A Reason To Sing

One year ago today, at high noon, I sat in my super cool mom van {don't laugh!}, sobbing and yelling... at God.  I had just left an appointment that was the last ditch effort to find any stinkin' thing to relieve my pain caused nerve damage done during the surgery to remove a portion of my kidney.  The caring, good-hearted acupuncturist had just told me, with kindness and sadness, that if the 6 treatments we had already done had not changed the pain in the slightest that continuing would be futile.  They had not changed it.  Not one bit.  So, I left the office, went to my car and melted into a puddle of tears that had been held in for a long time.  The normal Sarah-sized strength, courage and hope were washed away in that moment.  I sat there for what felt like hours while many cars creeped by my car with their drivers looking at me to see if I was leave the parking spot. Tough beans people, I was slightly frozen by this tough life news so just move on people! Move on. ;)

I turned on the car, finally, and my phone's Spotify playlist, titled "Restore The Joy" filled the car with glorious sounds and inspiring words.  I can still remember the song playing at the time.  It was All Sons and Daughter's Reason to Sing. These are the words that were divinely chosen to be playing in this moment:

When the pieces seem too shattered to gather off the floor
And all that really matters is that I can't feel You anymore
Is that I don't feel you anymore.
I need a reason to sing, I need a reason to sing
I need to know that You're still holding the whole world in Your hands
And I need a reason to sing. 
When I'm overcome by fear and I had everything I know
If this waiting lasts forever, I'm afraid I might let go.
I'm afraid I might let go.
Will there be a victory?  Will You sing it over me now?
Your peace is the melody. Will You sing it over me now?
I need a reason to sing.

A breathtaking pure peace took control of that space in my mom van.  The words of the song were like a healing balm.  I went from screaming at God in anger and frustration to praising Him in gratitude and hope.  This sweet spirit-filled voice inside of me said "you need a reason to sing".  I knew that I needed to find something new in my life that would help me rediscover the voice within me that could sing songs of joy instead of groans of pain.  

So, while rubbing off the ugly streams of mascara, looking in the vanity mirror, I tried to think of something that would be fresh, creative and beneficial to my soul.  My very first thought was "maybe I could try that hand lettering stuff"!

You see, many months before, on the day that I learned that the post op pain that wasn't going away wasn't normal and that it was actually permanent, chronic nerve pain, I took a drive out on the country to clear my head.  I stopped that same mom van on the top of a Wisconsin rolling hill and got out to take in the beauty.  I took a photo and posted it on my business {Cellar Designs} Instagram account with lyrics of a Bethel Music song that was playing in my van while I stood outside. I posted the lyrics as the caption alongside my photo...

Then a funny thing happened.  Some strange guy posted a 2 word comment that ended up changing me forever... even if I didn't realize it at the time.  Stefan Kunz wrote "wow, amazing".  I didn't know who this was and I definitely didn't have many people outside of family and friends commenting on my posts back then so it stood out.  I clicked on his name and saw this amazing feed of beautiful, inspiring lettering!!  I scrolled through his posts for quite awhile in amazement and awe. I hit "follow" and didn't have any understanding of how important that click would be for me.  


In the months to come I was inspired by his art and followed just about anyone he talked about.  He lead me to some extraordinary hand lettering artists who have been a big part of the fabric of my life ever since.  I would watch some of their process videos and be mesmerized by the fluid motion of their pens or brushes and it instantly calmed my spirit. It was like therapy. 


So, back to that moment in my mom van outside of the sweet acupuncturist's office... When I had that thought to try hand lettering it was a result of that one day standing outside of the same van, listening to a different but equally powerful song, taking a picture to share with the world and somehow be seen by Stefan Kunz.  I had already been using hand lettering as a therapy of sorts and now seemed the perfect time to try this art for my own live-and-in-living-color prescription for the pain. 


I drove immediately to Hobby Lobby and walked in with my tear stained face and searched the store for items I knew nothing about.  As I wandered aimlessly through the aisles the sounds of Mercy Me's Flawless floated above me. 

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The cross has made
The cross has made you flawless

I finally found some bright colored ink, a Pentel Aquabrush and some mixed media paper.  I went directly home to my walnut stained kitchen table and unpacked my new medicinal tools.  And started something new...


I write this today because this morning I opened my Time Hop app and saw that today is ONE YEAR exactly from that day crying and yelling at God in my mom van outside of the last chance for pain relief.  ONE YEAR ago today I started to hand letter.  ONE YEAR ago the Holy Spirit filled my minivan sanctuary with the words I needed to hear. ONE YEAR ago today I chose a therapy method that had been in my life through others for almost a year.  

And today........ {here comes the real goose bump moment folks!}.... at 7pm registration for my FIRST ever hand lettering workshop opens!  I had no idea that when I chose today as the day to go live that it was one year from the day I decided to start teaching 
myself the very thing I will now educate others with.  

I believe, with my whole heart, that this was not a coincidence but the work of my loving Father who saw I was hurting and placed things in my life that could help heal and bring me joy.  This is the photo I posted one year ago and it clearly is a message of hope that became a truth filled outcome.

And the art of hand lettering and the community of beautiful people I have found there has helped me to restore the joy every day since.


Folks, listen up.  If you are in a season of crying and yelling about the pain or heartache you have let me tell you that there is a way across that murky pond.  There have been lily pads set out for you to walk gingerly on to slowly get to the other side.  My lily pads were Bethel Music, Stefan Kunz, the hand lettering community of Instagram, All Sons and Daughters, Hobby Lobby, Mercy Me, and a year of daily therapy with a new found passion.  None of this is coincidence.  All of it is from God.  He lays those lily pads out for us, lets us scream at Him, holds our hand as we navigate our way across the pond and gives us reasons to sing again. 


May you have hope that if you have a moment of crying and yelling that you feel the flood of grace that I did.

May you pay attention to the messages in songs and words of encouragement from others as they very well might be part of the lily pads of hope God has laid out for you.

May you discover something new that brings joy to yourself.. and maybe others! 
June 06, 2017 — Sarah Stevens

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.