This month’s Peter’s Wife is going to be a bit different than others. Although this doesn’t directly relate to living in a foreign culture, I believe there are some readers who are kept from doing their best work because they have been fettered by a lie. Or maybe you have a friend or family member who needs to hear how I was set free.
For several years my husband has been teaching about the importance of knowing the truth and being set free from the power of lies. About a year and a half ago one of our sons learned how recognizing the lies he was believing and replacing them with the truth could stop panic attacks. I had listened to all of this and thought a lot about it, but couldn’t see any lies I was believing.
A few months ago I became increasingly frustrated with my worship and praise. Although I’ve been a believer in Jesus for almost forty years and have experienced God’s touch in my life over and over again, I could not express my love and praise musically. I longed for heaven believing that only then would I be able to sing my praise. This frustration grew to the point where I often wept in meetings because I felt so handicapped.
Then in one meeting I remembered an experience I had as a fourteen year old. I had auditioned for an after-school choral group. I didn’t really expect to be selected, and was surprised when I was. I practiced with the group for a few weeks. Then one day the group wasn’t meeting where it had been. I looked in vain for them, finally deciding I must have missed the announcement of a change. But the next few times we were to meet, I still was unable to find them. Finally a classmate took me aside and said, “The teacher changed the time and place and made us promise not to tell you.” I was crushed. I cannot sing! The lie was planted. I never told anyone about this. I was too ashamed.
I had taken piano lessons for six years. I could read music, but I could never play anything perfectly. I practiced and practiced, but as soon as there was an opportunity to play with others listening, I would make big mistakes. I decided it was futile to continue lessons and quit. I couldn’t play the piano. Another lie was planted.
I played guitar in nursing school. My friends and I would play in the dorm and sing the ballads of the late 60’s. When my husband and I got married, he asked me to show him how to play guitar. Within a very short time my husband could play better than I could after years of practice. I quit playing guitar. Why continue when he could play so much better than me, and anyway, he could sing along with it and the guitar really is an accompaniment instrument. Another lie began to wrap its tendrils around me.
Some years later I bought an autoharp. Now all the chords were preset, so it was harder to hit wrong notes. I loved the sound of the autoharp, but when I tried to join with guitars, there were too many chords that my autoharp couldn’t play. That was the final straw. I was convinced I could not make music by voice or instrument to praise my God.
Our youngest son is particularly gifted in music. He could not learn to read music, but he can make music with anything. He loves the keyboard and has become an accomplished keyboard player on the worship team of a large church. He kept telling me he could teach me to play the piano by ear.
One day he challenged me to sit with him on the piano bench and he would prove to me that I could learn to play by ear. He told me to close my eyes. He played a few notes and asked me to play them. I laughed, how was that possible for one who couldn’t sing or play. But I tried and was completely surprised when I was able to do it! The first lie I believed was uncovered in that moment.
He began to teach me to play a worship song I liked by just looking at the guitar chords. As I felt comfortable with finding the chords, he began to teach me variations. I was so thrilled to be able to play for my own personal quiet time.
While waiting to meet friends at our new church building, my husband got our his guitar and started playing in the lobby. As he sang, I began to sing too. The acoustics are very live and we sounded really good. I was so pleased that I sounded so good.
In that moment, I realized that the hurt of that rejection 40 years before had planted a lie in my heart. It was a lie. I could sing. Oh, certainly not well enough for solo performance, but well enough to worship and praise my Redeemer! The power of another lie was broken!
At our lady’s retreat this year I wanted to share what God had been doing in my life. After telling the ladies my story, I told them I wanted to do one thing as an offering to God. I sat down at the piano and played the song I had been practicing. I played the whole song without a mistake! It was the first time in my life. The group broke out in a mixture of laughing, weeping, and applause as we realized we had seen a miracle. . .the power of lies revealed and replaced by the truth.
Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” That is exactly what I have experienced. I had not even been aware that I was believing a lie. So deeply ingrained was the belief that I could not sing or play an instrument that I couldn’t even recognize I was believing a lie.
But when we love God and want to learn from Him, He will open our eyes to the lies we believe and reveal the truth. He delights in setting us free.