Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God…
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
Sing to Me.
I heard the words as if they were whispered in my dormant ear.
Me? Sing? But I can’t sing, can’t hear the tune to match my voice along the sounds that make a song. You know I’m not a singer, Lord. Deaf girls don’t sing.
I’d been asking the Father why my walk with Him seemed dry and just a little off lately. I’d sensed a distance, a disconnect. By now I’ve delighted In His nearness for so many years that the nagging sense that my heart was growing tepid worried me.
What was wrong?
After turning the searchlight of His Word onto my daily life and asking Him to show me anywhere I might be messing up, drifting from His ways, I came up with a handful of not-so-obvious sins to confess: a little selfishness here, a critical tendency there, a good bit of laziness, my usual sin of self-indulgence.
Still the silence rang loud.
Until this morning, when I asked again.
Lord, what is up? What is wrong? I need You, need that closeness, that joy, that hope that rallies me out of my warm bed on a cold morning to meet You in that place I crave.
And that’s when I heard Him say it once more.
Sing to Me.
But Lord, please. I can’t sing.
At church I mostly fake it, or hide under the loudness and face away from anyone near. Sometimes I just stop and watch and pray and sing deep where no one hears. I raise my hands while those around me raise their voices.
Sing to Me, Di.
But Phil might hear. What would he think? I’ve tried singing on my walks but that’s embarrassing too. What must the neighbors think? A woman and her dog walking down the street singing hymns that sound like two-tone, out of tune meanderings of a mad woman. Please!
Just sing to Me, Di, I love when you sing. I love that sound of tuneless worship. Like Mary’s broken box of sweet perfume spilled on My feet, wiped with her mass of tangled hair.
Sing in the beauty of your brokenness, Di, and delight Me. Forget about anyone and everyone else.
Sing to Me.
And so I pulled on thick, warm socks, grabbed the green hymnal off the bookshelf— the one I’d learned so long ago to worship with— and headed down two flights of stairs to the basement. Huddled by the heater, wrapped in my favorite blanket, I opened to an old favorite.
Are ye able, said the Master,
To be crucified with Me?
Yea, the conquering Christians answered,
To the death we follow Thee.
And then that second verse, asking if I am able to remember the thief who lifted his face to Jesus to find his soul pardoned and invited into His presence.
And all I can remember is that one I cannot seem to thoroughly forgive. The one who doesn’t seem sorry enough for all the wounded left in the wake of a selfish pursuit of happiness.
Oh Father, forgive me for the stinginess of my grace. Who am I to hold a sin against someone when You do not?
I found myself singing it again and again, louder each time, more free and full than I’d felt in a long, long time.
Lord, we are able, our spirits are Thine,
Remold them, make us like Thee, divine…
Another hymn, louder.
Again and again, with increasing confidence.
Yes! This is what I want because this is what He wants.
My gift to Him. My off-kilter, broken, not-very-lovely gift is the one He cherishes most.
And suddenly it dawned on me, how Mary must have been embarrassed when she huddled at His feet, wiping them with her tears. How the misunderstanding of unmerciful men must have weighed heavy on her unwrapped head. Were her tears like mine?
The humiliation of obedience?
The spilling of what she’d held too tight?
The relief of letting go?
And what about David when he danced before God? Had God whispered to him like He did to me?
Strip off your royal robes, David, down to the plain tunic that hides nothing. Fling off your dignity and dance for Me.
I don’t know, but I do know that this hour I’ve spent singing has released something somewhere in my insides.
And I know I’ll be back.
Back to the basement, the old green hymnal open on my lap, singing my heart out.
What about you, my dear ones?
Is He asking something of you?
Something so laughably easy that you’re certain it couldn’t be all He wants?
Will you listen?
Will you sing?
From my heart, filled to overflowing,
repost: march 2013