Friday, August 21, 2009

God's Gift of Music

I love to sing. I'm a competent singer. A good choir voice. I can hear harmonies and read harmonies. I'd never embarass myself by going on American or any other Idol. I have a lot of volume in the lower registers and I can sing soprano falsetto. This comes in handy when I sing along with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons my "song"--Cheri baby.

I don't have a solo voice and I have absolutely no vibrato. My voice has a tendency to crack every once in a while like a teenage boy's voice, right in the middle of a note. I think I damaged my vocal chords yelling too much as a kid. I have to be very careful forcing my voice or I'll end up with a coughing fit. Yet I sing every chance I can get.

Today I went to a special choir practice and my voice really worked for me once it warmed up. I got to sing tenor which I seldom am needed to do, but its probably the best range for my voice. I can't wait for my regular church choir to get started singing. We sing twice a month and I've missed it over the summer. I'm also singing a song with a mass choir of fellow college alumni at Navy Pier in October. How cool is that!

Just think how many singers would never get an opportunity to use their voices if it weren't for church choirs and praise teams. Just think how much less music there would be in the world if it weren't for Christianity and those who celebrate their faith in song.

When I'm singing hymns and praise songs and gospel songs, I don't think about eating at all. When we do worship on Sunday morning, I am always filled with such joy and gladness, sorrow for sin, and hope for eternity. I connect with God on a very visceral level. I move with the music and my whole being comes alive with praise.

I heard some old curmudgeon say that music has become idolatry in church, that we worship the music. He's probably not very musical. I always feel like I'm most connected to God when I'm singing. Music leads and points the way to God.

Listening to incredibly beautiful voices soaring in harmony or alone can bring me to tears and I worship the one who gave us such incredible gifts. Art can do the same thing to me.

I've also written two songs, or should I say they wrote themselves and I woke up with them. Now that was a shock. Especially the first time it happened. I'm used to my husband waking up with songs and following me around the house and even into the bathroom singing them to me before I've even had a chance to clear my throat. So when I woke up with a song, I couldn't wait for him to wake up! Payback time!

Actually, that first time, I woke up with the melody and was trying to think what song it was, because I often wake up with songs in my head, and then I started hearing the harmony and after playing it for my husband on the piano, realized I'd composed it and hadn't heard it anywhere else. A few days later the words started coming. Everytime I thought I was done writing the words and would get up to clean the house, a new verse would come to me and I'd have to sit down to type it out. It was like trying to get out of the bathroom when you have the stomach flu.

The songs were praise songs. One is supposed to someday be performed by my church choir (Living Springs Community Church). The other one may be performed by the Roseland Christian School choir. The director there really likes the song.

I'm 57 years old. Writing songs was not a gift that I knew I had. To have it come out now and to have some very talented choir directors like them and work on arranging them astonished me.

God is full of surprises like that. He likes to give us good gifts. He wants to make use of our gifts. Sometimes he awakens gifts we didn't even know we had.

The second song God gave me this past spring. It's based on Phillipians 4:11-13. It's been a mainstay for me while going through lapband surgery and making the lifestyle changes to accompany it. It also plays through my head when I smell my rotten moldy basement that we won't be using for a year or two while we slowly renovate.

It plays through my head when I think of how the funding to keep me in my job might not be available next year, that the new vendor might not want to employ me. It plays through my head when I'm stuck at home all the time because we've no money to go anywhere or buy anything.

These are the words:

Don't wanna be a superstar
Don't need to drive a brand new car
I am content

Yes, I am content no matter what my circumstance
I am content no matter what my lot.
I know what it means to live in want or have plenty.
I know the secret of being content
Is I can do all things
Through him who strengthens me.
Yes, I can do all things
Through him who strengthens me.

Don't need to have a mansion
or wear the latest fashion
I am content.

Yes, I am content, etc.