for those who have lost their song

for those who have lost their song - 

i remember singing Christmas carols in a little Arkansas chapel. my friend Jon was leading but he didn't really notice us. he was singing with his eyes closed and not to me but to Someone Else. and for the first time in my life, i did the same thing. 

it is said that "God lives in the praises of his people” and i think that means he meets us when we sing to him. God is not just omni and infinite but also intimate and close and he enters our lives in a personal way. (this is incarnation - this is Christmas.) it was tender and overwhelming and i didn’t even realize i was crying. i felt alive with these first, new songs. my senses exploded, as every cell in my body was saying - yes.

Jon lived two doors down from me, so I started playing his guitar. he showed me three chords. i sat there for hours, playing those first, new songs. my life was becoming a song. But a few years later, life came at me hard. My grandmother died, she raised me with my mom, she loved and cared and prayed for me every day, and her passing left a void I can still feel, especially around the holidays. then I ran into some rejection and deep pain and I pulled back. for a few years, my heart was buried under an ocean of grief and I stopped singing. by then, Jon lived in another city and didn’t know about all this. but one day, he messaged me, “rebuild the worship room.”

God was missing me. 

I felt like He whispered, "You never brought your grief to Me." and it didn't feel religious or judgmental, just tender words from a Good Father. “bring Me everything. not just your happy songs and smiles but your pain, your grief, your pieces, all of you. remember the things you did at first, remember those first, new songs. I love it when you sing to me.”

so I tracked down that old guitar. Jon had given it Nathan, who gave it to me. (In Hebrew, Nathan means “to give”, Nathaniel means "My God gives.") it’s a little beat-up, I can relate.

Maybe the holidays are hard for you. maybe pain has knocked you down, and you are curled up in the fetal position, or buried under an ocean of grief. it's ok. don’t be afraid. Sit in it. Invite a friend. Invite Him. He promises to be near the broken-hearted. And those who sow in tears, reap with songs of joy.