“Don’t Give Up (On The Brink Of A Miracle)” by Mike Adkins

I have shared two of the three songs I loved hearing the Hicks sing at a Southern Gospel Jubilee years ago.  The first two were “No Need To Doubt Him Now” and “In His Time.”  The third is what I call a fighting song.  I love the words.  Fighting songs keep you going when things look bleak and the results don’t seem very promising.     

“Don’t Give Up (On The Brink Of A Miracle)”

By Mike Adkins

 

Satan would have you look

at the trials of life that surround you,

And he tries to appear, and he brings

doubt and fear all around you.

Don’t look with your eye or listen with your ear.

Just cry out to God; He is always near,

And in your darkest hour, your miracle is here.

 

Oh, the devil is a thief

and he sends these troubles to confound you.

And he lies and he says,

“This time there’s no way you’ll make it through.”

But you remember God’s true Word, the battle is the Lord’s.

Don’t give in to fear; Think on things that are pure.

And praise the Lord, you’re miracle is here.

 

Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.

Don’t give in; God is still on His throne.

Oh, don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.

Don’t give in; Remember you’re not alone.

 

On February 2nd of 2005, we had our first IVF-ICSI attempt.  I woke up feeling like something good was about to happen – our embryo transfer was at 10:45 am.  I was staying at my sister and brother-in-law’s house, and my sweet, five-year old nephew gave me two roses, one a melon color and the other yellow.  How special he (and my sister) made me feel!

The embryologist had called the day before and said we would have a transfer in the morning; one morula was ready, and he thought the 10-cell would be ready so we could transfer two.  The other two embryos had slowed down, but we were hoping they would be able to freeze them if they reached blastocyst by day 6 – the day after transfer.

At the procedure, I saw my embryos on a TV screen.  For some reason, I wrote in my journal that it was neat but not as exciting as I thought it would be.  My doctor mentioned that they were morulas, not blastocysts (optimum maturity) and that probably had to do with the condition of my eggs.  The other two embryos did not continue to develop.  This really discouraged me, and after we were alone, I cried.  I woke up at 4 am the next morning to use the bathroom and cried some more.  I sang to myself the songs I heard the Hicks sing – “No Need To Doubt Him Now” and “Don’t Give Up On The Brink Of A Miracle,” as well as Guy Penrod singing “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About To Happen.”  I quoted Psalm 113 and my poem of faith, rejoicing, and trust, and then I remembered the words of a friend, “Stay encouraged, stay in His Word, and praise Him.”  God brought to mind our pastor’s most recent sermon from James.  I didn’t want my faith to be like the wind, driven by circumstances.  Faith and tears of doubt don’t go together.  I was encouraged in the Lord.

Yet, eight days later, my results were negative.  It was hard to hear.  My husband’s words were that he was still confident I would get pregnant, so we would just sail on.  We didn’t give up.

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“Joy Comes In The Morning” by William & Gloria Gaither

This song is special to me.  It goes along with Post Gaudius Luctus – Joy Succeeds Sorrow.  My husband’s quartet used to sing this song.  My mom sent me the music to this song to encourage me early on, and the fact that my parents named me Joy gives it even deeper meaning to me.  Shortly after my first laparoscopy – my first “darkest hour” in discovering I had Stage IV endometriosis – my mother-in-law called me and said she was listening to this song in her car and she just cried as she realized this song was for me.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

Joy Comes In The Morning

Words by William J. & Gloria Gaither

 

If you’ve knelt beside the rubble of an aching, broken heart,

When the things you gave your life to fell apart,

You’re not the first to be acquainted with sorrow, grief or pain,

But the Master promised sunshine after rain.

 

To invest your seed of trust in God in mountains you can’t move,

You have risked your life on things you cannot prove;

But to give the things you cannot keep for what you cannot lose

Is the way to find the joy God has for you.

 

Hold on, my child, joy comes in the morning;

Weeping only lasts for the night.

Hold on, my child, joy comes in the morning;

The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.

Hold on, my child!

Be A Self-Encourager: Encouraging Yourself Through Song: “Day By Day And With Each Passing Moment” by Carolina Sandell Berg

Earlier, I wrote how “It Is Well With My Soul” was one hymn that has held special meaning for me.  “Day By Day” is the other classic hymn that has encouraged me.  Our choir has often sung it.  In my journal, I had written about a particular instance in July 2003 when we were practicing it.  I wanted to mean the words I was singing, and the tears started to flow.  I tried to control it, but they just wouldn’t stop.  After excusing myself, I tried to leave the building and go home, but a friend spotted me and wouldn’t let me sneak out.  Instead we talked in an office, where she said she prays for me every day.  She encouraged me that day and made me laugh, too.

When our choir practiced the next Sunday as final preparation before the service, I realized I must not have been the only one down in my spirit.  Our music director said it wasn’t supposed to be a grievous, mourning song, so smile!  I thought of that the whole song through, and made it, praise the Lord.

