I grew up in a house filled with music. My mom and dad loved to watch The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights, Lawrence Welk on Sunday evenings, and The Happy Goodman Family on Sunday mornings while we were all getting ready for Sunday School. My mom sang to us at bedtime, and when she wasn’t at the piano playing and singing, she was sitting in her favorite chair humming to herself and writing songs. My sister and I sang a couple of those songs at church when we were little girls. I can’t remember my mother without thinking about her love of music.
One of her favorite hymns was “Until Then,” one of the birthday hymns we sang in services not long ago. I stood there and belted it out with tears spilling onto my cheeks; I could see her sitting at the piano playing and singing that song. As I sang along with the lyrics, the first line of the chorus struck me, and I had an epiphany. The line says, “But until then, my heart will go on singing,” That line sums up my mom’s faith, her outlook on life, her life itself, better than any other words that have been written or spoken about her.
My mom didn’t have an easy life. She struck out on her own when she was 16, living and working in Washington, DC, alone and a long way from home. Young and inexperienced, she found herself in difficult situations from time to time, but somehow the Lord always sent someone to help her out, to offer good advice just when she needed it. Still, she was naive and lonely, and that first taste of independence didn’t come without difficulty. Throughout the course of her life she endured being raped, financial struggles, the loss of her first child from complications during childbirth, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In spite of those dark times, however, my mom never lost her faith, never lost her hope, never gave up believing that God was somehow working it all out for good. That’s the lesson she taught us, my sister and me. No matter what hardship tried to knock her down, she responded with a song. She praised the Lord with the music she loved, and His mercies saw her through.
I’m grateful every day for my mother and for the love of music she instilled in me. I’m grateful for that unwavering faith that taught me that God is faithful, that He can be trusted no matter how much Satan tries to drag us into the depths of despair. I haven’t had to endure anything as heartbreaking as Mama had to endure, but the way she lived her life still resonates in my spirit when I do face uncertain times. My mother’s heart went right on singing, no matter what. I sing all the time, too, and I praise the Father in whom I have placed my faith as I do. Maybe the lesson Mama taught me can be a reminder to all of us. The Word says that the Father inhabits the praises of His people, so the next time you’re faith is burning a bit low, do what my mom did. Sing!