Monday, September 24, 2012

Thankful for HIS Song

“This is my story…this is my song…praising my Savior all the day long…”

How do you praise “all the day long?” At fifteen years old I thought I knew exactly how. I had been singing in church since I was eleven and my love for God and music filled me with a love that continued to grow. I knew God called me to serve Him and I was ready, so I surrendered my life to His service in the area of Music Ministry. I was on my mountaintop and so sure of my future! After all, music was my gift from God; and when I sang, I believed the words of the songs so deeply that I took ownership and they came from the depths of my soul. The music stirred the hearts of those who heard me, so I knew God was using me and would continue to use my life in a most profound way. My small country church offered me a music scholarship to East Texas Baptist College. It was then that my parents told my Pastor and Music Minister, “mind your own business,” and informed them that I “would only leave home on the arm of a husband.” There was no explanation to me for their action and I did not understand their apparent lack of reasoning. I faced devastation beyond belief. My world cratered, so I did marry within a few months in order to leave home.

Have you ever heard someone say, “If it was truly God’s calling, wouldn’t you be doing it at all cost?” Those words haunted me for years because I knew I was called by God to serve Him…but I had chosen the time and place it should have come to pass. I began riding a merry-go-round through life, attempting to fill the tremendous void of my disappointment. I could not find peace or reasoning in all that had transpired. I simply could not accept that God’s ways were not my ways if I wanted so desperately to serve Him. Why wasn’t the plan coming together? I dwelled on my disappointment so much so that I began quenching the Spirit of God. As the merry-go-round of life began to turn faster, I let the world enter in and disturb any resemblance of the Holy Spirit’s direction. I later faced many trials and strayed even more from God’s path. I was unable to ever be at peace in God’s presence. At one point in time, I could not even begin to sing a simple congregational hymn without sobbing uncontrollably. In my mind, I could not believe God could ever use me again. When I viewed my life thus far, I could not believe this was me. My guilt and shame consumed me and my problems seemed insurmountable. Satan had me right where he wanted me.

Forty years later, after brokenness and much heartache, I managed to jump off the merry-go-round of hurt and disappointment, and the world halted when I fell down before my Father. Yes, forty years after I had surrendered my life to special service, I laid face down at my Savior’s feet and sobbed in total anguish and repentance as I was facing yet another crumbling marriage. I found myself fervently praying and seeking God’s face and asking Him what He wanted of me at this late date…yes, after disappointing Him so much for not forsaking my parents and following Him when I was fifteen as well as the multitude of other mistakes. It struck me then, such a similarity…just like the Israelites…I, too, had been “roaming aimlessly for forty years!” I was so still and so alone and at the end of myself…I was so tired of searching for answers and that is when I cried out for God to just have His way at long last.

That is when I heard “His Song” in its entirety…for Him and all about Him. It was never “my singing” or “my life” or about me or my neat little plan wrapped up and tied with a pretty bow. It was about drawing to Christ Jesus daily and reflecting Him through “His Song,” written in blood by Him with lyrics from His Word! He began to show me how He had taught me “His Song” throughout my life…in everything that had happened to me, in all the mistakes, rubble and wrong choices. He had taught me about Himself in all my trials throughout the years. He showed me that I had placed such small expectations on what He intended to use me for. Oh yes, of course, I could sing when I was fifteen…and yes, from the depths of my heart…but the difference is that now I know and understand my Savior’s heart, “His Song.” He taught me so much about Himself, in the ways He helped me, forgave me, loved me and carried me through the many storms in my life. He taught me His grace and mercy. He taught me forgiveness...and finally, it was long past time to have clear understanding of how I had let Satan have control through my guilt. It was time to graduate from knowledge in Christ to wisdom and begin by forgiving myself.

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord." ~Psalms 40:1-3 (NIV)

Today I don’t merely sing of my Savior. My life reflects Him in bold meekness and I worship Him continuously as I sing “His song.” I know and understand my Savior’s heart and the hurt He endured and I know how He has eased my pain and erased guilt and condemnation. I know His sorrow and loss. I know His devastation and brokenness. I know ridicule and judgmental attitudes. I know abuse. I know pain. I know stigma. But I also know commitment, patience, longsuffering, self-control and I know compassion and unconditional love. I know healing and peace that passes all my understanding. And at long last, I know and understand my role as His servant. All along, my Father has been teaching me His calling for me…to know His heart and to share it with others...yes, to grow in Him and live in His likeness and sing “His song.” He gave me so much more of Himself than I could ever have understood merely singing another’s lyrics. Yes, He gave me the knowledge of His heart as He taught me, both in His Word and through the Holy Spirit. He gave me a lifetime to grow in Him, to learn and live His lyrics. He gave me His eyes to see others without judging, His ears to hear them and understand their cry beneath their uttered words, His mouth to praise Him all the day long and share “His Song,” a song that tells of His healing power, His great love and forgiveness…His genuine mercy and awesome saving grace.

Thank You, my Lord and Savior, for Your song which is embedded in me forevermore so that I might put my hand to the plow and continue to press on and grow in Your reflection. I thank You for the knowledge turned to wisdom of what it truly means to be called to serve You and to “praise You all the day long,” Father. Amen.

Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” ~Luke 9:62 (NIV)

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. ~1 John 1:6-7 (NIV)

I challenge each of you to put your hand to the plow, to look forward and not back, to learn the lyrics of His song and “praise your Savior all the day long.” We are all called to walk in the Light and serve our most high God...each and every day…all day. Our personal testimony and our surrender to His service should be more than something we recollect and speak of remembering past experiences. We are to live out each moment of our lives as a living testimony of Christ’s likeness, dwelling in His presence and having constant fellowship and oneness with God.

“This is my story…this is my song…praising my Savior all the day long…”

Captured in His reflection,


Leah @ Point Ministries said...

I LOVE redemption stories like yours and God is such a master at writing them. Thank you for sharing your story. It is an encouragement!!

Megan said...

absolutely beautiful. Thank you for openly sharing your testimony. Not enough Christians do that. We are imperfect, broken people, but God makes all things new. "This is MY STORY, this is MY SONG..."

Mary said...

Thank you, Leah! I appreciate YOU so much! Yes, God is the Author of my life story...not me! I have finally grasped that! ♥

Mary said...

Thank you, you so much, my sweet sister in Christ! Yes, we are all imperfect, broken people and it has taken me a lifetime to realize that God enables broken glass to reflect many more facets of His Light than unbroken glass. He, alone, can magnify the Beauty (Himself) in brokenness. ♥

Pam Taylor said...

Thank you for sharing your compelling testimony. What a blessing for you to share in a way that pulls us right into your arms as you reach out to care.

Kim Avery said...

Hi Mary,

What a beautiful story of God's grace triumphing over all of our imperfections. Thanks for sharing so honestly and beautifully.

Kinsey said...

Thank you for sharing your story. My heart sank when I read that you married in order to leave home. I rejoice with you over the redemptive work of God in your life. He is so wonderfully patient and faithful to us. I pray that all of your days to come will be a continuous song of praise. Grace to you, Kinsey