Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Let My Life Song Sing To You

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Ephesians 5:19

Speaking to yourselves 
in psalms and hymns and 
spiritual songs, singing 
and making melody 
in your heart to the Lord:

Wednesdays are my music day. I start bright and early with my own piano lesson. Then I teach 5 guitar lessons.  I really enjoy Wednesdays and getting to share the joy of music with others. My lessons are all very different. One family likes me to teach using praise, worship and hymns, one of my other students likes the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle, James Taylor and other early 80's musicians. One is a mom with a house full of kids who wants songs to sing with her kids. So today we had her 2 youngest dancing along to "Every Move I Make".  There are lots of guitar players out there that are much more skilled than I am but I have found that those players generally have not patience to teach students. My strength lies in the love of music and in my patience to help beginners get through the pain of building callous and learning to make your fingers cooperate. I used to bring songs each week for my students but any more I am having them find songs they want to work on and print them in one of the keys they are able to play. We always go through the songs and fix them to make them work for that student and their current skill level. I think one of the other things that sets me appart is the ability to teach a student to play and sing. We often will work on the vocals as much as the guitar skills.

So my point in writing this is not about a big advertizement for me and the lessons that I teach. It is more about the value of music.  The verse above is a reminder to me as is Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Me and My Daddy
For me when I really want to memorize a passage of scripture I put it to music. The stuff that goes into my brain as music some how remains. I can remember all the verses to songs from when I was three and sat with my daddy at the piano, telling him to play this song. I think that it is interesting that music has been one of the strongest connections between me and my dad and I think it is also one of the strongest connections that I feel between me and my heavenly father. So I am thankful that my parents both in their own way shared with me the gift and the joy of music. It has added a richness to my life that I feel a responsibility  to pass on to others. My oldest is in his room teaching himself to play the ukulele, he also plays guitar and piano. My youngest really enjoys piano and wants to build a marimba. I don't know if they will ever make their living from music but I hope it continues to bring them joy through out their lives no matter what they decide to grow up and be.

When they were younger I tried to explain to them that God put them in a music/ art/ tech family. Some kids are born into sports families, science or math or out doors nature loving families. There are lots of kinds of ways that families express themselves. Ours is more along the creative lines. Which does not mean we don't enjoy some of those other things but we seem to be more defined by all things creative.

I look around and I see that God loves music to inspire musicians, and birds to sing, and the sounds of the winds. He paints with sunsets and flowers. The word says if we don't praise Him the very rocks will cry out. The bible tells us to sing a new song to the Lord. I think the Lord loves for us to express our devotion to him in little songs and to make melodies in our heart to praise him. I don't think the Lord cares weather or not you can carry a tune in a bucket or not. Perhaps your expressions of musical praise are limited to the shower. Sing on!

 Well I wrote everything above some previous Wednesday. Today I've gotten up early for my quiet time with the Lord which some times includes writing this blog post. Recently I got back in touch with my first piano teacher and best friend from about 30 years ago. I was a new believer and new in town at the time and was singing in a choir of which she was the director. My aunt sort of encouraged us to become friends and we became pretty inseparable. I wrote songs and I remember teaching my friend all my little song writing tricks - she was much more skilled at music than I but had never tried song writing. Which to me was amazing - I can hear stuff in my head and am limited by my skill level to be able to fully express it. We at one point created a music group we called Faith Walk and did concerts at coffee houses and for various church groups. She reminded me how in one concert I had carefully hand written out all our original songs and put the chords in using a red sharpe marker. The place we were singing had stage lights and the lights cancelled out the red ink on the paper and she remembers being very frustrated because she really needed the chords. I guess I had most of them memorized. I had completely forgotten about that memory. Anyway we both got married and life has a way of hurling people off in different directions and somewhere along the line we lost track of each other. Turns out we had both gone through some very painful stuff at about the same time but both thought because of our brokenness and failed marriages that the other would not understand or want to be contacted. Funny how the enemy or our own low self esteem can keep us from the very people who would know us in a deep enough way to support us through a difficult time. I'm not about to give the enemy much credit and will allow most of it to fall under the realm of God's providence. I can also admit that I'm not sure I would have been ready to be found much sooner. There is a lot of the past I just could not deal with and chose to leave it behind and to try to move forward as best as I could with out some of the people who had most deeply touched my life.  I have to trust that this is God's timing is perfect and he knows exactly what we need and when we need it.

