Awe and Thanksgiving
When I look back on the last few months, and this amazing new journey I have embarked on, I find myself continually in a state of awe and thanksgiving.
When you've longed for, desired, dreamed of and hoped for something to become a reality, and then it does, what other attitude could express that overwhelming feeling of awe and thanks other than that of sheer gratitude? I often think we don't understand the true meaning of gratitude when things come to us too easily. I see this with my children. They don't appreciate toys because they get given them regularly (and they usually play with them for about 5 minutes and then quickly lose interest! Sigh.). Many times, in an attempt to keep them interested in the toy, I have explained that there are children in the world that only have one toy, and that every day they play with the same toy and never get bored of it. We have even sent some of those toys (bags full - when I say bags I mean black bin liner bags FULL of toys) to these children. But my boys don't seem to understand this concept because their little worlds contain an abundance of toys.
After last Christmas, I wanted to send some toys to Mission Destiny in Uganda (the organisation set up by a close friend of ours). I almost didn't send a particular toy over (it was a remote control car) because I thought that the children may either end up fighting over it or feel jealous that one had a better toy than the others. Our friend explained that the children would never respond that way because they would actually stand in a long queue to play with it. Each child would have a turn and the toy would, essentially, belong to them all. I was amazed (to be honest, more like a little embarrassed that I had not thought of this) and of course, the toy ended up in Uganda.
I had to pause and think of the child who, for the first time in their life, had a go at driving a remote control car. The joy. The exhilaration. The sheer delight. I wish I could have been there to witness it for myself. Something that perhaps they had longed for, had become a reality and the gratitude that followed must have been a beautiful thing to observe. Well, for those looking from a distance at my musical journey... this is 100% how I feel.
I remember a time where I sat in a women's group and we were discussing whether we were fulfilling our dreams. At the time, I was the worship leader (we had a fairly large team that I was leading), lecturer in Bible School teaching students about worship and team building, creative arts department leader and graphic designer in an in-house creative agency that was beginning to blossom. But I felt empty. I was not yet doing what had been burning in my heart from a young age. I was doing a lot of things but not THE things God had called me to do. When I voiced this in that meeting, the women were shocked. It was not long after that time that God began to take me on a journey where one dream after the next became a reality. But first I had to learn what it meant to be His daughter and the value I had in Him. Only when I began to fully comprehend this did His dreams for me start to come alive. I have never looked back. I am no longer all those 'things' I've mentioned, but I am His and I am enough.
Today, I found out that I have 1 dislike on my music video, Deliverer. So rather than actually feeling disliked (I mean, if that's what validates you then you are in trouble!) I found it quite hilarious. My first dislike. Ha! Brilliant! Someone out there does not appreciate my video, nor my song, nor my dreams coming true. Maybe they don't even like my voice. Right now I'm really LOL. They don't know the journey of what got me to this place. They have no idea of the price I've had to pay to fulfil my dreams and you know what, that's really okay. Their dislike has not put a damper on what I'm doing, nor has it affected my attitude. I feel incredibly privileged to be a singer-songwriter who has released her debut album. For so many millions of people out there, this remains a dream that they die with. Albums are buried in graveyards all over the world (not literally lol). Songs unwritten. Songs unsung. Voices unheard. But my story is different.
Today I had a meeting with a man I really respect within the music industry. He saw my passion and said that I seem to be rearing to go. Absolutely. I've waited for this for more years than I care to mention and that is why I'm so excited. It is why I stand in awe of what God has done and I am so grateful. I'm sure my enthusiastic response to His blessings is a very appropriate one. And this is just the beginning of my journey. There are still many unfulfilled dreams in my heart but I know, without a shadow of doubt, that what is meant for me, God will cause to become a reality. A very close friend recently said, "Lou, God will put you where He wants you to be." How true. Just this week an amazing door opened for me to be involved at an event on Sunday. The event planners had tried to fill the space on the programme three times... but it seems that the space was meant for me. I can't wait to share God's love, life and hope through my music on Sunday. My husband told me not to be disheartened if people don't show up as it's the World Cup but I told him that it didn't matter. I'm going to sing my heart out and enjoy every single minute!
I really want to encourage someone today that if you have not yet fulfilled your God-given dreams, don't give up and don't let anyone's 'dislikes' erode your value. One day you too will stand in awe and thanksgiving at all that God has done in your life. He loves you and He is working everything out. He is trustworthy and knows what is best for you. So have faith.