Esther Stapleton-Stone encourages us to develop a lifestyle of worship and to look to God during challenging times.
It is said that being thankful has benefits. Instead of listing our problems which can make us feel deflated, we should try and list all the things to be thankful for. This biblical principle of being thankful over the years has been acknowledged scientifically to have health benefits.
Personally, the pursuit of reconditioning my mind to have a grateful attitude is a continuous quest and during COVID it has been tested. The challenge has been maintaining a thankful attitude when things were not the norm, I found that it was very easy to concentrate on the areas of my life that felt out of sync. I found that being thankful helped me to lift my eyes to God and not on my challenges. The bible is filled with survival tips that we can apply during these times of emotional turmoil. One such tip is found in Isaiah 61:3 which encourages us to put on a garment of praise when we feel dispirited. Isaiah was referring to actively engaging in worship, singing praises to God which has the beneficial effect of restoring our focus back to God and away from ourselves. Psalm 121:1-2 also encourages us to look to God who can help us in these times as he is the creator of heaven and earth.
During this COVID crisis, I was asked along with my husband Adrian to be a part of the Songs of Praise programme which was broadcast on Sunday 16th August 2020. It was a great privilege to be asked and as a singer/songwriter it was a fantastic opportunity to share my love of worship with the audience. I was especially thankful for this opportunity to sing my composition 'Walking with Angels', which had only been released a week before the recording of the programme. The timing of it all seemed like a miraculous occurrence. There was another poignant factor that made this opportunity very special: my mother is an avid viewer of the programme. She had nurtured my talent with encouragement for years and now she was able to see me sing 'Walking with Angels' in beautiful Trentham Gardens where my husband is the vicar of the parish.
This song was based on my readings about angels worshipping in heaven. In the book of Revelation there are beautiful scenes of worship and I imagined myself being in the midst of it all. The first verse is a description of my interaction with the angels: "I'm walking with angels, they're holding my hands. They're whispering softly 'Holy is the Lord'. I just want to see God's face, I don't want to leave this holy place." The second verse of the song gives a glimpse of the heavenly setting: "I'm walking with angels through a heavenly place; they're guiding me gently to the throne of grace." In Hebrews 4:16, the throne of grace is mentioned as a place where we can obtain mercy and find grace to help us in times of need.
When I worship, I see it as a special time to be thankful to God for his provision and gifts he has given to me. Over the years I have developed a lifestyle of worship and I have received so much from God, in terms of the joy and peace I feel. My prayer is that anyone who reads this will be encouraged to develop a lifestyle of worship and experience how transformational it is.
Single: 'Walking with Angels' is available now from all online
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