Friday, April 10, 2015

Making Music in Our Hearts

Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, 
singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord.
—Ephesians 5:19 NCV

In my family, we sing.

No, not professionally--though the Haney clan does sing in church choirs and praise team, and my brother-in-law often leads worship from his guitar.

We just burst into random song throughout our days. It’s one of those weird things my family does. Growing up, I’d sing silly songs with Grannie while we fixed dinner (“Oh, I had a little chicken and he wouldn’t lay an egg…”) I’d sing the shaped notes in the faded red hymnal with Papa at his Men’s Bible Class (“Heavenly sunlight, heavenly sunlight, flooding my soul with glory divine!”)

My mom would wake us for school with an excruciatingly cheerful “Good morning, good morning, good morning; it’s time to rise and shine!” (Or, worse, a muffle-the-clapping-with-your-pillow rendition of “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!”)

We sang hymns and church songs and pop songs and I-can’t-remember-all-the-words-but-I-love-this-song-anyway songs. We picked out our favorite tunes on the piano. We sang while we set the table or cleaned house. While we got ready in the mornings. In the car.

Sometimes we’d hum. Or whistle. But mostly, we’d sing.

I didn’t think much of it. My parents always had a song in their hearts, and so did we. It was just who we were. 


In the whirlwind of marriage and ministry and raising babies, I lost a lot of myself… and I lost a lot of my songs. I did rock my babies to sleep while singing favorite hymns. (I was determined my kids would know hymns!) And I taught them a few of the songs of my youth. 

But for years, as my life submerged in the relentless stress of church planting and childrearing and breadwinning, without realizing it, I stopped singing.

Those years are far behind me now. Our house is once again filled with music. Our TV is almost always on Pandora. I regularly play from the Baptist hymnal on our piano. On any given day you can walk in to hear my little guy belting out opera-style songs in the shower, J.J. upstairs singing pop tunes while curling her hair, and Miss B practicing a worship song for praise team. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been editing in my study and suddenly realize there are three different songs going on simultaneously in our home. It makes me smile (and then put in my ear buds).

My favorites are the belly-laughs when when we realize one of the kids is singing the wrong words. (Sometimes I like their versions better: such as “like a ninja ready to explode” instead of “like an engine ready to explode”!)

But all the time, we sing.

Just last week, at our family's Easter gathering, we laughed-till-we-cried during lunch while recalling some silly songs, then that afternoon the kids variously played piano, clarinet, and flute while we hung out.

There is always a song or melody somewhere in a Haney house.


Which is why I was FLABBERGASTED at this conversation the other day…

We were out running errands. While chatting in the car Miss B said something that reminded me of a praise song, so I chimed in with “Ho-ho-ho hosanna, ha-ha-ha-lelujah, he-he-he He saved me, and I’ve got the joy of the Lord!”

The kids looked at me like I had grown another head.

“What? You don’t know that song?” I asked, incredulous.

Three heads slowly shaking no.

“Wait! What about this one?” I started singing all the kids’ Bible songs I could remember: Deep and Wide, The B-I-B-L-E, Do Lord, Rejoice in the Lord Always (again I say rejoice), Father Abraham, Praise Him All Ye Little Children, Give Me Oil in My Lamp, I Will Call upon the Lord, Zacchaeus, I’ve Got Peace Like a River (etc.)

My kids only knew about half of those. YIKES! I forgot my kids grew up in church plants, so they didn't learn the songs of my Sunday school upbringing. And for so many years when they were little, I had stopped singing around the house.

So now I’m on a mission: I’m going to teach my kiddos all the Bible songs I grew up with. After all, I don’t want to be the last generation on earth singing, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!”

What about you? 
What are the songs in your heart today? 
What songs do you want to pass down to your children?

Saturday, January 3, 2015

All Things New

He who sits on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”
—Revelation 21:5

It’s a new year! And we have several new things. Thanks to the amazing generosity of our church, our Christmas was merry indeed! The girls have beautiful new outfits, and my son is thrilled with his new toys.

It’s fun to have new things, isn’t it? I don’t care how old you are, admit it: you get a little excited to tear off the wrapping paper and open the seal to something new-with-tags or wrapped in cellophane. (As long as the packaging doesn’t have a zillion twist ties, that is. Then that’s a totally different feeling. Oy vey!)

New things are especially fun to the four of us because everything is pretty old around here. We’ve lived in this house for almost eight years. Most of our furniture came from friends or Craigslist. As I was setting up for our New Year’s Eve party, I sighed over my rickety kitchen table with the vinyl-peeling chairs and my well-loved sofa with the cushions that don’t stay put anymore. Over the years, so many people have gathered in our home for church events or parties or Bible studies or sleepovers or general hanging out (oh, if these walls could talk!) that all our furniture is wearing out.

I confess: as I dusted my stained and sticky (from what? Ew, I have no idea) coffee table, I wondered what it would be like to have all new things.


At breakfast yesterday, we poured cereal in my chipped Pfaltzgraff bowls and opened our family devotional: One Year of Dinner Table Devotions and Discussion Starters.

My oldest daughter began reading aloud. But when she got to this part, I made her stop and reread it:

The reality is that everything on this earth is wearing out. Everything breaks down.  
And in the midst of that reality, God says, “I am making everything new!” When we hear this we typically think of new in terms of replacing something old. But God doesn’t say he is making all new things. He is making all things new—in other words, he’s making things better, fresher, brighter, and stronger.

Think about that with me for a sec:

God doesn’t say, “Behold, I am making all new things!”

He says, “Behold, I am making all things new!”

So what? you may wonder. What’s the difference? Why does that phrase matter?

Here’s why.

Have you ever wanted to have a fresh start—even gone as far as making New Year’s resolutions or joining a gym—and then given up, thinking, “It’s hopeless. I’ll never change. That’s just the way I am”?

Have you ever wanted to make something new of your life, but you’ve been afraid to begin, thinking, “God can’t use me because of what I’ve done. I’ve made too many mistakes. I don’t deserve another chance”?

Have you ever wanted to try something new but thought, “I’ll never be able to do that because of what has happened to me. I’m too hurt, too scarred, too weak. I can’t start over now”?

If so, then listen closely to this.

God doesn’t say, “I am making all new things!” He’s not going to discard all of us messed-up, wounded people and replace us with brand-new, flawless ones.

Instead, God says, “I am making all things new!” He’s going to take you and me—all of us who are worn out and rickety and scarred—and he’s going to make us new.

  • Incidentally, the Greek word translated “new” in Revelation 21:5 doesn’t mean new as in “never before existed.” It means new as in “renewed, restored, refreshed.” It’s not new in time, but new in form. This is the same word used in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature…”) and Ephesians 4:24 (“Put on the new self…”).

God isn’t going to start over by making all new things.

He’s going to finish what He started by making all things new.

And that includes you and me.

You are NOT too old, too hurt, too guilty, too set in your ways, or too hopeless for God to use you. It’s not too late for a second chance. God is going to finish what He started in you!

2015 can be your “new” year—the year God will refresh, restore, and renew you. And trust me, the new thing He will make out of your life will be even more beautiful because of your story so far. 

In this new year, let’s lean into God and watch as He makes all things new!