Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SING (08/16/18)
TITLE: Practice His Presence
By Janene Bever
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I don’t like to sing anymore. I don’t know what happened. When I was very young, I used to stand at the kitchen sink and belt out country western songs while washing dishes for my allowance. Propped above the hot and cold faucets was a well worn song sheet with the latest hillbilly ballads that I so loved.
My dad would sneak up behind me and poke me in my super ticklish ribs and run away laughing as I hit a very high note. I could catch a quick glimpse of his impish smile coupled with dancing brown eyes as he disappeared around the corner. Furious, outraged, I paused long enough to turn, red faced, and yell after him to “JUST STOP IT!!”
My girlish dream was to become a famous country singer like Larry and Lorrie Collins, also known as “The Collins Kids”, two very talented brother and sister singers on T.V.’s Town Hall Party. And, I really think I could have realized at least a modest success with my voice. I sang in our grade school glee club and people used to complement me on my alto range vocals.
But I never took the time to develop my talent; never took a voice lesson or pursued my gift to any extent at all. I was content to just hum around the house and sing the popular tunes of the day for my family. I never realized it then but my son told me years later how much he had enjoyed listening to me when he was a young boy.
After I married and had my two children, I re-wrote the words to Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.” to the amusement of other young married couples. The self styled rewrite fit my own personal marital tragedy that was playing out during those dark days. It was a real hit with our fun loving party crowd.
Where did that semi-impressive voice go? Well, I guess it went along with the old saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”. A pack of menthol cigarettes a day and some fairly regular vodka cocktails over a span of some years took care of the rest.
Happily, I put those days behind me in 1982 when a friend invited me to go to church with her and I accepted. Oh, not at first. I resisted, yes I did. But God would have His way and I sat in my seat the next day and broken heartedly surrendered when I heard His urgent call. It was a “now or never” message that He impressed upon my spirit and I took that very seriously. Good thing because now, thirty-six years later, I’m right where He wants me to be. Not perfect, not fully developed, but I’m in tune most of the time.
These days I practice the presence of the Lord on a daily basis. I’ve learned that in order to get better at a skill, a talent, a gift, I must address it, take it seriously, and ask Him to show me how to improve it. Because whatever He has given me, whether it be a singing voice, a writers imagination, or the gift of hospitality, He means for it to continue to grow into maturity. He isn’t content with just mediocrity in me, His child, His masterpiece. He intends to increase that ability until it glorifies Him to the maximum level possible. “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37
I said I don’t like to sing anymore but that’s only partially true. I’m not impressed with these aged and under strengthened vocal chords of mine and I’m quite sure no one else is either. So during our worship time in church, I purposefully keep my voice modestly low. I enjoy the singing gifts of other talented people who have honed their skills and cheerfully share them with the rest of us.
Today He’s got me singing a new song. “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise His name, proclaim His salvation day after day.” Psalm 96:1-2. It doesn’t take any vocal strength, but I do have to practice it daily. I can silently sing my heart out to Him and He can hear me just fine. “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether”. Psalm 139:1-4.
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