5 Songs to Keep the Rhythm of Life

Music is a big part of life. Well, for me, anyway.

But there was a time I ignored it to avoid conflict. The rhythm of my life stood still. Oh, how dull it was. (And no, it didn't help to endear me to that one person.) I've learned from then on, not to compromise who I am and my life to other people's whims, much more my worship to my God. Because music and life, and all our creative gifts, come from Him. Though it could be used for something else, the whole of it is a means of worship when He is acknowledged and these gifts are dedicated to Him.

Through the years as I've grown, so has my appreciation for music and the experiences that people, who wrote them, go through. Today, I thought of sharing them with you. I have included a little bit of background of the songs and why these songs should at least be heard given the time one needs them. They are not in any kind of order.

Take My Hand, Precious Lord.  This is my all-time favorite song. I don't know how it came to be that, all I know is, it has grown on me. I particularly loved singing this when I had my first child and God gave me the great desire to walk with Him. And through all the balancing act of motherhood, work, and learning, I have learned to lean on Him. By the time 'the storm' came, as well as other storms, I knew I could depend on Him. Even as my world grew chaotic and uncertain--- resembling that of a war zone or a dark tunnel--- He remained steady and present. "An ever-present help in trouble" indeed!(Psalm 46:1).

Background: A friend shared this about the song (which I only got to know at that time, and which gave me the idea to include the background of some of the songs here), and I thought I should share it here with you. This song was written by Thomas A. Dorsey. This is how he recounted what happened in a gospel music documentary:

"Back in 1932 I was 32 years old and a fairly new husband. My wife, Nettie and I were living in a little apartment on Chicago’s Southside. One hot August afternoon I had to go to St. Louis, where I was to be the featured soloist at a large revival meeting. I didn’t want to go. Nettie was in the last month of pregnancy with our first child. But a lot of people were expecting me in St. Louis. . . .

". . . In the steaming St. Louis heat, the crowd called on me to sing again and again. When I finally sat down, a messenger boy ran up with a Western Union telegram. I ripped open the envelope. Pasted on the yellow sheet were the words: YOUR WIFE JUST DIED. . . .

"When I got back, I learned that Nettie had given birth to a boy. I swung between grief and joy. Yet that night, the baby died. I buried Nettie and our little boy together, in the same casket. Then I fell apart. For days I closeted myself. I felt that God had done me an injustice. I didn’t want to serve Him any more or write gospel songs. I just wanted to go back to that jazz world I once knew so well. . .

"But still I was lost in grief. Everyone was kind to me, especially a friend, Professor Frye, who seemed to know what I needed. On the following Saturday evening he took me up to Malone’s Poro College, a neighborhood music school. It was quiet; the late evening sun crept through the curtained windows. I sat down at the piano, and my hands began to browse over the keys."

(Click this for a beautiful performance of the song Take my Hand, Precious Lord by Joey and Rory.)

If You Want Me To. Through the years as I've tried to follow Jesus, I've found out that it's not easy. Not because of trifle matters like I'm missing out on some fun (as most people would like to think about Christians), which I don't, but because there are times that the road before me is not what I wanted to take. Like that time I got pregnant with my third child (read Motherhood for some background) and I had my head full of dreams. I was woken up to what was before me. I was scared. Then got a little bit resentful.

But God didn't allow me to stay in that state for along time. He showed me the wonderful adventure I would have with Him if I put my trust on Him, even when I didn't fully understand. I started to have a great time the moment I decided to enjoy the rollercoaster ride of life. This song stayed with me through it and in the many times I was confused and asking God to help me walk the road He has set out for me. The song echoes the verses I have come to know so well and it calmed my restless spirit.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil for you are with me.
(Psalm 23:4)

Later, I found out about the circumstances surrounding the song. And I loved it more.

Background: Ginny Owens wanted to be a music teacher, but most schools were not sure about hiring her because of her disability. She has been blind since she was two. In her frustration, she turned to God and dug down on His Word. In time, she became a songwriter and a singer, and a phenomenal one at that.

My favorite words from the song...

