By Gina Grizzle
My precious nine-month-old daughter was wailing. I mean, totally out of control. She’d been battling ear infections and new teeth and all the things babies hate. We followed the usual bedtime routines, and still she could not settle. She was gasping and hiccupping and looking desperately at her daddy, as if to say, “Please, could you help me here!” When all else failed, and after almost an hour, I tucked her sweet little body into bed, sat beside her, and began to sing. I started with “You Are My Sunshine” and ended with a few old hymns. She began to calm and fell fast asleep for twelve hours.
I’m not saying this always works. But today she needed to hear Mama singing. And I was happy and blessed to give her that gift.
Singing is scientifically proven to be helpful in many ways. It relaxes the body and blocks cortisol, which is a stress hormone; it can promote a let down of milk in a nursing mother; and hearing music or singing is especially beneficial for treating people with dementia. Recently, I’ve discovered the numerous times we’re encouraged or even commanded to sing in Scripture.
We are to sing praise, and with joy. Songs of thanksgiving and proclamation of the gospel should pass our lips. We can sing in times of mourning and grief, and when we need comfort. In times of war, both battle and victory songs are sung. When we are alone, for either praise or lament, God tells us to sing. With other believers, we are to raise our voices, and we are to sing even in prison, bondage, or chains.
Music is no doubt a gift from our Creator. He desires music to bless us and inspire, to heal and comfort. Whether or not you sound good or are trained to sing, just do it. The heart healing it brings is worth the effort.
Sometimes I can’t help but sing. It seems to carry me through. I have sung us through nine moves and times of great uncertainty. When I’m afraid of the future, I usually get stuck repeating a few songs over and again to myself and my family. They become like theme songs for that season of life. Now that a few years have passed, those songs hold great memories and meaning to us all. Even if my family doesn’t want to hear my singing, they do, simply because they live with me. In 2016, I sang through a difficult pregnancy because I felt I had to. It seemed like one of the only ways to bring comfort to both me and my unborn daughter. And a few months later, when I held her, she knew my voice and the songs I had sung. She recognized what she heard in the womb. It was precious.
Through miscarriage, the death of loved ones, exciting times in life, marriages, the birth of babies, scary times and the best times, we sing. I have play lists for snowy days, birthdays, holy days, and regular days.
If you are weary or afraid, if your heart feels dead or the worst things you could imagine are happening to you, I encourage you to sing. No one has to hear. Sing to the God of the universe, whom the Bible says is right now rejoicing over you with singing. Oh, imagine that for a moment. He sings over you. What a glorious thought. Sing in lament, or as a prayer for mercy. Sing for comfort, the songs that have always made you feel safe. Just begin to squeak it out, and the rest will come easy. Sing softly or loudly. And if you cannot sing, let someone else do it for you. Play recordings and rest. But spend some time in the healing presence of music.
And if your cup is overflowing and you’re feeling more than victorious, sing so loud your friends and family are embarrassed. Sing for joy. Sing praise. Just sing.
“I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you” (Psalm 59:16–17 NIV).
Gina Grizzle is a wife, mama, and aspiring writer who has a passion to share her life with other women in order to encourage them to be the best they can for the kingdom. At home in East Tennessee, Gina loves to fluff her nest, squeeze her sweet kids, and read books. She blogs at ginagrizzle.blogspot.com.
Photograph © MD Duran, used with permission