The news of my pregnancy with my third child initiated an avalanche of fear within me. Pregnancy in the past had not always guaranteed a baby in my arms. Those early days were spent leaning on precious prayers from others who stood in the gap for me. During that summer, God spoke this phrase again and again to my timid heart.
This is the season of singing.
The words are from a beautiful passage in Song of Solomon, and they served as the perfect reminder that God was in control, that He had been with me in my season of grieving, and that this was a brand-new season, one I had never experienced before. By His grace, God ushered in a season of singing, one that would replace mourning with a new song of joy.
He placed a new song in my mouth—not a new melody with new lyrics, but a fresh response to a newfound understanding of the depth of His love for me. Jesus interceded and named my season when I struggled to even mouth the words.
Once we could feel our girl move, we noticed this pattern. Every Sunday morning during worship, this tiny growing baby would go crazy. I’m not just talking kicks; this was excessive dancing and flipping. We would just look at each other and shrug with silly grins on our faces, tickled at God’s goodness.
I dared to hum along as I practiced trusting His promise.
The movements in my belly mirrored flutters in my heart. Each served as hard evidence of the power of intercessory prayer. We named this sweet baby Anna Joy. Anna after the woman in the bible who dedicated her life to worshipping Jesus in spite of her grief, and Joy because that just seemed obvious. Her brother, sister, and cousins nicknamed her Joy-Joy when she was a baby, as if one Joy wouldn’t suffice.
This little firecracker turned three this week, and she has made it her mission in life to extend this season of singing indefinitely, it seems. Anna Joy doesn’t sing “Jesus Loves Me” at a sweet lullaby volume; she only knows to belt out her song with enthusiastic dance moves. She has one volume: all the way up.
I have no idea what this child will do one day or how God will use her. She’s a toddler and oblivious at this age to God’s purpose for her life, but as her parents, you can bet we’re paying attention. We see all the potential, all the possibilities, all the ways God might use her. All the ways He already has.
If we can recognize this small glimpse of beauty far beyond a single child, then imagine what God sees in you, His precious son or daughter.
God sees all the beauty we cannot.
We hope and dream and pray, but we can still only imagine what God has in store. But He knows. He has scripted a remarkable plan. He sings over us when a song is about the farthest thing from our lips. He delights in who we are: His children.
On the night that Simon Peter would betray Him, Jesus spoke these words: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:32)
Peter was appalled at the thought. He denied it could ever happen, but then hours later, He denied knowing Jesus, just as predicted. I wonder if Peter thought back to Jesus’ words that night and during the days that followed Jesus’ death. I wonder if he found a similar peace in knowing Jesus had prayed for him, that He saw beauty beyond Peter’s fears and failures.
God sent Jesus to intercede and become the beauty in Peter’s story. Jesus revived Peter’s faith on the shores of Galilee, and Peter became a mouthpiece for the good news. Peter leaned into the melody of God’s love and dared to let it change him.
Peter’s song still resonates today.
When I pray for my Joy, I’m reminded of God’s prayers for me. I remember how even in my struggle to trust Him, He interceded in love. He held my hand and led me into a beautiful season of singing. And He’ll do it again and again and again until the day He ushers me into His presence where my singing will never ever end.
Happy birthday, Anna Joy!