Monthly Archives: March 2013

HymnServe.com – Life and Work

Time spent alone, brought unexpected rewards.hs-home-01

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@hymnserve.com

Elaine is the founder of hymnserve.com. Her website provides downloadable hymn accompaniment for congregations, small groups and individuals.

HymnServe.com – When Dad Died

100_0804by Elaine@hymnserve.com

The songs we sang around his bed helped us to see him off.

We were there, Mom, my husband Dan and I, my brother Vern and his wife Connie, and Betty, our hospice minister, an long time friend of ours.  I had spent the night in the room keeping watch for Dad.  The nurse would come in periodically during the night and hoist him up on her shoulder and turn him over.  He couldn’t help, just lay limp over her.  This was a man of 98 leaving behind many years of faithful giving of his life to Christian ministry and to God to use in any way possible.  Vernon and Connie went down the hall to run an errand around 11 am.

It was then that I saw what the hospice people had alerted us to, Dad missing some breaths, a kind of apnea.  I told Betty.  She glanced at him and darted out of the room calling loudly for Vernon and Connie to come back.  I had been very brave all along, keeping my hand on Dad’s shoulder, telling him he would soon be seeing his Mom, Dad, Sister, old friends.  But then as we all stood around the bed I crumbled and cried out in such a way I had not heard before, such heavy weeping clutching my Mom and my husband.  Then in a moment of clarity, I stopped and said to my brother, “We can’t do it this way can we?  He shook his head, no. I said, “Let’s sing.”

A HYMN TO HELP

So through tears we sang the first thing that came to mind.  It was for Dad’s sake to comfort him and give him courage, this old, old song:

     Won’t it be wonderful there! Having no burdens to bear, Joyously singing with heart bells all ringing, Oh won’t it be wonderful there!

Then for our own sake and Dad’s too, we sang:

‘Tis So Sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at his word, Just to rest upon his promise, Just to know thus saith the Lord.

     Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him, How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er, Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus, Oh for grace to trust Him more.

And the second verse.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Him, Precious Jesus, Savior Friend, And I know that Thou art with me, Will be with me to the end.

Not realizing how fitting that last line would be now, we had started the song just because it came to mind.  How poignant those words were in that sacred moment when Dad was getting ready to go away from us!

Then Vern said, “Do you suppose we could remember the words to The King is Coming?”  This is the song that Dad sang with such anointing and authority until he became known all around for singing it.  People would say, “Oh, could Brother Clark sing The King is Coming?”  And Mother always played the piano.

We started off,

The King is Coming in Glory to catch His bride away, It may be in the morning, it may be at midday, At the even, or midnight the trump will sound so clear, The dead in Christ and we who live His voice shall hear!

     The King is coming, hallelujah, He’s coming in the air, The fig tree is budding, the signs are everywhere, The saints are looking, ever upward, as they journey on their way, He’s coming, hallelujah! to catch his bride away.

It was during this song that so many times people would ask him to sing, that he went away from us.

I  never really had to grieve like that again.  He was ready to go, his life spoke so eloquently to everyone, it was a celebration of a life well lived.  And the last song we sang put everything in proper order and served a reminder to us.  We will see him again.

I love you, Dad.

– Elaine@hymnserve.com

Elaine is the founder of hymnserve.com. Her website provides downloadable hymn accompaniment for congregations, small groups and individuals.