The final notes of the hymn reverberated through the church as the congregation took their seats. Hope presided as the chorus replayed through my mind one more time–“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.” I quietly nodded to myself. Mom would be so happy to know we honored her request.

Forty-eight hours before, my dad and I gathered at church in an upper room. We spent the time going through the final details and the list of songs for my mom’s funeral. My dad asked, “Are you sure she wanted “Amazing Grace” sung at her funeral. My reply was a simple “yes.” Mom and I had several conversations centered around her final wishes. Singing “Amazing Grace” was one I intended to honor.

There are moments, events, sounds, and words that mark certain occasions. When the memories return, we hear the sweet sounds of what was as we walk into what will be.

Sweet Sounds of Memories

Memories appear in sounds, pictures, places, and events. I love looking at family photographs. I can get lost for hours in the stories that replay as I sort through the photos. It’s as if memories of long ago feel like they happened just yesterday.

For many years, my family vacationed in the same spot. It just felt right. We created memories that we loved to revisit plus made new memories each time we packed up the car to drive to the beach. The place evoked the memories, but it was the gathering of family that sustained them.

Some of my sweetest memories are the sounds that bring me back to where I was and what I was feeling. Baby cries are some of my favorites. Remembering the moment each of my sons entered the world reminds me of two of my greatest blessings. Then there is the voice mail of my mom or dad leaving a message that I kept on my phone for years after they passed.

But God doesn’t call us to live in the past. He calls us to present living and all that we can learn as we soak in each day.

How Sweet the Sound of the Present

Now more than ever I find that remaining in the present helps me to manage the uncertainty that we are living in. Creating touch points that keep us focused on what is in front of us will move us forward rather than staying stuck. Using our five senses is a great way to discover the goodness in our day.

I’ve been reading Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul by Bonnie Gray. At the end of each day, Bonnie provides a Soul Care Trail Note that puts forth a challenge based on the reading. On this particular day, the activity was to engage all five senses as a way to relax. I happened to have a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew in my hands and proceeded to engage in the activity. I loved how I felt at the end of the challenge and have since used my five senses as I take my walks.

I’m not sure if it is the time of the year or if I am more aware, but I am hearing sounds more clearly than ever before. Just yesterday, I heard the soft rustle of several leaves as they made their way in flight to the ground. This is the gift of being present, seeing what is right in front of me, and as I take notice, pausing in gratitude for God’s goodness.

God’s Lessons in the Present Times

Just as I honored my mom’s wish by choosing “Amazing Grace” for her funeral service, we honor God when we stay present to what He is teaching us. God never stops working or teaching even in these “unprecedented” times. We all can find the lessons when we pay attention.

When I became more present to what was in front of me, the colors looked brighter, the smells were more fragrant, the sounds were sweeter, I dared to touch, and the taste was just a sip or bite away.

I err mostly on the side of seeing things first. My visual sense is strong and my eyes notice even the most minute item while walking. But, since “shelter-in-place”, I have taken the words from “Amazing Grace” and embraced “how sweet the sound” of all the things.

A month ago, it was my grandson’s voice as he ran up the aisle in church shouting “Mimi.”

A week ago, it was the squawking sound of a heron as it took off in flight.

Sometimes, the sound is the beep of the microwave or my coffeemaker signaling something yummy is ready.

Fall is quickly approaching. The weather is changing and hoodie weather is upon us. The wind is swishing the leaves and some are making a slow descent to the ground. It is beautiful and God-ordained.

Whether you have noticed any of these things where you live or not, God is waiting for you to take the time to observe and sit in the present with Him. I wonder what will happen if you do?

Now more than ever I find that remaining in the present helps to manage the uncertainty that we are living in. #newpost #TellHisStory #linkup #howsweethesound Share on X

The Week Ahead

Let’s challenge ourselves this week to engage our five senses in a way that we notice “how sweet the sound,” how vibrant the colors, the fragrance of fall, the crumpled feeling of a leaf in your hand, or the taste of your favorite fall drink.

Let’s read God’s Word and hear the truth that was written for us.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

    Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8, NLT

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever. Psalm 23:6


Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

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