I’m from a musical family. My mother plays the piano, my brother Ray is a drummer (our cousin Billy was my brother’s mentor). My cousin Michael plays the guitar and his sister Robin, the piano. Michael and Robin’s mother, (my mother’s sister) Marie had a beautiful singing voice. Our grandmother had brothers and sisters who were also musicians.
Then there was me. I’ve always loved to sing (me and the radio) but up until the LORD called my name (at salvation), the songs I sang were for my own pleasure. About half way through my Christian life, I began to sing to my Savior. At this point though, still with the radio or in church.
My Yale Office Mate
My friend Victoria (from work) is an opera singer. At one point during our years of working together, our cubicles were next to each other. I would tell her often about my desire to sing for/to the Lord. That if I could sing one song for Him, I would choose Amazing Grace. At that time, I thought this was just a dream since I didn’t think I could carry a tune (‘even in a bucket,’ as they say). 🙂
First Voice Lesson
Victoria graciously offered to give me a voice lesson and promised to tell me if there was any hope for my voice. During our lesson, she led me through some scales and taught me some basics of reading music. She told me about the importance of good posture to enhance and optimize breathing; to result in a better sounding voice. She also said that I had the ability to carry a tune! At the end of our lesson, Victoria told me something that really blessed me, and in the future would take away my fear. She said to always remember that (as with all singers) “some people will like your voice and some won’t.”
The Chance to Sing In Church
Not more than a month after my lesson with Victoria, I got an offer to sing. Another ‘only God’ moment in my life! Our neighbor Tony, a guitar player in our church praise team (North Haven Bible Church), asked me if I wanted to sing with them. After I fainted (almost literally), I, with knees knocking and heart beating rapidly; said I’d try…
Our church praise team members were very gracious with me and my ‘little church mouse voice.” Right away I started practicing with them Thursday nights and singing with them on Sunday mornings. Going from having NO musical experience to singing with a microphone overnight (literally), I felt very inadequate. I also felt loved and encouraged by my praise team brothers and sisters and greatly humbled by the magnitude of God’s awesomeness!!!
Learning A New Prayer
The LORD had opened a door to give me a desire of my heart (to sing for Him). And He is always bigger than we think and doing far more than we can imagine. Now unto Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us… (Eph 3:20).
He was also at work teaching me (Luke 18:18). He used my desire to sing (and subsequent feelings of inadequacy) to show me how dependent I truly was on Him – even to sing! Up until then, I didn’t always consider my need for His help in ALL things. I learned a new prayer in my feelings of weakness. My new prayer before every practice and each Sunday morning became: “LORD JESUS, I can’t do this without YOU.” My prayer was heard. I sang His praises with our church praise team for the next 3-4 years. And, I got to sing Amazing Grace more than my one-time prayer (many times).
As I was beginning to rely more and more on Jesus, I began to see He always strengthened me when I called upon His name. No matter how well I thought I could do anything, I did everything better with His help. Jesus says it best as He taught in John 15:5: I am the vine, you are the branches: he that abides in Me, and I in him, brings forth much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
God continues to surprise me with His goodness. I stand in awe of You, my LORD and my God.