I absolutely love music. It feeds my soul. Even as a small child, music was a part of my life. I remember singing my little heart out on my swing in my backyard. I’m sure it drove the neighbors nuts because I really belted out the lyrics. Songs like “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night, “American Pie” by Don McLean, “Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker, and on and on. I recently looked up the lyrics to the Three Dog Night song and was glad I didn’t understand them back then (smile). Luckily my favorite part was the refrain:
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me
My love of music never left me and when I was in middle school I would camp out by my tape recorder every New Year’s Eve. Casey Kasem from America’s Top 40 countdown on the radio would play the top 100 songs from the year that night. I would record the whole thing…minus the commercials…just to be sure I captured all of my favorite songs from the year. It amazes me how much I still remember lyrics to songs from way back then. I’ve always said that if my studies were put to music in school I’d be a genius today. It also surprises me how much the emotions that I was feeling when a song was popular come back to me when I hear it today. Like I said…it’s a part of my soul.
I am thankful for music because it got me through one of the most difficult times of my life. If you read my post Buttons and Shoestrings, you know that six years ago my son came out to my husband and I. He was so distraught by his feelings that four months after he came out to us he was hospitalized because he was suicidal.
How did this happen? We did all the things we thought we were supposed to do as “good” Christian parents. Our kids were introduced to church as babies and went to Sunday school when they were old enough. They were taught to serve others starting at the ages of 4 and 3 by serving along side of us. They both went to a private Christian school – nursery through 8th grade. They went on mission trips and 6 youth retreats. We had nightly prayers and devotionals on a regular basis. Video games, music, and movies were monitored for content and the comment “that’s not appropriate” was met many times with groans. I felt like we did everything possible to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it – Proverbs 22:6”. We weren’t perfect…but surely we did something right.
When I try to find a word to express the emotions of the beginning of this journey, the first one that comes to mind is torture. I was dealing with three issues simultaneously…my son was gay, he was so distraught about it he was slowly going into a pit of despair, and I was a Christian and knew what the Bible had to say about this issue. I watched my silly, upbeat little boy change into an anxious, unhappy young man. It was heart breaking. His demeanor changed. His clothing changed (to dark and depressing choices). His taste in music changed. Everything about him was different. I felt like I lost my little boy and it was scary. I prayed everyday that things would change. They didn’t. By the time we got to the hospital stay four months later, I can say that this was the first time in my life that I was faced with a crisis of faith. Where was God in all of this? Why wasn’t He answering our prayers?
During this time, I was often at a loss of words for prayer. I knew that the Holy Spirit had the words that I didn’t, but I needed something to feel connected to God. I needed to feel Him. I found that in music. One song in particular at that time was a life-saver for me. It’s by Robin Mark, a Northern Irish Christian singer/song writer, and the song is “Garments of Praise”.
You can take a listen to it here:
Isaiah 61:3 – (NIV)
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
I have to tell you…I would sing this at the top of my lungs in my family room, tears streaming down my face…and yes, at the part when the songs lyrics are:
Hallelujah, sing hallelujah
We give all honor and praise to your name
Hallelujah, sing hallelujah
We trade our sorrows for garments of praise
I did my own little version of Riverdance.
Psalm 9:2 – (NIV)
I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High
To be continued….love each other….because love matters.