The inspiration to launch this new site came in the month of May. I started working on it in June. I launched it July 4th. The month of June was like a mental roller coaster. There were moments when I felt completely inspired, in the throws of creativity and nervous anticipation. Then suddenly, the tide of enthusiasm would turn and I’d be in the trenches of doubt, slugging it out with my inner critic, battling thoughts like, “who cares?” “what’s the point?” and wanting to stay safe. Obviously, after last week’s post, I’m learning not to cling to safety.
What got me through June and ultimately assured me to press the “publish” button on July 4th? Prayer. Lots of prayer. Fortunately, too, committing to sobriety meant that while I was praying, I was also much more attuned to my soul and God’s work around me. In the midst of addiction the senses are dulled, so it was wonderful to pray and actually hear God’s voice. All through the month of June, God kept dropping what I called “love bombs” on me, assuring me that the direction I was headed was the right one.
My daily prayers were for peace about the project and for it to be God-given. So much of the success of my sobriety has been because I finally gave up control, rocking out like Carrie Underwood and letting Jesus take the wheel.
A week before launch, I had a hardcore case of insecurity. I was worried that I was launching the site with wrong motives. I mean, I was naming the site after myself. Talk about vanity and self-service. So I prayed.
We’re all familiar with earworms. It’s that familiar phenomenon of getting a song stuck in your head. God answered my prayer with an earworm. The traditional church hymn Be Thou My Vision randomly kicked into my brain. It was on mental repeat and became a mantra for that week. Blogging, designing the site and asking God, “be thou my vision.”
Several days of the song running through my head, I sat down in the pew that Sunday and thumbed through the bulletin. Music is one of the ways I feel connected to God, so I typically check the hymns listed for that service, looking for old familiar favorites. Be Thou My Vision was the last song listed in communion. Of the hundreds of hymns that could have been selected by the Music Director that Sunday, it was that one.
To give context to a typical service at our church, all baptized Christians are welcomed to walk up to the front of the sanctuary to take communion during the designated time. While the rows of people are shuffled in and out, hymns are played to encourage reflection and worship. More specifically, the number of people present that day in church will usually dictate the number of communion songs that are sung. Music is typically only played for as long as it takes to get everyone in the congregation to walk up to the front, take the bread and wine and sit back down.
When I saw that the song God had put in my head that week was the fourth listed, I did a quick survey over the crowd. It only looked like a three-song sized crowd, but I hoped maybe I would get lucky.
Time came for communion. I usually sit near the front, so I’m up to the rail and back to my seat before the end of the first song. As I went up to take communion, I felt a challenge. A question in my heart, “do you trust God?” At that moment, I knew I needed to step out in faith and trust Him. He made the whole universe. He certainly has influence over whether or not we sing the fourth song in the communion hymn lineup. I can trust him to deliver this song during this service, and I can trust him in the launch of the website.
I sat down and sang through the second and third songs, watching the line to the altar dwindle. It was clear everyone would be seated by the end of the third song, meaning we wouldn’t get to Be Thou My Vision. I then looked to the front where the song leader/pianist was playing the final flourishes of the third song. He shot an inquisitive glance to the Music Director, as if to say, “do I play the last song?” The Director motioned to him, which I interpreted as “no, wrap it up,” but then suddenly the piano rang out with the rousing intro to the song on my heart. The pianist shrugged and on he played with the congregation following along, line by line. I was hit with a love bomb. For the three minutes of that song, God brought me into a moment of peace and total security. I sang at the top of my lungs, a song I have known since I was little. Finally, after 33 years, I understood its meaning. God told me, “Don’t worry kid, I’ve got it. It’s all good. Do the website. I’ve got it under control.”
It was a collection of unlikely moments, strung together that brought me to a moment of pure joy. My inner skeptic says, “nah, it just happened by random chance.” But, my inner-child and faith says, “yes, this moment was made special, just for me!” Because Jesus loves me.
Gold talks through all sorts of unlikely moments, through songs, through art, through people. I’m thankful He has taught me to listen.
Be Thou My Vision
- Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
- Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
- Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
- Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
- High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.