Day 9: 30 Days of Gratitude

Music.

People who know me are not surprised. As far back as I can remember, I loved music. I grew up singing. I remember even in Kindergarten that I loved to sing. I was in choir at church from the earliest age possible. When the Kindergarten choir was to perform at Christmastime, I remember how I was too scared to perform with them, so I didn’t. And once they started singing, I remember how much I regretted it. As a kindergarten kid. I remember the day that I was in a resale shop with my dad and Mrs. Saunders came in her and my dad started talking. She was the children’s choir director at church. I wasn’t eavesdropping because I was just in the same store. However, I remember how she told my dad that I was really gifted musically, and she wanted to really encourage that gift in me if it was okay with them (my parents). I felt so happy and proud (in a good way).

I started playing the piano in second grade. I remember hearing my parents talking about me starting lessons, that it would be somewhat hard to get me to lessons because they both worked. But nonetheless, I started taking lessons at Wiggly Music Store. I took lessons there for a while, but my dad thought that I needed a better teacher, and he found out about a teacher who had a private studio in her house. I remember that back then, it cost $75 per month. That was a HUGE amount of money. But the teacher was excellent, and she could charge that amount because she had a waiting list, and she required an audition before she would accept a student. My parents really believed in me and wanted to give me the opportunity to build those gifts. I took lessons from her even through High School. I credit her with any ability I have in playing piano and in music theory. There were countless times when I didn’t like her very much — she was tough. But I was always so thankful that I could be her student.

I joined the string orchestra when I got to Junior High School and began learning to play the violin. I can’t imagine how my family survived that! If you don’t know what a beginning violin student sounds like, then there is no way to describe how awful it is. Search YouTube or something. My teacher, Miss Moore, believed in me. She encouraged me and I didn’t give up.

I surrounded myself with music at home, at school, and at church. It was always something that I felt I could do well, and it brought, and brings, me such joy. It is not overstating it to say that music gives me life and breath.

One of the best things about music and “performing” is that it was always a time when I didn’t feel afraid. Most of the rest of the time, I felt afraid about something. Even now, at 51 years old, when I am singing/playing/leading others in worship, it is for me a time of great peace and purpose and fulfillment. I always feel confident and fearless. And I don’t feel powerless.

What does the Bible say about music? Well, there is no room here to list the over 250 verses. But here are my three favorite:

My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises!” (Psalm 57:7, NLT)   

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:3, NLT)   

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”” (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)   

God’s Word speaks with the most authority in my life, but I am so grateful that God uses music to touch my soul as well. Here are the songs at the top of my “most-played” list. I suppose it is a window into the kind of things the Lord is teaching me during this season of my life. These songs reach me in the most secret places of my soul.

So today, I’m grateful for music. I’m grateful that my parents believed in me and sacrificed for me from early in life, so I could learn and grow in my ability and my passion for music. I’m grateful to Judy Johnston, my grade school music teacher, who encouraged me. I am grateful to Mrs. Saunders, who pushed me to use my giftedness to honor the Lord. I am grateful to Miss Moore, who help me believe in myself and who believed I was good enough and worth investing in. Most of all, I am grateful to the Creator of the universe for giving me, and us, music. And I am grateful to him for gifting me in this area. There is nothing in me as I have typed all this that is feeling boastful or looking for some kind of affirmation from anyone. I am simply grateful to the Lord, and you got to read over my shoulder as I thanked Him. All praise and honor and glory and power belong to Him alone.

Chris Malone

Chris and his family serve as missionaries near Kyiv, Ukraine. Chris and his wife, Mary, have nine children. Five of their children have Down syndrome and four of those are adopted from Ukraine. Their four older children are in various stages of starting college and starting careers.

8 thoughts on “Day 9: 30 Days of Gratitude”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these many thoughts Chris. We have known you for many years and have “performed” with you as our choir director. You have blessed us and inspired us in so many ways. Thank you for being such a humble teacher and servant of God. Love you guys.

  2. I agree with what someone else said, “Music is the language of my soul”

    Thanks for sharing your talents with an old dude that just loves to sing praises to our Lord.

  3. My friend, I will forever be grateful that God used all the aforementioned people to guide you to music. Your God given musical gift has blessed me beyond words….
    I know you weren’t looking for any affirmations but, I can’t apologize. Randy and I will forever cherish the time we lived in OKC. Coming to choir practice each week always felt more like a revival service for me because you made it ALL about praising God through music instead of a routine learning of songs. Many, many nights after your devotion following practice I would be teary-eyed going home because God used your devotion to teach me something I needed right then.
    I will never forget after singing with the praise team for a Sunday night service you very quietly asked me if Randy and I would like to come over for dinner. Nothing special, you said, just hot dogs and beans. While there may have been people in that church that would’ve been highly embarrassed to have offered such a humble meal to first time guests your offer came with no embarrassment or excuse but with humility and love and the sheer desire to break bread with fellow believers. And let me tell you my friend, hot dogs and beans has NEVER tasted so delicious since then!!
    We could not be more grateful for you and Mary opening your home, your hearts and the love of family to us. Getting to know the Malone’s changed us in so many ways. Good ones for sure!
    I could go on, but I’ve already rambled way too much. 😞
    We have such deep love for all of you and think about y’all often.
    By the way, thank you for sticking with your tough music teacher and all the lessons. You are appreciated!
    Keep looking up,
    Bren
    PS: please give your sweet bride a hug for me.

    1. I will pass on the hug! I don’t even know how to reply to your comments. You guys were instantly special to us. Mainly because you loved us just as we were (are) and you loved our KIDS. You weren’t afraid of Eli and as the others were adopted, you weren’t afraid of them. On of my favorite pictures is of Eli, Micah, and Matthew sitting in Randy’s lap – and big smiles and ever face. You guys are special to us, too, and we think of you all the time. What great times we had!!

  4. Chris your music talent has blessed so many but every song you sang moved me closer to Jesus. You sang to our family in happy times (weddings) and you soothed our hearts during grief (Melissa’s death). Your music reaches deep and wide. Thank you!

    1. Thank you sweet friend. I’m grateful to God that He chooses to use us and that He can be tangibly felt through the our service to Him and each other. Love you and Rick so much!

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