Our first year of marriage, Doug and I were in a church that had home groups. Our home group was our family. Literally. We loved them and we felt loved by them.
There were two little ones in our home group – babies practically when we first started – that became our buddies. Little Ethan was the first baby to ever be drawn to Doug – and vice versa! The only time Ethan didn’t want to be around Doug was when he was singing.
Then there was BethAnn. This precious little girl was just a wisp of a thing, but her personality was huge. She was my little friend, and she delighted me to no end!
Doug and I both were on the praise team at church, as was BethAnn’s mother. Many times I would stand on stage holding BethAnn in one arm and a microphone in the other. She would nestle down so peacefully and hardly make a peep, and sometimes I would even forget she was there – although I would miss her when she wasn’t there.
Recently, I was working on a song for special music at church, and Steven asked to be picked up. As I scooped him up and held him while I sang, I thought of the many times I’d held BethAnn while singing. I chuckled to myself at the comparison of my big nearly 40-pound almost three-year-old in comparison to the little toddler BethAnn was at the time. And yet, as I held Steven and sang, he somehow didn’t feel nearly as heavy as usual. It almost felt as if as long as I was singing, I could hold him forever, just as I had once held BethAnn.
Praise makes a difference. A real difference. It moves our attention from our circumstances to our Savior. It reminds us how strong He is. How great He is. How much He can carry. The weights we lug around are still the same. But we are suddenly utilizing His strength to carry them, not just our own. And so, yes, even the physical burdens seem a little lighter when our attention is not focused on them.
This truth is not some incredible new revelation. It’s pretty foundational. But, I go through day after day forgetting it. I plod through life under heavy weights instead of lifting my eyes, heart, and voice up to the Lord. It’s precious to me how the Lord takes children – such as the one who lives with me daily and the other who I haven’t seen in years – and uses them as a reminder of His simplest truths. Out of the mouths of babes…