When I was in grade school, my class had music practice every week. Our teacher would walk us over to another room and hand us over to the music teacher for about 30 minutes.  Fifth grade was DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) year so many of our classes were spent learning music for a performance about staying drug and alcohol free.

I remember one day during practice specifically. Our music teacher kept walking very close to the risers as we sang. I thought nothing of it but at the end of class, she held six of us back and sent the rest of the class back to the classroom. She stood the six of us in a semi-circle and told us that we would take turns singing “Row, Row, Row your boat” by ourselves. Lo and behold, I was first.

I froze.

She started the song and I sang but my confidence had left me. I know I didn’t do well but I’m sure it didn’t sound as bad as I remember. I tried my best.

At our next music class, our teacher handed out solos. Five children received them. Everyone but me. I was so hurt. I remember how upset I was. I’m sure I cried. I loved to sing and in a fifth grader’s mind, she had basically said, “you’re not good enough.” I sang on the risers with the rest of the class in that performance. 

I quit music for a year and then got back into it. My confidence didn’t really recover. I tried out for solos.

Fail.

I tried to sing in the talent show.

Fail.

I tried to sing at community things.

Fail.

All I was ever good at was singing harmony in a group.

I headed back to school the first day of senior year, excited. I walked into the choir room with my friends and we waited for class to start. No one knew who the new teacher was. When the bell rang , who should enter but my fifth grade music teacher. My heart sank. I couldn’t believe it. Of all the people, why her? I tried out for parts and solos that year. I wanted to prove to her I could do it. She gave me one “solo” at the end of the year. I sang one line from the musical “Mame.” You charm the husk right off of the corn. That was it. I was heartbroken again.

Looking back, I realize that the devil was trying to knock me off the path I’m on now. I don’t despise my music teacher at all. She is a sweet, wonderful, loving lady. And, aside from those years, she’s been a very positive part of my life. And even though those things happened, God had bigger plans for me.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” (ESV)

I had a gift. And even if everyone else didn’t see it, God did. He placed it in me and knew that it was meant for His glory. When I was a sophomore in college, I was invited to sing on the Brink’s worship team with Chris Crow. God used Chris in a huge way in my life. He was encouraging. He made me a part of the team. He pushed me to use my gifts for God in a positive way. I love Chris and I love God for sending him my way. He healed a broken heart and is the reason I do what I do.

God has given us each a gift. Maybe you play an instrument. Maybe you pray for people. Maybe you have abundant finances. Maybe you’re good at organizing events. God gave you that gift and He empowers you so He can be glorified. I encourage you to use that gift to change lives and glorify God. Everyone said and thought I couldn’t do it was wrong. And, they’re wrong about you. So, keep moving forward.

Whitney