Down inside, I always knew I could do everything–have it all and do it all– if I just worked hard enough and longer than others if necessary. This served me well enough through high school, then college. I kept this philosophy after marriage and children.
But then the day came when I began to break down under the load. The struggle was getting more intense. Things were difficult at work. Our boys were having to do too much on their own. My husband was extremely busy too. We were both climbing. . .climbing up on our separate poles of life. Things finally came to a head and I felt that I needed to stop my too busy life. I would give up my college teaching, my main work for 9 years of the past. Leaving the bulk of it all behind I knew I was simply ‘going home.’ Back to the home to pay attention to my family and my husband.
It was surprising how the three of them kind of ‘came home’ too when I did. Somehow there was a core there again, in our home. This was a whole new page to my life, a very quiet page, and one where I had more time to read the scriptures and pray again. So I found a listening ear during those quiet times. It would be an audience of one, Jesus would hear. Definitely I felt I was ‘put on the shelf.’ There was no need to follow a strict schedule, such a change from before.
Those devotional times became very special. I would sing the Psalms. Did you ever do that, just select a Psalm that spoke to you and begin making up a melody and singing it? With music and teaching as the focus of my up until then, now I began to sit at the piano and sing little melodies and make up the words during my devotions.
One day, I was singing from the scripture the words “my times are in thy hands.” These are words of comfort and oh how I needed comfort. This time when I was singing, the most lovely words came out of my mouth. I had the distinct feeling that I hadn’t formed them myself. They just came out. And they were beautiful. Here they are:
Consider the lily, does it toil or spin, or strain over clothes and food, Oh father you see even the sparrow that falls, and you know my name too.
My times are in Thy hands, Lord, My times are in Thy hands, Thou wilt establish my work, Father, My times are in Thy hands.
When I heard the words, I burst into tears and lay my head down on the piano and wept. The message in the words was a great comfort and I knew it was a gift to me from the Father above for that day and time in my life. I gave up very meaningful work, but Jesus would establish my work for me now, a great promise for the future. I said, “Lord, I hope my singing is acceptable to you, because You will be the only one hearing it.” Then an unusual thing happened. In my mind I heard immediately a sentence that was dropped there without the usual thought patterns that lead up to the next thought. It was, “You are becoming acceptable to me, and you’ll always be singing just for me.”
That was a long time ago, but I have held that in my heart ever since. There have been various opportunities to sing when other people were around, but always I knew that my real audience was my Father in heaven. Yes, I know He likes my singing. He likes it when it is heartfelt and real. If it pleases him, then everything else falls into place.
My CD was recorded a few years ago. “There’s a New Song in the Morning” is the name of it and it is made up mainly of songs that I have written. I never aspired to compose songs and even now I don’t think of myself as a song writer. No, they were given to me by a loving Father above at a time when I needed them the most. I intend to live life this way, allowing Him to ‘establish my work’ always, because. . . my times are in His hands.
Elaine is the founder of hymnserve.com. Her website provides downloadable hymn accompaniment for congregations, small groups and individuals.