This will be the LAST weekly blog post. Beginning today, June 4th, 2017, Inspiring Hope Blog (for the time being) will be published MONTHLY, instead of weekly. Becky is working on writing three books, recording more songs, and devoting more time to family. Thank you for your continued support, and please SHARE Inspiring Hope with others!
I witnessed a miracle in my house yesterday.
If you’re a regular Inspiring Hope reader (or if you know me personally), you know that my #1 prayer is for my children. I pray daily for them, each by name, including their spouses, for the married ones. I pray for my grandchildren, and also very frequently for my nieces and nephews, particularly those who are wandering aimlessly in life.
The Bible is our manual for life here on earth, and the life to come. It has all the wisdom needed for every scenario. When it is dismissed or overlooked, we suffer. Our families suffer. And, since God loves us even more than our parents do, His heart breaks for us, as well.
My heart is broken for some of my children (as it should be) for their relationships — or lack of — with God. It pains me to see their anguish as they struggles in their marriages, finances, careers, child-rearing tactics, and mental and emotional health.
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But for some of my children, that’s the last name they’ve wanted to hear in recent years. (When I was eighteen, I thought I knew everything, too… didn’t you??) Even this week, I hugged one of my sons (who’d just had another car wreck), and told him, “Son, everything’s gonna be okay. You just seriously need to have a ‘come to Jesus meetin’, and I mean that.”
“Mom, don’t play the ‘Jesus card’ with me right now! I know you mean well, but…”
His downward spiral is breaking mine and his dad’s hearts, so we continue to pray, to love him, and to try to share whatever wisdom and advice he will accept… which is almost none right now.
Therefore, when his brother, Aaron, shocked me yesterday (read on!), I knew God was doing a miracle!
Aaron is almost 21, and married Michaela last year. They are both musically gifted, and Michaela just graduated from Northeastern State University with her degree in Vocal Performance. Aaron was in band for many years, plays five different instruments, sings, and used to compose music.
Following our older son’s suicide in 2014, however, Aaron dropped out of college, which meant forfeiting being in the marching and the jazz bands he played in on campus. He’d stopped going to church with us a few months earlier, halfway through his senior year in high school (which, incidentally, is the same age our younger son, Nathan, stopped going to church).
In November of 2013, I had organized several ensembles of our high school band to perform at different locations of a “Home Tour” our city does annually. The tips they received would help fund their upcoming band trip. During that time, “my band” consisted of Aaron and Nathan and two other band students. Our band, unlike the others, included vocals.
I loved singing with my children!
I have older sons, too, and each of them can sing very well, but none of them ever did so in public — and none of them ever sang with me until that time, and only for those few weeks. When Aaron and Nathan were young, they had performed sign language to a song I do during church concerts, but they didn’t want a microphone in front of them.
Fast forward to yesterday, Friday, June 2nd, 2017. I was tuning a piano at a little church south of my town, where I was also scheduled to lead worship and sing tomorrow (June 4th). As I tuned the piano, praying for my children again, I suddenly felt prompted by the Holy Spirit of God to invite Michaela to sing with me on Sunday. I even agreed to pay her (they’re both looking for jobs), but my hope was that Aaron would come with her, to show support for his wife, and (hopefully, again) to hear about God’s love and plan for our lives.
Since Aaron has been out of church for 3 1/2 years, he’s only attended maybe twice. Michaela has been attending another local church for the last couple of years, as a “choral scholar”, where the church pays college students a small stipend (like tuition) to sing in their choir. Michaela and Aaron and I had only performed once together, for a Kiwanis Club Christmas banquet, in December of 2015. Never in church, and never with worship music.
So, I texted Michaela yesterday, and asked if she’d be willing to sing with me on maybe three worship songs on Sunday, and I’d give her part of the offering the church provided. (That was my incentive;) I prayed fervently for their response.
“I’m down with that,” came her text reply.
“What did Aaron say?” I queried.
“He said, ‘I suppose’.”
YES!!! He’d agreed to come to church with his wife! THANK YOU, Jesus!! I cried happy tears as I continued tuning the piano… the one we’d be playing on in 48 hours!
