“Turn your radio on and listen to the music in the air. Turn your radio on and glory share. Turn the lights down low and listen to the Master’s radio. Get in touch with God. Turn your radio on.”
-Turn Your Radio On by Albert E. Brumley
I don’t remember a time when music wasn’t a huge part of my life. Growing up if there wasn’t a radio on in the house, someone was playing an instrument or we were going to a singing. My mom plays guitar, my aunt and uncle are in a singing group, my grandpa attempted to play the fiddle, and then there was Dad. My dad was one of the most musical people I know. I honestly don’t know if he was all that good, but what he lacked in true talent he made up for in sheer enthusiasm. He lived music. He played the drums every Sunday at church and would sing a special anytime someone would offer him a microphone. He also taught himself to play the mandolin at some point when I was a kid. Even driving down the road he couldn’t help but tap his fingers on the steering wheel along to the beat. Music was everywhere.
Of course, the music playing was always Christian music. Southern gospel to be exact. I don’t know if I even knew other genres of music existed until I was in middle school. Vacations and special nights out seemed to revolve around gospel concerts. Hot summers days were spent in Springdale, Ark. at the Albert E. Brumley Gospel Sing. The first celebrities I ever met were all the great gospel groups: the Gaithers, the McKameys, the Isaacs, Jeff and Sheri Easter, and so many more.
Some of my favorite memories are of Sunday mornings when I was a kid. Dad would get up early, turn on the radio, and start making pancakes. I remember waking up to the delicious smell of breakfast on the stove and the sweet melodies of worship in the air. I honestly don’t remember if this happened often or only a couple of times but the memories stuck quite vividly in my mind. I also have a strong memory of helping my Grandpa work on a project in his wood shop and his old radio was playing the song that inspired this post, “Turn Your Radio On.” My memories of happier times are set to a soundtrack packed with these old songs.
If having a busted mustard seed set me on the path to turning away from God, music is the thing that kept me from completely letting go. Music, though I didn’t know it at the time, helped me hold on to that last thread of hope.
Music holds memories for me. Songs are like little time capsules that can transport me back to special moments. (See Home for Christmas) I can hear a song I haven’t heard in years but still know every lyric and tell you a story about the first time I heard it.
When I’m feeling nostalgic and particularly missing my dad or a time from my childhood, I listen to music from back then. I have a special playlist packed full of the songs that hold the strongest memories and meaning to me. The thing is, they are all gospel songs.
Even in my darkest hours I never fully turned away from God because I never turned the music off. The more I missed my dad and yearned for the past the more I listened to that playlist. I wasn’t intentionally listening to sing praises to God but just hearing those words must have meant something. As much as I hated and blamed God for taking my dad away, He inspired the very music that kept Dad’s memory alive for me. It was God’s music that held some of the most important memories of my childhood.
That being said, it seems fitting the thing that pushed me back into church earlier this year was turning the radio on and hearing just the song I needed to hear, “Come as you Are” by Crowder. It didn’t stop there either. This week I have been trying to decide what to write. The last two posts spilled out like they had just been at my fingertips waiting to be shared. This week’s topic has been a little harder. I knew I wanted to write about the importance of music in my life but I couldn’t figure out how.
Sunday on the way to church I prayed God would allow me to open my heart and mind to whatever it was I needed to hear. I prayed He would move in my life and show me what it is He wants me to do. Occasionally, the church I attend shows special testimonial videos. This week’s was a woman sharing her childhood difficulties and family struggles. My attention was grasped when she started talking about how her father had died of cancer last year just before Christmas. She talked about feeling sad, hurt, and lost in the questions of why she had gone through so much. That is when she heard the song “Come as you Are” by Crowder. The lyrics spoke to her and gave her what she needed to hear to move on. Then we sang it in the service. I was beyond moved. I asked for something and He delivered.
The first time I attended church since starting this blog and sharing my story that song just happens to be featured. I have spent two weeks happy that I shared my story and started this blog, but uncomfortably trying to figure out what to do and say next. Though I have had wonderful feedback, I am still extremely insecure about sharing my writing and personal stories with everyone. I have been asking God to show me that I am doing the right thing and give me the words to continue. I believe He answered on Sunday through that song. Again.
This year of rediscovering Him and finding my way back to faith began with me turning my radio on and listening to what He had to say. Time and again this year leaving my radio on has reminded me that He is there just waiting for me to come back. He has always been there in the melody of an old hymn, in the lyrics of a worship song, in the chords of the precious memories I have clung to throughout the years. I’m so thankful there has always been music in the air. I’m so glad to know that getting in touch with God has always been as simple as turning the radio on.