As a young woman, I enjoyed a certain level of acclaim for my musical gift. I had numerous opportunities to sing before very large groups of people in various settings. I won talent awards and received scholarships aimed at developing my ability. Music was, and still is, the deepest expression of my heart and my faith.
It seemed that the dream of recording my songs was going to be realized when the church I attended at the time approached me and the group I sang with about producing a music project, which was to include a couple of my originals. I was ecstatic, but the thrill was short-lived. Almost overnight, due to circumstances beyond our control, the project was cancelled and our dream was shattered. The resulting disappointment left me virtually unable to sing. Every time I tried, I would just weep.
For nearly the next ten years, I found it very difficult to sing. It was as if I had lost my voice; and yet, the music within me refused to be silenced. There eventually came a time when I was able to sing to the Lord again, but only in private. I nurtured no thought of ever singing before people again. The very idea made me tremble with indescribable fear! Besides, singing privately felt very safe...
Then, I received an invitation to sing in a church service. I'm not exactly sure why, but I accepted. I spent a great deal of time preparing to sing, and on that morning when I arrived at the church, my stomach was in knots and I felt as if my legs would not support me if I tried to stand. I requested a stool that I could perch on, and determined that I would sing the song I had prepared as a prayer to the Lord. When it came time in the service for my song, I walked to the stool, perched on it for support, used both hands to steady the microphone, closed my eyes and sang to the One and Only Who is worthy of my heart-songs. I was both humbled and awed that He gave me the strength and the voice to do it.
Some years have passed since that time. Even now, when I get up to sing in front of others, I still face fear. I no longer expect the feeling of fear to be removed from me; I just pray that the butterflies will fly in formation and determine that I will sing to the Lord in spite of my fears. Almost without exception, once I begin to sing I experience His peace. I am constantly reminded that His strength is made perfect in my weakness and His grace is sufficient for me, so I offer up a sacrifice of praise and ask Him to use it for His glory. He is the reason I sing!
I am still finding my voice and I experience great joy in helping others find their voices, as well. I have been privileged to do so in ministry among women and with church music for the past several years. It is my prayer that my story will inspire you to face your fear and to find your voice, no matter what form that might take. I have come to realize that the enemy of my soul wants me to keep quiet; I have also come to realize that God can take whatever I offer up and powerfully use it to the praise of His glory. He persistently and gently urges me to lift up my voice; I cannot stay silent!
Maybe you hear Him tenderly calling to you, urging you forward into something that makes you tremble. Just last night He reminded me of the words of Isaiah 12:2 -6, "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you."
In unparalleled grace the everlasting God, our Father, has lavished His amazing love on us and uniquely gifted each of His children to make His name famous. There is no greater or sweeter name than that of our Lord Jesus. So, my lovely, gifted, and courageous sisters in Christ, let's find our voices and shine for Him!