by Pat Whittington
For the last few months, as I sit in the congregation worshipping God through music, I have been deeply moved by several songs. These have triggered memories of many other times of worship when these same songs had also thrilled my heart and soul. These reflections, then, lead me to earlier times in my life—long experiences of finding blessings through music. Raised in the church by my Assembly of God Minister daddy and mom, I have accumulated a rich history and appreciation of the power of music in emphasizing spiritual truths that created a strong impact in my relationship with God. Thus, most of these memories have centered on the songs of my childhood and youth and earlier adulthood.
This is not a comment about contemporary music. When I hear a new worship song, I really listen with an open heart. Whether I can relate to them or not, I have hope that these new songs will have the same place in our young people as those songs of my past have in me.
The old hymns flood me with many wonderful memories of those times when a song blessed my soul importantly. I distinctly remember that at six years old I gave my heart to Jesus. From then on, I loved singing Jesus Loves Me because I KNEW HE REALLY DID!
Singing in my dad’s churches was a given! My three siblings (Jane Rebecca, and Jim) and I formed a quartet and were often called upon to sing ‘specials’ in worship service. My two sisters and I, as a trio, sang many times. A special memory is the time we sang during a Dave Wilkerson Crusade in North Carolina. All of these past experiences are re-lived and they re-ignite the feeling of my close connect to God when these songs are encountered and sung again in the NOW!
The importance of music in my life is easier to see now that I am older and have a better perspective of the cost of living in this world. Strong messages are now much easier to see; such as strong statements of the importance of faith that came to me as I watched my mom and dad singing all of their favorite Ira Stanford songs. It was a blessing to hear their music when Dad was requested to sing I’ve Got A Mansion Just Over the Hilltop at the District meetings and in various churches he served. At times, at the Holy Spirit’s command, he would end his sermon—with tears streaming down his face as he sang—How Great Thou Art. Tears were streaming down my face as it was sung at my dad’s funeral.
EVERY TIME I experience these select songs, I get to re-experience the blessings of these memories and reconnect with my LORD’s love. The songs of significance in my life tend to rekindle the thrill of knowing, again, that, Jesus Loves Me.
Songs are connected with most major events in my life: My sister, Jane, singing The Lord’s Prayer at my wedding. At my teenage daughter’s (Janie) funeral, It Is Well With My Soul, strengthened our dependence on God and affirmed our faith. During this trying period, what lifted us up was the truth expressed through The Imperials rendition of Praise The Lord. During a time of deep depression, I was lifted up by repetitive listening to Sandy Patty and Larnell Harris’ recording of More Than Wonderful. Later, Great Joy was found as I watched my older daughter, Ann, singing (with a fellow youth, David) in Sunday morning worship service—More Than Wonderful. My soul was full and my joy was running over as she experienced a standing ovation.
One might say, Precious Memories, How They Linger. Yes, it’s music that most frequently triggers these memories! But, not only that… music is spiritual warfare! When I hear a song that encourages us to ‘worship the name of Jesus,’ I am prompted to search my soul and repent of my unclaimed sins so that my worship can be a pure gift to God. The Holy Spirit always can work through music!
May God continue to remind us of the past songs of worship and trigger the precious memories of His Grace and Love. May the Holy Spirit continue prompting us to always have a song—a song that brings praise to HIM!
Pat Whittington was born in Tulsa, OK, but lived in Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Oklahoma while growing up in a minister’s family. Music was always a major part of her life growing up—mostly Christian music. Pat has been married to Mel for 45 years, has two daughters, and two grandchildren. She works with her husband Mel in their counseling business. She’s an active member of and loves her One In The Spirit Sunday School Class. Her hobbies include gardening, decorating, spending time with grandchildren, and traveling.