How is it that music can speak to the very depths of our soul? I can hear a song and cry, laugh, sing along, smile, or even tap my toes. Dancing, not so much. I have a LITTLE bit of a rhythm, umm... issue. Babies love music as much as adults. It is often used to lull them off to sleep. The emotional response to music is born with us. Even en utero babies respond to music. I remember having an assembly at school when I was still pregnant with Eli and the Troy University Pep band came to play for us. It literally felt like Eli was dancing a jig in my belly. He would calm to the sweet rhythm of his daddy's voice. My heart beat a cadence that was familiar to him, all of these things like music to his tiny little ears. I can only imagine the beautiful music he listens to now.
God has used music to comfort me and calm me so many times during this journey we are on. I remember the drive home from our first trip to Birmingham. I was not at all paying attention to what was on the radio and about 3/4 of the way home I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin came on the radio. It was the first time I had ever heard that song. I just listened and let the music and message wash over me. I was emotionally spent with new waves of grief flowing over me constantly. This is the day we found out that Eli would only have a less than 10% chance of living outside of my womb. Dr. B. actually told us things were bleak. I have heard that song countless times since then randomly. Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath is another one that I believe God has used to provide comfort. The kiddos affectionately call that song Eli's song. They get excited when it comes on the radio. Who am I by Casting Crowns has a message that I have loved to listen to. Of course I Will Carry You by Selah, which was written by a grieving mother of a Potter's Syndrome baby, is one that is so very special. That is the first song we had played at Eli's funeral along with Amazing Grace, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Be Still my Soul and Great is Thy Faithfulness. I know that sounds like a lot, but music really ministers to both Jamie and me.
Most if not all songs were written through some season in the writer's life. We had two congregational songs at Eli's funeral. They were Amazing Grace and What a Friend We Have in Jesus. It was sweet music to my ears to hear everyone singing those songs that day. Amazing Grace was written by John Newton in 1773. Talk about timeless, this one seems to span the ages. Newton actually worked on a slave ship and during one of his voyages the vessel he was on got caught in a storm. Newton thought he would not make it off that ship and cried out to God to have mercy on him. He eventually changed his ways, studied theology and wrote this song to illustrate a sermon he would preach. The song was based on his life experiences. What a Friend We Have in Jesus was written by Joseph Scriven who lived in Canada. His fiance was killed the night before his wedding and his mother lived an ocean away. He wrote this song about his life experiences, for his mother. Great is Thy Faithfulness was written in the early 1900's by Thomas Chisholm. Again, he wrote this song because of life experiences and the realization of God's awesome faithfulness. Be Still My Soul, probably one of my favorite hymns, was written in 1752 by Katharina Von Schlegel. It was written based on Psalm 46:10 during a spiritual revival of congregational singing in Germany. Who Am I was written by Mark Hall. This song came to him while driving his family home one evening in Alabama of all places. He was worshiping God on that drive and this song was formed in his mind.
So many songs...so many stories. Each of them bear a message that God has used over and over, for many people. These songs are someone's heart poured out on paper. When you add a beautiful melody to a sweet message or sad story it captures our attention. It whispers to our soul. When my emotions are at their rawest, I will often hear a song that soothes and comforts them. I have had a few friends share songs with me, it seems, when I needed them the most.
Music is mentioned throughout the bible. Honestly, I think if it is mentioned that much, we should take note of its importance.
7Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
7The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
1I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to
14The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
Of course Psalm is not the only book of the bible where music is written about. I just think these verses are beautiful and relevant to my journey. I say my journey, really it is our journey. So many people are walking in this valley with me. I know there are others who have been comforted by music. Tell me about it. Leave a comment telling me about a time God used music to minister to your soul. I look forward to reading your comments on this one!
As a side note, the song playing first on my playlist is one of Jamie's current favorites. He heard this song not too long before Eli was born and shared it with me.