"Beautiful are the ways of God if we allow him to use us as he wants" ~Mother Teresa
Music is a very large part of our household. Both of us grew up in households where music, to play, to sing and for dance, were not only encouraged but pretty much demanded. Just ask my younger brother who spent three years of piano in the first primary book and then suffered through a year of show choir in middle school. Or ask my husband's family, but I may have to warn you that they might just break into song to give you their answer.
While I will never be the one seeking out new songs, artists, albums, etc because my other half will always do it for the both of us, I will always join in in the listening over and over until the songs that touch me become a part of me. Any teacher will tell you that the best way to make something stick in a child's mind is to put it to music. This is the very reason that to this day I sing the ABCs to myself when alphabetizing and why in my head the books of the bible song is constant when looking up scripture. It's also the reason why I may never be able to rattle off the 50 states because somewhere in my education my teachers neglected to teach me "Fifty Nifty United States."
Currently in my home I have been bombarded with a musical that has become quite a sensation across the country. My husband is obsessed with it and has generously passed that obsession down to our boys so that in the car my four year old is singing "to the union, TO THE REVOLUTION" at the top of his lungs. If you haven't heard of Hamilton I highly encourage you to seek it out. The story of one of our founding fathers told through Hip Hop by a melting pot of ethnicity and an amazing amount of musical writing genius and vocal talent is worth your time and then some.
Two of the songs on the album have brought me to tears, both for very different reasons, but there is no limit for the ways, hows, whys and whens your heart can be touched. The last few lines of the show hit you with a lasting thought, not about the man whom the show was based on but for your own life, "who tells your story."
This can be a depressing thought to some depending on from which angle you want to view that question. It's easy to look back and see all the lacking, to doubt what you have done to make an impression to others or to look forward and continue to doubt that there is not something great and special out on a horizon somewhere. You and I are not the only ones to see the faults glaring brighter than the gifts, but you and I both do hold the promise that gifts are exactly what we have been given, and a Hope and a Future are there for us as well. (Eph. 1:3, Jer. 29:11)
Paired with the thoughts Hamilton has produced, are the ones that come from reading a book by Eric Metaxes that features seven amazing women from history, their impact, and the secret to their successes. I could go on and on about the amazing encouragement each of these women were as I read the stories that I was told about them, but I'll spare you the hours it would take to read such a gush filled review and share only these few thoughts.
None of these women, from Joan of Arc to Mother Teresa with 5 others in between, began their life seeking greatness, none of them made choices based upon the ladder they could climb and the prominence they might be able to carry, and none of them are established names in history because the steps they took were quick or easy, and all of them went through physical, emotional, verbal, and/or spiritual damage and upheaval before their story was done. Each of them, however, had one very important thing in common, desiring to tell a more important story than their own.
Their secret, in a nutshell, was a Faith in their Creator, Savior, and His Spirit that enveloped their every decision and letting that Faith carry them in the midst of a variety of difficult and darkness in order to shine.
How thankful I am that we can share that one commonality with them as well.
Just as Sally Lloyd Jones tells us that every story of the bible "whispers His name," our lives do the same but sometimes "in a futile attempt to erase our past we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others." (Brennan Manning)
The vast majority of our lives will not be turned into a Broadway phenomenon, and our names will not be written in books that generations and generations after us can read, but every single person God has created has a story that can be used for Him, and whether millions, thousands, hundreds, or just those a few close and personal people will know it, you are promised that it will be used for Good.
I'll be praying for you, pray for me.