As a child, I had a Children’s Bible for the longest time. It was so well loved that the pages were falling out, one by one. Whole sections were breaking off and even the spine was detaching from the rest of the book. I had to fix it with a hot glue gun, several times over. Eventually, I got a brown leather Bible case for it which held in its pockets all my notes and lists I made during the sermon. I often sat near my best friends and we always passed notes during the service. And when I wasn’t writing notes during the service, I was exploring the hymn book from front to back, including all those little categories that organize the hymns so well. I was amazed that some of the hymns were 400 years old and there were hymns for every occasion!

I also remember the days in public school when the Gideons would come to the school and hand out free, little red Gideon Bibles. I don’t think they do this anymore in Canada, but it was during the 1980’s and I was so excited to get my Gideon Bible. I cherished it and it fit nicely into my denim purse!

I kept this Bible in the top drawer of my night table in my bedroom. I am not sure exactly why or how this all came about, but at some point, I started a habit of reading Psalm 48:1-2:

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
In the city of our God, His holy mountain.
Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion in the far north,
The city of the great King.
Psalm 48:1-2 NASB

Every morning when I woke up, I took my Bible out of the drawer and opened it to this verse, read it and then got ready for school. It was habit. And soon it was memorized. This was the way God prepared me for each day. I needed His Word in my heart. It was a big thing to go out into the world of school and stand firm in my faith as a young Christian. I realize now that it was Him drawing me to His Word, preparing me to live for Him in the hallways of my school. He is the one who drove me to those verses day after day, to start my days with praise.

This was one of my first introductions to the Psalms. Another was from a song my sisters and I learned to play on the piano called, As The Deer, based on Psalm 42:1. Each of us had our own version of how we played the song. Whenever a piano was nearby, I would sit down and play this song over and over. God was teaching me to worship Him.

Eventually I began to put my own music to several Psalms and listened to other artists’ versions of Psalms. It grew in me a passion for worshiping God through His own Word! All these years later, one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Sandra McCracken, has written and recorded her own album of Psalms and it is simply one of the best. It was our theme music of Summer 2015 and so many memories are now attached to those songs as we played her music non-stop, and quite loudly, for the first few months after moving to the mid-west.

These songs, based on the Psalms, evoke a variety of emotion, deep heart cries to God, words of comfort and rejoicing in praise. My favorite song, We Will Feast in the House of Zion, is a song of triumph and hope, a banner of victory and faith that I needed last summer, as we made such a huge move across the country. Along with these songs, I wept and rejoiced in worship to God, our Good Shepherd, as He so lovingly reminded us over and over of His faithfulness, His presence in our lives, and His trustworthiness.

We will feast in the House of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
-Sandra McCracken