Heart to Heart - A Blog for Women

The Songbird Learns to sing in the Dark - Part 2
By Renee Bollas

Well a secular website about song birds describes it like this:  A song is a sequence of action.  A song is a sequence of action.


These three ladies all had the same sequence of actions.  What were they?  3 H's

Heard from their Father

Hoped in their Father

Halleluijah-the sang to their Father


The first H:  They heard from their Father

Fact 1:  Baby songbirds learn to sing from their fathers!  When they are in the dark, they listen to their father



Close your eyes for few seconds.  Think about when you enter a pitch black room.  You can't see a thing.  Your others senses take over and your sense of hearing becomes crystal clear.  You can hear a pin drop.  Your hands go out and you instantly slow down.  After you're there for awhile, your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness.  You can't see what's across the room, but you can vaguely make out what is right before your face.  When we are in the dark, we need to spend that precious time with the Lord.   Listen to His voice.  When we are speaking we can't hear His voice.  Darkness is not a time for speaking, but a time of listening.  We might speak in the wrong mood and cause us to shed a bad light on the Lord.  I can't see the way this is going to work out Lord, but I hear your voice and you are directing my every step.  Our Fathers face has to be the only thing before our eyes.  The darkness allows us to see the Lord face to face.



Matt 26:36  Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."


Gethsemane-oil press



Matt 26:38  Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here (KJV  tarry)   and watch with Me."



When the Lord brings us to Gethsemane, to the place of crushing, He says, "Tarry, sit with me."  It's a reference is to this place, this time and in this condition.  I have something beautiful for you right here.



When Moses departed for the mountain, he left everything behind.  He left his cell phone, books, Blackberry and yes even his Facebook page behind.  He stayed a long time up on that mountain.  Forty days.  Forty days?  When he came down he literally had something concrete.  He had a word from the Lord for himself.  He had a word from the Lord for someone else. 



Tarry.  Waiting.  It sounds easy.  It's sounds simple enough.  But, sometimes it is so hard to wait.  We don't want to wait.  We want to act.  We want to make it happen. The only way to hear from our Father is to tarry. 


Here is another definition to bring more depth to the word "tarry"… Remain as one, not to become another or different.  Don't become a chameleon.  Don't waver back and forth.  How long will you continue to waver?  Is God who He says he is? 


Did God give you a word to stand on?  Do not waver at the promise of God!  Cling to that word!

Stand on it!  When we tarry the Lord is able to remind us that He is our strength to carry on and that gives us hope, which leads to our second H.


Hope.  These three ladies Heard from their Father and Hearing produced Hope.



Romans 5:3-4  we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Hope does not disappoint!

Tribulation, darkness, and pain produce (accomplish, bring about) perseverance (the characteristic of a woman not swerved from her deliberate purpose and her loyalty to faith even in the greatest trials and suffering)  perseverance produces character (a proving) this proving produces HOPE (a return to life) (confident expectation of good, love, eternal divine salvation deliverance)


When we have hope, it is a return to life; an abundant life.  Not just some meager existence barely scraping by everyday.  Without hope we worry, we question everything and mistrust everyone.  Without hope we only make ourselves unfit for action, and separate our minds from the ability to make wise decisions.  Hopelessness, anxiety and despair weigh us down.  The are a distraction and stumbling block to our growth.  A heavy heart drags us down.  The Lord wants to deliver us from a shallow existence and take us into the depths of His life.


What will keep us from going into the depths of His life?


Contentions, anger and unforgiveness


Proverbs 21:19  Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.

Contentious means to have a wearisome tendency to quarrel and disagree.


We may be in disagreement with the Lord.  We may have a tendency to be quarrelsome with our husband; sometimes our coworkers and our children.


James 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield

God loves a woman who is willing to yield.


Proverbs 18:21  Death and life are in the power of the tongue.


Either we are encouraging, strengthening and building up; or we are discouraging, hurtful and tearing down.


