by: Erin Weidemann
Did you sing this song as a kid? I did. I sang it in church. Not every week, but I sang it enough times to remember part of it. I don’t know all the words, but I know the beginning:
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
Have I ever actually thought about the words though? Nope. Not really. I didn’t really give much thought to the words of this song until I had a baby.
Oh, that baby. I love her. I never thought I would be a mom, but God had different plans. What a precious blessing she is. I could hardly wait until she was born before the singing began. I had to come up with a lot of songs for all sorts of reasons: morning wake ups, meal time, fussy time, bath time, bed time…but which songs to sing?
Sometimes, I make them up. There’s nothing like a good nonsense song about kangaroos wearing sneakers and jellyfish climbing mountains, but I can’t do that all the time. I just don’t possess the kind of genius that never gets tired of creating something fun and interesting.
As my own faith continues to grow, I find myself wanting to sing songs to her that I think will help her discover a little more about Jesus. Who is this Lord of ours? He is so many things but, before anything else, He is our dearest friend.
I usually sing this song and others like it to her before bedtime. In her room, it’s quiet, dark, and calm. It is the last chance we have after the loud, activity-filled day to snuggle up together before she drifts off to sleep. Thanks to YouTube, I can find these songs ahead of time and fill in the gaps where I don’t actually know all of the words.
It’s in these peaceful moments, as the day winds down, that we both are growing closer to Jesus. I softly sing to her in the best, most beautiful voice I can muster. I take special care, gently whispering each word like they are the last words she will ever hear.
At times, the burdens of life can be so heavy. They weigh us down. Our mistakes. Our pain. Our suffering. She’s still so young, but I want my little girl to know that there is a plan for what to do when life seems unbearable. What can she do? She can find a quiet place to be alone with Her Savior, and lay all of her problems, frustrations, and fears at His feet.
I sing this song to her with the prayerful hope that she will understand and believe every word. I sing to her, but I’m singing to myself too. I also need the gentle, steady reminder that Jesus is there. He has already taken the great weight of this world on His shoulders. He is always ready. He is always willing. He is always listening, and He can always help. He is our friend, and what a friend He is.
Erin is an enthusiastic and goofy mom to two children, one of them with paws. She is a wife, author, teacher, former college athlete and a five time cancer survivor. Her heart is in Seville, Spain, though she calls Encinitas, CA home. In her spare time she enjoys going to the beach with her husband and daughter, coaching softball, and pretending she can bake. She loves eating, laughing, and volunteering at Sunday school. She is passionate about teaching girls, especially her own, about the female heroes of the Bible. Alongside her husband Brent, she is the co-founder of Bible Belles.