Singing a New Song ~ by Natalie Dederick
Last year I stepped away from college before my senior year. My advisor told me I would never finish, a professor told me I must be mentally ill to take time off now. And I guess he was right. They didn’t know that depression had gripped me so tightly that I didn’t see the point in getting out of bed most days. I lied to my husband and told him I had gone to class or work when I skipped because I felt like a failure as a newlywed for not being utterly blissed out all the time. I went a whole year this way before the embarrassment of being caught in an elaborate lie to my professor showed me how dark my days had become.
So when my husband got into a doctorate program in Buffalo and my job promoted my to a position in Buffalo as well, it seemed like God was clearly directing us there. And He was, but not for any of the reasons I originally thought. I turned my request for leave in and instantly I felt the heavy coat of darkness disappear. We moved to Buffalo in June, and I quickly realized the darkness hadn’t completely left. I experienced loneliness like never before. I found myself daily longing for the past, darkness and all. In the darkness I was surrounded by my family, my friends and the church congregation I had grown up in (literally and spiritually). What I couldn’t see for a long time was that I had surrounded myself with people who strived to be like Jesus and hoped that Jesus would inhabit my life because of it. But when they were gone I realized how little I knew God, and in turn how little I knew myself. I tried to dive into the word thinking that would fix it all. After a while I knew a lot about God, but still didn’t know who He was.
Singing a new song literally changed everything for me. One day I just started straying from the words on the slides during worship. At first it was just one word over and over again, pulling me out of the service and into His throne room. Straying from the structure and the words freed me from my head. And in the simplicity I stayed with Him, falling in love all over again.
Rick Pino says that “worship is agreement with who God is” and I couldn’t agree more. The more I agree with who God is, the more I know and love Him. As that love grows, I know, love, and accept more of who I truly am. Each moment I step away with Him I uncover another piece of me, raw, unfiltered, beautiful me. And the more I find that worth in myself, the more reasons I find to praise Him. The passion translation has my favorite translation of Psalm 23 and in verse 4 it says “Fear will never conquer me, for you already have.” And that makes me want to leap with Joy! He has conquered me, bewitched me body and soul! (shout out to my pride and prejudice fans).
I’d like to say that this means I spend hours reading the Bible each day and that I never complain about my coworkers or doubt Gods faithfulness. I’m honest about how life is going now though, and so I’ll say it definitely doesn’t. The difference now from a year ago is that my focus has shifted. I can’t even find the time to contemplate getting out of bed in the morning. God grabs me in my dreams and the moment I wake up he shows me my husband, my greatest blessing. On the way to work I sing a new song and during my lunch break another one. While I make dinner another one and as I lay down yet another. God shut doors and opened others to pull me out of the darkness, but worship, agreeing with who He is, has kept me from crawling back in.
So, what is keeping you from going away with Him? I encourage you to release it! But if you can’t bring yourself too that yet, start with praise. However it looks for you, dance, shout, jump, write, sing, anything! Just give Him praise for all He’s done and will do and what a good GOOD father he’s been to you! Watch, hear, and FEEL the impact it has on your life. And know that when the darkness tries to pull you in, there’s nothing wrong with you, just let praise be your flashlight to guide you out. -Natalie