Singing when it’s hard

Biting your lip. Hot tears staining your cheeks. A fire burning in your throat, tingling your lungs as you fight back a roaring scream.

We’re like volcanoes. A Mt. St. Helens, if you will, building up coverings of thick lava domes, pressure rising and thrusting its ugly head upwards until one day, the heat cannot stay inside. You burst. You emit. You rage.

We’re creatures that were created to express, whether it be out of pain, or hurt, or longing, or joy, or amazement.

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Since I was a little girl, my face has been a window to my soul – my eyes increasing in size, grin showing a full set of teeth and gums when a surprise awaits. I dance and jump around when my friend gets a spare in a bowling game. I stomp my feet on the ground and wave my hands when I’m rooting my favorite soccer team in the world cup. I cave in and close my eyes when someone says something that bruises me in a deep place.

Where there is an action, there is a reaction. Our reactions are often emotional and we, as creatures of free-will, have a choice in how we react to our circumstances. Those choices reflect the way we think and what we hold to be the anchor of our souls.

In the midst of pain, we can scream in rage, curse and scorn. Those are reactions we see all the time – on TV, when a kid wants something he is told he can’t have at the grocery store, when a girlfriend discovers her boyfriend has been cheating on her.

But we can also sing, sing songs of praise and thankfulness for whatever the present moment holds.

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Get an F on a test? Sing praise for the opportunity to be in school and know what you need to study more. Get a flat tire on the way to work? Sing praise that you are safe and healthy and that there are groups like AAA that can come help you out. Lose someone you love? Sing praise for the blessed time that you were able to spend with her, how she poured into you and how you received Joy from her presence in your life.

Even when things go far differently from the way you planned, sing.

There are two amazing women of God in my life who have quoted this scripture more than once. It has stuck with me and I don’t see that as random. Sing, no matter what happens, for God is love and His plans for you are good.

Sing, O childless woman,
    you who have never given birth!
Break into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem,
    you who have never been in labor.
For the desolate woman now has more children
    than the woman who lives with her husband,”
says the Lord. — Isaiah 54:1

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