” Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God…”
(2 Timothy 1: 6)
I wasn’t sure if I would be participating in the Christmas program at Broad Street Ministries. I would be coming straight from work, and I wanted to keep on driving until I got home, not wanting to deal with Friday evening traffic, driving around to find a parking space, etc. But I finally decided to go, and participate in the program.
So glad I made the right decision.
When I arrived I saw many familiar faces (like Tony, our music director) along with new ones (student musicians from Curtis Institute of Music). Throughout the collaborative effort, Broad Street group would sing some songs, then Curtis Institute would either sing or play music, and vice versa. When it was time for Curtis Institute to rehearse, I heard Kendra and Sage practice their selections…
Their operatic sound was simply amazing. At the same time (knowing I would sing O Holy Night), I immediately experienced an inner roller coaster of pure intimidation, thinking my sound was nothing compared to the quality of their gifts. I thought of how could I even attempt to sing when they were more than capable of singing such a classic Christmas song. My voice felt tight when I practiced; it didn’t seem to open, and I was afraid to attempt the high notes I planned to put in the song. Maybe I shouldn’t have come after all, I thought, coming very close to asking Tony to have someone else sing the song.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to Timothy, a young minister who with Paul founded churches in various cities at the time. The letter was to encourage Timothy in the faith to light up the fire of the endowment God had given him known as the gift. The next verse is a familiar one, which talks of God giving us power, love, and a sound mind, and not the emotion of fear, which seemed to be what I was feeling at the moment.
Before the program began, one of the professors of Curtis Institute came to me and complimented me on my voice…
(another) OMG moment!
But this time, it was a good one, as I was very encouraged by her words. I think it helped me relax a little.
All the participants gathered for prayer, with Tony prompting us to have fun and enjoy it all. I decided that I had my own sound, and while I was concerned about its quality, I asked God for help, after all, my participation was not because of my efforts, but because of His, and I wanted to do my best by singing for Him.
Everyone did great, (I have never seen someone play the trumpet with one hand and play the piano with the other at the same time, but I witnessed it! From the crisp and clear sounds of the trumpet and violin coupled with Tony’s eclectic arrangements to traditional Christmas songs that the Broad Street group sang, all went well. And as for me, after praying the prayer that no one knew about but God, I felt the stirring of the gift (my voice) open up, while being able to unlock my hands that were tightly gripped behind me, and hit the high notes with ease, surprising myself in the process. Feeling the power of the inner gift, fear had left the building as the sound I created was the best I could do for the moment, and I was pleased for a change (instead of being a mental critic as I usually do).
From hearing words from Psalms being beautifully sung, to classic Christmas carols, to a song sang just for fun (Signed, Sealed Delivered by Stevie Wonder led by me), there was much I gleaned from the experience. I need to relax and let things happen, whether it be singing or writing, allowing the stirring to generate the creativity God has already provided from within. When that is allowed, I can experience lovely OMG moments of my own…