Multiplied

I love waking up in mid-song, waking up with my spirit already in the middle of praising God, even before my brain catches up. This morning, this wonderful song from NEEDTOBREATHE was coming through loud and clear. It’s called Multiplied, and I had never heard it before last weekend. Here are the lyrics in their entirety.

Your love is
Like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us
We cannot contain
Your love will
Surely come find us
Like blazing wildfires
Singing your name

God of mercy
Sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to your design
may this offering stretch across the sky
And these hallelujahs be multiplied

When he came home for a couple of days, Daniel asked me to look at this song and work through it with him. LOVE!! Aside from the joy of working through music with my son and listening to him sing (this mother’s dream come true), this song shouts to God what I want him to hear and know.

Two lines jump out at me. “Your love will surely come find us like blazing wildfires.” As a child of God, what else do I need to know??? God seeks us, but when these boys from Possum Kingdom, South Carolina put it this way… It’s not a quiet “God seeking us out” but a loud and clear “God running toward us, ready to consume us with his love!”

The other line that shouts to me is “these hallelujahs be multiplied.” I could never be worthy to worship and praise God the way he deserves for all he has done for me. My feeble attempts at prayer, praise, worship sometimes feel so small and insignificant. In singing out for my feeble offerings to “stretch across the sky” and for my hallelujahs to be multiplied, I can say to God, “I’m trying to praise you the best I know how, but I need your help. Take this meager sacrifice of praise and grow it, make it into the magnificent praise and adoration only You could deserve.”

Go here to listen to Multiplied.

Insert Dream Here

I’m a wanna-be (insert dream here). I want to be a chef. I want to be a writer. I want to be an artist, a songwriter, a singer, a baker, an actress, and that’s not all and not necessarily in that order! I have so much going on in my mind and heart at one time that it’s hard for me to sort it out and decide what I should do right now. Unfortunately, wanting it to be doesn’t make it happen.

I’m learning to dream. It’s not something I grew up doing for whatever reason. We were more of a practical people. But I did go to college to study music… Specifically piano performance… And I was good at it (to my professors’ surprise!) But, I got sidetracked. I let other things pull me away and never finished. I never became a concert pianist.

I have the great privilege now of seeing my kids dreams come true. I get to watch as they put feet to their dreams and make it happen. And I’m learning from them!!! I’m thinking, “why not me?” God put all this inside me… All the drive and will to be creative, to learn, to teach and show others… to study, to paint, sing, write, sew, cook, draw, act, and love on people in the process. Why not now??

I always said that the word “retirement” is not found in the scriptures. I sure hope that’s true, because I do not plan to retire from life. On the contrary, I feel like August 1st can’t come soon enough so I can get started on my real life… The one God had planned for me all along. The life that I can still dedicate to Him and give back to Him as an offering of thankfulness and praise for all He has done and will continue to do for me.

The song in my head this morning got me thinking, didn’t it? It’s All For You Lord! Whatever I get my fingers, head, heart, hands into… It’s all for YOU.

Just like me, the featured image is a work in progress…

All For You by Mikeschair

Praise

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Over and over in my head this morning. I looked it up. Revelation 5:12 says, “worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” Scholars call this the sevenfold tribute. I call it praise.

And that’s all I want to do with my music, with my writing, with my life… Praise the One who made me, Who gave me life, Who took away the sins of the world. He, and only He, is worthy of my praise, worthy of my devotion worthy of my heart. All the rest is icing on the cake.

Voiceless

I come from a line of musical people. My mother was a phenomenal alto all my years growing up. She sang in the church choir, and any other time she could. My second memory of singing in front of people was a duet with my mom at Dearborn Heights Baptist Church in Michigan, where I grew up.

I sang lead, mom sang alto. We did an old hymn, and I can still hear it in my head… “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses…” In two parts, of course. I was all of 8 or 9 years old and I thought I was BIG stuff. It’s one of my favorite memories. I don’t remember being afraid or nervous, though I’m sure I was.

My grandfather (mom’s dad) had a big bass voice and was the song leader and choir director at his church for 58 years! The last few years, he had to sit, and they gave him a huge trophy when he finally retired. Back in the 1940’s, he sang old-time gospel music with the Graham Quartet in western Kentucky on the radio. Momma would get to go with him sometimes, and occasionally he’d let her sing on the radio with them.

I don’t remember a time in my life that doesn’t involve singing, except a couple of years ago. I had cervical spine surgery in July 2012. Of all the many things that “could” happen, none did. EXCEPT that my voice was gone. I could still talk, mind you, but I couldn’t sing. At all. No range, no volume, no quality, nothing.

I grieved. The surgery sort of came out of nowhere, so I didn’t really have time to plan, or think. If I’d known this would be a side effect, I would have sung one more song. But I didn’t know, so I wasn’t worried.

You see, once I’d gotten in front of an audience, I craved it. Besides singing at church, I sang in the car, in talent shows at school and at the Lincoln Jamboree in the county where I went to high school. I was a voice minor in college, and did musical theater. Everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. So for me, not singing was not an option, because, aside from loving it, singing and playing (piano) was my worship. That’s how I expressed myself to God.

After the surgery, I couldn’t talk about it… At least not without crying. My heart hurt. I had spent a lifetime with the ability to open my mouth and make a joyful (and sometimes not so joyful) noise. What would I do now? My doctor was very good and very understanding. He set me up with the most wonderful speech language pathologist, who is now my dear friend and a 2nd daughter to me.

Six months of therapy and many dollars later, I had seen only minor improvement. During those months, I had resolved to beef up my piano skills… If I couldn’t sing, then I would play with all I had. Don’t get me wrong… I love this gift God gave me… I’ve been playing piano since I was seven. (Another story for another post.)

Also during those months, I began waking with music in my head. Familiar and unfamiliar, old and new, music complete with orchestration and voices. I remember the first time it happened, I woke up so excited!!! I had dreamed that I was singing and it was beautiful. When I awakened, there was music in my head… Not my voice, but just like a radio playing. And I thought, “at least I can still sing in my sleep, I can still sing in my spirit.” Again, I cried.

And the songs have been there every day since then. I feel as though I have been given a priceless gift. Even though my voice was gone, my heart could still sing, and it does! I get overwhelmed with emotion when I think about how my spirit praises The Lord while I sleep. How He has given me new songs… Just like the scripture says, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3

My dear friend, Karen, told me in the darkest days of grieving all this that God would restore my voice. She reminded me that my gift would be returned to me (Luke 6:38). This month, I had the great privilege and joy to tell her she was right!!!!

Though my range is reduced some, and it’s a little unpredictable at times, I can sing! And I DO! Any chance I get. And the very best part?? The songs in my head keep coming… Every morning. Words cannot express how thankful I am.

OH!  And my FIRST memory of singing in front of an audience??  Five years old, at the Christmas party for my dad’s employer.  They talked me into standing in front of a microphone and singing “All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” I was missing my two front teeth and I promised that I knew all the words… NOT!