Listen to what Luke 11:23  He who is not for me is against me

Luke 11:17  A house divided cannot stand


If you have a wearisome tendency to argue you are dividing your husband from you.  The same hold true for the house of God.  A house divided cannot stand.



If I am harboring resentment or anger towards anyone, every time I go to worship the Lord that person comes into the forefront of my mind. Unforgiveness becomes my idol. It consumes my thoughts. That person and what they did pushes the Lord further and further back.  I have to deal with it or it becomes bitterness that takes root.  It becomes a leprosy of sorts.  First it takes over my thoughts, then my eyes.  I can no longer see clearly.  Then it spreads to my ears. I don't have ears to hear.  Gradually it takes over my heart.  But, then it spreads to others.  It begins the same way. Unforgiveness is a tool in the hand of Satan.  Why?  At the heart of unforgiveness is pride.  I must be right. I am right.  You are wrong.  I want to hear you say you were wrong and I am right.  That scarlet thread must be brought into the situation.  Sacrifice.  I have to sacrifice my pride.  It doesn't matter who is right.  When I look upon His sacrifice and what it cost Him for my sins it puts things into perspective.  One drop of the blood of Jesus is enough to bring forgiveness and healing to any relationship.  It would be an insult to the Lord to say that it is not enough. The Lord cannot take me any further in my walk until that is dealt with.  I can't put it on the back burner to deal with tomorrow.  I must deal with it today.  I believe the Lord is challenging each of us tonight.  Sometimes we hold on to things or words from a long time ago.  Sometimes we write them down so we can remember and bring them up at just the right time.  Unforgiveness will destroy your relationship with the Lord and it will eventually destroy your marriage or your children.


1 Cor 13 Love keeps no record of wrongs.


If God kept a record which of us could stand?



It will take the scarlet thread of sacrifice.



Those three things will keep us from going into the depths of the Lord.  Contentions, anger and unforgiveness.


What will bring lead us from a shallow existence and take us into the depths of the Lord.  What will bring Him glory?  How were Fannie Crosby, Laura Bridgman and Hellen Keller able to bring Him so much glory?  They were in great shape spiritually.  I doubt they ever took a day off. 



They heard from their Father everyday which caused them to be in great shape spiritually!

How can we repeatedly and precisely hit the same note everyday?  Day in and day out?  We need to be fit and in great shape spiritually.


When I joined Denise and Sandy at the Bodkin elementary 5 K some of the runners had a t-shirt on that really caught my attention.  It said "Your will to win means nothing without your will to prepare".  How can we overcome and be prepared for what we face everyday? 


Know God deeply and intimately; we don't want a casual, shallow and surface walk


God's word brings light! 


Psalm 119:130  The entrance (unfolding or opening) of Your Words gives light!  It gives understanding (discernment) to the simple (one who is easily persuaded).


Those with eyes wide open will hear the Word of the Lord.

Am I glowing with the glory of God?  When they see my face, do I have a look of calm in the midst of the storm?  Do I have a welcoming smile when they come home?  Am I ready with a loving word?


 He will reveal secrets, speak the truth, and rain will fall from heaven. 

Hebrews 4:12  For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword


The Word is alive and able to revive any dead thing in your life.  It is a sword that cuts through the darkness. 


Knowing God is seeing Him in everything.

Jer 29:11  For I know (I see )the plans I have for you plans for peace and not evil to give you a future and hope. 

I see the commencing; the beginning and I see the completion; the ending


This darkness is not the end!  It is only the beginning.

Fannie Crosby, Laura Bridgman and Helen Keller saw God in everything!  God's divine providence ruled there lives.  How?  They tarried with the Lord.  They spent a great amount of time with the Lord.  He gave them deep spiritual insight.  It is the unseen life that only God sees that brings deep spiritual insight.  Deep spiritual insight reveals the truth.  The shadows and doubts are removed. 


