I held a very calming image in my head this morning of a mother soothing her fussy baby by holding the baby close to her heart and singing to the baby.. It brought a smile to my face as God was letting me know through this image this is exactly how He loves us.
“For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
Singing to our babies is a natural response when they are crying or being fussy. I know when my kids were infants, I knew humming and singing could possibly calm them, but I didn’t know why it would calm them. When I read the last part of the verse that says God will exult over us, or be in high spirits over us, singing a happy song, I couldn’t help but think about a mother calming her infant with a happy song. It led me to research the science behind singing effects on babies.
A Canadian Psychologist and researcher by the name of Sandra Trehub studies the impact of singing over babies. There was an article published by Jill Suttie on greatergood.berkeley.edu called, “Why Parents sing to babies” and I want to share a little of what her research has revealed so that we can get a better understanding of the human brain, and the reason God chooses to communicate with us through song.
The first thing that stuck out to me was that babies recognize their mother's voice much earlier than they recognize their faces. I think I knew this, I can’t say for sure, but as I meditate on God’s word, I know it to be true. We don’t know what God looks like (Exodus 20:4), but the ones that follow Him, know His voice!
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” John 10:27 (NLT)
The second thing singing activates is “reward centers” in the brain, which release dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone release associated with happiness, motivation, and pleasure. We want all of these things. And when we make a conscious decision to trust God with our lives like a little baby trusts its mother without even knowing it, this trust releases those happy hormones in our brain.Praising God through song is one of the things that gives us just that!
I know I am one that cries during worship to God. And it’s not that anything is wrong, I am just thinking about everything that God does right. And this explains the dopamine release. We don’t just cry when things are bad, we also cry when things overwhelm us with joy and happiness.
The article also mentioned an experiment that was done on premature babies in the ICU unit. They exposed the babies to parental singing and the results were improved heart rates, improved respiratory rates, better sleep, better feeding patterns and better weight gain!
In an earlier study Trehub found that babies with elevated cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) was reduced when they listened to singing, and the opposite happened to babies with lower cortisol levels, it increased their levels. Trehub's study concluded that the experiment kept cortisol in just the right range for positive attention.
So as we can see from Trehub’s findings, singing helps regulate our emotions and helps with our attention and focus.
God cares about our health. He cares about how we are feeling. He doesn’t just want us to experience happiness, but rather He wants us to experience real joy. Real joy is where our strength comes from (Nehemiah 8:10). Real joy comes from knowing that God created us and He knows what we stand in need of. Even when we are stressed, depressed, and desperate, our strength comes from the joy in knowing that God will take care of us.
I believe that the most eye-opening thing to take away from this is that we worship God through song, which helps us; but just thinking about the fact that God rejoices over us with happy songs when we come to Him opens my heart wider to the love of God. He loves and accepts us so much that He chose to reveal this to us. It’s a beautiful image to hold in our mind, the Father singing and rejoicing over us.
This is a good truth to remember when we are being strong worriers: When we are strong worriers; God is a strong warrior! His love is our calming mechanism, and His songs are delightful, joyful, and strength to our souls.
With all of the health problems we are dealing with during this pandemic related to COVID19, my prayer is that God sings to us…
slow our hearts down…
Slow our fast breathing, God…
Help us sleep better..
Help us eat better, and reduce our stress levels so that we can think clearer, make better decisions for our lives, and most of all know what and who to trust, which is Jesus Christ.
I pray that this helps you strengthen your bond not only with your babies, but with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I love you!
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