First lesson on guitar – 1 FEB 2016. Today marks one year!!! First new guitar purchase – MAY 3. I fretted if I made the right choice, because it was so expensive. My husband thought I would lose interest based on my history with trying out new ideas. I purposefully bought one with a pick-up. I said “I want to be able to play for church one day.” First time practicing with Praise & Worship team – 15 JUN 2016 ** I practiced off to the side, off the stage, mostly lost!! First time on stage with Praise & Worship team at Unity Church – 7 AUG 2016 ** received feedback that I was “playing too tight!!” from a church goer First time performing at a County-wide Back to school fair- AUG 25th **23 song set list???!?!?! YES! It was hot but fun to play out in the park as the only band providing music to parents, kids, and organizations that came out! First time performing at a Note Burning ceremony (Unity Baptist Church paid off their mortgage EARLY!)- SEP 11th ** this was a sight to see; what a great celebration complete with a gigantic bonfire and marshmallows after walking and prayer at the four corners of the property, thanking the Lord for all He had done. First time playing in a local Elementary school (alone) for the Good News Club- DEC 7th ** I’d been serving helping lead music but this was the first time I brought in my guitar to play First time performing with team at a local high school for a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Christmas event- DEC 16th ** powerful to me to be able to go into a high school and hear the kids who had to sign permission slips to be there and hear them cheer after we played. The testimony given by a former Soldier was powerful to me as well as seeing teens act out a skit and proclaim Jesus’s name to their peers. First time providing music at an Assisted Living (alone) – day after Christmas, 26 DEC 2016 ** was honored to be asked to come and play. The residents loved it and I enjoy returning. I even got my first request ever- just this week. “Blessed Assurance” I WILL learn that song- on the guitar!! 😀 (Can anyone recommend a good hymn book for guitar players?) First time playing guitar for PWOC – JAN 12th, 2017 First time uploading a recording of me playing guitar and announcing to the world (alone) – TODAY!!!
One year of guitar!
1 FEB 2017 marks ONE YEAR of seeing God work through me with this guitar. I can’t believe how far I have gone with this. I can not believe how many opportunities God has given me to increase my skills and most of all, the boldness to use whatever I have to draw others closer to HIM. I pray that God continues to use me- not just with the guitar- but with all of the experiences in my life that He has brought me through. Like Joseph said in Genesis 50:20 to his brothers who did him wrong many years before, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God knows and I know what He has brought me through and how He has saved me and continues to do so today by delivering me from FEAR. Matt 10:28 says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” It is my prayer that I will not stay quiet and let evil reign, that I would be an advocate for those without a voice. That I would speak out about my past or with anything going on in my life (when prompted) for the sole purpose of encouraging those who feel alone. There IS HOPE. I am not alone. I never was; and YOU aren’t alone either! May we encourage one another in the sharing of our testimonies, our gifts, our talents… may we share our lives with one another in our own unique ways. May we be the light in the darkness. Did you know that encouraging others is FREE and it has a ripple effect??? It does! I have seen it in my own life and in other’s. Try it and you will see. I don’t know when it will be my time to go- but I do pray that when I am gone that my kids, my husband, my neighbors, my family, friends, strangers and those who have seen me around will agree with my tombstone verse, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Tim 4:7 May you seek the Lord in all that you do as you reflect on how you have used your time and resources that you have been graciously given.
Documentation & responses
* Note: I know that I mentioned a lot of FIRST’s with my guitar. That was mostly for me that I would get these dates down so I could have them all in one place to remember them. We don’t get a lot of Firsts with new things and many times, we simply forget. But today is a new day. This moment is a new moment. I am a changed person from what I did and what I was before Jesus came into my life and transformed me (very slowly at first) to what you see today. He always had a plan for me though. For that I am grateful. I am thankful that I now recognize the impact that I can have on others. Even in me stepping out as a new face, others respond and say they want to step out too. I pray that I continue to see and respond in ways that are pleasing to the Lord. I hope the same for you as well. I know that I’m not the greatest guitar player. It’s not even about that at all. I’m amazed that God uses what little I have (whatever He has given me) and multiplies it in so many ways. I am thankful to be included in His work.
How long have you played?
** People often ask me how long I have been playing. I surprise them by saying that I have just learned how to play- and just look at me now for using what little I know and have for the Lord! I think that surprises and and encourages people. My thoughts are that if God is the one who gives abilities and talents to His people. Why not me? God has the power to do whatever He wants. Even if just a little bit of skill or interest, I will use what I have for Him. I heard a sermon where the preacher (at 28:10 minutes) mentioned that David, before he was king, while as a shepherd he was probably playing his harp (lyre) out in the fields to the sheep before he was called to play for the King. (1 Sam 16:16-23) He was practicing! So, I practice too!! I play a song (or two) to open up our prayer and Bible reading time with my kids. At first, we used YouTube videos, but then I thought, why don’t I just play the guitar! It’s practice!! I also remember the verse where (now) King David danced with all his might in the streets praising the Lord- to the dismay of Michal who was watching him from the window. I want to get to the point where I no longer worry or care about what other people think- but I am only focused on the Lord. 1 Chron 15:27-29 I know that would make me seem a crazy person to many people. I worried that I would be called a ‘fanatic’ or a Jesus freak or anything like that- but really, I’ve been called something like that before by someone close to me. I think they meant it in a negative way when they said that it was clear that I was all about God. Inside I was so happy!! YES!! I’m right where I want to be!
Thank you for giving me a chance
*** I’d like to thank the Worship Leader at Unity Baptist church for allowing me the opportunity to join the team, despite my skill level. I have become a better player because I have been included. I am amazed at how he uses the team to spread the gospel far and wide by gaining access to events where other churches haven’t been. This is the main reason why I enjoy serving at Unity; we work for the Lord. We invite others to join us by using whatever you have right where you are. If you are willing, God will use you in what He is already doing all around you. Thank you Scott!
One year video
**** The song I’m singing/playing “Not the Same” was a song written by Lee Younger for BridgeBox. http://thebridgechicago.tumblr.com/ In their “About us” section, they wrote: “Everyone is called to be a minister of the Gospel. Sometimes you’re ministering to your friends, and sometimes to yourself. So, this page is not just for those in vocational ministry – these tools are for anyone trying to overcome obstacles in a walk with Jesus.” I happened upon this song when reading a post about insecurities and I heard this song. In trying to find out more about it, I learned about this ministry called The Bridge in Chicago. Their story on FB (in the About section) describes The Bridge as weekly meetings geared giving an opportunity for those on the streets to experience and learn just how much the Lord loves them and can help them change to live a life outside of crime. What inspired me about this is that 3 pastors from different church denominations come together to give the Word in their own way on the same topics. There is a house band and there is coordination of different churches to provide the childcare, food, and greetings as well as tending to practical needs (jobs, housing). If you want to support them in their work, consider donating or subscribing to this ministry. Or you can follow and encourage them via social media! That is FREE and it can have a lasting impact. I know I am thankful for them sharing their work with me. The recording of “Not the Same” which is OUTSTANDING to me is here http://leeyounger.com/post/155297376968/everyone-wants-to-make-changes-in-the-new-year. Have a listen for yourself!! Thank you, again, Matt and Lee from the Bridge!