For as long as I can remember, music has been a significant part of my life. During my growing up years, I took piano lessons, and it was through the practicing of my songs each week that I learned to express my emotions. My mom could often tell what was going on in my heart based upon the types of songs I would play. Classical pieces in a minor key usually meant there was some sort of turmoil happening in my heart. Upbeat numbers or my favorite song (Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat) were played when all was well. During my college years I found it life-giving to close myself into one of the practice rooms of the music department and play through whatever songs we had sung in chapel that week.
Having children has limited my piano playing, but I’ve found that listening to songs that point me to Truth has provided the same sort of life-giving experience. Somehow listening to what I know to be true through song allows me to feel whatever is going on in my heart. Sometimes I can’t sing along because the words are just too hard to hear. My faith might be weak in that moment, or the pain too raw and so I listen, cry, and ask God to help me believe. In 2011, we found out that I was miscarrying a baby. The kids had a Steve Green CD of verses put to song. One song was Psalm 139:14, and for many months I had to skip over that one. It was too hard to believe that God was making something good out of a baby who had died.
Yesterday, May 23, would have been my brother’s 26th birthday. He’s in heaven now, but we still celebrate his birthday. Because even in death there is life. For him, it’s his earthly life that we still remember and are so very thankful for. Our lives were richer because we knew him and had the years with him that we did. So we celebrate him and how much we still love him. We also celebrate the fact that he loved Jesus and is living with Him now.
It’s also a hard day, though, because we miss him. There will always be a void in our lives because of his absence. And though the severity of that pain lessens as the years go by, it will never fully go away.
A while back, Emily Freeman wrote a blog post titled A Playlist for the Nervous Traveler. She had a rough plane ride and eventually found music that helped her through those challenging moments. Out of that experience, a playlist was shared. I thought this was a great idea for a blog post, because so many of us have music that we use for certain situations. Why not share them?
My playlist is for the hurting soul. It could be grief, challenging circumstances, relational difficulties, or whatever else causes our souls to struggle. These songs have been helpful for me during some of the darkest and most challenging seasons of my life. I pray that they might minister to you as well.
Sovereign – Chris Tomlin
Still, My Soul Be Still – The Gettys
10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman
Blessed be Your Name – Matt Redman
The Valley of Vision – Sovereign Grace
It is not Death to Die – Sovereign Grace
Just as I Am – Nichole Nordeman
The Promise of Your Word – The Gettys
I Lift my Hands – Chris Tomlin
I Have a Shelter – Sovereign Grace
You’re Beautiful – Phil Wickham