Made-Up Songs and Partners Divine

When my girls were little, I used to sing them made-up songs. We sang all the real ones too like “This Little Light of Mine,” “Father Abraham,” and “O Be Careful Little Eyes What You See.” Per the latter, never one to stomach a fountainhead of melodious piety, Keith comprised the added stanza, “Be Careful Little Nose What You Smell.” At times like those, I tried to retain my composure and look at him disapprovingly for righteousness’ sake but, for the life of me, I could not get through that stanza without getting so tickled my side split. It is, to this day, the stanza of the song that gets sung the most often within these slightly hallowed walls.  It’s a time-honored tradition around here that rarely includes the children.

 Our young family also possessed every single available cassette of “Psalty the Singing Songbook” and we played, rewound, and fast-forwarded them so profusely that the tapes got stretch marks. I could not have been more elated when Amanda found them all on CD a few years ago and promptly ordered them off the internet for her own children. There’s enough generational foolishness to go around in families like ours. Some generational merry-making and God-gladness is a refreshingly beautiful thing.

 But, when they were itty, bitty things, my girls were also zealous to request the made-up variety of Moore musical wonderment. So entirely made up were these songs that, when Amanda and Melissa would ask me to sing the one from the day before, well, I’d be left at a lyrical loss. I’d cover for it by suggesting why on God’s green earth we’d want yesterday’s song when we could savor a new one today. If I’d known more Scripture back then, I would have conveniently pulled out the verse, “Sing a new song!” but, then again, it would have backfired on me when I was worn to a maternal nub and needing Psalty to lead out in some memorable – and memorizable – stanzas of the much finer sort.

 Since I made them up as they went, these original songs were emancipated from the normal confines of rhythm or rhyme but what they lacked in technical composition, they made up for in personal detailing. One might go something like this:

 Oh, Amanda, she is so very smart and fun. She has new shoes. We got them at the mall where we ate a Happy Meal. Amanda ran through the mall in her new shoes so fast that people thought she was in first grade. (She’d be something like 4 years old, mind you, so this kind of line was always received most enthusiastically) No one can catch her so they stand back amazed and clap, clap, clap. I said clap, clap, clap. (At this point, she herself would clap.) She has a wiener dog named Coney Island (true story, she did) and she runs behind her, flying on four short legs and huffing and puffing and wagging her tail and, oh, if she had on Amanda’s new shoes, maybe she could run just as fast. But she doesn’t. But she doesn’t. And why it is she doesn’t? Because she has four legs and would need two pair. Amanda and Coney Island, they win the race together and everyone cheers. But they are hot and sweaty and a little stinky and ask for something cold to drink. They get a rainbow popsicle for a prize and everyone is surprised when they set in to sharing it. All together now! Slurp, slurp, slurp, lick, lick, lick, the race is won. (A made-up song is all the better if the audience is roused somewhere along the way to a heartfelt Eeeeeeeeeeewwww.)

 And so it would go.

 I inherited the propensity for made-up songs from my mother who likely got it from hers; however, the lyrics seemed to gain more generous license with each generation. Case in point, my mother made up several songs but she tended to sing her original compositions over and over. I rarely sang the same one twice because I’d chased a rabbit so dreadfully far in the previous one that this little piggy couldn’t even wee her way home. (That would be in the vocal sense, of course.) My grandmother’s songs, on the other hand, were short and less sweet. They were more about who was going to get a switch if a batch of kids didn’t get out of the kitchen till supper and she didn’t mean maybe.

 I can still picture Amanda and Melissa’s faces as I sang them these songs. Usually it was during rocking-chair time and the more I’d spin the story line through the song, the more they’d stare off into space, wide-eyed, trying to imagine every detail of the scene and suppress a grin. The scenes, after all, always starred one of their very favorite characters.

 All of this is fresh on my mind because Annabeth (our recently-turned 4 year old) has started making up songs, a fact that delights me to no end. You can’t make her do it. You just have to catch her and then, ever-so-carefully without her realizing it, lend your ear near. Sometimes she’ll do it while I’m rocking her like a few weeks ago when she sang to me about “The Cross and the iPad.” She is more apt to sing free of self-consciousness if I lean my head back and close my eyes. I guess she thinks she’s singing Bibby to sleep.

 Friday evening I got to bring Annabeth and Jackson home with me from work and it was just the three of us for several hours until Keith’s grand arrival from out of town with his fishing boat. These are the golden times with few distractions and minimal background noises. Times when I tend to overhear the most intriguing repartees or can engage them in conversations that run gleefully wild like little colts kicking their back legs in an open pasture. It was that night that I overheard Annabeth singing about God doing ballet. Not Jesus, mind you. God.

