Psalm 105:1-4, “Oh give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wonderous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face forever more!”
Our daughter Ellie is on the worship team at our local church and was on the schedule to help lead worship the Sunday after receiving some very devasting news. She woke up very discouraged with a heavy but surrendered heart. When she arrived at church, she shared the disappointing news with her worship team partners. The words of encouragement that those who have mentored her in her journey as a worship leader began to break through disappointment. But true breakthrough happened as she began to sing the song “Do it Again,” by Elevation worship. As she began to sing the chorus my husband and I looked at one another and knew this was not a coincidence but by the very hand of God. The following words broke the chains of disappointment…
“Your Promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, you’ve never failed me yet.”
As her parents we were so thankful for how God used that moment to speak to Ellie’s heart. She left church with complete trust, certain God would fulfill the call He had placed in her heart. That morning began tremendous lessons of faith that Ellie would demonstrate to me as I watched her walk through this very difficult time in her life. It was her actions and not so much her words that blessed me deeply as I watched her deal with difficulty and disappointment. I couldn’t take any credit for the decisions Ellie made after receiving the news that would impact her plans for her future, plans that she believed were from the Lord. God deserves all the credit as His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, ministered to Ellie’s heart.
This story began over a year ago as Ellie began to ask God what He had planned for her after high school. Music is a passion of our daughter’s heart and her gift of music has been the tool God has used to help her walk through the challenging seasons of her life with hope and healing. It did not surprise me when she felt called to pursue a degree in Music Therapy. Ellie shared her desire to help others using different forms of music just as it had helped her. This began the process of touring specific colleges that offered this unique degree and praying for clear guidance on which ones to send an application. Ellie felt clearly drawn to one school and so she contacted the school of music. They sent her to their website and the list of rigorous tasks required to audition for their school of music. Ellie is a very determined young woman and she began to plan and prepare for the audition months in advance.
In late fall, by faith, Ellie registered for the earliest audition possible.
In mid-January she walked through the doors of the local university she felt led to attend, for her day long audition at the School of Music. We prayed together before the official schedule began for the day. We were ushered into the auditorium to hear from the director of the School of Music. The auditorium was full of hopeful parents who would wait in support of their son or daughter as they went through each requirement, culminating with an audition. For Ellie and the other 20 voice majors, that meant a vocal performance of two pieces, one of which would be sung in a foreign language.
The director welcomed all of us but then got right to the point. We were told it would be very competitive and some of the students would not be accepted into the school of music.
He also said there would be long waiting period until the official letters would be sent out with the results.
It was over a month later when the letter arrived unexpectedly. Ellie was preparing to leave for her college class when her older sister brought in the mail. My in-laws were visiting and when everyone realized “the letter,” had finally arrived they encouraged Ellie to open it even though I was not home that morning.
Ellie opened the letter with expectation and excitement until she began to read these words; “We regret to inform you that you have not been accepted into the School of Music.” “Devasted” and “heartbroken” are mild words to describe how she felt. I received the call from her older sister to tell me the news. I could not believe it either. The worst part for me was the fact, I was not there when she actually read the results. A mother’s heart is to protect, encourage and comfort our hurting children and yet all I could do was pray. Ellie had already left for class and so all I could do was wait until she returned from school. My heart was hurting for her and I was having an in-depth conversation with the Lord about what Ellie’s future would look like now! Music therapy requires a music degree and the door had just been shut at the university she had applied to and spent all of that time preparing for the audition. To start over would take another nine months. In my moment of concern for my daughter I forgot the fact that God is always working even if we can’t see or feel it. God was on the move, working in Ellie a response that honored Him above all else. Even in her discouragement she went to the Lord asking how she should respond. Even before going into her class, she felt the Lord telling her to write the chair of the vocal department for feedback. She still had not communicated with her dad or me. Instead of anger or bitterness she responded with a heart of thankfulness for the opportunity and all she learned through the experience. I was so proud of our daughter when I heard how she had responded. Ellie responded with God’s heart.
In faith, she communicated to me that she still felt called to attend the university and told me that Lord would open the door. Later that day she received an email informing her of an alternative route and was given the opportunity to begin at the School of Music during her first semester of college. Only God could have orchestrated the turn of events. We believe it was Ellie’s response that made the difference. What a lesson for all of us. Our God is ever faithful.
My daughter taught me two significant lessons of faith. First, she taught me to always surrender to what God is doing, trusting Him with the outcome. Most importantly, she taught me to stay focused on God, respond with His heart, trusting He is always working in our lives and to worship Him no matter our circumstances.
I encourage you today to do the same. Confident in who God is and trusting Him with whatever is going on in your life, even when it seems impossible.
“Nothing is impossible for our God.” Luke 1:37