate about, and those little skills, ideas and characteristics you have, no matter how obscure and seemingly unrelated, to set yourself apart in your field of interest. Because those idiosyncrasies inevitably make up who you are. This is about thinking like an entrepreneur. Ultimately, however, you must surrender each desire and plan to God and ask for His direction.

That was a tidbit of encouragement to start off a series of posts based on presentations and interviews I have had with commercial music gurus. On deck are Jackie Patillo (Gospel Music Association), Leonard Ahlstrom, and a couple of folks from Michael W. Smith’s team. Disclaimer, I am sharing notes from the sessions I attended with them, thus, the words I share are mostly useful advices from the information they shared, non-verbatim.

Ben Shive

One major theme I got from Ben Shive’s talk was the importance of networking in a musical community where the people have shared values. He also mentioned listening to music with “a high musical IQ” He has been influenced by artists and groups (some even collaborated with) such as Rich Mullens, Mark Classen, Andrew Peterson, Ed Cash, Colony House Records, J.J. Heller, George Martin, Harry Connick Jr., Spike Jones, Paul Simon, Rick Ruben, and Dave Barnes. One of the most impactful opportunities was working with Brown Banister, his daughter Ellie Holcomb, Amy Grant, and Michael W. Smith. Although Ben Shive’s background as a classically trained jazz pianist certainly helped land him excellent opportunities, he observed other important factors in play when it comes to playing gigs.

Here are some isolated notes for studio pianists/keyboardists as well as for aspiring producers:

Studio Piano

Be humble and have a workable/teamwork attitude, know when and what to play, remember what you play…

Do not rely on the instrument, but try to make a melody

Listen to things with a high musical IQ

Learn to be dumber with your playing keys, especially if you are trained classically/jazz because nobody needs that for most records. (think diamond chords, which is particularly encouraging, as you do not have to be impressive, just functional).

Keyboard as an arranger: voice lead, avoid the vocal line, and know where the melody sits in the register so that you can compliment the vocal line

Arrange as a keyboardist: Arrange on the individual instruments’ terms, think “What are these instruments doing?”

Dynamics: What did I do last? You have to remember what you did and change just when it is needed

Do the right thing at the right time, and remember, silence can be just as dynamic; listent to your band mates!

In session playing, be able to receive correction, and be able to hang with what’s going on musically (be skillful/astute as needed), chord on 1st try, and be able to play it back on repeat in the other room if needed

Have technical proficiency, good ear, and think like a part-writer

Do I look like a producer? I know I felt like an ice-cube. Note: do not try to be aesthetic in cold Virginia weather…

Production & Technology

Producers do not need to know everything, but they do need to know how to build a team, it’s just cheaper to know more and hire less. 🧐

Be there for the artist: make them feel like a queen or king; the artist needs a chance to be heard; Create rapport with your artist

Have processes in place that never waste money

Producers attract certain types of artists due to the producer’s style

Make one decision at a time, to find out what the artist is NOT

>rather than trying to adjust the whole band at once

>and having references from the artist is helpful, especially when they do not know how to communicate verbally what they want to hear

Any programming should fit with the style of the producer and the band members

Know how to get on the talkback mic, to help get good vocals out of the artist (include very specific instructions and a compliment, so that it is constructive)

If at all possible, try to have session players whom the artist knows

Be assertive, but aiming to please. There will also be a frank exchange of ideas occasionally

Think about tempo, key signature, feel, and form; have quality pre-production

You’re getting somewhere once you feel the emotion when you listen to the artist; “lights are on”

You do not have to be an audiophile, as being a producer is more about workflow

If you are using live piano, it should only be right before the MIX; find what you want to do on a piano sample as it’s easier to adjust before mixing.

Remember what you did last time, talk numbers, and shape the tones you play

As a producer, you will use: subtractive synthesis, juno emulator, oscillators, and signal chains (to shape tone with reverb and delay)

Bonus Note for Artists

You can make a record off of nothing

Play shows and build a following, then think about a budget for an album


If you have any questions about the notes above, please comment below

And I would love to know, are you an aspiring or already established musician or producer? Could you add some tips or questions related to anything mentioned in this post? 🙂


Gianna Elyse

P.S. I am late for my second #bloganuary post, as it is now technically day three :/