 It was the sweetest thing ever. And surely I don’t have to tell you that, in her mind and song, He was quite adept at it. He is all-knowing, after all. He’s never required a lesson in His life.

 Like most preschoolers, Annabeth’s well-protected world is appropriately small and a big part of her small world is her ballet class. It’s one of the only things in her little family that only she gets to do. She goes to preschool but brother goes to big school so there’s nothing particularly unique about that. She goes to church but so does her family. She goes to her friends’ houses but usually with her mommy. She goes out to eat but, poor thing, she never gets to take the car and go by herself. But, one day a week, she is the only one in her small world that dons a little black leotard, pale pink tights, ballet shoes, and glory-be, a tutu, and runs on tippy-toes into a world of plies and pirouettes.

 

 

 

Part of being a child coming into the knowledge of a great big God through parents who esteem His ever-presence is picturing that He is involved in whatever he or she is doing.

 And He is indeed. That is a fact affirmed through the decades that follow and through copious Scriptural accounts. Sometimes He’s involved through fellowship. Sometimes He’s involved through empowerment and anointing. Sometimes He’s involved through conviction and chastisement. But, as long as it’s His child, He’s always involved.

 For Annabeth in that lyrical moment, it was God right beside her on the dance-floor. And He was brilliant. Of course He was.

 As we grow up in Him inch-by-inch, we begin the slow journey of divine reversal. We still get the ecstatic joy of picturing Him involved and invested in what we’re doing – Lo, I am with you always – but a gradual overtaking of His Spirit causes an aching and an awakening within us to do what He is doing. Instead of limiting our vision to God atwirl on our terrestrial dance floors, we begin to picture ourselves in snapshots of sudden truth raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places. There we are by position but on loan here by commission, that His Kingdom may come and His will may be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

 We are not just the calling ones, asking God to join us. We’re the called ones, asked to join Him. Right here. Right now. Right on this earth. He works, He lives, He breathes, He moves, He saves, He renews. This is no God-forsaken world.

To Zacchaeus, Jesus said, “I’m going to your house today.” But to His disciples He said, “Come. Follow Me.”

Do what I am doing. Seek to see as I am seeing. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do.” John 14:12

I come to your world so that you can follow me to Mine. One pirouette at a time.

“Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” James 5:13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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129 Responses to “Made-Up Songs and Partners Divine”

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  1. 101
    Roxanne Worsham says:

    I LOVE this post! I used to make up songs for my son every single morning as I went to wake him up. I pretty much used the same tune that I made up myself but I would always change the lyrics. I used the song just this week as I was driving to work to sing a good morning song to my Heavenly Father!

    Good Morning! Good Morning, My Sweet Precious Son
    Good Morning! Good Morning, You’re a gift from the Holy One
    You are such a special lad,
    You are loved by your mom and dad
    Good Morning! Good Morning, Have a wonderful day!!!

    Here’s the one I sang to the One this week!
    Good Morning! Good Morning! My Sweet Precious Friend
    Good Morning! Good Morning! You make my life so grand!
    God, you are so good to me
    Thank You for eternity!
    Good Morning! Good Morning! Have a glorious day!

    Here’s one for you Beth:
    Good Morning! Good Morning, My Sister in the Lord
    Good Morning! Good Morning, with you I’m never bored!
    You taught me the Word of God
    The foundation on which I trod
    Good Morning! Good Morning, Have a beautiful day!

    LOVE YOU, SIESTAS!

  2. 102
    Steph says:

    My teenagers still laugh and ask me to sing, “Captain Pete” – one of our most famous made-up-songs. But like you said, Beth, it’s hard to recall those lyrics sometimes!
    Thank you for this beautiful post. It brought a lump to my throat for so many reasons. I saw my own daughter in the pictures of your adorable Annabeth. And I felt the Holy Spirit confirming in my heart something He’s been teaching me lately about my calling to live here, on this planet, and I mean truly LIVE. Not just put in time. But get on with whatever HIS business is in my little slice of the globe … and enter into that business abundantly.
    Thank you. God has used your gifts and your loving heart in mighty ways in my life.

