Friday, May 8, 2009

A Song for the Summer

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. —Colossians 3:16 NASB

I was eager for my family to meet Brett. We had only been dating a few weeks, but I could already tell this guy was really special. Something about his enthusiastic love for the Lord, his charming personality, the way he was dependable yet fun, and of course, those dancing blue eyes . . . I had a hunch he might the “The One.” But there was one thing I had to do before I would know for sure—the litmus test for all new boyfriends in our family.

I had to bring him home for dinner.

Although my mom had visited me at seminary and had briefly met Brett there, this would be his first official family dinner with the entire clan. If Brett could hold his own with my mom, two sisters, and their significant others, then I knew he would fit in well with our boisterous, lively family.

Somewhere between “Please pass the rolls” and “Anyone want seconds?” my sister Heather leaned over and commented (rather loudly) to my other sister, Beth, “You’re right—he does break out into random song!”

What? I glanced over at Brett, who had polished off his meal and—sure enough—was happily singing a few lyrics of a praise song during a lull in the conversation. When he realized what was going on, he joined in the laughter around the table as Beth told us how she had observed Brett humming or singing a few other times that evening. Yes, Brett admitted, he loved to sing, and sometimes he couldn’t help but, as Beth called it, “break out into random song.”

Fast-forward eleven years. Brett obviously passed muster at dinner that night; we’ve been happily married for more than a decade. His tendency to “break out into random song” has become a well-told part of our family story, as well as something we’ve all simply gotten used to over the years.

Last week, as I was unloading the dishwasher and getting things ready to fix dinner, with our daughters playing outside in the backyard, I was amused to hear our two-year-old son—the spitting image of his father, with his dark hair and dancing blue eyes—wander into the kitchen, singing a happy little tune to himself.

I couldn’t help laughing. Like his daddy, our son apparently had a song in his heart, and he, too, couldn’t help but break out into random song!

As I chuckled over how all three of our children have inherited their daddy’s tendency to sing around the house, it got me thinking . . .

When was the last time I caught myself singing?

Now, I’m not a singer or songwriter like Brett is. You’d never catch me singing for an audience or under a spotlight. But I used to sing a lot more often than I do now—humming to myself while doing housework, singing worship songs in the car, singing happy little tunes with the kids around the house, just for fun.

But somewhere, in the midst of the day-to-day busyness of child rearing, ministry, book editing, homemaking, and seemingly endless other responsibilities, I apparently lost my song. I’ve been so wrapped up in a hurry-up-and-get-it-done mentality that I’m no longer enjoying the process by “singing and making melody with [my] heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19 NASB).

What about you? When is the last time you caught yourself singing? Not singing because you’re supposed to, like belting out the “Star Spangled Banner” at a ball game or joining with the congregation at church. But when was the last time you simply sang out of the overflow of your heart—whether crooning a happy song around the house, praising along to the radio in the car, belting out your own tune in the shower, or humming in the hallway at work?

Perhaps, like me, you need to recapture your song. Come on, don’t be shy! You don’t have to perform in front of a crowd, or even in front of your kids. But if your heart has become so full of to-dos that there’s no room for tunes, maybe it’s time to find your song this summer.

In these uncertain times, when far too many people are focusing on what’s wrong with the world, I encourage you to reflect instead on the many ways God has blessed you. As the psalmist said, “Sing to God a brand-new song. He's made a world of wonders! . . . Shout your praises to God, everybody! Let loose and sing!” (Psalm 98:1, 4 MSG).

Think about your family, your friends, the clear blue Texas sky, the sizzle of a steak on the grill, the laughter of kids at the pool, the lazy days of summer. And then, as you begin to thank God for all of the wonderful things He has provided for you, see if you, too, catch yourself breaking out into random song.

(This article appears in the May/June issue of Haslet Style)

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