This post is a result of a writing challenge prompt; “Sharing my voice feels like…”
Sharing my voice feels like . .
…letting everyone see me naked.
…putting myself in an arena with angry, hungry lions.
…flying a plane with no idea what I’m doing.
…risking everything to say what I believe the Lord puts on my heart to say.
…letting others throw stones and knives at me.
But sharing my voice as the Spirit leads is also obedience to the Lord. And it gives me hope that it may point others to Christ and encourage godliness. These two things must overcome the other feelings that are ultimately all self-focused.
Years ago, as a divorced, single mom, a sweet older man on the maintenance staff at church encouraged me to attend the singles group there. It was the last place I ever wanted to go. Putting yourself out there, even for just fellowship, is a scary thing after betrayal and abandonment. The human heart and mind can be so delicate. I let fear of being hurt keep me from a lot of things.
The person encouraging this, Danny, said something to me then that I still remember all these years later. He said, “Lisa, when you sing you let everyone see you…your heart, and your deepest thoughts and beliefs. Why not let people get to know you like they do when you sing? They’ll love you.”
I don’t know about everyone loving me – that’s impossible if we live for the Lord. Danny was true about one thing, though. I’ve always been able to express my voice best in song. The Lord -Who He is, what He’s said, and what He’s done – is the best thing about me and the only good in me. It’s easy to sing about that.
Sharing that every chance I get is how I best share my voice. Oddly, one of my favorite times to sing is at funerals. Being able to minister to a family in their deepest loss is a true blessing as I see God use it to minister His peace to others.
Singing in hard times may sound impossible to you. Things have been difficult in so many different areas of my life. Storms sometimes seem to come from all directions at once. One such day, My dad sent me a one-sentence text to say something I needed reminding. He said, “Praise Him in This Storm.” I knew he was referring to a specific song to encourage me. He always loved me singing it. The last I sang that song (as of this post) was at his request, at my mom’s funeral in 2018.
So, I dug out a CD someone gave me years ago. At that time I had no idea a recording was made when I sang that same song during the loss of my first marriage, more than 10 years before the loss of my mom. When I found out, I requested a copy and found it had recordings of a few songs I shared during services. That CD has been buried for a long time. I hunted it down and listened to that song and God used it to remind me to praise Him. It helped me refocus and sing it all over again, in the solitude of my home.
The disappointments of life can draw our eyes and our focus away from Christ, which alters our perspective. We must continually set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Col.3:1)
God’s Word tells us that He works everything together for good. (Rom.8:28) Notice it doesn’t say all things are good, but He is constantly at work, even taking the things that the enemy means for evil and using them for our good and His glory. (Amazingly, that was the message in another song on that CD.) He uses everything to conform us into the image of Christ that we might reflect Him more and more in our lives.
Praising Him in the storm, or in the midst of hard times, not only refocuses our mind and heart toward Him but it strengthens our faith. It speaks to our heart, reminding us who He is no matter where we are. Sure, sometimes the trials last longer than we expect or hoped, but keep your eyes on Him. Allow Him to do His perfect work. This is the reminder I need in every trial or difficulty. The reminder of how very much I need Him also reminds me that no matter the circumstance, I have hope.
Hope and Praise
While the year of this writing has been hard, the word on my heart (for 2021) just happens to be “Hope.” I’m clinging to that hope. Hope that reminds me of where my life truly is, hidden with Christ in God. (Yep, another song on that same CD). Christ in me, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). In the grand scheme of things, we are only here on earth for a short while. As the Apostle Paul said, “The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom.8:18). This is the perspective we must have to endure.
The Psalms do a great job of expressing the emotion of the heart in the midst of troubles. But they also show us the truth of where our hope is, where to turn, and who to trust. Our feelings, while valid, often cloud the truth that helps us rise above them. The song mentioned reminds me of Psalm 42. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, For the help of His presence.” (Psalm 42:5)
Praise based on the truth of God’s word is crucial in the storms of life- to our well-being, and to a witnessing world. Scripture tells us when all were speaking of stoning David, he was greatly distressed. What did he do with that distress? He encouraged, or strengthened, himself in the Lord. Then he inquired of God what to do. (1 Sam. 30:6) He was truly a man after God’s own heart. We can either wallow in fear and/or self-pity, focusing on our difficulties – or like David, we can praise Him in the midst of them. It’s a decision we must make daily. Sometimes several times a day. Sometimes moment by moment.
This day, I choose to praise Him in the storm. Thanks, Dad, for the reminder. Thanks, Hope*Writers, for the writing prompt. I uploaded that song from that buried CD here – A way to share my voice.
Do you think my voice in song matches my writing voice? Like me, it’s a work in progress. I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.
For more on dealing with storms in life, see my post titled What to Do With Disappointment