Being a child is not something I remember with fondness! For the most part, my memories are vague, and what I do remember is mostly a wearisome existence.
Don’t get me wrong, there were a few bright moments, but they were soon obscured by a joyless, plodding continuation of survival.
School was my one saving grace, however. I liked school! In the elementary years, I was able to sing in the school choir, participate in spelling bees, learn folk dancing, and do projects for the science fair along with many more things.
Writing a four- page autobiography for my 4th grade teacher was actually an enjoyable task! While everyone else moaned and groaned, I went for it! I chuckle now because He must have known that much of what I wrote was contrived. In spite of that, he was very encouraging! That encouragement kept me on the path of self-development and self-expression through writing!
Years later, I was amazed to see that Mr. Guidi had become the celebrated director for the Oakland Ballet. For years he brought the troop to phenomenal success. My fourth grade teacher. I knew him “when”. Amazing.
While at school, I generally felt “normal.“ Lack of proper clothing and shoes was a small concern to me when I was young because there was so much else to occupy my attention. As I grew in to Jr. High (Middle School), I began to withdraw from things.
Without a coat in the cold, I was keenly aware of the weather and of the holes in my shoes. Sad to say, but I didn’t always have socks to keep my feet warm, either. In the classroom, it took quite a bit of concentration for me to keep my feet flat on the floor so that other children wouldn’t notice the holes. Once in gym class, after I had been teased unmercifully, I determined to try to fade away and just become invisible.
My orchestra teacher seemed to understand some of my personal struggles. Apparently, he felt that he could fan my musical spark. And that he did! He started me on violin, moved me to viola and then, right away, exposed me to the cello. I loved it all! When I was in the music room, I forgot how I looked or what I was wearing – or even that I would be freezing while walking the 2 miles to my house after school. I really wanted to learn! I felt that the angels in heaven must revel in the glory of beautiful music while dancing around God’s throne, and I wanted to be part of that!
After about 5 months of this bliss, my wonderful music teacher Mr. Ono left for a vacation to Japan. He was to be gone a week. Oh how I missed him! One week turned into two and then…..he never returned. The students finally learned that he died in a plane crash on his way home.
Tears flooded my eyes and my heart broke. If that wasn’t enough, the music program was abruptly cancelled. All my instruments were taken away.
Mourning overtook my little spirit and a deep sense of desolation hovered. My placeat the school had been ripped from me. The one who believed in me – gone.
About that time, my biological father could take no more of my mother’s ongoing illness and our poor living conditions, so he left. I came home to a dark house, no heat, a still-broken bay window, no food and a sobbing, grief-stricken, bed-ridden mother and no siblings. He took my two young brothers with him. My sister had run away. Such despair! Whatever childhood that should have been left for me, flew out the broken window that day.
My smile and my hopes made way for more somber duties. What a mess! Thoughts clashed. Fearfulness crept. Anger rose! Another one who should have been there for me, who should have believed in me, who should have nurtured me – GONE!
Through rage and tears, I spotted my father’s guitar. Although I could not play, it was mine now!
Fast forward to the early adult years.
With God’s faithfulness, it became clear to me that I could “change things in my generation” for my own children! Really?
God painstakingly worked with me. He demonstrated that He would restore the years that had been eaten away by ungodly circumstances. He made it clear that HE would be my Glory. He would be my Shield! And that HE would be the Lifter-up of my head. (Psalms 3). Then, it was as if He waited for my response.
The real Energizer of my soul! Yes! Yes! I didn’t think twice! Like lightening, I took Him up on those promises! I wanted to live in His presence – in His worship.
Even though there had been little opportunity for formal training, through all the tears, disappointments and struggles, my Father God kept The Song in my heart.
Today, my husband says he gets a big laugh whenever a tune starts up on the radio, at church or via CD. He says, “You just start in singing without missing a beat.” Even newer music seems to reside inside.
He often quips, “Is there any song that you DON’T know?”
Though I’m not exactly sure how they all got in, I seem to “instinctively” know the words and tunes to most of the old hymns as well as to a huge number of other songs.
Coupled with music throughout my teen and adult years, I am never without a SONG. I am never without worship!
One time a Pastor looked at me and said, “God has called you as His Psalmist”. Although he knew nothing about me, I knew he was right.
Although I have led many a worship service, it hasn’t been about doing it in public. It has been about ministering healing through song on a one-to-one basis…or just between God and me!
Even now, while I sleep, I hear music. I hear heavenly choirs and I sing along. I wake up with songs on my lips. I sing words…even those long forgotten….. come right up. I know they have been revived by the Holy Spirit.
Such a gift my Father has established in me.
Yes, God never forgot me. He has truly given my Songs in The Night !!
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And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. -2 Chronicles 29:27, KJV
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