God Through Music – Natasha Bedingfield

Ok, so here are some cool ideas: God’s voice in a song. God singing over the earth. Like radio waves. Constantly. His heart for people. His piercing love. His Truth. His sheer joy over me, over you. His confidence in His redemptive work and plan. His confidence in the power of His love that has conquered death and fear.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

If we are open, if we listen, I believe we – anyone, no matter whether or not they are trying to write a “Christian” song – can pick up on this music. I have experienced and heard it most accurately described as getting a “download” of a song, sometimes complete, sometimes in pieces. Tapping into melodies flowing out of heaven, inspired melodies and lyrics that can reveal God’s heart…

Bringing freedom
Bringing joy
Bringing healing

Music is also an amazing medium for us to hear Him speak to us.

I was thinking about these ideas several months ago, standing by my air conditioner (ok, so I have a thing for random details), when suddenly a simple and only slightly familiar name popped into mind as I stood there with God:

Natasha Bedingfield.

Huh? Who is that again, God?
I heard it again, clearly in my mind:

Natasha Bedingfield.

Why would I be thinking that on my own? Um… Ok. I think this is you, God. Hm… I was curious.

So, I walked over to my computer and Googled “Natasha Bedingfield – most recent album.” Two clicks later, I arrived on a page with the lyrics to her most recent hit song “Strip Me”.

My curiosity heightened as I began to read the words that I quickly noticed were about figurative and not literal stripping. Just like I was experiencing in my life.

And if you strip me,
Strip it all away
If you strip me,
What would you find?
If you strip me,
Strip it all away
I’ll be alright

I’m only one voice in a million
but you ain’t taking that from me

Ok, you have my attention, God. I’m being stripped too. It feels like everything’s been taken from me. Ripped away. My husband, my source of confidence, my sense of identity, my comfort, my security, my future.  Everything. All wrapped up in him. With him out of the picture, what do I have left? Who am I? I kept reading.

I don’t need a microphone, yeah,
To say what I been thinking
My heart is like a loudspeaker
That’s always on eleven

That’s when my heart stopped. I read it again: “My heart is like a loudspeaker that’s always on…. ELEVEN?” You’re kidding me. 11. That is my number with God… ever since college. Like, I would be reading verse 11 of something in the Bible and just be overwhelmed with peace, then look over and see it was 11:11pm, or notice that my clunker college car had just in that moment reached 111,111 miles. Things like that. God had always used 11 to get my attention, and remind me of His acceptance over me RIGHT where I was, his perfect sense of timing.

And here it was in the song lyrics, jumping out at me off the page. “My heart is like a loudspeaker that’s always on eleven”. I searched the other lyrics to try to extract some contextual meaning.

Just that “random” phrase sitting in the middle of this song about being stripped.

Ok, God. You’re here. You’re showing me this song. You’re allowing this process of me being stripped. I see that. Your perfect timing. I see that too.

I didn’t have access to YouTube or Itunes at the time, so I couldn’t download the song. Instead, I just made a mental note to try to find it or get a friend to download it for me.

After a couple of weeks not having time to get the song, I was walking past the DVD shop by my house that I hadn’t been into in over a year. But today, as I walked past it, the idea suddenly struck me to go inside. But God, surely they would NOT have Natasha, only the really big names.

So I kept walking, but felt the idea persist. Why couldn’t I let it go? Ok, God. This is crazy, but I’ll go in there and try. Why not?

I stepped into the once familiar shop, wall to wall with “real” DVD’s and CD’s. I scanned the 30 or so CD’s on display, and sighed as I noticed of course, only the most famous names – Mariah Carey, Justin Beber, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, etc. Typical for China.

Just for kicks, though, I called over the store attendant and said in Chinese “Do you have a CD by ‘Na-ta-sha Be-ding-……

That’s when I saw it, right at that moment. I stopped short and sucked in my breath. The “Strip Me” album. Right under a stack of other CD’s in the middle shelf!! I pulled it out in disbelief, and held it up to the lady, asking if it was new.

She looked down and studied the CD, furrowed her brow, and replied (in Chinese) “Strange. I’ve never seen this CD before. It must be new. Only one of its kind. You want to buy?”

I smiled. I laughed. Of course.
“I’ll take it.”

As I listened to “Strip Me” that night, the powerful beat and melody filled my senses. I felt the “fight” in me rise up. The “fight” against the voices of fear and rejection that weighed me down day in and day out. This is a battle. And God’s love wins. Of course. It has already won.

God, you are SO in this song. WOW – awesome!

I stood up and walked around my living room as I played it again.
This time, thoughts about my website started popping up. I had just been exploring the idea to start a website. But what, God? What would it be? How would it be focused? I need you to focus me. There are so many directions it could take.

The music kept flowing.
Then, it was so clear, in an instant.
A slogan. A focus. Three words. But what, God?

Then I knew.
That was the first word.
Natasha sang louder, and I paced my living room, feeling alive and free and excited.

Another word flashed to mind.
Yes! Exactly! I knew it was from Him.

This was my journey.
“Stripped. Surrendered….”

The last word felt like it crashed on top of my head.
I laughed out loud, tears of amazement welling up.

Of course, God! The perfect summary of what You’re doing in the midst of my pain. You allowed it in your wisdom. Allowed me to be stripped of what I thought I needed, bringing me to a place of surrender, then letting me SOAR in your freedom. SOAR over this storm.

The song finally ended and I plopped down on the couch. Activated by the melody. Aware of Him. Tuned in to hear those three words… right from God’s heart… for me. For the website. My website. His website. Stripped. Surrendered. Soaring.

How fun. How brilliant! That was EXACTLY the sense of focus I had been crying out for.

I felt so alive then, and still do every time I listen not only to Natasha, but so many other songs that He uses to release His heart to me. Is Natasha’s music overtly “worship” or “Christian”? Nope, but I believe she has (knowingly or unknowingly) tapped into the radio frequency of God’s heart, his singing over the world.

Maybe that’s what she meant by “My heart is like a loud speaker”. A loudspeaker for God’s voice, amplifying and releasing pieces of His beauty, His peace, His Truth, and reminders of his perfect “11” timing to the world.

I want to be a loudspeaker too.
Tapping into His melodies.
Hearing His voice. His words. His song over me.
Helping others do the same.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

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