Shaped Through Song by Kat Silverglate
I’m not sure exactly when it started. This practice of asking God to put a song in my heart before I got out of bed. Before I let the warmth of my covers go. Before I involuntarily moved like a rocket-propelled forward with some invisible fuel injector under my bum that seemed to take me from 0 to 60 in the nanosecond my eyes flickered open.
It started sometime around our family’s most bitter-sweet season. My mom was sick and dying while our only son and three of my Irish twin’s children were getting married. Yep, you read that right. Four of “our” kids got married in the same calendar year. Actually, in the span of six months. Our extended family refers to 2019 as “the four weddings and a funeral year” because that’s exactly what we faced – the joyous celebration of our children’s unions sandwiched between the rapid deterioration of our beloved matriarch and Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. It was like riding a roller coaster for an entire year where the transition from mountain top to valley came without warning and sometimes in relentless succession.
One day in this wildly emotional season, I woke up humming a song. The strange thing was -- the song wasn’t part of a dream I was having before I woke up. You know the kind that keeps going for a few seconds after you open your eyes and you briefly remember how it connects to your dream? No, it wasn’t like that. It was more like a song my heart was singing in order to wake me up. Something I knew already from church or my Christian playlist or radio or childhood. I imagine it’s the way a baby or child feels when a parent gently sings them awake instead of flipping on the lights or picking them up.
The first time it happened, I remember lying there feeling a sense of peace and then comfort and then surprise and then delight and awe. “What just happened,” I thought? I laid there humming, thinking about the words, lingering until it stopped. Before I got out of bed, I thanked God for the experience. The second time it happened, I was equally floored. And by the third, I was just trying to hold on to it. To savor it. To let that song and time with God set the tone for my day. Eventually, it was happening often enough that it was becoming a thing in my time with the Lord that I cherished.
One morning, I heard myself humming Fighting for Me by Riley Clemmons. I knew it was going to be a valley day. “I can do this,” I thought. “He’s always fighting for me. He’ll never stop.” Another, it was a familiar tune but no words. I’d lay there and struggle to figure out the lyrics. On one of those days, the lyrics from New Wine by Brooke Fraser of Hillsong come flooding over me. “Yes, I feel the crushing like the grapes in a press,” I think, “but He’s in the business of making new wine. That’s what He’s doing with me.” Each time, God seemed to be reminding me of His promises regardless of whether I faced a mountain or valley or both that day.
Afraid it would stop, I eventually started to pray, “God, please don’t let this stop. Please wake me with a song.” One morning when I woke with no song, I stayed in bed and waited impatiently. Finally, I said something like: “I’m going to lay here until You put a song in me. I’m not getting out of this bed until I have a song in my heart. I love starting my day with You this way.” I don’t remember if a song bubbled up or if I decided to pick one to sing to Him, but that was the day this spiritual practice became part of my regular life.
Now, more than a year later, I still wake up humming sometimes or lay there until a song bubbles up or I think of a song that will set my heart in the right direction before
I face the world. Psalm 40:1-3 reads:
I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in Him. [New International Version]
Isn’t that beautiful? So, tomorrow, rather than sling out of bed like a rocket, linger. Ask Him for a song. If something doesn’t bubble up, pick one to sing to Him. A song of praise. I’ll warn you now. You may find yourself singing all day long! He put a new song in our mouths. Let’s sing it with our very lives!
*Photo credit to Aliane Schwartzhaupt from Unsplash
Kat Silverglate is a creative who brings the message of God's ridiculous love to the world through writing, speaking, and the arts. Like a "Kat" with nine lives, she's an attorney, seminary grad, frequent speaker, writer, artist, wife, mother, and founder of the nonprofit, The Ridiculous Hour Foundation, Inc., dedicated to inspiring lives ridiculously responsive to the promptings of God. You can find Kat at www.katsilverglate.com and www.theridiculoushour.com [launching in 2021].