Which brings us to the last of the 3 H's….Halleluiah.  Halleluiah means to sing!

These three songbirds were able to sing in the dark because they knew without a doubt that their Lord was good!


In the book of Ecclesiastes Solomon spends about 6 chapters detailing his pursuit of happiness.  He had everything money could buy.  In the end it all comes down to this one verse.


Ecc 6:6  Even if the other man lives 1000 years twice and does not see goodness, do not all go to one place?


The word goodness in this verse is a name of God I have never seen.  I am certain the Lord's timing was perfect for it.  It is the heart of this message.  The word goodness is in the Hebrew is Tob-adonijah which means "My Lord is good!"


Every dark time in our life has been a gift to us from our Lord who is good.  My Lord is good! 


Ecc 5:19  As for every man (woman) to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor, this is the gift of God.  For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of His heart.


Every woman in this room has been given riches and wealth of darkness and pain.  Pain is a gift.  I can say with certainty 'My Lord is good!'.   Underline this in your Bible:  the last part of Ecc 5:19  "to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor".  That word labor means trouble, darkness and pain.  He has given us the power to rejoice in our troubles….this is the gift of God.  It is our choice.  Will we allow the Lord to master our thoughts and bring rejoicing?  It is a choice.


Ecc 6:9  NKJV Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire.


NASB says What the eye sees is better than what the soul desires.


Our soul is the seat of our emotions.  It is our feelings.  Our feelings can be so deceiving.


This verse makes clear that when we have deep spiritual insight, we can see God in everything.  I can see my Lord is good.  He has only good for my life.  He loves me and His plan is perfect.  His plan is better than mine.  I can see Jesus in every detail of my life, therefore I can rejoice.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but blessed be His name!


Romans 8:28  We know that all things work together for good for those who love God…


All things.  Even the bad things?  The Bible does not lie.  All things work for good.  I can say that with so much certainty.  You may be thinking, Renee you do not know my circumstances.  They are different.  I cant' see how anything good could come of this situation that happened in my life many years ago.  Remember pain is a gift.  Gifts were meant to be given.  Recently a friend that I have known for many years was confiding in me that she was molested when she was little girl.  She was put in a situation that she was going to be seeing this person face to face. Although I have rarely shared this with anyone, I told her how I too had been molested when I was a little girl.  Our stories were so similar that she actually looked at me dumbfounded and said, "Renee are you serious?  You're not just making that up to make me feel better?  We comforted each other with the hope that we found in Christ.  We were both content and at peace that this had happened to us.  She shared with me that she was certain that this tragedy had caused her to come to Christ.  Pain is a gift that mended our hearts together. 



Hebrews 11:1  Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


I can be certain of what I do not see.  I do not see how God will work this out for good, but I am certain that He will!


Fanny Crosby was blind all her life.  She had a choice.  She could stay trapped as a prisoner in the darkness and self pity or by choice, allow the Lord to be the light in her life.  Micah 7:8  When I sit in darkness the Lord will be a light to me. 

It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sightwere offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.

It is remarkable that she was thankful for her blindness.  Laura Bridgman was deaf and blind.  She too could have allowed this pain to consume her, but she used it as gift to give another sister.  She taught Annie Sullivan the manual alphabet.  Annie Sullivan in turn took it to none other than Helen Keller.  We all know the remarkable things Helen Keller did!  Pain is a gift. She was a beautiful songbird who learned to sing in the dark.  What will you do with your gift?  We need to look for opportunities!

Ecc 4:9  Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.

Ecc 4:12  Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Yes, this word cord is the same word that is used in Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts I think towards you says the Lord, thought of peace and not of evil to give you a future and hope. The scarlet thread.   It is the same word used in Josh 2:18  the scarlet cord Rahab put in the window to save her.  She put her trust in the scarlet cord.

The scarlet thread that mends our hearts together is the three fold cord that is spoken of in this verse. 

