I’ve had two major conversions in my life. The first was when I gave my life to Jesus and was baptized at age seven. The second (and admittedly less eternally significant) was at age 26 when I finally saw the light, repented of my “hater” status, and came to confess that Taylor Swift is indeed the greatest songwriter of my generation. I once thought my taste in music was too intellectually refined for Taylor Swift, but one thing I know about God is that he’s incredibly creative in the tools he uses to humble and teach me.
After my conversion, I was hooked. I saw Taylor twice on her “Red” tour, then subsequently on her “1989” tour, “Reputation” tour, and most recently on her “Eras” tour, which has become the pop culture phenomenon of the year. It was at this most recent show, singing and dancing with three of my best friends of 20 years, that God again used music to remind me of his faithfulness to me.
As Taylor performed each “era” of her music, I was reminded me of his specific faithfulness to me during that time, Now, as a parent, I continue to see that same faithfulness displayed in my life and the lives of my children.
Lonely in Singleness and in Motherhood
As she played songs from the “Red” album, I was transported to that time in my life. That album has its share of cutting break up songs and heart-wrenching ballads, but it also has songs about fresh starts, forgiveness, and the way things ultimately should be. These songs recalled my time working at a small college far from home when I was in my early 20’s. It was one of the loneliest seasons of my life, and yet, I can say with confidence that it was also the most intimate season I’ve ever had with Jesus. When most other relationships were stripped away, Jesus met me in a way I had never experienced.
I had not felt that intimacy again until becoming a mother. Though I have a full house and a full calendar, there is a loneliness to motherhood that can be devastating. And yet, in those moments of wondering who might understand me, Jesus is there. He reminds me, just like he did all those years ago, that though heartache and loneliness will always be present this side of Heaven, my story in him eventually ends with forgiveness, restoration, and the realization of the ultimate happy ending.
The Gifts of Marriage and of Children
In a contrast to “Red,” Taylor’s second album, “Fearless” reminds me of one of the sweetest times of my life. I discovered this album years after its release and began to truly enjoy it somewhere around 2014… the same year I dated my-now husband. Somewhere along the way that year I realized that this was the man God had for me to marry and I decided to abandon all caution and enjoy it. When I say enjoy it, I mean lip-syncing the title track of this album into my hairbrush in the mirror, filming it, and sending it to a friend.
When Taylor sang that song on her most recent tour, I cried. The Holy Spirit nudged me, reminding me of God’s faithfulness. It was as like he was saying “Remember the giddiness? Remember the absolute astonishment that God had brought you such an amazing gift of a man after your years of waiting? God was faithful then and he’s faithful now, even as you and this man navigate parenthood. Though days may be filled with mundane tasks, though displays of affection may look more like emptying the dishwasher than a fancy dinner and flowers, he is faithful 8 years into this marriage. When instead of lip-syncing pop songs into a hairbrush you’re singing Thomas the Tank Engine to a whiny two-year old to calm him down, God is there. He was faithful. He is faithful. He will be faithful.”
As Taylor sang her way into the eras of her music that have come since I became a mother, the remembrances of God’s faithfulness became more pronounced. When she sang “Lover,” I remembered when that song debuted, dancing around our tiny rental house with my one-year old son, changing the lyrics to be about us, and singing to him. When she sang “Ready For It,” I remembered driving at 3:30am to our scheduled c-section to meet our second son, with the windows down yelling “Baby let the games begin, let the games begin!” at the top of my lungs as my husband looked on in some combination of amazement and horror. During the “folklore” portion of the show I was taken back to the summer of 2020 when Taylor, with no warning or fanfare, released that album. My second son had just been born and our family was trying to navigate this new life as a family of four during a global pandemic. I would listen to the intricate stories told on that album during our middle-of-the-night feedings, as I prayed for this new baby and his big brother.
These aren’t life-changing moments. They’re the little moments surrounding the big ones. And yet, these are the moments where I most see God’s hand and faithfulness. He is present in the details.
God’s Faithfulness Through Generations
Finally, a few weeks ago during her Mother’s Day concert, Taylor played “The Best Day,” a song she wrote for her mom. I sat on my couch the next morning weeping as I watched clips of the performance. My mom is the reason I love music. She taught me in 4-year-old choir and forced me to take piano lessons for much longer than I wanted. I can directly attribute my ability to dominate a game of “name that tune” to her. Because of Mom, I decided to take guitar lessons. I learned how to play “The Best Day,” re-wrote the lyrics to incorporate memories I have of my mom, and played it for her on Mother’s Day of that year. It has become one of our songs.
But a funny thing happened as I listened to that song this time. I started to re-write the lyrics for a second time, this time from a mother’s point of view, for my oldest son. Through one song I was able to see God’s generational faithfulness.
As I limped out of the arena after over three hours of singing and dancing, I could not help but be filled with gratitude. Taylor’s music has been the soundtrack of my adult life. God, in his creative goodness, has wired me to learn and remember through music. He has used her songs to take me to various points in my life and reveal his presence and his faithfulness to me.
Now as a mother, when I am worried or anxious or lonely and the Spirit nudges me once more to ask me to remember the past faithfulness of my Heavenly Father, I can confidently say yes, in the words of Taylor herself, “I remember it all too well.”
I have certainly changed over time, but God has not. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). And, while Taylor writes an excellent song, God used that night at the concert to remind me that he is the ultimate story teller. My story is but a verse in his bigger Story, the true and final Story, where there will be no more tears, no more heartbreak, but only rejoicing and restoration in the fullest (Rev. 21:1-4).
Questions for parents:
- What tools has God used in your life to remind you of his faithfulness to you?
- What do you see him using in the life of your children to do the same?
- What practices could you implement in your family to acknowledge and celebrate his faithfulness?