Just like Joyce Meyer says in her personal testimony, I remember exactly where I was the day I got "the call". And no, I'm not talking about the Backstreet Boy's smash hit circa the year 2000. No, this call was somewhat different. It wasn't this big, booming voice. It was a small, still voice inside. It wasn't my conscience. After all, my conscience and gut feelings about the music business were pretty much set in stone at this point. I was at least half way through my pregnancy with my now two-year-old daughter. The last thing I was thinking about, was another major life change…especially with the music industry. I was hurt once before by it as a child, and I was sure to not let it happen to my own family I was starting. I had believed for all my life, of almost 28 years, that the sole reason for my parents divorcing was due to the music business. It wasn't until later, that I began to uncover more to the story.
I lived in fear of pursuing a dream I once had of being a country music singer. I was a very black and white thinker at the time as well. I thought I should either be a mother, or a singer. It never dawned on me that there was even the slightest possibility to do both. I was trapped in a lie that told me, since it happened to my parents, it would surely happen to me. However, that still, small voice nudged my heart a little more each day.
Amazing things happened at this time in my life. I was so happy to finally become a mommy, 2nd trimester pregnancy hormones were sure surging. I was also involved in a local church ministry called Celebrate Recovery. I had been in the program about a year and a half. For those that don't know, Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered 12 step program for anyone with a hurt, habit, or hang-up, and I had quite a few of those myself. I had gone through a step-study after mourning the loss of my first pregnancy. (For those that don’t know, a step-study is where you go through each step of the 12 step program with members of the same sex. Usually it is with members of the recovery group.) That was a loss like no other, and I needed support to get through such a time. While in the step study, I learned more than I ever expected about myself and the hang-ups I endure daily. There were things buried from the past that were never resolved. Through that step study, I was able to finally heal wounds from my childhood and forgive those who had done harm to me in the past. I learned that forgiveness is not about saying the action taken was ok or justified. It means that there was a wrong done to you and you are no longer holding that person under your control. I released it to Jesus at the foot of the cross. My sponsor would say, "Justice is mine says the Lord." I released those people to God's hands. Hurts are like scars. They are still there, you can still remember them, but they begin to disappear over time.
I bring up Celebrate Recovery at The Experience Community, because it was there that I began finding my voice again. I started writing music again. I wrote my first song at the age of 12, shortly after giving my life to Christ. He was all I wanted to sing about. He was so worthy of my praise. I've always felt since I accepted Jesus into my heart, that Jesus saved me from several things… One for my sins, and the other for saving my mother and me from a physically abusive situation when she married my first step-father.
I was always a singer. I loved to sing more than anything. I had so much to express. Somehow through the years I let my voice and dreams become squashed by crippling fear. As I became more and more free during the Celebrate Recovery program, I started volunteering on the worship team. It brought me so much joy. As I would sing, I would picture myself all alone in a room with just Jesus. I felt every word, every lyric, every melody, every phrase. I began to get quite a lot of attention from singing there. I won't lie, my flesh loved it. However, I stayed fervently in prayer over my intentions. This was supposed to be a safe place after all, and I didn't want to distract from that.
So, I mentioned that I wrote songs…well I hadn't in quite a while but I would still get out my old Yamaha that my dad bought me at the age of 13. I had a few songs from a past life I had written that I thought were ok. I remember sending a rough demo I had made on Garageband to a friend of mine. She was quite an accomplished singer herself, and I looked up to her. She listened to the song, called me back and said "You did that? I would buy that!" Thinking literally quite nothing of my rough self-made demo, I felt encouraged by my fellow friend and musician. That's when that small, still voice began speaking…
There was another time when it came my turn to help lead the step study group in worship. We would always begin meetings this way to get our minds focused spiritually. There was never really a song that stuck out to me to lead. That small, still voice knocked again. "What if you did an original song" the voice asked. "No, that's way too bold. They would think you are just trying to promote yourself", fear would say to the still voice. This internal battle would go on and on the whole week until I finally made the decision to go for it. There was a message I wanted to convey from my heart, and what would happen if I hadn't? Someone may indeed lose a blessing for the day. So, I brought my guitar after clearing things with the group leader just to be on the safe side. The group leader actually ended up smiling and doing a happy dance when I told her my idea.
Now, usually when I sing, I close my eyes or look at the floor as it helps to ease anxiety. When I looked up at the group after finishing the song, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. After the meeting I had several of the ladies text me and tell me thank you for sharing my song with them that day. The song was "Love Song." I had written it years ago in another life after being a prodigal daughter at the age of 19. It was a song intended for my parents at first, but ended up being directed to God by the time of its completion. (That is another story I will share entirely so stay tuned!)
Anyway, remember that small still voice? It wasn't quite so still and subtle anymore. The knock became louder and louder saying, "Sarah, you have things to say that will bless people. Why keep it for yourself, like the man with the talents Jesus spoke about? Why keep it hidden?" One afternoon I was in the living room cleaning and getting ready for my daily music students to come for private lessons. This was a business I had created myself so that I could be a stay-at-home mom since that was my dream at the time. I had this weird feeling that afternoon to play a song by Linda Davis called "I Have Arrived". I saw her sing it one time at the Inspirational Country Music Awards when I was fifteen. My dad was still in the music business at the time and he had received tickets as a gift from a friend. My mom and I ended up going together. I sat in the Ryman Auditorium so excited. I felt like I was flying on a cloud. I remember Linda coming on stage dressed in all white. When I heard her sing that beautiful song about overcoming life's tribulations, I couldn't help but cry. I knew at age 15 that that was what I was called to do. Like I said, that dream dimmed as I got older. But the day I turned her song on again while I was merely cleaning my living room, it reignited.
I began to question that small, still voice. Was it God? Was it my own flesh? Why would that flame start to burn again midway through a pregnancy with our firstborn child of all times! God, don't you understand that this is the most inopportune time? I have plans! I'm to be a stay-at-home mom remember? The voice spoke again, "Just make an album. You've already got some songs that could be recorded. Just make an album."
…..To be continued…..