- Sonya Leigh Anderson
Updated: 3 days ago
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
Recently I experienced an unexpected Holy Spirit moment. It was so out of the blue, I can’t even remember the circumstances. It wasn’t something I’d been thinking about at all—then, or leading up to it. As I recall, I was simply going about my business when this Spirit thought entered my mind, and my response was both physical and verbal. I looked up suddenly from whatever I’d been doing, and I exclaimed out loud, “Oh!” And then I returned to my task as if nothing had happened.
I remember the gist of the thought, more than its exact substance. It was something along the lines of: I’m going to restore your delight in singing.
Regardless of the precise phrasing, it was a cognitive thought packed with meaning. Because there was a time in my life…especially in my youth…when my greatest obsession was singing.
Lately I’ve been remembering and writing about childhood. Endless summer, love of books, memories of woodland and farm. But if you were to ask my mom what she remembers about my childhood she would immediately mention singing. I was a child who loved to sing. And loudly.
I am quite certain I’ve told the story here before about little girl me in our small town church choir singing with so much gusto the child next to me stood throughout our entire performance with fingers inserted deep in her ears. Little Miss Amy Paulson blurting out at the end of our Sunday school medley, “You’z mixed me all up!” And my mom cracking up with laughter. Still.
Yes. I loved to sing.
Mom recalls, too, my willingness to help with the household vacuuming (apparently without being asked) while joyfully singing above the noise. I don’t actually remember this, but it doesn’t surprise me, based on my current enjoyment of both occupations. Mom reminisces, too, about the hours I spent at our old upright piano, playing (poorly…my assessment, not hers) while singing my heart out.
Not only was I enthusiastic, but quite precocious. I was a confident singer, always willing to take the stage. I sang solos at church and in my school choir and for all variety of talent competitions. I sang at Bible camp and 4H “Share the Fun” and for a musical theater group called CCYA (Choir and Company of Young Artists.) I even remember an embarrassing performance my junior year of high school singing “I Feel Pretty” for a local Jr. Miss scholarship pageant. Goodness. I did love singing. I honestly have no idea if I was any good at all, but I sure was whole-hearted.
My first year of college I auditioned for Concert Choir with a bad case of laryngitis and was selected instead for the Women’s Ensemble. This demotion ended up being a boon times two. It was there I met my (to this day) Bestie, Michelle, and then as freshmen we toured Great Britain together with the Bethel College Women’s Choir. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.
My last real memories of singing in an official capacity would have been the early days at our Andover church. I spent my young adult years serving on worship teams and soloing in church musicals, and for a time I sang in a trio with a couple of “blond sisters.” And then came the day when I felt God telling me it was time to lay it down. At least for a season.
This was the season when God was working a miracle in my life— dealing with my pride and the other P’s— and it was time for me to step off the stage. And honestly, I did it gladly. He was calling me in other directions and I was ready.
Years have passed and while I’ve continued to lend my voice to worship singing on Sunday mornings with various congregations, my joy has shifted from participation to appreciation. God’s greatest gift to me in recent years has been the delightful surprise of seeing my own sons develop as singing musicians. And I have been overwhelmingly content to sit on the sidelines taking it in.
And then. This Holy Spirit whisper. Stirring. Reminding. Waking a long-buried seed of a former passion. And I wonder.
What does it mean?