By: Amanda Morris | The holidays are in full swing and I am not sure how I feel this year. So many things have happened and the tides have shifted and what I thought was right has become wrong and what I believed to be true has been proven false. I could be totally bummed out and saddened by all the hardships or I could be thankful for them. And since we celebrated a day of Thanks I suppose I will start with what I am thankful for instead of what I deem loss. But that in and of itself seems hard to do. How does one list out the things that make their hearts thankful when they also bring tears to their eyes?
In the holiday season, it seems inevitable that we think back on the things that we have lost in the last year – including people. We place empty chairs as reminders, we send cards and toys to children in need and soldiers overseas. We place change in the buckets with the bell ringers and we hope that these small acts of cheer with help someone with this holiday season.
But what if your list isn’t things that you feel you can count as joy? We buried my grandma’s second husband on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, 15 years prior to that we buried her first husband. Now my grandma faces the end of her life without a husband, and yes she has God and faith and those are enormous and awesome, but that doesn’t make the nights less cold or the days less bleak. People have buried their mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles and the less fortunate have buried their children. How do you count these as blessings when your heart hurts and your anger flairs? The unfairness of this is evident in the pain that is felt by the loss, by the people who were left after their loved ones are gone.
How then do we sit at tables and enjoy the musings of life when our hearts are hurting?
Zephaniah 3:17 says this: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
That verse brings me joy. I am sure my mom sang songs over me as a child like I sang songs over my boys, rock-a-bye baby and other tunes we deem baby appropriate. But my granny would sing, “You are my Sunshine” to me and now every time I see that stitched on a blanket or written on a plaque I think of her.
That in itself is why thinking about God singing over me brings me so much joy. To know that He cares enough to have a song He sings over me specifically. There is power in songs. I had text my mom, to ask for prayers for Bear the night the tornado came. She says that she was praying, and the song “It Is Well with My Soul” was what she began to sing as she prayed – we deem that ‘my song’ because I have found a connection with it and love it. She says that she didn’t think much about it, just that it was my song as she was singing it while praying. Y’all, my mother was singing over me and didn’t even know it was a time that I needed it most.
But what happens when our lives are not going as we had planned and we feel not closer to God but more like we are in completely different houses. I have been without a job for two very full months now, and I have had my faith tested and pushed and pulled to all limits. Still, when I go to bed at night I play MercyMe’s song, ‘Keep Singing’ on repeat, the lyrics are these:
Another rainy day
I can’t recall having sunshine on my face
All I feel is pain
All I want to do is walk out of this place
But when I am stuck and I can’t move
When I don’t know what I should do
When I wonder if I’ll ever make it through
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
You’re the one that’s keeping my heart beating
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name
That’s the only way that I’ll find healing
Can I climb up in Your lap
I don’t want to leave
Jesus sing over me
I gotta keep singing
And that is what I want to do – climb into His lap and just bawl my eyes out. I want to pour out my beaten and weary soul and let Papa God calm my fears as He sings a song to soothe me. Instead of landing a job I am looked over again and again and forced to call it blessings as I wait for the job God has for me. Instead of paying my bills I am laying them before God in hopes that He will find ways to pay them. In this season I am forced to rely on God more than I have had to in a while. And while I am scrambling for a sense of purpose, God is growing me in ways I didn’t know possible.
The truth is that this is a very hard season for me. I was told that I needed to go back on pills for my Bipolar after almost 4 years without pills. I lost my home in a tornado. I lost my job. I find myself still alone with no suitors’ insight. And yet I have never felt closer to God, I have never heard Him so much as I have in this season. I know that God has a calling on my life and that I am just entering the place that He wants to do the most miraculous things with and to me.
But it doesn’t make it easier, in fact, I find that this is the hardest season that I have been through in a long while. That this growth period is vital and important to my future. So I find myself digging in deeper and praying and seeking God more and more than ever before. This holiday season is not how I pictured it would be, but I also know that God is the author of this season and that even though I may not see how things will unfold I know that He has me. I have Him and when I go to sleep or when my soul is troubled I can find peace in knowing that Jesus is singing over me.
Isaiah 62:2-5 (NIV)
“2 The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.
3 You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,[a]
and your land Beulah[b];
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
5 As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.”
Isaiah 62:4 Hephzibah means my delight is in her.
Isaiah 62:4 Beulah means married.
Thank you for this day and all the others that I have been given, bless me Lord and guide me in the way that you wish me to go. Show me where I need more of you and less of my flesh. Let me be a light in this world so that others will see you in me. Help me to be the person that you created and crafted me to be.
I want you to take delight in me and rejoice over the good works that I am doing to honor you. Help me keep your will and way. Align my heart and my life in the way that you want me to go lord so that my purpose is fulfilled. Lord sing over my weary soul.
In your name
During the holidays give thanks to God for the things that are hard and hurt. Give your pains and sorrow to God and let Him deal with it. Embrace the changes of the seasons and hold on to what God has promised you – he is good for it, just remember that it is in his time and not ours.
Listen to: MercyMe’s Keep Singing
Meet today’s writer: “Hi My name is Amanda, Mandy(i) or Manders, Manda – really just say hey you and I will answer! I am the very blessed momma of 2 handsome dudes. I am doing the single walk for now aside from my rescue dog Bishop I don’t share my bed! I love to read and bake. I am currently in a very fun season of life that finds me working to get my cupcake business up and running – entrepreneurial work is nothing to joke about. If I am not baking or reading then I am with the boys expanding their world view. I have a heart to serve, a passion for people and a deep desire to be a light to everyone I meet. If we aren’t already friends and hanging out please follow me on FB or Insta that is where all the real life fun happens!!”