Its interesting to me that in the process of restoration with people from our past. There are things that need to be repented of and forgiven to really have a deep relationship that can move forward. Even then not all relationships can be returned to the place of closeness they once held in our lives. Life keeps moving and we all make choices that carry us in different directions some of those obstacles can be overcome others must be left in the hands of the Lord.  This friend lives in Ohio which is a very long way from Washington so who knows when we might ever find our self in close enough proximity to sit and work on music together or do stuff together. There is the phone skype and facebook which does make keeping in touch with people very easy.  I have been blessed that some folks from the past have popped up on the facebook landscape and some of them I talk to almost daily. I have two young women who were in a youth group I led.  It is amazing to be knowing them as grown ups and to see them walking strongly in their faith.  I think it is no accident that God has allowed this friendship to re-surface at this time. I'm pretty sure there is some pain and brokenness in both of us that will be much easier to walk through with a friend. Perhaps even there is a greater destiny and calling and God is regathering significant relationships from the past for some purpose. I am always amazed how God in his perfect timing can bring along the right people that in that moment can un-lock things that may have been put on hold, or need a specific kind of encouragement to cause to happen. These blog posts that I am writing are the result of the encouragement of another friend from very long ago, who saw something in my writing that I could not see myself.

So what is the point of my post today - the verse is about speaking to one another is
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody 
in your heart to the Lord:  Hmmm in the New King James version of the verse it says "speak to one another". I suppose it is a good idea to speak to yourself and to one another in songs, hymns and spiritual songs.  I am going to try and tie this all together. In talking to my friend from Ohio it is interesting to me that neither of us has done any song writing in a long while. I think sometimes we can loose our voice due to disappointment, confusion, loss, hardship, guilt, shame. Those things can steal the song from our hearts and yet God says in our verse today that we should sing to ourselves and to one another. I believe it builds up our Spiritual self. There is something powerful in the singing of psalms (right from the word) hymns (songs written through the years by other believers) and spiritual songs (the stuff the Holy Spirit inspires in you).  You may not be all that musical but I think God wants to give you a melody in your heart today. Take a simple verse that jumps out at you or is one that you are standing on and put it to a melody and sing it to yourself as you go through your day. I myself will make a point to put something to the melody of my heart today and sing it to myself. Sometimes it takes people from the past to help us see that we laid down something important that it is time to pick up again.  For me it is time to pick up songwriting again.

Dear Lord, you are the one who directs the steps of the righteous. It is no accident the people you bring across our paths at various times in our life. You know the whole script and you move people around according to your plans and purposes. I pray for trust to arise and for those who have lost their voice to find it again. Help them to see that the journey they have been on may have been hard but there are others who will be encouraged by the greater depth, openness and honesty that their life songs will now contain. I pray Lord for your specific anointing to flow out in this moment to stir up the gifts that you have put in each one reading in what ever form the may take. Let each one go forth as a blessing and bring a smile to your face Lord as they move in faith and obedience to the leading of your Holy Spirit.

PS. Just in case you think this does not apply to you because you are not musical I want to end with this song from Casting Crowns. I pray your life song will bring a smile to the heart of the Lord today.
Be blessed beloved one - the Lord loves you and created you, and wired you specifically to bring Him pleasure. What ever you do - do it for His glory today.  Of course if you are reading by e-mail click on the blue title to get back to the site to be encouraged by this video.

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