Her voice wasn’t awesome. In fact, she often would start in one key and, gradually, through the course of the song, move to several other keys. When I was visiting her recently, we were talking about her funeral and she suggested that my sister and I sing Dottie Rambo’s “Mama’s Teaching Angels How to Sing.” (Perhaps God will, after all, inflict the ultimate irony . .)
But mum, while certainly not an award-winning singer, passed on to me through her songs truth that stuck with me. Even now, 40+ years on, I see how seeds of faith were planted by the repetition of a handful of her favourite hymns.
Like this one:
All the way my Saviour leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt his tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comnfort,
Here by faith in him to dwell;
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
(Fanny J. Crosby)
And this one–her most favourite, which has failed to make it into most hymnals:
O thou, my soul, bless God the Lord,
And all that in me is
Be lifted up, His holy name
To magnify and bless.
Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God,
And not forgetful be
Of all his gracious benefits
He hath bestowed on thee.
Bless the Lord! Bless the Lord!
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul,
And all that is within me
Bless His holy name.
(Scotish Psalter, 1650)
From my mother’s songs, I learned about faith in God and the faithfulness shown to us, God’s love, peace and the hope we have. I learned so much about God but the greatest lesson I learned in my mother’s singing was hat God can be trusted to keep his promises.
Mothers, never underestimate the power of a song sung to your children. Even when they’re only 2 or 3 years old, the words–and the love and conviction with which you sing it–will carry on far longer than you will ever know.