  3. 103

    She sounds like she has some real imagination, and will be very brilliant as she grows up :)
    My dad used to sing ” Happy Trails” and put me on his shoulders and walk through the house, but my favorite was when he carried me on his shoulders down our stairs.
    Mom used to sing, ” I found a peanut” often…
    And while I’m not a mom yet, a favorite I love to sing to my friends young children is, ” Herman the Worm..”
    Which goes like this:

    ” Sitting on a fence post, chewing on my bubble gum, (chew sounds), playing with my yo-yo, Doo wap Doo wap, and a long came Herman the Worm and Herman the worm was THIS big, and I said Herman what happened, and he said DUH I ate a cat, and Herman walked away…( the next verse says, ” I ate a horse” and then the last verse says, ” I burped” I realize its silly, but I have actually calmed infants down with it..:)”

  4. 104
    Jennyhopewilliams says:

    When I was little I remember singing father Abraham and I could believe that I was one of Abe Lincoln’s kids! I was like wow he is the coolest president ever and we sing about him at church. Haha

  5. 105
    Stephanie says:

    A precious Friend sent your post to me, remembering my story of dancing with Jesus, and I want to share it with you:

    Jesus and I had been feasting together late into the evening. The plates with remnants of food, the candles burned down low, the night made the lights strewn through the vines on the veranda above us, seem like fire-flies. He was teaching me the tango. I imitated his movements. They are wild and grandiose. He then said ‘ yes, but MORE!’

    His words were so healing, as I’ve heard a llie over my life that I am too much, over the top, and overbearing. But, the best part is my Jesus made me this way, and he is calling out what he designed to be there. Good One,God!

  6. 106
    Pamela McDonald says:

    What a beautiful post! You are such a wonderful storyteller.
    I treasure the times that my children and I did this very same thing. In fact, I have a soon to be 21-year old who still loves to break out in some Veggie Tale songs when she is home.
    May I say AB is absolutely adorable!
    Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  7. 107
    Jill says:

    Beth…..my son is 18, and my daughter almost 17 …we just laughed and carried on last night when I told them you make up songs. Then Sara says, maybe all moms do that!!! I have done that with them since they were babies….and I am still doing it!!! Of course I also make up dances with my songs too!!!! Lol. :)

  8. 108

    Very sweet, Beth. I’ve been looking through memorabilia in my mind and photos, preparing for my grandmother’s funeral. She was mighty special to me. I would love all my siesta’s prayers as I speak a brief word over her. And I’m using one of Travis’s songs at her funeral … In Christ Alone. So sweet. Pray for me on Valentine’s Day (her viewing) and the 15th, her funeral.

    Sweetest thing … her last hours, she kept looking up from her hospital bed and reaching her arms up (like a little child reaching for their parent). The nurse kept putting her arms down, afraid she would pull out her many cords. When we all left the room, she could finally go to Jesus because we weren’t there to put her arms down!

  9. 109

    Oh Beth, I agree. Called to be in this world, but not of it . . . heavenly citizenship! amen.

  10. 110
    patty swinford says:

    I am so glad to hear another grandmother admit she forgets the lyrics to her original songs! My grands have loved their own customized music since they were old enough to dance and I love being a part of the fun. We have a ‘Banana’ song, a ‘Brush your Teeth’ song, and the list goes on. How blessed that God allows this time of our lives, how precious are these memories.

  11. 111
    Jamie says:

    How beautiful, Beth! I love you so much and I am so grateful for your insight and willingness to share it with me. (I know you are sharing it with others, too, but it just feels so personal at this moment.) Thank you for consistently pointing me to Him and His Word.

  12. 112
    Patricia Egbert says:

    I loved the pictures of your granddaughter and you reminded me of one of the songs I overheard my youngest singing when he was about 3 years old. He had overheard his older brother singing “Skip to My Lou” that he had learned in school (I have no idea if I spelled that right because I don’t understand WHAT that means!)I happened to overhear my youngest son later singing to himself in that tune while playing, “Naked in the treetop. What’ll I do? Naked in the treetop. What’ll I do?” and so on. For the record, we have NEVER talked about anything like that and I have NO idea where the idea came from! That boy has brought us so much joy in the 19 years we’ve had him. I would ask from the bottom of my heart that you pray for him. He loves the Lord and is struggling with addictive behaviors that are very, very serious. He was hospitalized for 2 weeks in a full psychotic break when he and some boys tried the synthetic marijuana. After months of tweaking meds and getting him back to normal his psychiatrist has adamantly warned him that anything like that could permanently flip that switch in his brain again. Incredibly, it is a huge temptation for him and apparently 30 days of rehab were not enough and he relapsed at Christmas, forcing us to keep our contract and make him move out. :'( To say we love this boy is a gross understatement. We appreciate any prayers whatsoever. God bless you all. I love this ministry and have done most of the studies at least once. God has used them to guide and carry me through very difficult times. Sincerely, Patti

  13. 113
    Wendy says:

    Thought of this post today as my 3-year-old sang a made up song tonight while playing dress-up. She had learned about Isaac marrying Rebekah today during the preschool program at Bible Study Fellowship. The words to her song were “Rebekah, Rebekah, Rebekah” and she sang as she twirled around her room. Love how the Bible fits right in with her playing. :)

  14. 114
    Laura says:

    Thank you Beth. Your stories touch the heart and remind us of God’s great love for us in giving us our families and friends. May He continue to bless you as you minister His Word to us <3

  15. 115

    I love this post! Now that I have 4 very young grandchildren I am determined to make many wonderful memories with them. My grandpa used to make up some awesome stories when I was little. He didn’t sing them but they were always outrageous and made me laugh. Sometimes they would involve strawberry trees with strawberries bigger than your head. Sometimes there would be so much snow you could walk right up on your roof (this from a man who grew up in Oklahoma and Texas!). He was a wonderful man of God and always referred to himself as “Old Man Preacher Willingham”. When I try to make up stories like that for my young grandchildren I cannot seem to make them flow like he did but I will keep trying!

