The Power of a Song

20 June 2011

Most of you who know me know I love music…any kind – rock, classical, country, anything. I play the piano a lot in our home, and it often drives my kids (and husband) crazy. In fact, I found an email Tyler sent to Taylor on his mission last month that said something like, “Taylor, I can’t wait till you get home and start playing your guitar again. I’m sick of listening to mom play the piano all the time!” I have definitely not done a great job instilling a love for the arts in my boys!
So consequently, my favorite job in the church is the Primary Song Leader. I have been blessed enough to hold that calling for years, in a few different wards. I don’t care what anyone says, it’s probably the greatest calling in the church! Who couldn’t love being with all those smiling, unassuming angels for two hours every Sunday and listening to them sing their hearts out? I truly felt the Spirit every Sunday as they sang. A few years ago, one of the songs on the Primary Program was “How Firm a Foundation”, from the Hymnbook. I loved that song anyway, and as I taught that song to the children, I was always close to tears as they sang for me. I loved teaching it, and seeing their faces as I tried to understand what it meant, and feeling grown-up enough to sing a song from the adults songbook!  Now that I have a new calling and I don’t get to be with the children anymore, every time they sing that hymn in Sacrament Meeting and I hear all those extra voices singing a song they recognize, I get all emotional! I used to even jog to that song on my ipod and get emotional over it then! (Darren is rolling his eyes now, I’m sure.  It doesn’t much to get me emotional.) Maybe even back those years ago, Heavenly Father was preparing me for what was to come.
The first time I left the hospital after staying with Tyler for probably three days and nights straight, I got into my car, and completely exhausted, started heading for home. As I pulled out of the parking lot of PCMC, the CD player started in with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing the third verse of this song. (For those of you who do not own the ‘Called To Serve’ CD from the choir, go out and buy it today!). I was brought to tears by that verse and felt so comforted as they sang those powerful words. I kept rewinding that song all the way home, and actually sung (in my pathetic voice) along with the choir the whole drive. Somehow, I felt comforted by the time I got home and climbed into bed.
Later that week, some dear friends had brought me the book “Divine Signatures”, by Gerald N. Lund. As I opened up chapter three, on the first page – there it was, written out for me again. Isaiah 41:10, 13 – basically the third verse of “How Firm a Foundation”. In that chapter, it tells of a mother named Amanda Barnes Smith, who lost her husband and son in the Haun’s Mill Massacre. Another son was critically wounded, having his entire hip shot out at point black range by the mob.
She tells of her experience in her journal and her pleading with Heavenly Father to heal her son and asking for help on how to care for him. She was literally led to burn ashes from a certain tree and make a lye and saturate the wound. It helped to clean everything out. Then, directed again, she filled the wound with a poultice from an elm tree. Then she waited and prayed. Five weeks later, while out fetching water, she heard a scream from the house. Running towards the house, terrified, she then saw her son, dancing about the house, completely healed. He went on to serve a faithful mission and testified of the living God and His miracles.  Another testimony to me that a mother can pray for the well-being of her son, and God hears and answers her prayers…
I have loved that song for years, now it has a new meaning for me.  Here are the words to the third verse:

Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed.

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

I do know that while this trial is not going to be easy, it will teach our family what is important.  And we know that Heavenly Father is with us.  I have never doubted that, even in my darkest hours.  He has not left us alone to bear this burden.  And someday, when we’re allowed to look back over the path of this life, we will probably see that we were carried through more of it than we realize.  Thanks for your continued prayers on our family’s behalf.  We feel them and we lean on them every day.  We love you!

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