I was in 6th grade the first time I remember music pouring into my soul. Paul, that little player of a pastor’s son, had just broken up with me. And it was dramatic. I listened to Janet Jackson, “Again,” for hours on repeat. I just knew she got it, this sadness, this mourning, this ripping apart of my heart, for goodness sake.
While Janet was my first, she certainly wasn’t my last. Over the years I would swear Incubus’ Brandon Boyd could read my angsty high school mind, the Dixio Chicks could feel the longing of my small town heart to get out and into a big city, and that the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson, Knew how much I just HAD to dance. Music knows me. It gets me. It reads me and speaks for me when I can’t speak for myself. And while I’m not sure I felt altogether beautiful that dramatic day in sixth grade, music made me feel whole. It reached into the cavernous spaces in my heart, found everything that lay in between, and named those parts that my emotional self just couldn’t touch.
When I think about that first moment when music met me broken and made me whole, it both moves me and makes me laugh. How ridiculous and amazing all at the same time. Who would’ve thought, Janet Jackson and 6th grade heartache would be like the introduction to a story of beauty and brokenness in my life. Little did I know that a few years post Janet, in many unlaughable moments would I find my Savior whose job description is exactly that. My Jesus met me in a moment that mirrored so many other moments of brokenness and He left me wholly His. He wove Himself into the beautiful tapestry of my heart and has never left.
Today, even in my relationship with Christ, I often come up short. Lacking. Less than. Inadequate. I chastise myself and find shame and regret. I give myself speeches and lectures about how to be a better woman, therapist, person. I get angry, I yell at myself, my dog, my brother, and then I cry. But when I have a curl up moment and sit down (or fall down), my Jesus meets me there. And wouldn’t you know it, he knows that Janet and I had that thing. And that sometimes in order to hear myself, to hear Him, I need music. So I turn it on and this time Kim Walker-Smith’s voice seeps in. And so does He.
When I think about the last time I felt beautiful, it was right there. I would love to say I was tearfully praying quietly but we both know it was more ugly cry accompanied by mumbling and half words. I had had a particularly rough week and the broken spaces of my heart felt filled with sorrow, inadequacy, anxiety, and shame. I found myself exhausted and at small group sharing this pain. And in the amazing way that amazing friends do, they surrounded me and prayed for me. And of course this is incredible, prayer that is. But in this instance I had a particularly lovely friend who has a particularly gorgeous voice who wanted to sing prayer and song and God’s words over me. So she did. And I wept. In that moment, I knew exactly what Janet had started in me all those years before and what my Savior was doing for me now. There will be moments in this world that are too much for my heart to handle, it will crack, mini caverns created, filled with doubts and fears and words of less than. But when I allow the harmony of God’s love and grace wash into my soul, I’m left feeling overflowing and overwhelmingly whole. Wholly, beautifully, me.
Christi is an almost thirty, almost adult, living and laughing loudly in the suburbs of Chicago. She is a therapist for Centennial Counseling Center and spends each day trying to learn how she could possibly be both an introvert and an extrovert. Christi hopes and dreams to someday love people as well as both God and her dog love her.