Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Song That Jesus Taught Me

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

These are the first words that come to mind when I think about learning to know God and to love Him. They are songs that I’ve known since before I can remember learning them—learned in Sabbath School classes, or taught to me by my mom. I can’t think about celebrating Sabbath as a child without simultaneously hearing music! We sang in our house, on the drive to church, in class, and during the church service. These words, “Jesus Love Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children” are deeply imprinted on my psyche. These simple songs were trying to instruct my soul during times I was anxious as a child, questioning (and rebelling) as a teen, and doubting as an adult. When my not good enough feelings were chipping away at my confidence, those simple phrases reached out again and again to remind me of the truth—even when I struggled to accept it.

When I was a teen, two hymns became a source of encouragement and peace to my soul.

Nearer still nearer, close to Thy heart,
Draw me, my Savior—so precious Thou art.
Fold me, oh fold me, close to thy breast.
Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll,
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

As I sang these hymns in church and at concerts, the words were burned into my memory—their message promising that Jesus knew my hurt and read my anxious thoughts. My never-still-Type-A soul needed to know the recipe for true peace, and these songs taught me the importance of drawing nearer and nearer to Jesus and allowing Him to speak peace into my heart. To this day, these words are reminders that I know by heart, that I can call on when my soul is troubled.

But the dearest words of all are found in my favorite hymn, “In the Garden”.

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share, as we tarry there,
None other has ever known!

I can see that garden.
I can hear the birds singing in the morning and smell the scent of the flowers as the sun hits them.
I can feel the dew on my bare feet.
And I can hear Jesus calling my name.

His voice is so filled with love and tenderness. He seeks me out, eager to connect with me and to hear my thoughts and answer my questions.

He knows me.
Sandi with an “i”.
His creation. His daughter. His choice.

And He will never “un-choose” me. He will never stop loving me.

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing.
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

Jesus tells me to stop trying to be good enough, because He wants much more for me than that! His daughter is so much better than just good enough!

I am loved.             Jesus loves me, this I know.
I am unique.            I am precious in His sight.
I am sheltered.       Jesus is my haven of rest.
I am Peaceful.        Whatever the circumstances, Jesus is my peace.

I am His own.

This is my song. All the other songs I learned throughout my life were just music lessons leading to the beautiful ultimate chorus that Jesus was trying to teach me. Layer upon layer, forming a harmony in my soul, those songs built upon each other, finally reaching the crescendo of truth that is now evident.

I will proudly wear my crown and sing His song!

I am a daughter of the Most High King!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Song Middle-Age is Teaching Me

IDK. It’s just “text-talk”, but I’m realizing more and more that I. Don’t. Know.

And I can embrace that, rather than being afraid of not knowing—perhaps for the first time in my life.

Seriously, what are my choices? Most of my biggest losses and sweetest gains in life have been things that, just twenty-four hours before experiencing them, I would have said of them, I don’t know about that.

For years my identity was wrapped up in knowing. I accumulated hundreds of useful and useless facts.
  • Methuselah lived for 969 years.
  • Normal female hemoglobin is12.0-16.0
  • The orientation of a QWERTY keyboard
  • How to say “turn the light off” in German
  • My doctor’s NPI number and DEA number
  • The phone numbers to half of the pharmacies in the Columbia area
I can remember old telephone numbers and the names of many professional NFL players. Why? One helps me get my groceries cheaper at BI-LO and the other keeps me straight in Fantasy Football.

And because I loved being "the person who knows the answer”. I thrived on being able to add something to any conversation I happened upon, and I was pleased when someone sought out my help with a question or a problem they needed some information for.

While I love surprises, nothing would set me on my heels faster than a question for which I didn’t know the answer. Those kinds of surprises were not fun—knowledge was my comfort zone.

But lately I’m embracing the I Don’t Know in life, because what I don’t know is both an opportunity for me to learn and an opportunity for someone else to shine. Not knowing isn’t scary—in fact, I’m learning to love the idea of never knowing!
  •  Why do some people hate delicious foods and wines?  IDK
  • How do I get my hydrangea to bloom?  IDK
  • Why do I cry when I’m happy?  IDK
  • What is the secret to smooth screen protector installation?  IDK
  • How did God come up with the idea of the giraffe?  IDK
  • What was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”?  IDK
And then there are the BIG life mysteries…
  • How will it feel to become a Grandma?
  • What will retirement be like?
  • Will I ever get my Bachelor’s Degree?
  • How many days, weeks, years do I have left on Earth?
  • How will I handle it when I start forgetting more than I remember?

I Don’t Know. And chasing that knowledge has no purpose. Some things must be experienced to be known—like falling in love or becoming a parent—you can know them and you can try to explain them, but you can never know them for someone else.

I’m not knocking knowledge—I LOVE knowledge! I’m just not going to measure Me by that ruler anymore. Middle-age has taught me that the ruler of knowledge can never determine the measure of a life. It can never replace loving well. It can never express living in the moment.

Knowing everything takes the surprise out of life and the adventure out of the human soul. I used to think knowledge took the fear out of life, but I was so wrong! Knowing everything that might happen, or will happen, can make us so cautious that we forget how essential serendipity is in a life well lived.

So…I will work hard and plan and learn. But I will also embrace living in the moment, changing my plans, and trying something new.

I will embrace singing the song of aging; I will enjoy the refrain of I Don’t Know as it instructs my soul and broadens my horizons. Because the only question I never want to answer with I Don’t Know is, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”