I thoughtfully walked in the front door of our home in Burnaby, BC, Canada. I was just returning from another worship conference via satellite. Paul Baloche’s words echoed over and over in my mind. “When I sit down to write a song at my piano, I start by praying…” I sat down at my piano and prayed aloud, “OK Lord, if you want me to do this, you need to do it for me. I think I can come up with the words, but the melodies are totally beyond me. If this is Your will, please do it for me.” My fingers played lightly, softly on the ivory and ebony keys in front of me. The words came slowly, haltingly, and a new song was born. One that would cascade into many others, a song of worship and praise to the Giver of all good gifts.
That was the beginning of a new season in my life. I have always loved music. It moves me. It feeds my soul. It expresses my emotions and leads me to worship God. I have led worship in my small Vancouver church for many years. I kept denying God’s nudging me to write songs through my feelings of inadequacy. What a breakthrough, to finally be faced with amazing possibilities from the God who can do the seemingly impossible. Once the flood gates were opened, the songs came, one after another.
At the age of 41, this new music ministry was birthed. I was given an amazing gift and I wanted to honor the Giver by giving it my undivided attention to cultivate it, fertilize it and to blossom. I went to a Songwriters Boot Camp in Seattle, and I’m sure our Heavenly Father was chuckling as one of my critiquers was Paul Baloche. I had written a theme song for a Women’s Retreat at a camp on Vancouver Island which I presented to them. The critique was harsh but true. I was a rooky songwriter and needed to grow.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
God gave me opportunities to share my new songs and to be affirmed and encouraged through a Womens Retreat at a camp on Vancouver Island, where I led worship singing for the Spring Retreats. One day, a couple weeks before the Spring Retreat, I was searching on the internet for contact information for a friend I had grown up with. As I searched, I came across her mother, whose name was noted on a CD promotion, where she had been an accompanist of a quartette. The name of the producer for the CD caught my eye. Curious, I looked him up on the internet. He had different quotes on his website and one of them referred to him nurturing new talent. I then began to argue with God in my thoughts. “I can’t phone him. I’m not anywhere near ready to make a CD.” God kept nudging me as I went to sleep that night and the next morning as I took my shower. After I got my children off to school I sat at the computer and looked again at his website and said to the Lord “Ok, I’ll try calling him. He’ll probably have an answering machine and never call me back.” I finally obeyed the prompting, picked up the phone and punched in the numbers. It rang and rang a few times and then, to my amazement, he did answer my call. I told him haltingly of where I was at with writing songs and asked him whether he would consider helping me, and much to my surprise, he agreed. He made an appointment to see me after the Women’s Retreat.
At the Retreat I shared a couple of my songs and was blown away by the response to the songs, how the women sang “Trust In Him Alone” with all their heart. The affirmations that flowed at the end of the weekend lifted me up to the clouds. As I went to sleep the night I got home, I had a dream. I saw myself and two other women, my Singaporian friend, Lynn and an African American woman. We were singing to a crowd of women from all nations. I woke up excited, certain that I had had a revelation from God. My friend Lynn was already singing with me for the retreats and I didn’t know any African American women at the time. I prayed that the Lord would bring this woman to me if this dream was to become a reality.
After the Retreat, the producer met with me and went through a few of my songs, giving me pointers for improvement. We talked about what music ministry looked like and my commitment to God’s plan. I went home determined to make some good songs into great songs.
I attended a Worship Conference a short while later and during the opening time of worship singing, there was a lovely voice singing behind me and as I looked I saw an African American woman. “Could this be the one?” I asked the Lord. “Please show me.” I said hello to her but I held back saying anything more. After a songwriting workshop I asked if any of those attending would like to be part of a “Songwriting Circle”. I was excited to see that this woman had attended the class. I watched, disappointed, as she walked out the door. As I spoke with another person, I noticed that this woman had come back in again and was waiting to talk to me. A group of us met at her home a month later, and as everyone left, I lingered behind and finally broached the topic I had been praying about ever since I met her. She thought and prayed about it and said yes to being a part of our trio.
A LEAP OF FAITH
When I met with the producer again in September he asked me whether I was ready to go a step further and make a CD. I told him I thought it would take me another year or two to be ready. He felt I was ready, having written over 40 songs already in the three years since I began. I asked him if I wasn’t too old to start this venture and he told me when God calls you even at 93, you need to obey and follow. It’s never too late.
Again, the thought took hold in my mind and I prayed as I drove home. I said to the Lord “If this is your direction, then my husband needs to be in agreement and support this endeavor. That is how I will know that making a CD is Your will.” I shared the proposal with my husband and asked him to pray for two weeks about it and let me know what God said. We knew it would take at least $10,000.00 to make a CD. Although we had enough in our savings, it would be quite a commitment for both of us to make, never before having invested such a great amount on creative pursuits. God spoke to my husband’s heart and he agreed to this new journey. The rollercoaster ride had begun. God had much to teach me, to humble me and to encourage me as we went through the process of putting my music on the CD.
During the 3 month process of making the CD (we took breaks in between each step), my African American friend had to drop out due to family troubles. A year later, my friend Lynn also dropped out to start up a new business with her husband. She shared with me that she felt it was my calling and not hers. God had given me these two wonderful women to see me through the beginning stages of ministry, not unlike the story of Moses needing Aaron at the beginning of his leadership of the Israelites. Now, God was giving me more responsibility.