My Song to Sing

Bird Song

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!    Psalm 96:1

I have a song to sing!  It’s my song, and one that will never be heard by anyone else, save my granddaughter…and God.

I sing often. Even if I don’t remember the words to a favorite melody, I create new words that nicely match a familiar tune. Recently, I’ve been creating new songs, such as singing prayers to God. Occasionally while reading through the Psalms, I will recognize a Psalm with a melody already recorded and will sing God’s words back to Him. Psalm 100 is a good example of this. I remember this Psalm and the melody from high school youth group.

I recently returned from an extended visit with my granddaughter. She loves to sing songs and I love listening to her voice sounding so sweet–even while singing along with a CD playing as we drive to the park. And wouldn’t you know, the song “Old King Cole” is truly delightful with a three-year old belting the lyrics in perfect harmony!

I imagine God having great joy from little ones singing. It was the voices of children shouting and singing, “Hosanna!” as Jesus entered Jerusalem while riding on a donkey and the voices of infants and children quieting the murmurings and harsh words from grumpy people. (My interpretation of Psalm 8:2, From the mouths of children and babies come songs of praise to you. They sing of your power to silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.) So yes, the voices of children singing is quite powerful. Song will sooth a soul and spark it with smiles shining bright.

Not all of my songs are joyful ones, however. I have belted out a chorus of complaints, worry and bewilderment in a minor key. A real sour note. I take great comfort in the fact that many of the Psalms focus on lamenting over a worrisome predicament. I would argue that even those songs are indeed, “A new song to the Lord.” Singing to God our woes and anxiety is a humbling feat that will result in great peace. I love knowing that God cares…”Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, ESV)

Sometimes, we need to sing songs in the night. It can be difficult, especially when the birds stop chirping and the stars are hidden behind clouds and seem not to twinkle in the black sky. The dark night has a way of bringing all of the anxieties and woes to surface in our thoughts and dreams.

But God is the light in the darkness and He has created the night-time for our good. To rest in peace and sleep.  He is not a God that brings on worry and distress in the dark hours (or day hours), but to take the worry and distress away. Darkness is good for rest. God created us to sleep when the sun dims to welcome the light of the moon–however, when a little one is ill, the darkness stirs a different kind of song. A song to sing to a little one, sick with tummy rumblings.  In the midst of the wee morning hours of darkness, God gave me a song to comfort her, my granddaughter. She hears my song to sing. And she sleeps.  (“But none says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.”  Job 35:10)

We can sing high praises to ourselves when all is joyful, but we cannot sing praise to any but our God when circumstances are untoward and Providences appear adverse. God alone can furnish us with songs in the night. And yet again, not only does God give the song in the night because He is the only subject upon which we can sing, then, but because He is the only One who inspires songs in the night. ~Charles Spurgeon

How good is our God to give us voices to sing a new song! To the Glory of God, we sing! Day or night, this is my song to sing.

This is long over due and I am extremely late to link up with “Five Minute Friday” …the topic is: SONG. 

Two Ways You Can Become a Cheerful Person (“The Cheery Tree”)

Spring Time in Charlotte

This is why I love Charlotte in the Spring Time! Yoshino Cherry Tree (iPhone Photo)

When the sky remains gray, I am compelled to do what everyone else does to soak up the Vitamin D…leave for Spring Break!

Actually, I am not on a spring break. I’m on a “break-away-from-spring-weather” break, that is. The cold snowy gray kind of spring that the Midwest is known for. I longed for a change of temperature and wanted to see a different landscape plus I had become quite homesick for my family. I began to feel grumpy and tired; not fun to be around.

So I packed my bags and headed to the place I love the most. Home!  I love this place where the sun shines bright and the sky is the color of my granddaughter’s eyes. As I was pulling into our neighborhood,  there is no way this beautiful Yoshino Cherry Tree would go unnoticed!   I rolled down the car window and snapped the above photo with my iPhone. The sky was indeed as blue as it is in the photo.

I felt so happy to be home and had a lump in my throat pulling into the drive. Ah, the sweet pleasure of cheerfulness filled my being! So much so that I nicknamed that cherry tree, “The Cheery Tree” and I am more than grateful to gaze at it everyday from my kitchen window.

The next day after that first photo of a bright blue sky, the weather changed to windy cold, rainy and quite dreary. Exactly what I was wanting to get away from! Would I grumble and complain or choose to be cheerful?

Rainy Cheerfulness

The view of my “backyard”

The more I looked at that simple (and magnificent) cherry tree, while layering up with an overcoat and grabbing an umbrella, I began to consider what it means to be truly cheerful. It’s not totally wrapped up in a blue sky with cherry blossoms and warm weather any less than those cold, rainy gray days. All of those things are temporal.

Here are a two lessons I learned about cheerfulness from “The Cheery Tree”…

1. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

(Proverbs 17:22) It’s amazing how much joy and hope you can find when you look hard for it. Look for the “good medicine” all around you. And when you have tasted the sweetness of God’s grace in the beauty of His creation, praise His name for all that! Joy in the Lord is what being truly cheerful is all about. I also began praying for opportunities throughout the week to be a source of encouragement and good cheer for my family. Within a few hours of praying that prayer, I received a phone call from a family member needing urgent help. Helping them was just as much good medicine for me as it was for them. A broken spirit refreshed by a cheerful heart, even on a bad weather day.

2. Sing more. 

There is a short phrase from James 5:13 that I’ve been repeating over and over again. It goes like this: “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” The more I sing spiritual praise songs, the more cheerful I am. Being cheerful produces more cheerfulness. Like the “cheery tree” just keeps on giving  gorgeous blooms, my heart will overflow with overwhelming joy and praise to my Savior! There are two awesome stories in the Bible that are worth reading and thinking about. Both stories are full of adventure, warfare, and victory. I remembered reading in 2 Chronicles 20  about a choir  singing spiritual hymns on the front line of the battle field. Their voices of praise and songs of worship was so honoring to the Lord of Hosts that [His] enemy was thwarted and terribly confused. So much so that upon hearing the loud choir, they were easily defeated by the good guys on God’s side.

And there is another lesson I read in Acts 16 regarding Paul and Silas, who were stripped and beaten with rods and then put in stocks in the inner chamber of a prison. They had reached rock bottom. The lowest possible place. They did what any of us would do in that situation…pray and cry to God for help! As the night progressed, they began to sing. I imagine their voices were loud and possibly cracking from shivering in the cold. Their legs and arms tensing in pain from being locked in the stocks for hours, they chose to sing. I love reading how God came to their rescue and freed them from the enemy and saved many others in the process.

The Cheery Tree

“The Cheery Tree”

Yes, I am grateful for the “Cheery Tree” and the simple lessons God has revealed to me about my heart. This place I call “Home” is not really my home. Home is where ever we live and with friends in our community. Coming away for family time is sweet and brings much cheer and respite, but it’s not the cure-all for lasting joy…true cheerfulness. I’ll head back to the Midwest in a few days, ready to sing and be cheerful through the grayness while hoping for blue skies too!