It’s been 25 years since I begged Jesus to come into my heart and straighten out the mess of my life. He absolutely did that, and I am eternally grateful. Of course, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing since then. Lately I’ve been feeling like the wind has gone out of my sails. But as I was working at my art desk this week, listening to a random playlist of soft hits of the 60's and 70’s, the music of my childhood, I started really noticing the lyrics of my favorite songs. I have to say it was one of those nudges that Robyn described, when you know the Holy Spirit is asking you to take notice. And I know it was, because all these songs played in succession in way that really put an exclamation point on the message.
I don’t know how familiar you are with these songs, so I’ll try to describe them, but I recommend giving them a listen because they’re just great classic songs. And they really are favorites that I know by heart. First up was Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence with its overtly religious language and references. Then came my all-time favorite sing-along, with the Mamas and Papas stopping in a church to pray while they were California Dreamin. Up next was Rocky Mountain High where John Denver was “climbing cathedral mountains” and “talking to God and listening for the casual reply.” Then came the Byrds’ Turn, Turn, Turn straight out of Ecclesiastes, and Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens which has been a hymn since before he made it a hit – it’s in our hymnal. Now that I had stopped drawing and was fulling engaged in listening and singing along, Anne Murray’s You Needed Me came on. As my brain accessed the lyrics that I hadn’t sung in decades, I realized that this song is just a straight-up love song to Jesus. Her heartbreakingly beautiful voice brought forth the Holy Spirit’s message to me: “You were far from me, you hadn’t even heard of me, but I was there, in your life, planting these seeds of faith in your heart, even when you were just a child. You thought it was a coincidence that all these songs that referenced God, Christianity and faith just happened to hold special appeal to you? Nope, it was me knocking at the door to your heart. I’ve been with you all along, and I still am, right now.”
I hope you have these small moments of personal messages from Jesus. He always knows what to say. I was not a popular kid in school. I was an only child and I spent way too much time in my head pondering, imagining and daydreaming. I was marching to the beat of a very different drum. I often felt unnoticed, overlooked and left out. So, for Jesus to send a musical message that He was there waiting for me, even in those early days was really soothing to my soul. And it was powerful to realize He’s still with me now. I need to lean on Him now.
To be fully known is a wonderful thing. To be accepted unconditionally is so freeing. So much of my life I seemed to be going in a different direction than my peers. I was on my own path, but I wasn’t happy about it. I just wanted to ‘fit in.’ Looking back, my biggest mistakes happened when I tried to ‘fit in.’ Jesus knows we are all ‘unique sheep.’ He created us with unique talents, unique skills, unique interests, unique temperaments. As sheep, our instinct is to huddle together and move as a herd. This keeps us safe from predators who want to pick off anyone who stands out from the crowd. But with Jesus as our Good Shepherd, we are free to go off and be unique, to show our true colors and talents without fear of prowling lions. As long as we are listening to His voice when he calls us away from the edge, or admonishes us not to stray, we can rest safely and trust that He will care for us.
Jesus knows who you are. He created you that way. He’s been behind you from the beginning, watching you make choices, struggle, fail and succeed. He’s been your biggest cheerleader and tenderest comforter. How far back on the sidelines of your life He stands is all up to you. He wants to be right in the race with you, carrying you when you stumble, pushing you to keep going when your strength seems gone, inspiring you to do the thing you think you can’t do. He knows you - all of you - and He loves you anyway. And He’s waiting for those moments when you are still and listening to tell you just how much! That’s music to my ears!