Ever noticed how listening to a song can take you right back to the emotions you were feeling when it first became important to you? Today’s been that kind of a day for me. I’ve been listening to my iPod in my office, and the last two songs were both Casting Crowns songs, albeit from two different albums. And each one brings back emotions at different points in my life.

The first is the song “If We’ve Ever Needed You” from the album Until the Whole World Hears. We had gone to their concert in October of 2009 and pre-ordered the CD there. It came in the mail just a few days before a really difficult period of ministry hit in our lives. I remember listening to the song over and over (long before the Christian radio stations started to over-play it) and crying, praying for forgiveness for our mistakes and for God to protect us. The line, “let Your church arise” would always get to me, because we felt very isolated.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzcPAOIOU7w

The second is the title track from their earlier album The Altar and the Door. I’ve posted the lyrics on this blog before, during our time in the hospital with Samantha last year. The lines that hit me most are these: “Somewhere between who I am and who You’re making me… somewhere in the middle you’ll find me,” and “Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender, without losing all control.” I was so caught in between the life I thought I was going to live and the life God was preparing me for. And for me, a first-born semi-control-freak, letting go of control in my life and especially letting go of control in my daughter’s life… it is and will remain the hardest thing I have EVER had to do. Even now I feel the tears coming to my eyes as I think about how desperate I felt, how hopeless and discouraged, how alone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVbhRbJ0s_Y

Despite feeling alone in both of these circumstances, God reminded me through these songs that He was there the whole time, and now He’s using these songs to remind me of His constant presence in my life. He’s given me hundreds of songs that remind me over and over again. Some are recordings on my iPod. Some are on the radio. Others are in the hymns and songs we sing in worship.

For many years now, I’ve resonated with Colossians 3:16, but I think it’s good to expand it to the surrounding verses 15-17:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Verse 16 is in purple. I can’t help but sing with gratitude to God, because He has brought us through so much. As I look at marriages crumbling all around us, I am so thankful that in the midst of these dark periods in our married life, God brought us through and made us stronger. For that, I am in constant awe.

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