Michaela and Aaron came over yesterday so that Michaela and I could rehearse for Sunday. As Michaela and I sat at the piano and began rehearsing songs, Aaron sat around the corner, out of sight, in my recliner. During the second song, I began to hear Aaron singing a third harmony, along with Michaela and I !!!
I stopped playing.
“Aaron, that was beautiful!” I gushed. (He’s always had a natural knack, as I do, for hearing and singing harmony.)
“You know, you could sing with us, if you wanted to,” I offered…. expecting him to decline.
Only the day before, my husband, Hank, reported to me that ‘God was working on Aaron’, according to a comment Aaron made to his dad.
Hank: “God is real, and He still speaks to people today, like He did in the Bible.”
Aaron: “Well, that’s what some people believe. But He’s never spoken to me.”
Hank and I rejoiced at this statement, because it was a long way from what Aaron had told us before, during his teen years.
“I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in ‘ya’ll’s religion’.”
Now, Aaron was admitting that perhaps there is a God, but Aaron just hadn’t witnessed it for himself. And, we’d also noticed a more reverent Aaron when we’d pray before our meals, which he and Michaela share with us a couple times a week. He’d even gently chided his little sister for her “selfish prayers” when she was acting silly or frivolous.
Michaela and I were staring at each other, mouths gaping open wide, when Aaron responded.
“Sure! I thought that’s what I came over here for… to sing. I’ve just been waiting on someone to invite me.”
It was difficult to to hold my happy squeals inside as we pulled up a chair for Aaron around the piano.
I dared not ask the multitude of questions my heart was bursting with.… I just taught them the songs and parts. It did my heart good to discover that Aaron already knew most of these songs, since he’d heard them since childhood, growing up in church. His daddy was pastoring when he was born, so he’s literally been in church since the womb.
The miracle got better, happening so quickly and “organically” that I knew God was doing this! Besides finding harmony parts on such powerful songs like “How Great is Our God” (Chris Tomlin) and “How Great Thou Art”, I took a leap of faith in my next request to Aaron.
“Aaron, I’d really love for you to sing verse two of this song, *’How Can It Be’.”
The words are a powerful, heart-wrenching prayer of a prodigal coming home to God, finally realizing His great mercy and forgiveness. I knew it would be yet another answer to prayer if Aaron agreed to sing it.
He did... and he sang it so passionately, I had tears as I played the piano part. Here are just a few of the lyrics he’ll be singing tomorrow:
I’ve been hiding, ashamed of what I’ve done. Inside I doubt that You could love me. But in Your eyes, there’s only grace now.
As we sang the songs, the presence of God filled the room and our very beings. We hit notes and sang with strength, accuracy and passion that only happens with the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit. Aaron even made a comment about it… hitting notes he didn’t think he had in him, and the power of the song. He even shouted a “praise Jesus!”, followed by a laugh (as if he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to say that — since he’d recently been questioning God’s very existence, or at least His involvement in our lives).
That was a teachable moment. I reminded them that the Bible says “God inhabits the praises of His people”, meaning that the Holy Spirit of God literally endwells our praises, coming near to and making His abode in our very midst, when we worship Him. Aaron replied, “Well, that explains it.”
I reminded them both that this is worship, not a “performance”, and that we need to believe the words that we were singing. Every talent comes from God, and it all should return back to Him in sincere worship, recognizing and surrendering to the greatness of a Holy God.
Wow. My mind is still reeling from what happened yesterday, following many years of prayers. We rehearse again today (Saturday the 3rd), and I pick them up for church tomorrow morning. Service starts at 11 a.m. Join us…. or at least pray for what the Lord is doing and will do, not only in my son’s life, but for how Aaron’s eventual testimony and life will affect others down the road.
Sometimes God uses music, sometimes other things, to draw us into His purposes and display His reality, His love, and His calling upon our lives. (See my post on “The Prison of Purposelessness”.)
My thankful prayer: Lord Jesus, THANK YOU again for what You’re doing! Thank You for using MUSIC to draw my son back to You, to help him find his purpose in Your plan. THANK YOU for the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit to woo each one to Yourself. THANK YOU for Your patience… with me, with my husband, and with each of our children. I know You have much in store for the future! Glorify and exalt the power of Your name in Aaron’s midst, undeniably! Amen.
*Recorded by Lauren Daigle; written by Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram and Jeff Johnson; Sony ATV.