"The pathway is broken/The signs are unclear/And I can’t find the reason why 
You brought me here/But just because You love me the way that You do/I will walk 
through the valley/If You want me to."

(Watch Ginny sing live If You Want Me To.)

Steady My Heart. I recently had been going through a difficult time with family and I was in despair. But this got my heart listening... and singing... and twirling with my toddler... and growing steady. As the Bible said:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
 who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

And my favorite lines...

I know that You've got me right inside the palm of Your hands.

(Watch Kari Jobe share the story behind the song.)

Hallelujah. Many people has so much to say about the lyrics of this song. For myself, secular or spiritual, I find them real. Real, in the fact, that we all are broken and in need of a Redeemer. And one thing I am certain, all the "Hallelujahs" go to the Him, who is the only one worthy of all the hallelujahs that could be sung. I find that despite of what I do and what I say (at times they are not even congruent with each other), and what may be happening in my life--- broken or whole--- the only thing I can say is hallelujah. For what is there to say to the Almighty, the only one who gives life, and can heal and make us whole? Hallelujah!

The last verse has this lines...

“Even though it all went wrong, I stand before the Lord of Song, 
with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah”

With just a one-word chorus, and a melody that is beautiful, this song can easily lodge into one's mind. I can't help but praise God every time it's sang or played. And the verses of the song speaks of creativity given to man, of humanity's fallen nature, of being able to sing "Hallelujah" even in such a state.

Yet, we don't have to remain broken as this is not God's will for us. He desires that all of us will be healed.

He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, 
that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. 
By His wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24

We were all made for a relationship, with highest of all and the most intimate, is the relationship with our Creator and God. But oftentimes we substitute it with alcohol, drugs and sex and all kinds of addiction until we finally find the genuine one--- the One who can love us, even without accolades, possessions, or accomplishments; the Lord who created us with His own hands so we can know Him in a supernatural way.

Background: Many songs come out of tragedy or the lowest points in life as many of the songs listed here show. Leonard Cohen was then at the lowest of his career. It was reported that he wrote about 80 draft verses of the song. It didn't receive much attention until much later when other people sang it. Now it has become a classic. This is what he said at one time before he sang the song "Hallelujah":

"I know that there’s an eye that watches all of us. There is a judgment that weighs everything we do.
And before this great force which is greater than any government, I stand in awe and I kneel in respect. And it is to this great judgment, that I dedicate this next song: “Hallelujah”."

(Watch  Russian kids sing a different version of the song here, or Penatatonix's.)

Holy Captivated. The moment I heard the lyrics of this song, I went to get my guitar right away and tried playing it. It became a song dear to my heart, especially during the couple of years after my parents' disappearance. I was grieving badly for my parents at that time and, at the same time, praising God for saving my daughter, and taking care of a newborn and the older children mostly on my own. I was also, at the same time, trying to cope with the changes and frustrations of a new home and a family that was evolving so differently from what I wanted. Yes, it was overwhelming. But I have God. And as I sang, tears fell, and I could feel Him comforting, healing and giving me strength through each day. I kept hoping. I kept trusting. And He never failed me.

Nicole Mullen is a great singer and songwriter. She is a favorite. And so is this song. The first verse talks to what is close to my heart--- God's handiwork, nature. I love how God sends His message so loudly and clearly through nature. The second verse is what I call "the Mama verse". The third is about hope. Hope of seeing my loved ones again on the resurrection morning when Jesus comes again. Oh, yes, worthy, worthy is the Lamb!

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.
(Psalm 126:5)

(Watch Nicole Mullen's music video of the song here. Or watch my own rendition. By the way, I'm a novice guitarist and I didn't play for many years for the reason I stated above. This song made me sing and play again. 😊)

I hope you enjoy my short list... and keep on with your walk with God. Because this life, whether in sickness or health, in joy or sorrow, in wealth or poverty, is all about our journey in knowing Him, the Lord who made us for an intimate relationship with Him, in all our experiences and study of His Word, and in doing, we get to know ourselves and love life just as it is.

Be well. Stay blessed!

You may also like to read...

A Big God with a Big Heart
Praying My Marriage to True Love


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