Have you ever wondered what it’s like to make a CD? Until I stepped into the studio I had no idea what it would encompass. Because my producer, is a Christ follower, my songs went through a rigorous process to make sure the lyrics were God honoring and accurate, the best they could be. I told him I wanted this first project to be a CD I would always be proud of, not just a beginner’s attempt. Out of 40 songs, I had to choose 10 for the CD. I prayed for God’s help and started choosing the ones that I definitely didn’t want left out. When I finished, I had 11 songs and I didn’t know which one to cut. He generously allowed the 11th song on the album. We built up some “scratch” tracks, a base with which to work with to build up the quality finished song tracks. Then the professional drummer came in and laid down the drum tracks for the final version. Next came each of the instruments needed, guitars, piano, one track at a time. Finally, the vocals were added to make a complete package.
I then had to decide what to call the album. As we were working together I was feeling overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge and skill, I kept saying to God, “This is in Your hands.” It just seemed natural to call the album “In His Hands”. I asked God what to name our trio, and the word “serve” came to my mind. I looked up on the internet all the Hebrew names that referred to servant and found “Bethea – a maidservant of God”.
HIGHS AND LOWS
All was not rosy however. There were the rises and dips in the rollercoaster ride. After my CD “In His Hands” was released in April 2011 I was encouraged to enter my songs for our Canadian Covenant Awards and I did so, never expecting to win. When the nominations came out, my song “I Will Take Care of You” was nominated for the Jazz/Blues Song of the Year award. As I saw my name on the list, grateful tears came streaming down my face. I signed up to go to the Award Ceremony and the Artist workshops in Calgary, Alberta, in October 2011. I also took a risk and asked to perform at a late night café while there.
This was a time of wrestling with God. I felt inadequate and in over my head. I questioned my calling and my ability or lack of it. I felt my accompaniment skills were sadly lacking and those I asked to help, didn’t want to commit at the last minute. At the late night café performance, I learned that the last person to warm up is the first person to perform, so I waited my turn. When it was time to share my three songs, I started accappella and found that I started in the wrong key, so the whole song became accappella with clapping as accompaniment. I had never played in a café before, and had heard that you are background music but had never experienced such a lack of attention and level of noise. I shared my story before the third song and sang my heart to all who came. There was a good response after, but I was too immersed in my feeling of failure to appreciate it then. I stayed a while and then went back to my accommodations and stayed up arguing with God for a few hours. He came through loud and clear to me, “Will you obey me? I have called you to serve me with my gift of music. Will you continue, no matter what?” I surrendered my pride, my insecurities, everything and I committed myself to serve Him, no matter what the cost.
This wasn’t the only time I was brought to my knees in surrender, it happens every once in awhile, when the Lord knows I need to have my priorities put into place and have Him remain pre-eminent over all my life. My last time worship leading at the Women’s Retreat on Vancouver Island was an earth shattering lesson for me. We had a well known recording artist speaking and singing and we were both to do a shortened concert on the Saturday evening. After fun and games and chapel time, the TV was put on for everyone to watch a semi-final Canucks hockey game. We had some avid hockey fans. As time grew late, the hockey game was turned off, while yet in overtime and I went up front to start sharing my songs. I saw looks of mutiny on the faces and tried to turn their thoughts towards God, but failed miserably in the aftermath of thwarted hockey ambitions. A more experienced, wiser performer would have told them to leave the TV on, and gone home but I had been so looking forward to this event and persevered. A few of the women complained on their evaluations that I usurped the time of the more well known recording artist, and the camp decided to have someone else take over leading worship the next year. At first I was crushed, but as I processed what happened, took responsibility for my pride and lack of wisdom, I surrendered it to God and gave it into His hands. I found through my study of the scriptures that Fall, that Paul had had a falling out with Barnabas because of John Mark, (Acts 15:36-41) and so they had taken two different directions for their missionary journeys. God spoke to me through this, to say that sometimes we need an upheaval to be able to say goodbye to a ministry that is done and embark on the new direction that God has given us. Because of their disagreement and separation, they were able to minister to more people. I was comforted to be going forward in the direction God had planned for me while the camp continued their ministry.
OBEDIENCE BRINGS BLESSING
In 2013, through a generous gift, I was able to complete another full CD, “The Beat of My Heart” and was again nominated for the Jazz/Blues Song of the Year Award for my song “Nothing is Wasted”. Interestingly enough, those are the only two songs of mine that are Jazz/Blues oriented. Most of my songs are inspirational contemporary songs. I also made an EP of Christmas songs and Easter songs called “The Indescribable Gift”.
In this past year I have sung and spoken at Christian Women’s outreach brunches, lunches and dinners, sang and spoke at a preschool end of year celebration, taught children at the Chinese Revival Meetings, and more. When I look to share at places or events that God doesn’t plan for me, he closes the doors. He is good and gracious to open other ones. I am still learning daily to give Him total control in my life in all things.