The Lord has always been my ‘booking agent’. I never know just what’s ahead. I’ve never sat down with a board of advisors to develop a business plan for the future. Whenever I try to do that my plans turn to dust.
I don’t trust myself to know the way, because I’m too enamored with worldly success. So, I’ve always sought His direction and reassurance that I was on the right road. Years ago, when my singing ministry was at its peak, I was always getting career opinions from people. “The day of small beginnings is over for you.” they said. Or, “You could be so big if you only marketed yourself properly.” But, talk like that always made me lose my peace. Was it fear, or His warning?
I was huffing up a steep hill on my morning walk. “Lord, please show me once again what Your plan is. Am I on the right track?”
Suddenly, a picture of a chubby sparrow entered my mind. She perched on a branch in front of a run down house in the heart of the inner city. The little bird was not impressed or depressed about where she was. She just lifted up her head and sang a clear song unto the Lord.
Then the vision changed, and the cubby sparrow flew to a branch in front of the White House. Again, the little sparrow was not impressed or depressed about where she was. She just lifted up her head and sang unto the Lord.
Don’t try to be famous, big or important. Just enjoy My freedom. I will lead you.
Weeks later I received an invitation to sing at the International Women in Leadership conference in Washington, DC. Senator Jepson’s wife insisted God wanted me there.
I hovered around the refreshment table looking for a little chocolate comfort. Without warning, the elastic waistband on my pantyhose began to ROLL! I quickly jammed my elbow against the waistband to stop it. No use. The pressure was just too great. To my horror, my new slimmer-you panty hose sprang over my old, fatter-me creating a bikini tourniquet tight enough to stop the blood supply to my legs!
“Hey, Marji . . . you in there? The program is starting.”
Rush of panic. If I named the women at the head table you would recognize them – big wigs, the seen and the famous from every mega ministry in the country . . . and me.
I choked down some chicken and the Dove Award winner sang. She brought the house down. People were on their feet. Then you heard, “And now we are going to hear from a little housewife from Rush, NY.”
That was the signal. Out from the kitchen poured dozens of busing people to clear the 800 dinner plates. Clang. Crash. People started talking, and before I could give the cue the sound man started my back-up tape. I couldn’t hear a thing.
Red-faced and dying inside, I struggled to find my place in the song. The Dove Award winner took one look, turned her back to me, and got everyone at her table talking. Even the women at the head table began to talk to each other.
Lord, have you brought me all the way down here to humiliate me in front of all these people? Can’t you humble me in my living room?
Once again, the picture of the little sparrow filled my thoughts. Just sing unto Me – don’t be impressed or depressed about where you are.
I lifted my head, ignored the crowd, and sang as if Jesus was the only one there. Half way throughout the song the tangible Presence of the Lord began to fill the room. Voices hushed, an insistent “Shhhhhh” rippled across the audience as all eyes closed. When I finished, no one moved. Silence. God had arrested their attention – not me. Not my dress, or my reputation. . . it was the Spirit of the Lord.
I went back to my room and with sweet relief . . . cried myself to sleep.
- to be continued.