Monday, May 28, 2018

Songs in the Night

Psalm 32:7, "Thou art my hiding place...
thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah."

Life is hard.  We've all been there: when those moments hit that you just don't understand or hurt so badly you feel like you can't breathe.  We just started studying Revelation in our family quiet time.  And it hit me that while John was in one of his darkest nights--exiled, alone, misunderstood, hated, persecuted--he had a one-on-one encounter with the glorified Jesus Christ who gave him a message for the churches.  Jesus gave John the greatest glimpse and prophecy of what's to come to share with all and give us all hope that this is not the end.  I am so thankful that during those darkest nights in my life, God has comforted me with a song.  I can take shelter under His wings and find deliverance from myself through songs of praise.

Ministry is hard.  There have been two (specific) times in ministry that hurt deeply: one when I was very young and another when I was much older.  The first time, I was very hurt.  During that time, my pastor sang a song before he preached that God used to speak truth and comfort to my soul: 

"I Found the Lily in the Valley"

All alone and broken-hearted, trying to calm the raging battle in my mind
I searched for answers my troubled heart couldn't seem to find...

He'll be the lily in your valley
He'll be the strength when you are worn
He'll be the place to leave your burdens
He'll give you refuge from the storm
A place to trade your dark skies for beaming rays of sunshine
He'll be the lily in your valley and He'll bloom all the time.

The second time, I was more angry than hurt.  I remember the moment I broke down by the side of my bed, crying out to God to take away the anger, bitterness, and desire to walk away from the church.  I begged Him to change my heart because I knew the road I was walking down was sinful and completely unlike Christ.  He did comfort my heart that night, but the next day as I was driving a country road alone, He gave me a song:

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Look Up)"

Oh weary mind, oh troubled soul; all the broken pieces that you hold
Turn them over, give them up, and then watch what Jesus does

Oh heavy heart, oh heavy load, lay it down and let it go
Leave your broken yesterdays in the open arms of grace

Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face
And watch the world grow dim standing next to Him
In the light of His glory and grace.

Motherhood is hard.  My path to motherhood, like many others, has been a difficult journey.  My first pregnancy was a walk in the park.  I thought: "I have got this thing down."  ;-)  Then, the day came: he was ready to enter this world...but my body wasn't going to let him.  After an emergency c-section that happened so fast they didn't have time to count the instruments, my sweet Ethan Jeremiah was born and taken directly to the NICU.  A day later, he was transferred to another hospital.  When they brought him to me to hold his hand before transporting him, I honestly didn't know if I would see him again.  However, I had an unexplainable peace pour over me during this entire time being separated from him.  The night he was transferred I poured out my heart: "God, I know you are in control.  I know this child is yours.  But, I need to hear your voice and feel your presence."  God immediately brought to my remembrance my life verse, Isaiah 41:10, "Fear thou not, for I am with thee.  Be not dismayed, for I am thy God.  I will strengthen thee, I will help thee, and I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."  And a song: "Hold me Jesus".  This song is actually about surrender, but the line I clung to was: 

"You have been my King of Glory, now please be my Prince of Peace."

Thankfully, Ethan's condition improved dramatically in just a short time, and he is now a very energetic ten-year-old who loves Legos, reading, and video games.

Two years later, we found out we were expecting again; but, this time, I knew quickly that something wasn't right.  After two weeks of tests and treatment, I was being admitted to the hospital to have urgent surgery due to a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.  I sought the Lord for comfort, and once again, He gave me a song:  Jesus, Bring the Rain.  Every word was comforting, yet challenging at the same time.

Jesus, Bring the Rain

I can count a million times people asking me how can I praise You with all that I've been through
The question just amazes me: can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You?
Maybe since my life was changed long before these rainy days it's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, O Lord, my only shelter from the storm
But instead, I draw closer through these times
So I pray...

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free,
Bring me anything that brings you glory
And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain
But, if that's what it takes to praise you
Jesus, bring the rain.

I am Yours regardless of the clouds that may loom above
Because you are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me by suffering your destiny
So tell me: what's a little rain?
So I pray..

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

We longed for another child.  During the years of infertility that followed, I struggled with why God wouldn't bless us with another (even though I knew in my heart we were blessed with our one!)  A song God brought to me during that time was one that was only popular for a short period of time, but was exactly what I needed to encourage my heart: 

While I'm Waiting

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
and I am hopeful
I'm waiting on you, Lord
Though it is painful, but patiently, I will wait...

The Lord did grant us that second child, 4 years later.  Emily Jane is now a four-year-old ball of fire and she has definitely shown us that joy does come in the morning.

Transition is hard.  I went from living in the same town for 39 years to being called into full-time missions.  My husband and I have lived in the same house for 17 of our 18 years together.  Now, we will be transitioning wherever God leads: right now in Costa Rica for language learning then on to Mexico.  So, most recently, "Lord, I Need You" has been the song playing in my heart and my mind for the past two years.  As a newbie missionary, a wife in ministry, a parent whose parenting two strong-willed and energetic children, and a student in language school, I need Him every single second of every single day.
Lord, I come.  I confess.
Bowing here, I find my rest.
Without you, I'd fall apart
You're the One who guides my heart.

Lord, I need you
Oh, I need you
Every hour I need you
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need you

Links to the songs listed in this blog post:

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