Pump up the Jam

I love good music. But I’m not gonna lie, I know very very little about bands, instruments and music in general. But I know what I like and I know what it does for me, and my little fam-jam. Do you have a favourite song, or band (or two or three)? Is there anything more therapeutic than beautiful music? There probably is – but for the purposes of this post, I’m gonna go with, No there’s totally not. And it may just be the case, at least, in the way and for the purposes I mean.

God created us. He gave us desires for music, and to sing. Many people have told me one of their favourite books of the Bible is the book of Psalms. David was a man after God’s own heart (given the title by God himself), he wrote beautiful songs of encouragement and praise, along with many other themes. Today’s music is definitely ultra-modernized in comparison to that of David’s time, but they represent the same God-given attributes.

Praise, expression, love, hope, hardship, and freedom all remain in our music today. Yes, some are much less “tasteful” (I’m officially old – I use this word now) and certainly wouldn’t be classified as Christian, but all music is created from the talents God gave us. He instilled a longing for music and song and to “make a joyful noise” (Ps100:1).

You may be wondering why I am now writing on music in the midst of a struggle series I just started. Well, actually, it fits. I don’t know about you, but music is often the pick-me-up I need on a bad day. Last year (2014) our little family had the absolute worst year we could have possibly imagined. And just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. But we ran to God, and He put music on our hearts (along with so much more). Matt created an awesome playlist and us and our two baby boys jammed like our lives depended on it – and in many moments, I think it did. Our boys love music, so it made it that much more fun. We’d turn the music too loud, stay up too late, sing out loud and dance our little hearts out; except when Daddy couldn’t use his leg, much less dance on it, in those moments we danced for him while he sang for us. It was beautiful, and it brought our little family closer. We fell in love with random overly popular Christian hits of the time, most of which no one else we knew enjoyed. To us, it had the exact words of encouragement, and the beat we needed to brighten our souls in a time of sheer despair.

Its too easy to get caught up in the latest trend. It’s too easy to forget where we came from and to thank God for our freedoms and salvation. In the blink of an eye it can all change. Everything you thought was what you wanted, all your written out goals and dreams, your future as you knew it, changes. I can’t explain that moment until you experience it. It changes you; if you are blessed and lucky enough it will change you for the better. I can only pray that you will be blessed enough to find strength and comfort in God when your trials come along. And as G now says don’t forget to “shake your bootie!”

“The Lord is my strength and my song” – Exodus 15:2

~M

 

 

“Refresh” – growing through life’s struggles.

A New Year implies a fresh start. It provides the opportunity to “refresh” our lives. We have been quite blessed the past couple of years. One year we were handed struggles that enabled us to grow into stronger people. I believe God gave me the struggles I have faced over the past number of years to grow me in Him, to bring me closer to Him. I am reminded of a quote my little brother has shared with me often – I’ve come home and he had been at our house for something while we were out, our mirror now read “the night is always darkest before the dawn.” It’s from a song I believe. But it’s so beautiful and meaningful in many different ways.

If it never grew dark, would be ever truly appreciate light? (This starts a short blog series on struggles, growth, faith and perseverance – stay tuned for the next post!).

Think of it this way, it’s a blizzard outside, mid-January or February on PEI perhaps; (For all you southerners, use your imaginations) all of a sudden, blink, blink and off goes the electricity. At first, this is fine, enjoyable even. Peace and quiet. You are now forced to enjoy each other’s company, dig deeper into your devotional time, pick up a good book, something that requires little but yourself or those surrounding you. But, the novelty of “peace and quiet” soon wears off as the house gets colder, meal time draws near, the toddler tries to continually flush the toilet despite your attempts to keep him out of the bathroom (in the country this means your toilet does not fill back up – as you have no water if you have no electricity). And you just start to think, wow, I just wish the power would come back on, you just want to have running water, the ability to open the fridge and just look inside, even just a minimal amount of heat so everyone can take off their second pair of socks and long johns- while indoors!

Literal “darkness” in this case reminds you of many daily and regular things that you take advantage of every single day. This darkness reminds you how thankful you are for these little “simple pleasures.” That of which really aren’t small at all, but we have become so accustomed to them that we just have an attitude of ungrateful expectancy for them when we arise each new morning. God grants us these blessings every moment of every day. He deserves much more than thankfulness, but perhaps we should at least start there?!

Now, “darkness” also means much more than the lights literally being out. I am sure you can relate that when you are facing life’s tough moments it feels “dark.” Darkness can imply a sense of feeling alone, being surrounded by the unknown, and feeling somewhat helpless. Struggles are dark. Much like when the power goes out, they can come at us fast and hard. They strip you of the “little luxuries” that you didn’t even realize were a luxury. Struggle can be defined in different ways; I am referring to struggle in the meaning of experiencing something of great difficulty, which requires a very great effort to free from or even function normally. God gives us these struggles though.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2 (NIV)

Notice the usage of wording – “whenever you face trials” – not “if you face trials.” So, although I do understand this is not entirely comforting to be told you WILL face struggles or “trials” (you’d have to be living under one dang big rock to think otherwise though), it is reassuring that everyone will face these and the experience WILL produce a greater strength within us. I personally experienced this (and continue to regularly). The most important things to remember when a struggle comes our way are: “pray unceasingly,” be reminded it will pass and you will grow through and from it, take a step back and be thankful for what you do have right now. At any moment the power can go out. The only thing worse than being in the dark, is being in the dark alone because you aren’t thankful and don’t feel His presence.

~M