As I write this, most of us are still under Stay at Home or Shelter in Place orders as a result of COVID-19. I'm an introvert, so typically this wouldn't be so bad for me, but like many of you, I miss my family and I worry about their safety. I wonder if one of us will get it and if so, how badly. Will we have opportunity to see them again, and if so, when?
If I'm not careful my mind can spiral down this doom and gloom rabbit hole and render me unable to move. There are things I can consciously do to help prevent that - typically, simply saying "it will be fine" doesn't cut it. Starting my day with God is key - prayer, devotions, and praise.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to end my devotional and prayer time by playing a song on my playlist, Raise a Hallelujah, by Bethel Music. I was familiar with the backstory, and encourage you to read it here. From the first time we sang it during church worship I connected with it. For several mornings in a row, I would play and pray through this song, sometimes playing it back to back.
I'm not good with words (as you can see here), so music often expresses emotions that I cannot, and therefore really moves me. It has the capacity to lift our spirit, create energy in us, bring us into prayer, and open us up raw. Good music can speak truth into our lives and bring us closer to God or to another person.
About 3 years ago I was having a very difficult time as my husband and I navigated through something suddenly thrust upon us and totally unexpected. I mean, I had a VERY difficult time. In the quiet of my workroom, I broke down, crying and angry at God. I NEEDED to hear Him speak but all I was getting was silence. Despite having a relationship with Him since I was a teen and seeing his work and blessings in my life previously, I shouted at Him, "I NEED TO KNOW YOU'RE REAL! I NEED TO KNOW YOU ANSWER PRAYERS! I NEED TO KNOW THAT YOU REALLY CARE!" as I sobbed heartbroken. And God was okay with that.
I walked away from Him for two weeks. Some of you have been away from Him longer than that. Some of you have never attempted to approach Him. Slowly, I started to open the door back up. I still couldn't pray, that seemed far too intimate for a God I was no longer sure existed. But I allowed music back in. Purposely, I began with a song by Lauren Daigle that I had heard at church and moved me months earlier (maybe God knew I'd need to know this song soon). Trust in You became my anthem. The words seemed as though they'd been written just for me to speak in this moment, so I did, through tears. Over. And over. And over. Sometimes 10x or more back to back. In the beginning it was all about trying to convince myself this was true, but eventually, I started believing again. And God was okay with that.
Letting go of every single dream I lay each one down at Your feet Every moment of my wandering Never changes what You see I try to win this war I confess, my hands are weary, I need Your rest Mighty warrior, king of the fight No matter what I face You're by my side
When You don't move the mountains I'm needing You to move When You don't part the waters I wish I could walk through When You don't give the answers As I cry out to You I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings There's not a day ahead You have not seen So let all things be my life and breath I want what You want Lord and nothing less
I decided I should create a "Peace" playlist and listen when I felt I needed it. Trust in You was added, then You Say, both by Lauren Daigle. As you can see from the snapshot above, it's an eclectic playlist! I had heard a snippet of Better Days, by One Republic, and added it too, because I needed reminding that better days are on the horizon. Does Johnny & June (Heidi Newfield) seem odd? Not to me, it can equally bring tears to my eyes. My husband and I have a close relationship and I enjoy all of our highs together. I also couldn't image doing life - even the lows - with anyone else. To quote Winnie-the-Pooh, "If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you." I don't know where I'd be in life without him by my side.
And sometimes, we just need a reminder that as awful as this world can seem at times, we can still sing, What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong). I may shuffle this playlist anytime of day, including at bedtime. One night, I was peacefully able to drift off to sleep as the playlist wrapped up with these final words, It's a wonderful world . . . And it still is.
In closing, let's draw closer to God and remember . . .
We can raise a hallelujah
And trust in him
that better days are ahead
Pray a sweet prayer
What a wonderful world