Things I always am-
Things I frequently am-
Worship singer, writer, director
Things I often am-Insecure,fearful,learning,waiting,curious
Things I never am-Confident,driven,demanding,nasty
Life can be brutal…HE knows how scary it is to be us
Or Do Yourself No Harm…We are All Here
Music & singing had a huge impact on my childhood. On monday afternoons when the kids in the lunchroom talked about Bonanza-I was clueless because my family watched the Judy Garland Show. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Because my father was a very, very early riser, some of my fondest memories of childhood are laying in bed, in my attic room, listening to my father sing along with “Come Rain or Come Shine”. Even during the grieving process involved in the sudden loss of my mother, my dad sang at home and at church.
My singing came much later in life not because I didn’t want or need to but my voice was captured in an excruciatingly shy vessel. That’s why my ministry verse is IICor.4:7 …we possess this precious treasure in frail vessels of earth, that the grandeur & exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and NOT from OURSELVES. When God started to show me that singing His story was the way He wanted me to go, that verse was what I held onto every time I sang anywhere. To this day, even to last night at choir rehearsal, that truth sustains me in the flood of insecurities & doubt. If you & I could be transported back to my home on Rockaway Street, I could show you the exact spot I knelt and made a pact with God. After I told Him the many reasons I was sure He was wrong for asking me to sing about Him, He firmly told me-You sing from the fact that your voice is limited and I will do all the rest. People will be moved because of ME and NEVER because of you! That was our deal, still is.
He also taught me immediately that what ever song I sang, that became my devotion & He would speak to me personally about the truth of the lyrics. If I sing, wearing my heart & devotional life on my sleeve, the Holy Spirit would move, convict & comfort. There are songs that I have sung many, many times. He never fails to move, convict & comfort ME anew every time I repeat a song.
The first time I sang- I Bless Your Name, I did my devotions around the scripture on which the song is based-Acts 16:23-29. Paul & Silas in prison.That song brought me to the place of surrender & honesty. I would sing from the prison in my mind, & I would glorify God even in the midst of pain, grief, shock & betrayal. He is worthy of that kind of worship even when life is brutal. I sang & shook & sang & cried. Again He held up His end of our bargain. It was my choir director that asked “Didn’t you see what happened?” I shook my head no. My worship director said “That was the most annointed song I’ve ever seen”. God came thru again. I remember saying “It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me.” Spontaneous praise broke out, the congregation completely on their own had stood up in adoration. No worship leader had instructed them on how to express their gratitude. It was just an explosion of His worthiness. It had absolutely nothing to do with me. I was a quivering mass with jelly legs. If some how projected behind me, the church could have see a steady stream of snapshots, my private hall of shame & failure, if in living color every person could have seen my life of fear, abuse, rejection & sin they would know for certain- if God would stoop to forgive one such as me, He could love anybody.
Months later I was asked to repeat the same song. God was faithful in His promise and this time showed me something completely different from the same song & same verses. The jail Paul & Silas sang in had 3 chambers, the courtyard, the outer cell, and the inner cell. The two followers were held in the third, far from the outside with it’s torches. Even bright sunlight didn’t reach the inner jail. After the quake that shook the chains loose & knocked the doors off their hindges, no one ran out. The other prisoners didn’t run either. That must have been some tune they sang. Maybe it was the beauty of the song or the shock of the earthquake but they stayed. The captor assumed that his captives had left. Paul, realizing the guard would certainly end his own life for such a prison break with end with the execution of the guard-He called out…”do yourself no harm, we are all here!”
Life can be brutal, unfair and down horrible. Our lives can become like pits, deep, dark & lonely. Pits we fall into by accident, pits we jump into after ignoring all the warning & detour signs, and pits we are pushed into by no fault of our own. By whatever means we end up in those dismal pits or prisons, whether innocent or guilty, The One who sets the captive free holds the keys and He says the same words to us. “Do yourself no harm, we are all here” Don’t harm yourself by hiding in sin, doubt, fear or insecurities. Don’t harm yourself by keeping secrets in the dark of your pit. We are all here. Do yourself no harm by hiding who you really are because of the fear of being misunderstood & judged or disliked & rejected. He knows how scary it is at times to be us. We are all here. You are not alone in your problem. People around you are in the same prison, the same pit. They need help out.
A man was walking one day, and thinking about his life, fell into a hole. And as he stood to his feet, began calling out for help. A doctor walked by, stopped, looked down at the man and wrote out a prescription and threw it into the hole. Next a reverend walked by and seeing the man in the hole, wrote out a prayer and threw it in. Finally, as the man despaired his situation & gave up, his friend walked by, saw him and the next second was in the hole with him. Are you crazy, now we’re both in this hole, why did you do that? With all the wisdom that comes from a shared humanity he replied - “I’ve been here before, I know the way out.” Life CAN be brutal, HE knows how scary it is to be us. HE was, after all, US for 33years.
Do yourself no harm, WE ARE ALL HERE