This piece is you.  This piece is me.  The center piece of this scarlet thread is Jesus.  It speaks of the sacrifice.  This pain and darkness has meant sacrifice.  His sacrifice brought us eternal life.  Will you share your gift with another sister?  We are more than friends; we are sisters mended together by the scarlet thread.

Loves strength is found in loves sacrifice; and she who suffers most has the most to give.


I want to close with a true story of a woman who chose to use her pain as a gift to other woman.

Elizabeth Mittelstaedt is the editor of Lydia, the largest Christian magazine in Europe.  She and her husband Ditmar live in Germany.  In the magazine Today's Christian Woman, Elizabeth writes:

Ten years ago, I spent five hours in a dentist's chair for what was supposed to be a routine dental procedure and was left with a severely damaged nerve in my jaw.  As a result shooting pain-worse than a severe toothache-pulsated constantly on the right side of my face. 

To rid myself of the excruciating pain, I traveled from one doctor to another for 6 months-to no avail.  Nobody was able to prescribe something to ease my torment and despair. 

Finally, a doctor at the Mayo Clinic told me "Mrs. Mittelstaedt, there is nothing more that can be done to repair the damage or relieve your pain.  You'll have to live with it."

When I returned home to Germany with this news, I felt discouraged and deeply depressed.  Medical records show that many people who suffer with the same problem resort to suicide.  I, too, felt death was the only escape, but as a Christian, I couldn't believe that was God's will for me.

But the constant pain took its toll.  I felt hopeless, with nothing left to hang on to.  One day, during my morning walk, I crossed a small bridge near Frankfurt, looked down at the flowing river below, and heard a voice say to me, "Why don't you just jump?"  But when I looked down at the water, I realized it was too shallow to drown in.  Then the voice said, 'Don't worry.  It's stony down there.  You'll hit your head and die anyway."

At that moment Matt 4:5-7 came to my mind. I recalled how the devil had unsuccessfully tempted Jesus to jump from the highest point of the temple.  So I said, "No, I am not going to jump.  I am going to trust God."

I began telling God what I was most afraid of-living in pain.  Then I remembered that Jesus says we shouldn't worry about tomorrow-that He gives strength for one day.  I thought, "Somehow, I will make it through the day."

As I looked out over our town and saw the beautiful steepled fairy-tale homes with flower-filled window boxes, white picket fences, and clean-swept sidewalks, I realized that behind this perfect façade were thousands of Europeans struggling with aftermath of two World Wars-broken marriages, depression, guilt, loneliness, and crushed hopes.  I felt the Lord tell me, "Elizabeth, these women are suffering like you are today, and they want to give up.  Although their pain is emotional, it is pain nonetheless."

I no longer felt so alone in my pain.  And suddenly I was filled with a desire to encourage those women.  That morning, the vision for a Christian woman's magazine in Europe was born.

Almost a decade has passed since that day by the bridge. Today, Lydia is printed in 3 languages and reaches about one million readers.  Its message is simple-hope and encouragement can be found through faith in Christ and His Word.  When I receive letters from readers who say, "I didn't abort my baby, and I'm naming her Lydia after the magazine," or "Thank you this magazine feels like my friend", my heart is thrilled.  It's been so healing for me.

Pain is still my companion-but it no longer overwhelms me as it once did.  When I searched God's Word for encouragement and comfort, I came upon Psalm 34:19:  'Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all".  The words to the left of the comma describe my circumstances-and the words to the right give me real hope for the future.  But I've learned that when we hang on to the comma in the middle-wait in faith on God's promise and offer our pain to Him- it is never wasted!


John1:14  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory,

The Word of God came alive in Elizabeth Milstadt.  She literally became God's hands, feet and mouth.  She Heard from her Father which allowed her to sing a beautiful song of encouragement to countless other women.  Ask the Lord how you can do the same.  Let's begin by praising His name for all of the blessings He has given us!

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