Growing up my dad was country music all the way. Mama mixed in Elvis. Loretta Lynn, Lynn Anderson, Johnny Cash, Dolly Patton, Conway Twitty…all familiar names whose music helped set the soundtrack of my childhood. I wanted to be just like them.
Problem? I just couldn’t sing! The family joke was how bad my voice was all the time.
God was mysterious to me then. I didn’t quite trust Him. My brother’s early surrender to God’s love, gift and call made me nervous. If we couldn’t trust our dad, how did we trust an invisible Father? I knew God knew us, He had a plan for each of us. But, I just didn’t get the salvation message because it wasn’t yet my time understand.
When Daddy moved us 200 miles north my fifth grade year I fought back. Daddy wasn’t much on girls getting an education but my struggle with math embarrassed him. So I set about to fail. I did the first six weeks.
But two things turned it around. One, my math teacher figured out what I was doing, understood and in turn helped me see a larger picture. Two, I had to take either P.E. and purchase the uniform, band and purchase an instrument or choir and sing. My mother said, “She’ll take choir.”. Later in the hall she told me to just mouth cornflakes or watermelon over and over and not let the choir teacher know I couldn’t, “Carry a tune in a bucket!”
But this amazing God I didn’t yet trust, gave me the desire of my heart, He gave me a voice to sing with. Knowing how my parents felt about my singing I kept the news to myself. Banned from singing in the earshot of my family it was easy to keep my secret. Imagine my parents shock when I forgot to keep silent and belted out “Mine eyes hath seen the glory…” and it was good!
From then on I was asked to sing. At home, at church and at school. God’s gift gave me an inroads to survival, even if I never fit in. I passed math. I even won the science fair award and one for most improvement in math that year.
That was my first answered prayer, God loved me enough to gift me with music. But I never lost those voices telling me I couldn’t sing. To my ears I sounded no different than the years my family groaned when I opened my mouth.
I was a lonely, miserable, misfit who had to undergo our dad’s sudden decisions to move us around repeatedly. God, who I didn’t yet trust or truly know, gave me something our father couldn’t take away. He gave the gift of voice to His child in dire need of something of her own along the road she had no choice but travel.
I’d never be a star, except in God’s eyes, but His gift is always with me.