Often when I journal in my Bible, I have music playing. Sometimes that’s how I start my devotional time – with a favorite worship song to help focus my mind and spirit.
I moved to the USA in August last year and have missed my home church in the UK very much. There were times when I would find myself singing at my church here in North Carolina with tears in my eyes, I missed my home church and my Christian family there so much. Lots of things here remind me of them, and one of those things is music. Every time I hear an old favorite worship song, I remember singing it there. I can close my eyes and picture myself stood in the same pew, looking at the same church roof and hearing the voices of familiar brothers and sisters around me. When I first moved, that memory would make me sad. Now, it simply makes me glad.
Our Christian family is a blessing from God and it can sometimes be the biggest blessing of all. God has surrounded me with wise and loving family who encourage me and lift me up. That lifting up is sometimes as simple as a joke that lifts my spirits and makes me laugh on an otherwise bad day. Often, though, that lifting up is so much more, and I am grateful and humbled every time I know my UK family are praying for me. I have grown closer to God with the help of my church – I can pay no bigger compliment to them than that, and it is the thing I praise God for most.
One of the songs we sung back home was by Rend Collective: My Lighthouse. I love it. It’s uplifting and full of truth.
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow you
My lighthouse, my lighthouse,
I will trust the promise, you will carry me safe to shore
The very first pages I journaled on in my Bible were prompted by that song. I had been reading Psalm 150, led there by the word ‘praise’. I looked at the two Psalms before it and saw the word repeated and repeated and repeated.
It’s not always our first instinct, praise. Sometimes we find ourselves asking God for the things we need or feel we are without, and it’s all too easy for that to be all our prayer becomes. But I have been making a real effort for some time now to begin my prayers with praise instead. Whatever our situation, we can, and should, praise God. We may not always feel like it, but I always feel better after it.
God is our lighthouse, the light that leads us home. For me, that is important right now. I miss home – England, my family, my church, my friends, the familiar well-worn streets I know so well. But when I think of God as my lighthouse, I am reminded of all the ways he leads me safely to His shore. Whether in North Carolina or in England, I know that I have God, and my family, to light my way to Him; and for that, I give praise.
I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are my lighthouse