I recently stumbled upon a playlist of a cappella songs from all stages of my life. I had no idea that God was actually going to use this playlist to bring healing to my heart and I owe the creator and the Creator a big “thank you.” These songs are helping me remember the precious things I have heartbreakingly forgotten. With these songs, I feel like I am worshiping with every era of myself and it is helping to heal me.
Indulge me, or reminisce with me, as I recount the memories. Close harmony itself always makes me remember singing in Concert Choir at Milligan. I have very fond memories of that time in my life. But isn’t it amazing how certain songs are linked with certain memories? When I hear them, I am transported back to those memories and I can feel what I was feeling at the time. “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”, “Glorify Thy Name”, “Only By Grace”, and “Great Are You Lord” take me back to First Christian Church, my home. “How Deep the Father’s Love” takes me back to roommate sing-alongs with Jessica in the dorm at Milligan. I would play my guitar and we would sing together. When I hear “Shout to the Lord”, I remember the day I auditioned for Heritage. I didn’t make it but that didn’t matter to me. It was so much fun singing harmony with dear people. I think I’ve realized that is my ideal day – sitting around singing harmony with people who believe what I believe. It feels like heaven to me. “Rock of Ages” takes me back to playing piano for the early service at my home church while I was in high school and grad school. “Open the Eyes of My Heart” and “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” takes me back to the DIVe band, my youth group band, while Lauren, Mallory, Cassie, and I tried to hold microphones and do the motions at the same time. We were the singing-est youth group. No one could shut us up in the van on trips or anytime we were together. God knew what He was doing when He formed us and I am so grateful for those precious memories. “Blessed Be Your Name” takes me back to singing at Abby’s Ordination. “More” transports me to the time Ashley, Allison, Lauren and I convinced our first youth minister to play his guitar for us while we sang all the songs we had just learned at camp. “Refiner’s fire” takes me back to piano lessons with Mrs. B., who would schedule my lessons last so she could play her flute as I played piano until we got tired. “A Shield About Me” reminds me of the peaceful sounds of Adoration every Tuesday night at Hopwood during college as well as the night my roommie’s precious grandpa died and I slept on her floor while we periodically sang these words to our Comforter into the darkness. “Ancient Words” instantly returns me to Central with Rocky as the worship minister. I remember “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” on the day Shelly spontaneously asked me to sing with her for the service at Central. “Lamb of God” reminds me of my constant need to play the piano and worship even when, and sometimes especially, when I was by myself. My friends Gail and Julie would often find me doing this while I waited for them to get to my house so we could car pool to grad school. “10,000 Reasons” reminds me of when I first started attending Crossroads. “I Will Call Upon the Lord” takes me back to camp and all kinds of crazy kid motions. “Before the Throne of God Above” returns me to middle-of-the night prayers on the floor of our guest room. “I Stand In Awe” takes me back to FCC when everyone would stand during the chorus but more recently to my mountain, where God put this song in my heart to sing to Him on one of my last trips to that sacred place. He reminded me then as He reminds me now that He will provide. And I was floored when “Humble Yourself” started playing because that is my secret song to sing while walking on the beach in awe of the majesty. I can remember singing this into the wind and roaring waves even as a young girl on the shores of Lake Erie and New Smyrna Beach because no one but God could hear me. These moments feel so holy to me and I treasure each one in my heart.
These memories may not mean anything to you, but I needed to write them down for me. I needed to be reminded of the beautiful way in which God is healing my heart. This playlist is carrying me back through every stage of my life’s journey thus far. I am hearing and I am remembering. And I am healing. I have believed so many heart-pummeling lies as of late, and I have contributed to Satan’s field day in my heart while completely buying into His schemes. I have allowed the lies and my circumstances in the last few years to make me believe that I was never actually a true believer. I have believed the lie that I never meant what I said and my life was wasted. I have believed that I am a worthless fake. The tears that have flowed while listening to these songs are healing my blinded eyes, gifting me with the realization that I actually was sincere in my worship. I did mean it. I did love God. I did wholeheartedly praise Him. It was not all a lie. I am passionately in love with Jesus but somehow I was convinced that I never really knew Him. How could this have happened? Beaten-down by so many lies. Thank You, God, for using music to fight for me when words fail!
Another thing I have believed is that I can’t do anything, as mentioned in my last post, Invalid. These songs are reminding me of times when I was less afraid and more excited to experience new things for God. Through the memories, God is teaching me that I am allowed to live life. I forgot that I loved doing new things and being involved. What I have to contribute now may look different, but I am not just a waste of space. God can use me in some way if I let Him. And amazingly, I am allowed to have fun! I have believed that life is the opposite of fun. It has been so difficult to see beyond the darkness of suffering but this music is helping me remember times that were not so dark, reminding me that life is not all struggle.
And blessedly, I am allowed sing without fear and shame. I thought I had to be silent because I have been unfaithful. I did not feel worthy of bringing a song to God while simultaneously filling with doubt and fear. I have not been able to believe the words so I have avoided the music. But God gave me the gift of music and harmony to awaken something in me that cannot be put into words and unfortunately, I have been avoiding that gift. As a result of believing all of these lies, my soul has been slowly dying. It has been a torturously dark time. But I am learning that it’s okay for me to pour out to God all that is within me that can and cannot be put into words. A song sung with a tiny faith is still sung in faith and will usually, miraculously increase that faith.
Most importantly, these songs are teaching me that God never moved. I did. I have believed the lie that God abandoned me. But I know that God has been my constant through every stage of life. He will not leave me and, as much as I try, He will not let me leave Him. He will let me try but He will always pursue. For an inexplicable, wonderful, heart-melting reason, He has made me His. Always and forever, I am His. And the way He gifted these songs to me at the perfect time, a time when I was finally ready to hear and heal, is another one of the many ways He has relentlessly pursued me. They are His love songs to me and my heart bursts with the knowledge that God pursues me like this. “The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). God is singing over me! How can I not be moved? Praise the God of my past, present, and future! I stand in awe of You!