Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 15: Take My Life and Let It Be

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Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.

We are almost half way through 31 Days of Hymns I Love, and I feel like I should explain something. I did mention it briefly in the introduction to this series, but I should go into a little more detail.

I am not a singer.

In fact, I used to be one of those people who barely mumbled her way through church singing. It didn't matter what kind of service, traditional or contemporary. I was terrified to sing in public. So how did I go from a mumbler who couldn't name five hymns to someone who sang hymns to her kids every night and who now belts out the hymns in church, and is now writing a series about all the hymns she loves? I even helped lead the children's choir at church for a few years -- mumblers don't do that!

First, it was a gradual process. Once Marc and I got married and started attending church on a regular basis, I started becoming more familiar with the traditional hymns, so just hearing them more frequently helped. Bible Study Fellowship exposed me to even more and probably kindled my actual love for hymns. But I was still a mumbler.

Serving as a children's leader in BSF was the turning point. My first year of serving in the preschool program I was paired with a music teacher of all people. She had been taking a break from teaching to stay home with her kids, but she is now back in teaching -- a choir director to middle schoolers, I believe. She had a gorgeous voice and also sounded heavenly on the piano. Talk about intimidation! If it had been up to me, I would have let her lead the music part of our class every week. It was terrifying enough to sing in front of a class of 4 year-olds, but to sing in front of her? I wanted to die.

The smartest thing I did was be honest about my fear, so for several weeks she and the other leaders prayed for me and my singing fear. No kidding. And guess what? God will deliver us from even the silliest fears. Through the training I received from BSF and through the wonderful encouragement from my co-leader, I learned to sing, and it all comes down to this: sing loud. That's it. Anyone sounds 150% better if they just sing out.

No, that doesn't mean I'm a singer. It just means I'm not afraid anymore. I can't sing harmony. I can read music, but I can't just sing the note on the page and expect it to actually be that note or anywhere close. I don't have the loveliest voice around, but I don't care anymore. I find great joy in singing, because I've learned I'm singing for my Lord, not everyone around me. But coming to that realization has actually made me sound better.

It also made me a better parent. Sharing music with our children is such a joy, and as I explained yesterday sharing the hymns with them has been one of my favorite things to do as a mom. Singing together forms such a bond, especially when you are meditating on the rich words found in hymns. I remember singing today's hymn with the kids, pointing to all the different body parts -- hands, feet, head, heart -- praying that they would grow up learning to give themselves fully to the Lord. Kids learn well through music, and these are the things I really want them to learn.

My guess is that if you're reading this series, you don't struggle with this. People who don't like to sing in public, typically don't like the traditional hymns as much because they can be harder to sing. But maybe you know a mumbler or two who could use some encouragement. Tell them God understands and that we can bring even our fear or dislike of singing to Him in prayer. Singing is a gift from God; he ordained singing as a means of worshipping Him. It is worth humbling ourselves to be able sing our love for Him.

Take My Life and Let It Be
Frances Havergal, 1874

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee,
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be 
Swift and beautiful for thee,
Swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing,
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from thee,
Filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Ev'ry pow'r as thou shalt choose,
Ev'ry pow'r as thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is thine own;
It shall be thy royal throne.
It shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At thy feet its treasure-store.
Take my self, and I will be
Ever, only, all for thee,
Ever, only, all for thee.


  1. Kellie, I haven't been online very much over the past few weeks, so I'm just now catching up. And may I just say-- I *love* your hymn choices!! I love your 31 Days series! I just love it all!! How I wish we sang more of these oldies each Sunday-- for a while we were doing one/week in church, but that doesn't seem to be the case as of late. They're just so rich. And theologically sound. And wonderful!! So thanks for this stroll down memeory lane, my friend, and thanks for picking such an awesome topic for October!! It's been a true delight!

    1. I can't imagine why you haven't been online much! ; ) I hope you are having some precious family bonding time!

      And thank you for your kind words -- so glad it's been a delight for you, because it really has been for me too. It's just what I needed this month.

  2. Kellie, love this post! : )
    Growing up, I sat/stood next to Mom in church. Although I was extremely shy, I knew I could sing out because of her beautiful voice next to me. But when I went to college, I realized I wasn't so good. I took voice lessons. Not that they helped, but it made me get over that fear. Teaching also helped. When singing with my 3rd and 4th graders, I always made them sing loud because of who we were singing for...not people, but God (it was a Christian school) : ). I love to sing out, even though I mess up every once in a while (I now have to use my fingers to remind me what stanza we are on).
    Keep up the great posts....a reminder of why I love hymns, and so thankful we use them in our church services still.

    1. Yes! Sitting in front of your mom helps a lot! It never fails that on the few occasions she is gone we sing some unfamiliar hymn and we miss her even more. : )

      And I don't believe that you were ever not good; I've heard your beautiful voice too many times. ; )

    2. btw, this is my favorite version of this hymn, but Amy's is the other one, so that is what we most often sing at church : )