Singing Over You

“I could hear you over everyone else.” This sentence followed by an eye roll so big he could have seen his brain stopped my joy.

I was 8ish, in children’s church choir, and I loved to sing. That service, we sang from the balcony. Our director had emphasized the need to sing out. I took her at her word.

And down below, Robbie composed his zinger.

The one that corked my voice.

And several years later, in college, Beth asked me why I only sang one note while singing hymns in church. There was something in her tone that meant even that note was way off.

And the cork, well, it wedged in there tighter.

But sometimes corks decay. Sometimes they crumble.

My daughter told me the other day that I have a lovely singing voice. I was in the driver’s seat; she was behind me in the back seat. She may have seen my face in the rearview mirror. I hope not. It was hard to accept the praise.

Those other two voices rang in my mind as truer than my daughter’s.

Why do we find it so easy to hear the negative? Why do we cling to things that rob us of our joy?

Why do we turn away from appreciation and love? Why is so much easier to believe the put down than the praise?

Nevertheless, I sing. Bill taught me to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” – no matter what those around you say. God loves your voice when you use it to praise Him.

There are times when one has to sing… when even if one didn’t, even the rocks would sing out… it is that imperative. So, I sing. Against the negative voices, beating them back with disdain for their hollowness, for their attempts at inflicting pain. I sing praises, encouragement, psalms, happy little ditties, prayers of longing, need, reminders of God’s presence.

We need to sing.

Like yesterday when my friend posted the backstory to the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and I spent the morning teaching the lyrics to my daughter. “Oh what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear… all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Like my dad who sang everywhere he went. You could locate him in the church by simply following the sound of his hymn singing. Oh sometimes he would break into “mares eat oats and little lambs eat ivy,” but most of the time he was singing the sacred… a thread of notes reflecting the rope that held him to his anchor.

Like the lady at kindergarten pick-up who plays opera on her phone as she walks the line… and sings along. We moms stand mute in the face of that kind of … oh I don’t know what to call it… composure, confidence, unconcern for our opinion, joy.

Like my daughter… now… who “just loves to sing.” And her voice filling the car or the kitchen or the shower is a true delight, something to tuck away in the corners of my heart, to anticipate and encourage, because singing itself brings joy and release and it reveals the heart.

Like the kiddos at 1000 Hills Community Helpers singing their morning prayers or the grannies there singing and dancing their joy in community, the relief they find at the center, their praises for a God who loves them or the workers celebrating over packages of Compassion Tea, spontaneously creating a jingle.

Oh sing out people! The imperative is clear.

1 Chronicles 16:23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.

Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High
Psalm 13:6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
Psalm 33:1 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Psalm 68:4 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord
Psalm 68:32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord,
 Psalm 95:1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation
Psalm 96:1 Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth
Psalm 96:2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day
Psalm 104:33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Psalm 135:3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.

Isaiah 12:5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world
Jeremiah 20:13 Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked.

And then there’s this… number 8 !

So, sing it! Sing your opera, sing your hymns, sing your life. And you know what, God’s singing over your life.

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