Thursday, September 30, 2010

Make a Joyful Noise

About the age of ten I could sing harmony, mostly alto sometimes tenor. I took piano lessons so I could read music but I didn't have to read the notes, I heard parts in my head. I loved to sing! One of my favorite things at the summer camp I attended from age ten through seventeen was the daily event of hymn time. I always wanted to sit near the front, even when I was in my teens and had a camp boyfriend who was way too cool to sit near the front of hymn time! My dad always picked me up from camp and my sisters and I would sing every new song we had learned during the camp session on the drive home. Dad could whistle like a bird sings and it was a good thing because he could not remember lyrics! He was always impressed that we remembered the words! I loved the " Sound of Music " and my piano teacher ordered me a book with all the songs from the movie. With that I could accompany myself singing and did I ever love that! Sometimes I was goofy enough to sing in my room with the door closed using a hairbrush as a microphone! I took chorus in high school but even with this passion for singing I didn't really consider myself a singer. I was the cheerleader/athlete type which shaped the identity of myself more than music. That identity kept me from participating in one of the choruses in college which I regret to this day. But during that phase of life I started dating this guy whose single most important love was music. On one of our early dates we were in the park and he brought his guitar along. He wanted to hear me sing and I asked if singing was like a prerequisite or something? I finally gave in but said he couldn't look at me while I sang! That afternoon opened up a part of me that led to some of the best and most rewarding moments in my life! Singing did become part of my adult identity, ministry, and fulfilled the passion I had felt all my life! I sang with Jeff and friends, I sang to our babies, I sang backup in a recording studio, I sang as part of a western chuck wagon dinner/stage show we were part of starting, and I eventually sang with a contemporary Christian group which committed to weekly rehearsals, recorded several albums ( yes albums, then cassettes, and eventually CD's, and I know many of you reading this remembers that order! ) and traveled frequently on weekends to sing in multiple settings. In my pharmaceutical tenure we sang Christmas carols in three part harmony to doctors, staff, and patients in the waiting room
which was as fun as being Santa Claus! I have spent countless hours rehearsing before any presentation was made. In December 2009,
while singing on the worship team one Sunday morning, I noticed my voice seemed different. This was in the beginning of experiencing an occasional speech mishap and while driving home that day I realized my speech/singing ability was in jeopardy and I began weeping. What had been as natural as breathing to me is now gone. That is like telling a bird not to sing, a dog not to bark, a rooster not to crow! Take away those traits from each creature and what is left? Psalm 96:1 says " sing to the Lord a new song " and in one way that is definitely what I do now. Really, it isn't so pleasant to hear what comes out of my mouth these days! But in Psalm 95, 98, and 100 of the English Standard Version Translation the phrase, " make a joyful noise " appears which is great comfort for me because " noise " is exactly what comes out of my mouth! Occasionally because singing takes place in your head as well as your vocal chords I can think myself to hit a certain note but other than that it is noise! I have found that my noise will eventually hit/blend with the melody/harmony for a note or two and I have to admit it makes me giggle inside! Never before has the scripture in Ephesians 5:19 that says " sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord " been such a comfort to me! I mean what if my ability to sing was the only way to worship God? The goal of singing is not to be heard or to sound pleasing to others but to praise the creator of our voices! I am so thankful that worship takes place in my heart and mind, not totally through my ability to sing. Because of this my worship has not changed at all! Consider how we greet someone we love. We get excited, embrace them, and exclaim words of joy because of our feelings for this person. Our approach to our Lord and Savior should be the same! I hope this encourages anyone that holds back because of their lack of singing ability! Verse 20 of the same chapter says to " always give thanks to God the Father for everything.". I am still working on that part but when I consider these words from this song I am inspired to try! " Our God saves, there is hope in Your name, mourning turns to songs of praise, our God saves!"


  1. I LOVE your blogs....don't know you personally, but you are an amazing woman. God bless you!

    Clara Carger

  2. I have always looooved your voice, Nancy. When we still lived in Little Rock, I always got excited when I sat down for worship at LRC and saw you and Kathleen were on the worship team that day...two of my favorite women and voices to listen to. I have cried (even before today) thinking about how hard it must be for you to not be able to sing like you want to any more. I know it's something that you and Jeff have always loved to do together.

    Your post was awesome and I especially loved the verses you quoted in the last several sentences.

    Love you!

  3. One of the great joys of my life has been to sing with you.