“Day By Day” was written by Lina Sandell, the daughter of a Swedish Lutheran minister.  She was stricken with a paralysis as a young child.  In 1858, at the age of 26, Lina was accompanying her father aboard a ship from Jonkoping to Gothenberg across Lake Vattern. The ship gave a sudden lurch, which caused her father to fall overboard and drown before her very eyes.  Sources often give this tragic event as the motivation for the writing of this hymn, which reflects a simple child-like trust in Christ and a deep sense of his abiding presence, despite adversity.

 ~

 Day by Day And With Each Passing Moment

Words by Carolina Sandell Berg

Tr. Andrew L. Skoog

Music by Oscar Ahnfelt

~

Day by day and with each passing moment,

Strength I find to meet my trials here;

Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,

I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure

Gives unto each day what He deems best;

Lovingly, it’s part of pain and pleasure,

Mingling toil with peace and rest.

~

Every day the Lord Himself is near me

With a special mercy for each hour.

All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,

He whose name is Counselor and Power.

The protection of His child and treasure

Is a charge that on Himself He laid;

“As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,”

This the pledge to me He made.

~

Help me then in every tribulation

So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,

That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation

Offered me within Thy holy word.

Help me Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,

E’er to take, as from a  father’s hand,

One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,

Till I reach the promised land.

~

Day By Day by Maya Uniputty

Although only the first verse is in English, this woman’s voice is beautiful.

Day By Day piano by Mattias Nilsson

Be A Self-Encourager: Encouraging Yourself Through Song – “It Is Well With My Soul” by Horatio Spafford

We have learned to encourage ourselves through solitude with God and through Scripture, particularly the Psalms.  Lastly, we can encourage ourselves through song.

Ephesians 5:19 shows us how to be filled with the Spirit, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

“God’s people have reason to rejoice, and to sing for joy.  They are to sing and to make melody in their hearts; not only with their voices, but with inward affection, and then their doing this will be as delightful and acceptable to God as music is to us: and it must be with a design to please Him, and to promote His glory, that we do this; and then it will be done to the Lord.”  Matthew Henry

I enjoy current gospel music.  Many songs have encouraged me and lifted my spirits, but my favorites are the enduring hymns.  They are classic and they don’t sound dated.  Two hymns in particular ministered to me the most during my journey of infertility.  I wrote about it many times in my journal.  One of them is “It Is Well With My Soul”.

The story behind the writing of “It Is Well With My Soul” is perhaps a familiar one.  Elisabeth Elliot’s Secure in the Everlasting Arms presents it in more detail than I have ever heard in the past.

The great Chicago fire of the 1870s caused Horatio Spafford, a wealthy businessman, to take stock in his life.  Wanting to know Jesus better, he decided to sell everything and move to the land where He had walked.  Shortly before the ship sailed, he was delayed by business, but took the family to New York.  For some reason he was unable to explain, he had the purser change their cabin, moving them closer to the bow.  He returned to Chicago to finish his business.  Then came a telegram: SAVED ALONE.  The ship had sunk.  Mrs. Spafford had survived.  Their four daughters had perished.  Had they been in the cabin originally reserved amidships, all five would have drowned, for it was there that the steamer had been struck by another vessel.

Mrs. Spafford described that terrible black night when she and her four little girls were flung into the cold sea.  Frantically, she had tried to save them.  Barely, she had been able to touch with her fingertips the hem of the little gown of one, but could not grasp it.  She herself had been miraculously rescued as she floated unconscious on a piece of flotsam.

During Mr. Spafford’s voyage to join his wife in France, the captain summoned him one day to the bridge.  Pointing to his charts he explained that it was just here, where they were at that moment, that the other ship had gone down.  Spafford returned to his cabin and wrote the hymn, which has comforted countless thousands.  Mrs. Bertha Spafford Vester, the fifth daughter of Horatio and Mrs. Spafford, who was not born until after the tragedy, told this story to Mrs. Elliot.  What a joy to know God blessed them with another daughter!

 ~

 It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll.  Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. 

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control, that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate and hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

My sin – O the bliss of this glorious thought, my sin, not in part, but the whole is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more: Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll: The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, “Even so” – it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well with my soul. 

 ~

“It Is Well With My Soul” performed by Chris Rice

~

Piano by Greg Howlett

Early in 2003, I had my final attempt at ovulation induction with IUI.  It didn’t work.  I was still struggling to accept it might not be God’s will for me to get pregnant.  Adoption was next, and IVF was not yet in the picture.