  16. 116
    lorraine says:

    I have had opportunities to tell other women that i was hugged by Beth Moore at a conference in Grand Rapids, MI
    several years ago. I can not carry a note, even in a bucket but i do make a joyful noise..emphasis on noise. I often imagine the angels saying…God she is singing again! So when the worship leader pleaded and pleaded with me in front of 5,000 to come up and help lead the motions to a song and sing…you must be kidding. It seemed like it took me 20 min. to get up there but he didn’t give up! I did the motions to…Lord i lift Your name on High. When i turned around to leave the stage, there was Beth Moore standing and she gave me…a hug! It amazes women when i tell them!

  17. 117
    Warm In Alaska says:

    Wow! I so loved this post! What a treat to read it on Valentine’s Day ~

  18. 118
    katiegfromtennessee says:

    Beth, I love those pictures:) I still remember when you came to Knoxville last year and before you spoke, there was a recitation of a section of 2 Cor. 5, but what stuck out to me the most was verses 17-21. Maybe it was that I could hear it spoken instead of just reading it, but it really penetrated my heart that day, especially the part where it says that we are ambassadors for Christ…we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God…it calms my heart to know that because I’m His child, He’s always involved. Matthew 28:20b was one of the first sections of Scripture I ever memorized after becoming a Christian. It meant everything to me that He would promise to always be with me:) ((HUGS)) always to you with double smiles:):)

  19. 119
    Karla says:

    Proverbs 27:17
    As Iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend
    NLT

  20. 120
    Debbie says:

    Serve only the LORD your God and fear Him alone. Obey His commands, listen to his voice, and cling to Him.

  21. 121
    E'Von Owen says:

    E’Von, Houston tx
    The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
    Isa 58:11 NIV

  22. 122
    Leigh W. says:

    PSALTY!! Loved those tapes… Poor children don’t know how lucky there are to have CDs and quickly get to favorite song! My mom was a maker of songs, a skill I do not possess or practice but my 3.5 year old daughter…does not stop! My favorites are the ones about loving her baby brother, me, and her daddy!

  23. 123
    Jennifer Waddle says:

    “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” ~John 15:7-8 ESV

  24. 124
    moongirl says:

    oh man, I love this post. How I have known this reversal these last few years. More and more I’m finding myself as, how did you say it, not just asking Him to join me, but desiring with all my heart to follow HIM. I imagine sitting with Him in the Heavenlies much more these days than Him sitting next to me here. I dream about doing His will, than I dream of Him causing my will to be done. I’m not looking only for evidence that God loves me, but I hear Him challenging me “Do you agape me?” Do you love me so much, with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, that you’ll do what is best for Me and My kingdom? At any cost? Would you die for me out of love as I died for you?” Boy do I want to obey His 1st and greatest command to agape Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength! “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, ACCORDING TO THE POWER AT WORK WITHIN US, to HIM be GLORY in the church…” Praise HIm for this glorious HOPE!!

  25. 125
    natieize says:

    Thank you for sharing this! What a wonderful treat! My pastor was sharing with us last night that his precious 4 year old made up a song that said “No one is greater than God”. So wonderful to realize these little minds are growing to love God with their hearts! Encourages me to be more like a child and include God in all I do.

  26. 126
    stephanie says:

    Oh my gosh! So wonderful to know I am not alone. I thought I was the goofiest mom in the world and it was a secret game between my 6 year old son and I that we make up our silly songs and night time stories. Of course the more outrageous the better. And to hear you couldn’t repeat them makes me feel so relieved because neither can I so we always just make up a new one!!! I love it! Thank you for this story. Having a little boy means some of the songs get very off track and should never be repeated so I enjoyed imagining your “be careful little nose” version. That one would send my son into spasms of laughter.
    Thanks Beth for all of your candor, it really helps to put my self-critisim and doubt into perspective and the reminder to give it over. This story also causes me to remember how important the simple joy of sharing time and laughter is with our children. I think God must enjoy hearing us all laugh just as much as we enjoy hearing our children laugh. We are children too!

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