When I was 16 years old, I wrote a song titled, “There’s Sunshine Awaiting You.” The moment I finished writing the song, I knew that God himself had given me the lyrics. Why? Because the song had a message that transcended the limits of my understanding at this period of my life. You see, the first verse talks about a mother who has lost her child. While I have known people who have gone through this same trial, I have not personally experienced this sort of tragic loss firsthand. Still, God knew that my Mom was the one who needed to hear the lyrics to this song at this exact moment in her life. She was the first one who heard the song, and the first one who cried as she listened. I immediately knew that God had a hand in this one. Little did I know then that this song would one day hold a more significant meaning to me personally. More than a decade later, I would find myself stuck in the sunset.
When I was a little girl, my two little brothers were born prematurely and passed away as infants. I am almost certain that this is why the first verse of my song touched my Mom’s heart in such a special way. As I sang the song repeatedly over the years, and even recorded it on my very first cassette, I was so humbled to see that it was ministering to people on so many levels. I enjoyed singing it, I thought the soundtrack was beautiful, and I knew the lyrics were anointed. Still, I could not personally identify with the lyrics of the song, having never been through such a dark time in my life. I had always been the one to smile, no matter what. I could always see a glimpse of sunshine, even behind the darkest storm cloud. Truth be told, I had not yet seen the darkest storm cloud at this time in my life.
I had witnessed the death of more close friends and loved ones than most people I knew had even been to funerals. Brothers, grandfathers, a grandmother, aunts, uncles, and other friends and relatives…so many loved ones going on to be with the Lord. But, even in the midst of the loss we experienced, my Mom, Dad, and I remained a close-knit Christian family. No matter what happened around us, we knew that the three of us would love and support each other through sunshine and rain. We were like the Three Musketeers. And I had faith that God would always keep us together, no matter what storms brewed overhead. On August 2, 2008, the darkest storm of my life came upon me as suddenly as a tornado can flatten an entire town. There was no warning, there were no goodbyes, and there was nothing my Dad or I could do to silence the violent storm.
Since that tragic night, God has spoken to my heart on several occasions. I still don’t have all of the answers. I don’t understand why my Mom is not nearby, waiting to read the next entry of my blog, a blog she never had the opportunity to read. And cannot tell you why my Dad and I are not living in this house as a family of five, my Mom and younger brothers still with us. What I do know is that God has a perfect plan for our lives. He walks with me in the sunshine and in the sunset. He holds my hand, whether I am climbing mountains, traversing a rocky terrain, or wading through a raging river. Psalm 23:4 (NIV) says, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” I will not be afraid of what tomorrow may bring because I know that God will comfort me in all of my tomorrows. He gives me His perfect peace and He shines forth His light, even though the sun has set. And I know He will continue to bring forth the vibrant sunshine in my life once again, in His timing.
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to sing at my home church on Mother’s Day. For many singers, I am sure this would not be a problem. For me, it is another story. The moment I was asked, a red flag shot up. I thought, no…no, I can’t do that. I can happily sing any other Sunday, but not that one. I think the pastor must have seen the look in my eyes similar to a deer caught in the headlights, and he quickly asked if it would be too difficult for me. I’ll be honest with you. My first response would have been, yes, it would be virtually impossible for me to sing on Mother’s Day. And I am sure the pastor would have accepted this, and asked me to sing at another time. Yet, something tugged at my heart and immediately, I knew that this was something I must do.
As I told the pastor that I would sing, I pondered the song that I would share on this day on which we honor our mothers. So, I thought about what I would sing if my Mom could be in the congregation on this special occasion. And of course, the answer was simple. I would sing, “There’s Sunshine Awaiting You.” Now, I had not sung this song since my Mom’s funeral. So, I quickly began seeking God for a different answer other than the one I knew He had given. I mean, I couldn’t sing on Mother’s Day, much less sing this song. Have you ever had one of those moments when you thought, what is God thinking? Well, this was one of those moments for me. Since I was asked to sing, I have run through the song twice. The first time I ran through the song, I heard the lyrics in a new light. My song was ministering to me. I realized that I had been stuck in the sunset. And that is why I need to sing this song. Sure, when I stand up on the platform on that particular Sunday, I will likely blubber as I introduce the song and I am sure pitch will have a new meaning when I reach the song’s end. But, sometimes serving the Lord isn’t about eloquent speech or perfect pitch. Sometimes it’s simply about answer His call, no matter how difficult it seems.
Even when we’re stuck in the sunset, we have the assurance that there is sunshine awaiting us. Although it may seem unbearable at times, we need to be faithful to the One who created us. He will bring us to a place of rest, away from the storms of life that overwhelm us. The lyrics of my song speak about seeing a sunset that seems forever, and how difficult it is to face grief and pain. This sunset that you find yourself in may seem long-lasting, but it is not forever. When you reach the lowest, darkest valley, God will bring you to your knees. When you cannot go on one more mile, God will carry you through each and every storm. If you find yourself stuck in the sunset, rest assured that there’s sunshine awaiting you.
In Christ’s Love,