This is what I wrote in my journal on March 12, 2003 – “Weepy day.  I cried at work a little and then at home.  Greg told me not to go to church tonight, but I showered and felt better so I went.  Greg wanted to pray with me.  He told me a lot of things the Lord had laid on my heart this very day.  I had to face reality that I thought God let me down.  Greg said it was the first time he sensed from me that I doubted God.  That hurts, and I’m ashamed of feeling that way.  Janice talked to me afterward because she saw me bawling.  Teri asked Greg about me.  Greg and Janice both said I was going through the grieving of my loss and that was natural.  I want to be at peace and say, ‘It is well with my soul.’ ”

“To love God is to love His will.  That which He gives we receive.  That which He takes away we relinquish.  He unfailingly allots grace in the measure needed.  It is for us to choose to receive or refuse it.  Our joy or our misery will depend on that choice.”  Elisabeth Elliot from “Whatever My Lot”, Secure in the Everlasting Arms

“Be Still, My Soul” by Katharina von Schlegel

Lately, I’ve been listening to Meditation – Hymnscapes Volume 3 by David Huff/Crossroads Music.  I am enjoying the instrumental hymns, whether it is for personal devotions, creating a peaceful environment in my home, or in my yoga class, which is where I first heard the CD.  The familiar hymns have ministered to my soul, such as “I Surrender All,” “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” “Count Your Blessings,” and “Just As I Am.”  As I began listening to them all, however, I picked up a hymnal to read the lyrics with which I was not familiar.  The song I have been drawn to lately is “Be Still, My Soul.”

It is a hymn that gives me peace and comfort, as if God is reassuring us as His children not to fret, but to rest in Him.  May the message lift your heart as I share them today.

“Be Still, My Soul”

Finlandia

Katharina von Schlegel

Be still, my soul – the Lord is on thy side!  

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to thy God to order and provide –

In every change, He faithful will remain.  

Be still my soul – thy best, thy heavenly Friend

Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end. 

~~~~~

Be still, my soul –  thy God doth undertake

To guide the future as He has the past;

Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake – 

All now mysterious shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul – the waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

~~~~~

Be still, my soul – the hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord,

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,

Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.

Be still, my soul – when change and tears are past,

All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Note: YouTube has many beautiful arrangements of this hymn, both vocal instrumental.  The Hymnscapes collection can be purchased at Mardel or online on different websites.  I purchased Volumes 3 – Meditation & 4 – Prayer together on Amazon.com.

 

“I Choose” by Rodney Griffin

The message of this song goes straight to the heart of anyone who is hurting, no matter the trial.  I only recently heard it as my husband had been listening to it on YouTube and ordered the music to sing in church.  May the words of the talented songwriter, Rodney Griffin, encourage you today and may God smile down on you as you choose!

“I Choose”

by Rodney Griffin

Master, may I be so honest?  Could I admit the way I feel?
I’m hurting.  It seems that You’ve forsaken.
I wonder, is Your love for me still real?
Though my friends think I am happy, unaffected by this trial,
they can’t see the pain I’m hiding just underneath my smile.
Master, I can’t live this way anymore.  So, today, I make my choice.

I choose to believe that You are faithful, and my heart is in Your hands,
and this mystery that I face today is part of a greater plan.
I choose not to be discouraged when the sun will not break through.
I have the choice of trusting You.  So, Lord, this is what I choose.

I know the road will not be easy.  I know I’ll have my weaker days.
And Satan will tell me I don’t mean it when I say I’ll trust God all the way.
But that really doesn’t matter.  I refuse to hear him out.
With my faith, I’ll find the power that will overcome all doubt.
Lord, I’ve never felt so strong as when I’m resting in Your arms.

I choose to believe that You are faithful, and my heart is in Your hands,
and this mystery that I face today is part of a greater plan.
I choose not to be discouraged when the sun will not break through.
I have the choice of trusting You.  So, Lord, this is what I choose.

I choose to believe that You are faithful, and my heart is in Your hands,
and this mystery that I face today is part of a greater plan.
I choose not to be discouraged when the sun will not break through.
I have the choice of trusting You.  So, Lord, this is what I choose.
This is what I choose.  Gonna trust You, Lord.  I choose!

Here is a link to the song on YouTube:

“I Choose” sung by Ivan Parker

“God Makes No Mistakes” by Kim Moore

Someone in our church used to sing this beautiful song;  It would bring tears to my eyes but always encouraged me to keep trusting in the Lord.

God Makes No Mistakes

Words and Music by Kim Moore

Arranged by Mac Lynch

Verse 1

My life I give to you, O Lord;

Use me, I pray.

May I glorify your precious name

In all I do and say.

Let me trust you in the valley dark,

As well as in the light,

Knowing you will always lead me;

Your will is always right.

Verse 2

And when someday in heaven above

I see his dear face,

May I then be counted faithful

As a runner in this race.

But now I’m trusting in the Savior

To show me the way.

In his righteousness he guides me,

As I seek to please him day by day.

Chorus

I know God makes no mistakes,

He leads in every path I take

Along the way that’s leading me to home.

Though at times my heart would break,

There’s a purpose in every change he makes.

That others would see my life and know

That God makes no mistakes.

I know.

God Makes No Mistakes as sung by Mac & Debi Lynch

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